Household name because of its varieties of teas, Darjeeling is a hill station with vast expanses of tea estates and Tibetan influence in their craft, culture and cuisine.
A previous summer capital of India under the British Raj, Darjeeling has come off age as one of the most sought after hill stations in India. Famous for its beautiful tea plantations and the quality of Darjeeling tea, Darjeeling is a delight for all kind of tourists. The toy train established back in 1881, still runs in this part and is also one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites. Beautiful colonial architecture including mansions and churches dot this little beautiful town. Filled with people from Tibet, Nepal, nearby Indian states and the Gorkhas, Darjeeling is brimming with cultural diversity. The third highest peak in the world and the highest in India, the Kanchenjunga peak is clearly visible from here and you can enjoy a panoramic view of the peak. Some of Darjeeling's most popular attractions include monasteries, botanical gardens, a zoo, and the Darjeeling-Rangeet Valley Passenger Ropeway cable car which happens to be the longest Asian cable car. Darjeeling is a wonderful place to walk around and explore the tea estates, villages, and markets.
Many commercial accommodation establishments are available. However, you will need to book in advance. There are quite a few options available in various ranges starting from budget to luxury hotels. If you're not in the mood for hotels, you can also choose the homestay option.
Staring from INR 11,500
Dekeling Resort at Hawk's Nest
Staring from INR 3,740
Close to Siliguri which is well connected by rail and air. Excellent view of Kanchenjunga. Colonial heritage. Good food.
Slightly congested and traffic jams. Gets crowded in peak seasons.
Darjeeling Tour Package
Staring from Rs. 8,375
Fascinating North East
Staring from Rs. 14,174
Day 1 - Arrive in Darjeeling. Check into your hotel and freshen up. Later, you can head over to the Chowrasta Mall. Sit on a bench, enjoy the ambience and watch the activities going on. Take a stroll along the scenic Mall road. You can visit old heritage shops and buy some curios or souvenirs.
Day 2 - Go for the early morning tour covering the sunrise from the Tiger Hill, followed by Old Ghoom Monastery and Batasia Loop. You can be back to your hotel by 8:00 AM. Relax for a while. Later head off for the 7-point local tour which takes about 4 hours and covers Zoological Park, Ropeway, Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Lebong Race Course, Happy Valley Tea Estate and Tibetan Self Help Refugee Centre.
Day 3 - Take the two hour Toy Train joy ride from Darjeeling station. There is a high demand for this, so book your tickets a day in advance. You will enjoy the breath-taking vistas from this heritage train while observing the colourful local culture. In the second half, you can visit the Rock Garden and Maya Park.
Popularly known as the "Mecca of Tea", Darjeeling is leading in the area of tea tourism. With 80 operational tea gardens, sprawling across acres of land, Darjeeling produces what is known as the "Champagne of tea". This place is all about spending a few days in a sprawling tea garden, in a Bungalow that was typically the residence of a former British tea planter. Located on top of the hills amidst cool winds and misty weather, Darjeeling gives you an experience like no other. Imagine waking up in the middle of lush tea gardens, sipping a cup of finest aromatic tea, taking a stroll through the gardens and talking to the garden workers learning about their life. Ultimate, isn't it? That's Darjeeling tea tourism for you. Darjeeling has numerous places to learn about tea production. The busiest time is from March to May, but occasional plucking occurs from June to November. Also, there is no plucking on Sunday. You can go for a homestay with a tea pickers family and you'll get to join your hosts for the morning work in the tea bushes. You can return home with a batch of your very own hand-plucked Darjeeling tea.
The name Darjeeling means the "the land of the thunderbolt", derived from the Tibet word "Dorje" meaning "thunder" and "ling" meaning ?piece of land?. Prior to its acquisition by East India Company, Darjeeling used to be a part of Sikkim and even before that, a part of Nepal. In February 1829, a dispute broke out between Nepal and Sikkim about their borders and hence, Lord William Bentinck- Governor General of India at the time, set out to resolve the situation. In the process, he realised that the quaint hill town had strategic advantages for trade and military outpost. Later, it was also realised that the land was ideal for tea plantations. The district underwent major development and became a major tourist attraction visited by the British officials. It, therefore, earned itself the title of "Queen of hills". After independence, the district was merged with West Bengal and since then is one of the most popular hill stations in India.
Darjeeling has a unique and diverse culture. The city is a home to mix immigrants from Nepal, Sikkim, Tibet, Bhutan and even Europe, due to work opportunities in tea plantations in the bygone era. Hinduism and Vajyarana Buddhism are the main religions of the people. One of the major festivals of Darjeeling is Losar, primarily their new year, which is celebrated in January or February depending on the position of the moon (lunar calendar). Darjeeling Carnival is another major festival held annually. The fair involves a display of folk dance and arts. Local rock bands participate in the same. Other important festivals are Makar Sankranti, Chotrul Duchen (Buddhist festival commemorating the four events in the life of Gautam Buddha), Tendong Lho Rumfaat (Prayer of the Tendong mountain) etc.
Darjeeling is a paradise on Earth with its luxuriant green forest of deciduous and evergreen trees, and appealing natural habitat. It houses over four thousand species of plants, three hundred varieties of ferns, six hundred species of birds, and loads of mammals and wild animals. You can find trees such as chestnut, cherry, sal, birch, oak, elm, a lot of wet alpine tress and fine rare orchids. Rhododendron also grows on the hills. It is also home to myriad birds including woodpeckers, orioles, sunbirds, flycatchers, finches, Bengal florican and herons etc. A large number of animals can be found too like tiger, leopard, hog deer, one-horned rhinoceros etc.
Darjeeling has a delectable, scrumptious cuisine. Darjeeling is full of choices ranging from Bengali cuisine, Tibetan cuisine, South Indian items, Naga cuisine, Nepali food to Continental, Chinese as well as Tandoori delicacies. Essentially the food here has distinct traces of Bengali, Nepali and Tibetan elements, styles and dishes, all together.
In spite of such wide choices, one of the first items on the cuisine here includes the finest and freshest qualities of tea found in the area which you must try. The popular items that you must indulge in include Momos, Thukpa, Aloo Dum, Sael Roti, Naga Platter, Nepali thali, Tongba, Channg and many more. Not to mention, tea is a popular beverage consumed by all.
Beautiful place. There are lots of places in Darjeeling to visit. One should go to sandakfu aswell if coming to Darjeeling. Enjoy the toy train ride over Himalayas foot range
- Avoid going to Darjeeling during monsoon season so you can get clear views of the magnificient viewpoints.