The Best Places to Visit in Darjeeling
Darjeeling is a veritable paradise on Earth. One needs to visit it at least once in their lifetime, to know what it is like to see a blissful, serene hill station unsullied by human interaction over the years.
Darjeeling is a veritable paradise on Earth. One needs to visit it at least once in their lifetime, to know what it is like to see a blissful, serene hill station unsullied by human interaction over the years. If you haven’t taken your family to a Darjeeling vacation yet, this could be the year to do so! It is one of the tourist spots in India that every age group enjoys equally. It comes with the added attraction of calming your frazzled nerves – so make a beeline for it if you need some R&R.
Most people are unaware that Darjeeling is located in the State of West Bengal. It is a hill station and a city with its own municipality. Though the region has always existed, any recorded history about the place begins from the 19th Century, and the British’s discovery of this charming spot. Before the British arrived, the region’s history was an amalgamation of Nepalese, Bhutanese and Sikkimese cultures.
Darjeeling was used as a site for a British military depot, then a sanatorium for recovering soldiers was set up there. Soon, the British began to see the potential of the area for housing in the summer months, owing to its pleasant climate.
Darjeeling has always been rich with tea plantations, and it is one of the major producers of tea in the country and the world. However, the tea industry here can also be attributed to the British officers who cultivated tea on its lush hills – Darjeeling is part of the lesser Himalayas, and is naturally hilly in its topography. The tea grown here is of the green, black and hybrid varieties.
Apart from setting up summer retreat houses here, the British also established the region’s first boarding and private day schools in Darjeeling. Today, Darjeeling continues to be known for its private schools with a prominently British bent of education systems.
In the last century, Darjeeling faced some upheaval during the Gurkhaland Movement of 1980s, and later in the summer of 2017.
There are many good reasons to visit Darjeeling, apart from its verdant landscapes and excellent climate. They are:
* You can enjoy a refreshing cup of tea anywhere you go:- Since tea is cultivated locally here, you can enjoy authentic tea at the plantations, or buy boxes of tea bags and tea leaves to take back home. The hybrid and black teas of Darjeeling are quite famous, and they are in demand all over the world. The original tea here makes for a special gift for your loved ones.
* The cultures here are varied and cosmopolitan:- There are several ethnic and linguistic groups present in Darjeeling. These have influenced the popular culture of the region, and spawned several local dialects as well. The ethnic milieu present here include Bengalis, Bhutias, Gurkhas, Khampas, Newars and Lepchas. Together, they make for a cosmopolitan and free culture that you will like.
* The wildlife and natural beauty are superb:- Visiting this area is important if you like flora and fauna, because Darjeeling has enough and more of both. Since it is part of the Himalayan zoo-geographic zone, there are several old and rare species of trees here. The most common ones are sal, alpine groves and oak trees. Meanwhile, there is a profusion of orchids at most places. You can visit the Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park and the Lloyd Botanical Garden to see more rare species of plants. Then there are the dense forests that you can walk through, spotting smaller animals and birds along the way. Look out for mongoose, badgers and Indian civets on your way.
* The colourful houses:- Everywhere you turn, Darjeeling is full of the prettiest houses. Whether private bungalows or small buildings, the residents believe in adding a splash of colour on the outsides of their homes, along with flowering gardens to match. Taking a walk along the quiet lanes will do your tired soul a world of good.
Let’s make a list of the most important and must-see places to visit in Darjeeling. This is just a short list to get you started on your sightseeing:
* Tiger Hill.
One of the best places to visit in Darjeeling, Tiger Hill is full of natural beauty, crisp and fresh mountain air, and a pleasing but chill cold that you experience as you climb its gentle slopes. This hill is a popular spot for watching the sunrise and sunset in Darjeeling, so do take your partner along for the walk! The panoramic views of the different hillocks in the region make for a great backdrop. Go to the Tiger Hill Tower for some mesmerising views.
* Peace Pagoda.
This is an important place to visit in Darjeeling if you are spiritually minded. The Peace Pagoda is made to commemorate the four avatars of Gautam Buddha. It is located next to the Nippon Myohoji Buddhist Temple, and is open to people of all faiths. You can sit in the prayer hall and meditate, or simply walk around its peaceful environs in silence. You will also love the views of Darjeeling from this spot, especially the sight of Kanchenjunga Peak.
* Rock Garden.
One of the most famous places to visit in Darjeeling, the Rock Garden is a man-made garden comprising strategically and artistically placed rocks, interspersed with lush plants and shrubbery. There are manmade waterfalls and walk bridges as well. It is one of Darjeeling’s most popular picnic spots, so you and your family can have your resort pack you a picnic hamper and spend half a day there. You can also hire local attire here if you wish to take photographs.
* Nightingale Park.
