(Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council) in northeast India provides the perfect ambiance
of a hill resort with its mild climate and laid back charm.
hills and valleys are steeped in color, and are interspersed with vast stretches
of lush green tea gardens. Presiding over all these is the 8,586-m Mt. Kanchenjunga.
Heavily influenced by British India, Darjeeling still carries imprints reminiscent
of its colonial past.
Darjeeling town (population 83,000 and elevation 2,134 m) is located
on a spur with houses hugging the hillside. The places to visit are Chowrasta,
a wide promenade atop a ridge lined with shops and restaurants; Mall Road, starting
and finishing at Chowrasta, for a scenic and leisurely stroll; and Padmaja Naidu
Himalayan Zoological Park for its varied wildlife including the Siberian tiger.
Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, a training center for mountaineers which also
houses the Everest museum; Natural History Museum, with its fine display of Himalayan
wildlife; Observatory Hill which has Hindu and Buddhist shrines; Dhirdham, a pagoda
style Hindu temple; Tibetan Refugee Self-help Center, a major center for the production
of Tibetan craft; and the Buddhist monasteries of Bhutia Busty, Thupten Sangag
Choling (Dali) and Yiga-Choling (Ghoom) are other major sights.
Loop, a marvelous feat of railway engineering; Tiger Hill for its renowned sunrise
view over Kanchenjunga; Japanese Peace Pagoda, established by the Japanese Buddhist
order Nipponzan Myohoji; and Lloyds Botanical Garden, which has a varied
collection of Himalayan flora, are worth visiting. You can also take a ride in
the Darjeeling-Rangit valley cable car or hop on the toy train which wheezes and
winds all the way from Siliguri to Darjeeling.
Kalimpong (pop. 46,500) is a sleepy little town situated at
an altitude of 1,200 m some 50 km to the east of Darjeeling. It once used to be
the hub of the trans-Himalayan trade between India and Tibet when merchants ferried
commerce by mule caravan over the Jelepla pass on the Sikkim-Tibet border.
(1,458 m) is a quaint little town about 30 km to the south of Darjeeling on the
way to Siliguri. The market consists of rows of shops lining the main road which
is crisscrossed at several points by the railway tracks of the toy train.
(1,765 m) is another tiny hill resort easily accessible from Siliguri (52 km),
Kurseong (46 km) or Darjeeling (49 km). The centerpiece of the town is Sumendu
Lake where boating under the gaze of Kanchenjunga makes for a most relaxing pastime.
Foreigners visiting Darjeeling must possess an Indian visa.
No special permit is required for either traveling or trekking inside Darjeeling.
However, necessary travel documents need to be shown as and when required. Transport
is provided by buses and smaller vehicles. Local taxis are also available for
Darjeeling consists of forested hills and valleys. It lies to the
east of Nepal.
From Kathmandu, fly to Bhadrapur (1 hour), drive to Kakarbhitta (Nepal-India border,
34 km), to Siliguri (36 km) and to Darjeeling (77 km, 2 hours 30 minutes).
March-May and September-November. Bring light woolen clothing during summer (maximum
temperature 16 degrees Celsius) and heavy woolens in winter (minimum 1.6 degrees
Trekking, white water rafting, kayaking, canoeing, mountain biking and rock climbing.
Modern hotels and restaurants in Darjeeling and Kalimpong. Comfortable lodges
in Kurseong and Mirik.