May 13, 2020
With summer approaching, schools and colleges are about to wind up the current academic year and start their annual summer break! It is that time of the year again when families and friends will begin planning their annual summer getaways for some much-needed relaxation after working hard through the year.
Now, the next step would be to shortlist a destination for your dream vacation. This in itself can be quite challenging, given the array of options one is exposed to in this day and age of rampant social media wherein there are unlimited options for every budget and type of holiday, be it a comfortable family holiday, an adventurous escapade with friends or a solo backpacking trip.
However, in a vast and culturally rich country like India, there is no shortage of options when it comes to beautiful holiday destinations for every landscape, be it the beaches or the mountains!
So, with the season in question being summer, it goes without saying the preferred summer holiday destination within India for most would be the mountains. And talking about mountains, there should be nowhere else to look beyond the pride of India, our very own Himalayan ranges in the north!
Darjeeling travel guide
Talking about Himalayan ranges, there cannot be a better, more wholesome summer vacation destination than the quaint and picturesque town of Darjeeling! Nestled amidst the gorgeous snowy mountains, with Mt Kanchenjunga, the world's third-highest mountain, towering over the bright sunny blue sky, this picture-perfect town, also famously referred to as the "Queen of the Hills" offers a perfect getaway with a variety of places to visit in Darjeeling for all kinds of travelers, be it families, friends or the solo seekers.
Darjeeling is a small town and municipality in the Indian state of West Bengal, which gets its name from "Durjaya Linga," which means the almighty Lord Shiva. It is located amidst the lesser Himalayas at an altitude of 6,700 ft above sea level. It is the headquarter of Darjeeling district that has a partially independent status referred to as "Gorkhaland Territorial Administration” in the state of West Bengal. Darjeeling mainly thrives on tourism and the tea industry. Nepali, Bengali, and English are the main languages spoken in this region, with Nepali being dominant because the majority of the Nepali population settled in Darjeeling.
Over and above the many Darjeeling tourist places that visitors can enjoy going to, one of the other main things to do in Darjeeling is savored the now world-famous Darjeeling teas from the countless tea estates in and around the region. It wouldn't be an overstatement to say that it is tea heaven for tea lovers across the world with a wide variety of teas grown in this eastern region. These gorgeous tea estates spread across acres and acres of land also make it one of the unique hill stations in India.No wonder then that a lot of Bollywood movies have also been shot in this scenic hilly location!
It is also famously said that Darjeeling is a land of six "Ts" – Tea, teak, tourism, toy train, tiger hills, and trekker’s paradise!
Amongst the multiple things to do in Darjeeling, let us list out the seven most beautiful places to visit in Darjeeling:
This is the prime water body of Darjeeling, which is about 10 km away from the main town center. It is a part of the Senchal Sanctuary, one of the oldest wildlife sanctuaries on the Darjeeling hills, which was opened in 1915. Senchal lake originates from a mountain spring. It is a much-loved picnic spot for the tourists because of the vast acres of lush greenery and a serene and quiet pollution-free environment, ideal for some quality time with friends and family or some much needed' me time' in today's fast and busy lives.
Although access to the wildlife sanctuary is limited for visitors, one can seek special permission from the ranger’s office in Jorebunglow and hire a personal guide and see around the area. Some animals you may be able to spot in the forest are barking deers, leopards, Himalayan black bears, monkeys, flying squirrels, wild dogs, scaly anteaters, etc.
Besides, if you go a little away from the lake through the Senchal road, there is also a nine-hole golf course in the Senchal area, which is apparently one of the highest golf courses in the world. With such varied experiences in the area, this should be on your list of things to do in Darjeeling for sure!
No visit to Darjeeling can be complete without a trip to this famous Darjeeling tourist place! This popular peak in Darjeeling that promises to offer a breathtaking and vivid view of the third highest peak in the world, Mt Kanchenjunga, is sure to leave you spellbound! You can reach Tiger hills either by a jeep or on foot through some of the oldest tea plantations in Darjeeling. No wonder then that Tiger hills are considered to be a trekker's paradise!
If Tiger hills is on your list of places to visit in Darjeeling, you cannot afford to miss the sunrise here! The jaw-dropping beauty of the soft orange hues of the sun beautifully blending with the snow-clad peaks of the Himalayan mountain ranges is a sight to behold, not to mention to be captured on your I phones and androids as well! So, not just trekkers, Tiger hills is a photographer’s paradise as well!
One more absolute must-visit on your list of Darjeeling tourist places has to be the world-famous Toy train! Also known as the Darjeeling Himalayan Railways (DHR) or the Joy ride, this is a narrow-gauge railway which is about 2 ft in width and journeys between New Jalpaiguri railway Station and Ghum Railway Station, the highest railway station in the world. This toy train was built between 1879 and 1881. The Darjeeling Himalayan Railways (DHR) was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in the year 1999. It is only the second railway in the entire world after the Semmering Railway of Austria to receive this honor.
After about 5 km on this journey, the toy train makes its way through a looped track that passes through a tunnel and some lush green beautiful parks, which is called as the Batasia Loop. While on this route, you can get a 360-degree bird's eye view of Darjeeling. The Batasia loop covers a total area of 50000 square feet throughout this 1000 feet high descent.
