Darjeeling tourism includes a variety of flora and fauna, surrounded by white snow flakes with serene and eye-orgasmic landscape. Darjeeling truly is a feast, wanting to consume every bit of the place by the visitors. Right from the start of the journey Darjeeling grips the attention wanting you to know more of the place. Known as the Queen of Hill Stations, the crest of Kanchenjunga shining brightly in the early morning truly supports the title.
With all its glory, the snow-capped Kanchenjunga, standing tall, sparkling from dawn until dusk, dazzling the visitors as well as the locals, is the star of Darjeeling. The third highest peak in the world, at an elevation of 8568 m lies partly in Nepal and partly in Sikkim, India, but a full range view of Kanchenjunga can only be enjoyed from Darjeeling. One need not travel through the dismal paths jut to get a glance of the majestic mountain.
Kanchenjunga, stands unabridged to entertain the visitors and the locals of Darjeeling. Renowned for its joyous ride in the Toy Train, the Darjeeling Himalayan Railways also known as the Toy Train is a one of its kind train in the whole world. It runs from New Jalpaiguri to Darjeeling through the snake-paths carved neatly out of the mountains giving a view of the tea estates, the greenery and breathing in the pure oxygen, unpolluted. The tea industry too participates in building the tourism economy of Darjeeling. Darjeeling tea is famous all over the world. Tea leaves from Darjeeling are exported at a national as well as an international level.
A taste of Darjeeling tea refreshes and relaxes you, the smell of it giving an extra high, wanting you to devour more of it. True adventure starts once you reach Darjeeling. To get a view of the sunrise, Tiger Hill provides you the service. Tiger hill lies at the summit of Ghum, Darjeeling. Nobody would want to miss watching the darkness changing its colour to a new dawn, a new day, the sun waking us all by providing us hues of light and a clear view of the mountains changing its shades with the sunrise, awesome experience.
A day in Chowrasta is something you should be looking forward to. Chowrasta also provides the service of Horse Riding. A ride along the Mall Road or even just a walk is a must. Adventure lovers there's a lot of fun activities awaiting. To name a few mountaineering, hiking, trekking, a bike ride with a full view of the landscape and a lot more. The Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (HMI) provides you with the adventure course, basic course and courses for just 5-6 days. The thrill and the experience you get from the course is a lifetime experience, to be adorned forever. Further, the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute
Museum gives you a knowledge of the past Mountaineers and their life, the history of Mountaineering in Darjeeling. The Padmaja Himalayan Zoological Park includes a variety of species ranging from panda, orang-utan, tiger, lion, etc. The Botanical park also known as the Llyods Botanical Park can be a place where you would like to spend your day with your loved ones. The park was built during the British era. Heritage buildings too which were built during the reign of the British are worth watching. Through the years, although a many buildings have been destroyed due to the insurgency, some still remains intact.
Places located within the district of Darjeeling ranging a few Kilometers namely Mirik, Kurseong, Kalimpong shouldn’t be missed. Mirik is a serene tourist spot located in the district of Darjeeling, West Bengal, at an elevation of 1495 m (4905 ft). The climate is pleasant almost all year round with temperatures at a maximum of 30 degree Celsius in summer and a minimum of 1 degree Celsius in winter. The famous tourist spots in Mirik are the Mirik lake, the serene location surrounded by greenery all around, fresh air smelling of the soil, the rain and the trees. It provides the visitors with the service of boating and horse riding.
Kurseong, a sub divisional town of the Darjeeling District is located at an altitude of 1458 metres and is 32 kilometres from Darjeeling. It takes around 2 hours to reach Kurseong from Darjeeling and around 1 hour from Silliguri. The climate is pleasant throughout the year. One of the oldest Municipality was built here in Kurseong. It is surrounded by a myriad of tea gardens namely Castleton, Makaibari, Ambootia and Goomtee. These tea gardens can be visited. The famous sites are the Eagles Craig, Deer Park also known as the Dowhill Park or the Dowhill Road, the Whistle khola where one can enjoy the waterfall, Chimney and the Naya busty Park.
Kalimpong, located at an elevation of 1250 metres, is a small hill station which was formerly under the district of Darjeeling. It comprises of five seasons, spring, summer, autumn, winter and the monsoons with a maximum temperature of 30 degree Celsius and a minimum of 9 degree Celsius. The renowned sites in Kalimpong are the Delo Park from where one can also opt for paragliding, the Phodong Monastery, Mangal Dham, Deolo View Point, Durpin Monastery, Hanuman Temple, Dharmodaya Vihar, Kali Bari, Jelepla view point, Army Golf Course also known as the Lion’s Golf Course. Kalimpong too is famous for Orchid Cultivation in the region. Flowers are exported abroad from the place.
Darjeeling’s Culture is diverse, dominated by two religions, Hinduism and Vajrayana Buddhism. Dasain, Tihar, Buddha Jayanti, Christmas, Holi, Ram Navami are the main festivals celebrated here. Besides these, the buddhist ethnic groups such as the lepchas, Bhutias, Sherpas, Yolmos, Gurungs and Tamangs celebrate new year namely Lochar in January/February. The Kiranti Rai too celebrate their Sakela festivals of Ubhauli and Udhauli. Deusi and Bhaileni are songs performed during the festival of Dusherra and Diwali. The Darjeeling Carnival, is a ten-day carnival held held during the winter time to showcase the rich musical and cultural heritage of Darjeeling hills. The carnival was an initiation of the Civil Society Movement known as The Darjeeling Initiative. Darjeeling too enjoys a diversity of delicacies due to its mix of culture.
Darjeeling, through the years has specialized in dishes from all around the globe, but one cannot deny the fact that local Darjeeling Cuisine is the best one can try here in Darjeeling. They are unique and different from what we are used to having. Due to its varied mix of culture, the local cuisine too adds up to a lot of diversity. One can try dumplings, thukpa, Aludum, Traditional Nepali Thali, Kakra ko Achar and Kinema, Shaphalay, Sael Roti, Gundruk and amongst the local Drinks one can taste Tongba.
There are a lot of restaurants providing these cuisines. Small Stalls installed across the hill station also provides some of the most yummy and mouth watering Delicacies. Street food of Darjeeling is a must try. Bhola’s Shop, which was built nearly a decade ago is famed in the town for its taste tingling Aludum and Momos (Dumplings). Bari’s shop too is notable for its mouth watering aludum and momos. One can ask anybody from Darjeeling the directions to reach the place.
Art and Handicraft:
The mix of cultures from the very beginning has led to the creation of a wide variety of art and handicrafts. Various curio and boutique shops in Darjeeling showcases the traditional Gorkha and Tibetan ornaments, paintings created by local artists and skilled artisans. Earrings, decorative brochures, pendents and chains, finger rings engraved with precious gems, Thankas (Religious Paintings), Ghorkha Knives known as Khukuris, Traditional boots and Tibetan masks. Others include knitted wollens, handmade bags, bhutia shawls and jackets, handmade intricate woolen carpets and woodcraft and bamboo fret work. These are some of the major attraction of the tourists.
Over the years, some of the places have created a name of themselves in the field of art and Handicrafts namely theTibetan Self Help Center, Ava Art Gallery, Manjusha Emporim and Gram Shilpa, Hayden Hall and Mahendra Thami’s M2 Gallery. Lovers of Art and Handicrafts can visit these places. They too can shop the local handmade crafts. If you are exhausted and would want to refresh your mind, then a vacation to Darjeeling is just the right thing for you. Darjeeling would warmly greet you with its arms wide open.