Darjeeling | India
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Darjeeling (Nepali: दार्जिलिङ Dārjiliṅ, Bengali: দার্জিলিং Dārjiliṁ) is a hill station in the northern region of West Bengal. It used to be a lovely Victorian town built among the Himalayan foothills, the remnants of which are still visible around the Chowrasta. Darjeeling remains a popular summer and fall resort for the natives of Kolkata today. The main attractions are the cultural diversity of the Tibetan and Nepali populations. The town is also a jumping off point for travelers heading to Sikkim.


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Getting Around

By train[edit] Toy Train of Darjeeling New Jalpaiguri (NJP) in Siliguri is the nearest station on the main inter-city line. Direct trains to NJP run from Delhi (approx. 27 hours) several times daily. From Kolkata's (Sealdah railway station), the best train is the Darjeeling Mail (circa 12 hours) running nightly at 10:05PM. There is also a train from Howrah Station called Paharia Express, departing from Howrah Station at 9:55PM and arriving at New Jalpaiguri at 8:45AM. From NJP, the famous Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR), known as the 'Toy Train', completes the journey to Darjeeling. The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway was the first, and still the most outstanding, example of a hill passenger railway. It is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This route is popular with tourists as it passes through picturesque mountain scenery and has been the subject of many articles. The line has a series of zigzags and loops to gain height and even runs straight up several village main streets! Seats on the DHR Toy Train sell out in peak season, so make reservations up to one month in advance. The train departs New Jalpaiguri at 9AM and arrives in Darjeeling at 3:30PJ, but only on certain days of the week. The train is diesel-hauled now and is reliable and punctual. The steam 'Joy' train operates from Darjeeling to Ghum via the Batasia Loop, four times a day – enquire at Darjeeling station. Steam trains cost ₹2200 and diesel trains cost ₹1200. See the DHR website[dead link]. A steam train also operates between Siliguri and 'Agony Point' above Tindharia most Saturdays and Sundays. Enquire at Siliguri station. There is also a daily 'School Train' departing Kurseong at 6:15AM and arriving at Darjeeling at 8:45AM. It leaves Darjeeling at 4PM and arrives at Kurseong at 6:30PM. This is still hauled by a steam engine and is one of the world's last 'day to day' steam trains. Its schedule is frequently changed and it often runs hours late.