Arguably the hub of mountaineering in India, the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, is a pioneer when it comes to raising awareness about mountaineering as an outdoor sport in our country. This institute is a must visit for all age groups, but especially for families with kids as it can prove to be a source of inspiration for them. Built-in the Jawahar Parvat area, the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute houses unforgettable pictures, equipment, accessories, and memorabilia of the brave mountaineers who successfully scaled the world's highest peak, Mt Everest in a museum for the visitors. The first-ever director of this institute was Tenzing Norgay, the Nepali-Indian Sherpa mountaineer who famously scaled the world’s highest peak, Mt Everest with Sir Edmund Hillary, a mountaineer, explorer, and philanthropist from New Zealand, for the first time in history. So, it goes without saying this historical mountaineering institute should absolutely be on your list of places to visit in Darjeeling as it promises you a once in a lifetime experience!
It is almost impossible to holiday in Darjeeling and not plan a visit to one of its many famous breathtaking and luscious tea estates! Located at a height of 2100 meters above the sea level, the Happy Valley Tea Estate is one of the prime places to visit in Darjeeling. Spread across a massive area of 437 acres, the Happy Valley Tea Estate tea estate is nestled amidst indeed spell bounding landscapes. This tea estate, which was established in 1854, is also home to one of the highest tea factories in the entire world. It was initially set up by an Englishman but later bought out by an Indian aristocracy from Hoogly in West Bengal.
This national park is spread across a massive 88 square kilometers of land in the Kalimpong district of West Bengal, India. It is considered to be one of the richest biological zones in the north-east sector. Neora Valley National Park is known for housing one of the largest population of the elegant Red Pandas in India, as well as several endangered and rare species of flora and fauna. This national park was set up in 1986.
With dense bamboo groves, untouched natural forests, fertile green valleys, colorful canopies of trees and flowers and winding streams of rivers with the backdrop of snow-capped mountains make for a landscape that should not be missed!
Highly influenced by Buddhism, this serene hill station is house to several Buddhist monasteries, which is a spiritual and sacred place of worship for Buddha followers. So make sure one of these is on your list of Darjeeling tourist places to be visited. Located 8 km away from the main city center in Darjeeling, the Ghum Monastery is one such spiritual place flocked by not only the locals but also tourists and visitors from the surrounding areas. Here you can admire the 15 feet high beautiful statue of Lord Buddha that is sure to fill your heart and mind with deep peace and serenity amidst the soothing hymns of the Buddhist monks and the lovely natural surroundings of Darjeeling. The perfect setting for some Meditation, chanting, and soul searching!
From a tourist point of view, two seasons are generally considered to be the best time to visit Darjeeling, one during spring and summer, i.e., March up to mid-June and the other being during autumn, i.e., October and November mainly because the weather during these months is cold and pleasant. During these months, the sky is also usually clear, which means tourists can enjoy an uninterrupted view of the various snow-clad mountains across the Himalayan ranges as well as the full bloom of the rhododendron flowers.
As in other parts of the country, monsoons usually set in by the middle of June in Darjeeling as well and lasts until September when all the wildlife sanctuaries and national parks remain shut for tourists.
Mild winter in Darjeeling starts from November with proper winters setting in by December and lasting up to February when the weather tends to get extremely cold with regular snowfalls in the region.
Darjeeling is not just a tourist paradise for its flora and fauna but also for its famous cuisine and hospitality. Food in Darjeeling is mainly influenced by the state of West Bengal and some surrounding countries, which means it is a delicious mix of different cultures, with rice, potatoes, and noodles being the staple food of the locals in this part of the country. There are many restaurants in Darjeeling for tourists to savior authentic local cuisine like Kunga, Hot Stimulating Café, Chopstix, Penang Restaurant, Tashi Delek, Nanglo Café, Nanking, Nawangs, Kalden, China Hut and many more.
Being one of the most frequented hill stations in India, it goes without saying Darjeeling is also one of the most well-connected tourist spots with various places to visit in Darjeeling. It has good air, rail and road connectivity with the rest of the country.
The closest airport to Darjeeling is Bagdogra, which is about 95 km away from the city. Bagdogra airport is well connected to many big cities like Kolkata, Guwahati, and Delhi.
The nearest railway station from Darjeeling is New Jalpaiguri, which has functional connectivity to all the main parts of the country like Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Guwahati, Kochi, and Bhubaneshwar.
The comfort of tourists is focussed on, while ensuring that the prices of its rooms or resorts are at affordable prices. It offers the most beautiful and perfect resorts in Darjeeling for you to enjoy your vacation or holiday in. Most often it is difficult in finding a resort or hotel room that is good enough in a faraway place. This is the reason Club Mahindra ensures that it offers its best services in Darjeeling too, hence making sure your ease to stay in the beautiful hill station.
Summit Hermon Resort & Spa is on a spectacular surrounding in Darjeeling, overlooking the peaks of the brilliant Himalayan range. The resort is a 4-star one, having beautiful scenery and convenient rooms fitted in it. If one is looking for a resort or room to stay in Darjeeling and enjoy visiting places to visit in Darjeeling, then it is best to opt for this beautiful resort. Club Mahindra, as a hospitality company, has always kept the interests of its visitors to be primary.
Mahindra Holidays & Resorts India Ltd. (MHRIL), a part of Leisure and Hospitality sector of the Mahindra Group, offers quality family holidays primarily through vacation ownership memberships and brings to the industry values such as reliability, trust and customer satisfaction. Started in 1996, the company's flagship brand ‘Club Mahindra’, today has over 250,000 members , who can holiday at 100+ resorts in India and abroad.