Tucked within the Lesser Himalayas or Shivaliks, the scenic town of Darjeeling has always been one of the most popular destinations in North-East India. It is a prominent hill station in the state of West Bengal situated near the borders of Sikkim, at an elevation of 2042 meters. With its rich history, beautiful weather, tea gardens and the mighty Kanchenjunga, the hill station has always attracted people from all over the world. The town is strongly influenced by Gorkha culture and its colonial past, which can still be seen in quaint buildings that dot the town.
Darjeeling is known to be one of the top most romantic places to visit in India. Apart from being one of the best tourist spots in India for families, honeymooners and nature lovers, Darjeeling also attracts adventure freaks. The amazing trek to Sandakphu Phalut, offers panoramic views of the entire Eastern Himalayan ranges, from Everest to Kanchenjunga. No matter where your interests lie, Darjeeling always has something to offer for everyone. Here is a complete list of top things to do in Darjeeling during your next visit.
Take the 3-Point Tour
The best way to see all the scenic places Darjeeling has to offer is by booking a guided tour. These tours are categorised into 3, 5, and 7-point tours, depending upon the number of points visited in each. The 3-point tour is the best of the lot because you get to see all the important scenic locations in Darjeeling within half a day. The tour includes trips to Tiger Hill, Ghum Monastery, and the Batasia Loop and War Memorial.
The tour begins early in the early morning, starting with sightseeing at Tiger Hill. Tiger Hill is the highest point in Darjeeling and is famous for the sunrise and its view of Kanchenjunga, the highest mountain peak in India. The majestic Kanchenjunga looks even more breath-taking against the backdrop of the sunrise. After this, the tour continues with a visit to the Ghum monastery, which is one of the oldest Buddhist monasteries in India. The final stop on the tour is the Batasia Loop and War Memorial. The Batasia loop is a railway track which makes a complete loop over itself. Right next to the Batasia loop is a war memorial constructed in honour of the Gorkha soldiers who lost their lives during the struggle for Independence in 1947.
Visit the Tea Gardens of Darjeeling
The cool, misty climate of Darjeeling makes it an ideal place spot for tea plantations. It is often called the Mecca of tea-lovers, with people from all over the world visiting this hill station to buy high-quality tea. The tea grown in Darjeeling is one of the best varieties of tea found anywhere in the world. Apart from just tea, the plantations offer alluring views and add beauty to the town of Darjeeling. Some of the most famous tea estates are Singtom tea estate, Makaibari tea estate and Happy Valley tea estate.
Stroll, Shop and Eat at the Mall Road
The mall road is one of the busiest places in the town of Darjeeling. It features various shops, restaurants, vibrant cafes, museums and more. You can find shops here selling clothes, curios related to
Tibetan and Himalayan culture, Tibetan art and Buddhist artefacts. This road is also a paradise for foodies, with restaurants serving North Indian, Nepali, Tibetan and continental food. Some of the best restaurants on Mall road are Glenarys, Hasty Tasty, Keventers and Kunga’s.
Visit HMI and the Darjeeling Zoo
Himalayan Mountaineering Institute and the Darjeeling Zoo are important places you should definitely visit when you travel to Darjeeling. HMI is the oldest mountaineering Institute in India, founded by the legendary mountaineer, Late Tenzing Norgay Sherpa (the first man to climb Mount Everest). A visit to the Institute and its museum is a must for anyone who loves mountains and is interested in the field of mountaineering.
Besides the Institute, there is a zoological park situated nearby which is famous for its many varieties of fauna. The Padmaja Zoological Park is home to several animals such as leopards, Royal Bengal tigers, black bears, snow leopards, Tibetan wolves and red pandas. The red pandas are the most famous attraction in the zoo and attract lakhs of tourists every year. Apart from this, several species of reptiles and birds can also be found here.
Take an Unforgettable Ride in the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway
The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway Toy Train is a narrow gauge mountain railway that runs between the towns of Darjeeling and New Jalpaiguri. The railway was officially recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1999. The toy train starts from New Jalpaiguri and passes through the towns of Siliguri, Rongtong, Kurseong, Sonada, Ghum (the highest railway station in India) and Darjeeling. The journey through the entire route is scenic and offers mesmerizing views of lush green mountains.
Can’t wait to visit Darjeeling and see all these places for yourself? Khush Alaya, a Sterling property, offers spectacular views of the tea estates and mountain ranges in Darjeeling. Plan your next holiday with us to get the most out of your trip to Darjeeling.