Darjeeling abounds in rich flora and fauna, and most of it is down to the various jungles and parks located here. If you like clean public parks in a natural setting, then you should go to Nightingale Park. You will feel instantly at peace with the fresh and fragrant air, while you take in the view of the mountains far away. You can have a peaceful stroll through the park, and also have a picnic here. Other attractions here include the musical fountain the centre, and the imposing statue of Lord Shiva that towers over the garden.
* Singalila National Park.
Nature lovers on a visit here simply cannot miss this important place to visit in Darjeeling. The Singalila National Park is a haven of exotic wildlife in this neck of the woods. It also holds the distinction of being a nature park at the highest altitude (about 7000 feet above sea level) in India. Feast your eyes on the luxuriant rhododendron bushes, and spot small animals of Indian origin here. You should also whip out your camera to take pictures of the stunning Himalayan panorama in front of you.
* Darjeeling Observatory.
Located a little above the famous Chourasta Square, the Darjeeling Hill Observatory is near the Darjeeling railway station and a must-visit spot. More than the gorgeous views it offers, you get a chance to visit the many Buddhist and Hindu temples in the area. Some of these temples have a heritage status and are visited by devotees from all over the country. Make sure you check out Tibetan Memorial Shrine, Mahakal Temple and Kanchenjunga Temple here.
* Himalayan Mountaineering Institute.
Darjeeling is located on the lower slopes of the Himalayan Ranges, so there are many opportunities for trekking and mountain climbing here. The country’s amateur and professional mountaineers love to come here to test their own mettle. If you belong to this ilk, then you will love visiting the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute located in Darjeeling. It is one of the most important places to visit in Darjeeling if you wish to hone your skills, speak to professionals and take short term training as well.
A small village located outside Darjeeling, Tinchulay lies closer to Sikkim and is one of the prettiest sites in the vicinity. Beautifully dense with jungles and full of fragrant tea plantations, Tinchuley has also made a name for itself with its many fruit orchards. It is a must-visit spot with your partner.
Darjeeling has myriad options in terms of accommodation. The spot has many domestic and international tourists visiting every year, so you can find a variety of homestays, dormitories, rented apartments, farmhouses on rent, hotels and resorts.
But if you want a truly special holiday, you should book yourself into a splendid Darjeeling Resort like the Club Mahindra Summit Hermon Resort and Spa. The resort is superbly furnished and set in the hilly region to offer a glorious location. The resort is a 4-star property with some of the best restaurants in Darjeeling, state-of-the-art amenities and warm hospitality. You can step outside to explore the property, or go walking to the nearest market, or even hire a car to go sightseeing.
Q: What is the best season to visit Darjeeling?
Being a hill station, Darjeeling gets quite cold in the winter season between the months of November and February. But many honeymooners prefer this time of the year, because there are less tourists all around. However, the best season to visit Darjeeling is the summer season, in the months between March and June.
Q: How many days are required to visit Darjeeling?
Considering its many tourist spots, you can hire local transport to see the faraway spots from your resort. The rest are manageable on foot. We would say about four days are enough to visit Darjeeling.
Q: What is the budget required to visit Darjeeling?
It is not possible to put a figure down on this question. It depends on whether you flying to your destination, what kind of accommodation you have booked, how many places you plan to say, where you will eat, whether you wish to shop, etc. All things considered, about Rs 50,000 for a family of four to Darjeeling should be sufficient.
Q: What are some must-visit places and things to do while visiting Darjeeling?
There are several must-visit places here, but here are our favourites: Ghoom Monastery, Singalila National Park, Rock Garden, Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Happy Valley Tea Estate, Nightingale Park, St Andrew’s Church, Himalayan Railway Station, etc. In terms of things to do, you should shop for Tibetan carpets, woollen clothes at Dragon Market and Mahakal Market, and books at Oxford Book store.
Q: Is Darjeeling worth visiting?
Any place that offers the kind of verdant landscapes, crisp mountain air, yummy food and tranquillity for your soul is worth visiting. Darjeeling offers all this and more.
Q: Where can we go in Darjeeling?
You have a wide choice of places to visit in Darjeeling. Some of the most famous and popular ones are Ghoom Monastery, Singalila National Park, Rock Garden, Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Happy Valley Tea Estate, Nightingale Park, St Andrew’s Church, and Himalayan Railway Station. If you want a recommendation for a Darjeeling resort, then you should book yourself into the Club Mahindra Darjeeling resort in West Bengal.
About Mahindra Holidays
Mahindra Holidays & Resorts India Limited (MHRIL), India’s leading player in the leisure hospitality industry, offers quality family holidays as also stated by Club Mahindra Membership Reviews, primarily through vacation ownership memberships. While Club Mahindra is the flagship brand offering Club Mahindra Membership, the other brands offered by the company are –Club Mahindra Resorts Fundays and Svaastha Spa. As on Mar 31, 2019, MHRIL has 61+ resorts across India and abroad and its subsidiary, Holiday Club Resorts Oy, Finland, a leading vacation ownership company in Europe has 33 resorts across Finland, Sweden and Spain. Visit us at www.clubmahindra.com