Darjeeling City Guide – Darjeeling Travel Attractions
Darjeeling also known as the “Queen of the Hills” is located in the sate of West Bengal. It was developed by the English as a hill station due to its temperate climate. Darjeeling is one of the best places for adventure tourism. The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway has been declared as a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO. The tea products of this hill station are of international fame. The temperature of Darjeeling varies form 1.5 °C during winters to 15 °C in summers. Brief introduction to some of the exciting places in and around Darjeeling are given below.
Tiger Hills Darjeeling
Tiger hill located about 11 km from Darjeeling is the highest hill of the locality. It is about 8,482 feet above the sea level. One can see the world famous Mount Everest from Tiger hill. There are wonderful picnic spots, such as Senchel sanctuary and its two artificial lakes near the Tiger hill. One of the most admired sights of the tiger hill is the sunrise that appears over the mount Kanchenjungha.
The Batasia Loop and the War Memorial
The Batasia Loop is the railway loop in which the Toy train takes a unique turn of 360°. The Batasia Loop offers a strategic bird’s eye view of the Kanchanjunga Range. It also has a war memorial for the patriotic Gorkha soldiers of Darjeeling hills built by the zilla sainik board, which is open to the visitors for a nominal fee. As it is considered to be sacred photography is not allowed.
Chowrasta or the four roads is a wide promenade with shops and restaurants and is considered to be the heart of the town. It is the best place to chat or bask with family and friends. It also houses the Brabourne Park, which has a musical fountain. The view of the mountain ranges from Chowrasta is an eye candy for the visitors.
Rock Garden and Ganga Maya Park
One other interesting picnic spot of Darjeeling is the Rock Garden and Ganga Maya Park. It is about 10 km away from the center of Darjeeling. The park entices its visitors with water sports in its picturesque locations. Tourists can pamper themselves with the local delicacies that are abundant around the park. However, one visiting the place should make a two way travel arrangement to be on the safer side.
Lloyd Botanical Garden is yet another interesting location in the town, which is just below the Eden Sanatorium. It is one of the oldest botanical gardens with a variety of flora. The highlight of this botanical garden is the two famous living fossils called the Phantom trees. The garden covers an area of about 40 acres and is open to the public for free.
Other places of interest include Nightingale Park/Srubbery Park, Darjeeling-Rangit Valley Passenger Cable Car, Senchal Lake, Dhirdham Temple, Happy Valley Tea Garden, and Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park.
Transport and Stay
One can avail the services offered by the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway nicknamed Toy train from Siliguri to reach Darjeeling, which is about 80 km away. Although the train is the most enjoyable mode of transport, railway transport often gets disrupted in the monsoons due to landslides. The Hill Cart Road (National Highway 55) to Darjeeling follows the railway line. There are regular bus services from Siliguri, Kurseong, Kalimpong, and Gangtok. One can also hire vehicles from travel agents. Four wheel driven vehicles are recommended for easy navigation in the steep slopes. Bagdogra has the nearest airport, which is about 93 km away from Darjeeling. There are regular flights to Delhi, Calcutta, and Guwahati. While walking is the most preferred means to get to places, one can also hire two wheelers and taxies to commute with in the hill station.
One with a tight budget can choose any of the following Dekeling Hotel, Maple Tourist Lodge, Tenzing Norgey Youth Hostel, and the Tourist Lodge. Hotels like Dekeling Resort, Glenburn, and Goomtee offer a comfortable stay. And hotels like Makaibari, Mayfair Hill Resort, Hotel Sinclairs, and Hotel North Star offer star comforts to the tourists.