Spread in ribbons over a steep mountain ridge, surrounded by emerald-green tea plantations, and towered over by the majestic Khangchendzonga (8598 m), Darjeeling is among the best hill stations in India. But the list of the most amazing things to do in Darjeeling goes beyond these attractions.
The beautiful tea gardens on the slopes of rolling hills, the orchids, pines & rhododendrons, the cute Himalayan toy train negotiating its way through the mountains combined with great sightseeing tours, food, shopping and other exciting activities, there’s so much that this stunning town has to offer….
So here you go my friends, the journey starts here:
What to See in Darjeeling: Tourist Attractions in Darjeeling
1. Tiger Hill: The Mesmerizing Colours of Sunrise
Your trip is unsuccessful until you have witnessed the sunrise at Tiger Hill. The way the sunlight falls on those snowcapped peaks of Kanchenjunga and illuminate it in gorgeous colours, that view is simply breathtaking.
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2. Dooars: The Sea of Tea Leaves
Though the tea gardens of Darjeeling are world famous, you must take a trip down to them to Dooars to witness the sprawling beauty yourself and sip on that refreshing ‘Darjeeling Tea’. The verdant pruned bushes, especially in the this tea district, is a magical sight which you’ll never forget in life.
3. Kalimpong: A Perfect Amalgamation of Serenity & Spirituality
Zang Dhok Palri Phodang is a beautiful and popular monastery at Kalimpong, Darjeeling. The monastery holds enormous significance as it is home to the many rare scriptures which were brought into India after the fateful invasion of Tibet in 1959. A trip to this peaceful sanctuary should definitely be on your list of places to see in Darjeeling.
4. Peace Pagoda: The Elegant Shrine Promoting World Peace
Sitting atop the Charlimont Hill, Darjeeling’s Peace Pagoda is one of the 30 such pagodas in the world that were established by the Japanese Buddhist monk Nichidatsu Fujii as a way of promoting World Peace and harmony. Visit the pagoda for an outright serene and tranquil experience.
5. Batasia Loop: A Fascinating Blend of History & Patriotism
Venture out to Batasia Loop, the historically and scenically significant junction and a great option for sightseeing in Darjeeling! If you’re travelling via the Toy Train, or walking back from Tiger Hill, look out for this famous railway loop that goes around the open-air Gorkha War Memorial, established in honour of the brave soldiers from the region who laid down their lives in WWI and WWII and among the important places to see in Darjeeling.
Where to Stay in Darjeeling: Places to stay in Darjeeling
6. Revolver Hotel: Beatles Music in Darjeeling? Did I Hear That Right?
Adding a unique touch to the town is its Beatles-themed hotel providing music based on both eastern and western influences. It’s a budget Bed & Breakfast Lodge and one would find every inch of the interiors laden with the popular Band’s art. You have to experience it to believe it!
What to Do in Darjeeling: Things to do in Darjeeling
7. Teesta: Feel the Thrill of White Water Rafting
For one of the best experiences of river rafting in India, head to the Teesta river and find out why it is one of the best things to do in Darjeeling for all adrenaline junkies! The activity is loaded with series of rapids with varying intensities, ranging from Grade 1 to 4, wherein the latter is only allowed to seasoned, trained rafters because of the level of danger involved in it.
8. Sandakphu: Trek to the Highest Point of West Bengal!
A trekking trip to Sandakphu is absolutely essential for all adventure freaks. It is the highest point in the state of West Bengal and is an ideal destination for trekking enthusiasts. Located at an astounding height of 3,636m, it is known for offering the best panoramic views of the enthralling Mt Everest and the Kanchenjunga Peak.
9. The Toy Train: Take a Joyful Ride through the Hills and the Greens
The Toy Train ride is an absolute must. You can start your ride from Ghoom and get down at Kurseong, to eat at the many food joints, for Darjeeling sightseeing wherein you get a breathtaking panoramic view of the surrounding hills that transport you into a world of romance.
10. Himalayan Mountaineering Institute: Try out Your Mountaineering Skills
The Himalayan Mountaineering Institute located at Jawahar Parvat in Darjeeling, conducts a number of mountaineering and adventure courses at various levels ranging from beginners to expert. The course duration ranges from a month to a few days. HMI has Rock Climbing and other basic activities for one-time tourists who do not want to get into the full-fledged courses and are visiting the town only for a few days. But whatever be the duration, the entire experience is unmatched and completely exhilarating.
Cost: The Basic Course costing INR 4000/- per person lasts for a month while Rock Climbing and smaller activities are provided through walk-in and cost a mere 200 bucks per person.
What to Eat in Darjeeling
11. Thukpa and Momos: A Delicious Treatment for your Hunger Pangs
Darjeeling has scrumptious answers to your food cravings while you’re there. You can enjoy some delicious variety of Darjeeling food like Thukpa and momos that are available in the street joints at almost every nook and corner of the town.
12. Keventers Restaurant: For a Tempting Start to the Day
Having breakfast at Keventers should definitely be on your list of Darjeeling highlights. Don’t forget to try the delicious Cheese Toast when you’re dining here.
13. Churpi: A Local Treat To Kill The Winter Blues
Churpi is a kind of chewing bar that is not exactly sweet in taste, but has a delicious flavor nevertheless. What makes this unique is the fact that it keeps the body warm during winters and gives energy. It is available in almost all street shops selling groceries and comes at a nominal price. You can stock a horde to treat your winter blues when you’re back home.
What to Buy in Darjeeling: Shopping in Darjeeling
14. Chowrasta: Shopping, Relaxation, & Fun
Get to Chowrasta, or The Mall, as it is popularly known among tourists, and enjoy the beautiful evening, with a cool breeze brushing your hair while you shop. The Mall Road stretching through Chowrasta is not just a shopping hub, but is also perfect for a relaxing stroll.
15. Bhutia Market: An Unforgettable Shopping Experience
Bhutia Market is a row of temporary stalls set up by the local Bhutias and is located on a narrow lane that leads down from Chowrasta (The Mall), next to Nathmulls. It’s a shopping paradise for tourists and it’s where you’ll get all winter wear (like sweaters, gloves, woollen caps, mufflers, etc), jackets and even jeans at very reasonable prices. One of the fundamental things to do in Darjeeling is to go to Nathmulls and buy yourself an enormous stock of the refreshing Darjeeling Tea from an array of shops.
16. Tattoos: The Hippie Factor of Darjeeling
Darjeeling is much like Goa in terms of providing opportunities for body art. Permanent and temporary tattoo parlours, offering to convert a part of your body into a brilliant masterpiece, are available at almost every nook and corner of the town, adding a hippie influence to this scenic and serene location. And the best part, they go incredibly easy on your budget.
Wherever you are, you must plan your trip to Darjeeling at least once in your lifetime to experience all that it has to offer. Darjeeling has all the great ingredients to provide you a perfect break from your daily life. I am sure you will want to come back again.
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