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.
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.
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.
The most popular and ubiquitous mode of transport is a four-wheel land-rover drive to navigate the steep and sometimes narrow roads of the hill.
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.
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.
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.
All I can say is, I haven't seen a more beautiful sunrise elsewhere than this one. I have tried to collate my experience here http://bit.ly/2tg37qr I hope it will help you out.