Things to do

See[edit] View of Kangchenjunga from Tiger Hill 27.050288.271 Bhutia Busty Monastery (Karmaa Dorjee Chyoling Monastery). This monastery was built in 1761 by Lama Dorje Rinzing above the Observatory Hill, where the Mahakal Temple stands now. Later it was re-located downhill to Bhutia Busty.   (updated May 2023) 27.0237488.2547722 Dali Monastery (Druk Sangag Choling Monastery). This is the biggest monastery in this region. It was built in 1971. It is the head quarters and residence of Drukchen Rimpoche the XII, the head of the Kargyupa sect of Buddhists.  27.02438788.262683 Aloobari Monastery (Yolmowa Mak Dhog Monastery). Located in Aloobari on way from Darjeeling to Jorbunglow, this is the least visited monastery as it is located away from the main road. Established in 1914, The monastery offers some breathtaking views of the Tiger Hill region and houses some old rare Buddhist manuscripts.   (updated Nov 2022) 27.04435388.2627824 Botanical garden. The green house has quite a nice collection of flowers.  27.0586188.2544055 Himalayan Zoo (Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park) (shares the premises of HMI). F-W 8:30AM-4PM. It has a good collection of the more charismatic animals found in the Himalayan region, including leopards, a rare Bengal tiger, and red pandas. ₹50 SAARC countries, ₹100 foreigners. Includes entrance to Himalayan Mountaineering Institute.   (updated Nov 2022) 27.0276388.259396 Japanese Peace Pagoda. This impressing building is part of a grid of around 30 pagodas spanning the whole globe. Constructed by the Japanese Buddhist Nipponzan-Myohoji Order, the one at Charlimont on the outskirts of Darjeeling was consecrated in 1992. A small temple just lies alongside. If you're woken up due to the sound of drumming in the streets of Darjeeling between 4 and 5AM: These are the monks (Theravada) of the Japanese temple having their early morning walk.  27.0536588.260097 Nightingale Park/Shrubbery Park (mid-way between Chowrasta and HMI/zoo, a 10-minute flat walk from either). Daily 9AM-5PM year-round. Cultural programme runs approximately April-Nov 2-4PM. A beautiful park with a package of cultural program performed daily during the tourist season. The park features a giant Statue of Lord Shiva, a temple, and provisions for live-interactive entertainment. The best time to visit the park is in the evenings. You may think of it as an alternative to Tiger-hill to see the sunlight magic on Kangchenjunga from this park. Good spot for photographers, as this place is not very crowded. Nice landscape is visible from this park. ₹20.  27.049988.266038 Observatory Hill & Mahakal Temple. Observatory Hill is the oldest site in Darjeeling. This hill is also known as the “Makal-Babu-Ko-Thaan” in local area. It is said that a Red Hat Buddhist Monastery stood at this very spot. Nepal people destroyed this monastery in the 19th century. The Mahakal Temple now stands on this hill.  27.0248388.237699 Rock Garden. A beautiful place with a small waterfall. This place has varieties of flowers landscaped in the rocks. Females can also get dressed in the local dress and take pictures.   (updated Nov 2022) 26.994888.285410 Tiger Hill. Ideal to visit early morning when the first rays of the sun kiss the Kangchenjunga mountain and give it a golden colour. To visit the hill, one needs to get up at 3AM in the morning. You can taste some excellent tea on your way to the hill, which will provide much needed warmth on cold Darjeeling mornings. When getting into a taxi at 3AM, keep in mind that they are shared taxis and your driver might wait around in vain for others to join your taxi causing you to miss the sunrise! Those traveling alone or as a couple might want to squeeze into an already occupied terrain vehicle to insure full viewing pleasure. Though it has executive lounge (₹40 per person) and special lounge (₹30 per person), nothing beats having view from open area as you can have a full panoramic view from outside avoiding crowd in the lounge. The early you can reach, the best place you can find to stand inside or outside the observatory tower. If you are late, you may find yourself standing behind many people and a lot of obstructions to feel the sunrise and magic lighting Kangchenjunga. You may also need to walk a lot to reach there via a steep ascendant road. But, as of 2022, the forest department charges ₹50 per head to enter this region as it is a place inside a forest.   (updated Nov 2022) 27.03752788.26211211 Dhirdham Temple (just below Darjeeling station). This temple was built by Purna Bahadur Pradhan in 1939. (updated Jan 2017) 27.04785288.26674712 St. Andrew's Church (near the famous mall). This church was built in 1843..   (updated Jan 2017) 27.0510288.2583813 Happy Valley Tea Estate, Pamphawati Gurungni Rd (walk north along Hill Cart Rd for 2 km, then walk down the hill at the sign), ☏ +91 80-1770-0700. Tu-Su 8AM-4PM. Quite a hike from the centre, Darjeeling's second oldest tea estate is open for visitors. An employee will guide visitors through the tea factory, showing the full process of tea production and explaining the different varieties of tea. At the end of the tour, tea samples are tested and you can buy teas produced from the estate. ₹100.   (updated Apr 2017) 27.05262888.25888614 Old Cemetery. (updated Jun 2020) Mahakal Mandir (just behind the Mall area). A Shiva temple at a top height; it will take some hardships to be there. (updated Jul 2022) Ghum[edit] Toy Train at Batasia Loop 27.01666788.24722215 Batasia Loop. A place where the legendary toy train makes a loop. There is a Gorkha martyr memorial here. There is also a landscaped park. if you go early in the morning (before 8AM) you can get the glimpse of a local crafts market here.   (updated Nov 2022) 27.01166788.25027816 Ghum Monastery (Yiga Choeling Monastery). This is one of the oldest Tibetan Buddhist monasteries in Darjeeling. It was built in 1850.   (updated Nov 2022)