Steep mountain ridges, lush green tea plantations and a ringside view of the Himalayas - Darjeeling's reputation as the Queen of the Hills is well deserved. While the spectacular view of the sun's rays kissing the mighty Kanchenjunga peak is enough reason to visit this hill station, Darjeeling has a lot more to entice every traveller. Home to some of the oldest Buddhist Monasteries, Darjeeling also has a strong colonial past, reflected in the vintage buildings that line the streets. The British who helped King Tshudpud Namgyal reclaim Sikkim from the Gorkhas asked him to gift Darjeeling to them. The King is believed to have exchanged Darjeeling for a parcel that contained a double-barrelled gun, a rifle, 20 yards of red broadcloth and two shawls.
A visit to Darjeeling is incomplete without a dream ride on the toy train as it chugs along the mountain slopes, with breathtaking views of oak and pine trees. The train is part of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It's hard to head back home without lots of memories and loads of the famous Darjeeling Tea.
State: West Bengal
Destination Type: Hill Station
Destinations Nearby: Siliguri 60 km, Gangtok 108 km, Kolkata 615 km
Nearest Sterling Resort: Sterling Gangtok
Languages: Bengali, English, Hindi and Nepali
Nearest Railway Station: New Jalpaiguri Railway Station ( Broad Gauge )
Nearest Airport: Bagdogra Airport
Summer: April to June. While the maximum day temperature can reach 25°C, the evenings are quite pleasant.
Monsoon: July and August. The region experiences heavy rainfall but, this misty season has its own special charm.
Winter: September to March. Temperature can dip to -2 degrees Celsius during December and January. The best view of Kachenjunga range can be experienced during this time.
1. Remember to leave your footwear outside before entering temples and monasteries.
2. There are multiple hiking trails for an up-close experience of the Himalayas. Stay safe, always hike with a skilled guide.
3. Pick up some aromatic Darjeeling Tea that is available in the local stores.
4. Shops, markets and some places of interest are closed on Thursdays.
Home to the massive 15-feet statue of Maitreya, Ghoom Monastery is amongst the oldest monastries in Darjeeling.
No trip to Darjeeling is complete without watching the mighty Kanchenjunga at sunrise. Tiger Hill is the best place to view this from.
Where can you see the Red Panda and the Snow Leopard up close? Come to this zoo, where you can even adopt them.
This is a cenotaph of it's own kind. It is a picturesque spot between Ghoom and Darjeeling where toy trains circle the Gorkha War Memorial.
Do you want to feel the serenity of the Buddha within? Visit the Japanese Temple and join the chanting of Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo.
Tranquility in times of chaos and sustainability in times of wastage - immersive experiences and eco-tourism - is what the pine-nestled mountain village near Darjeeling, Lamahatta, offers you.
Steeped in Tibetan culture and history, the Self-help Centre, which was originally built as a refugee centre for the Tibetans, today has workshops, a retail outlet and a photo gallery.
The Chowrasta Mall at Darjeeling is not just a shopper's delight, but also the vibrating pulse of the city.
A trip to Darjeeling would remain incomplete without visiting some of the classy local eateries.
Bibliophiles and tea-aficionados alike, will love the Oxford bookstore, where, as you flip through the pages of a book, you can get its famous cup of tea and a whiff of the mountain air.
Sacred to both Hindus and Buddhists, the Mahakal temple complex, originally the site of the Dorje Ling monastery, reflects a wonderful confluence of religions.