Darjeeling owes' its grandeur to its
natural beauty, its clean fresh mountain air and above all, the smiling
resilient people for whom it is a home. Known for its natural splend or,
Darjeeling's best gift to its' visitors is the dawn of a new day. The
mountains awaken first with a tentative peeking of the sun. A steep ride,
five kilometers from Ghoom, or an invigorating walk up a steep incline,
leads sun worshippers to Tiger Hill. The air is chilly with darkness and
To the east, a dull orange sun emerged painting the sky with brilliant
strokes of magenta, gold, orange and fuchsia. The snow capped Everest,
Kabru, Kanchenjunga, Jannu and other peaks slowly emerge from slumber to
start a new day. The sun worshippers gasp at the magnificent sight. As the
fog lifts in the slowly penetrating sun, the town gradually comes alive.
Amidst brewing of tea, the sing-song Gorkhali which is the local dialect,
rises and falls like music.
Attractions of Darjeeling
Strolling up the Mall, past the quaint Tibetan market, you arrive at the
Observatory Hill, the popular meeting place for tourists as well as
residents. It is a major tourist spot of Darjeeling, not only for its
religious importance but also for the picturesque views the place offers.
The view of the magnificent Mt. Kanchenjunga and the entire landscape below
is a site worth seeing.
Himalayan Mountaineering Institute
Located about two kilometres from the marketplace is the Himalayan
Mountaineering Institute, which was established after the conquest of the
Everest in 1954 by the then Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru. The
institute has an interesting Everest Museum and also offers some
mountaineering and adventure courses. Situated on the Jawahar Parvat, the
institute is famous for its unique collection of mountaineering equipment
visit to Darjeeling is complete without a visit to Ghoom, which is six
kilometres away from the main town. The hillock is dominated by the famous
Yiga Choeling Monastery and a 4.5-metre tall image of the Maitreya Buddha.
Ghoom is at an altitude of about 2,407 metres, and offers a spectacular view
of the Valley.
A strategic point to watch the spectacular sunrise is Tiger Hill, located
at an altitude of 2,590 metres above sea level. It offers a magnificent view
of the rising sun over the snow-capped Mt. Kanchenjunga and other great
Eastern Himalayan peaks. You can also witness some of the high Himalayan
peaks from here on a clear day.
Lebong Race Course
The Lebong Race Course, one of the world's highest race courses, was laid
out in 1885 as a parade ground. Situated at a distance of about 8 km from
the main town, the complete lap of the race course is only 480 yards long.
Situated at the backdrop of the Kanchenjunga near Chowrasta on C.R. Das
Road, this colourful monastery is an important attraction of Darjeeling.
Originally a branch of the Nygmapa sect's Phodang Monastery in Sikkim, it
was transferred to Darjeeling in 1879. The shrine was formerly situated on
the Observatory Hill. There is an old library of Buddhist texts upstairs.
Once you are through with the sightseeing inside Darjeeling town, it's the
time to proceed to see the sites nearby. The journey itself is a thrilling
experience with high-altitude mountains roads on one side and cloud-covered
valley on the other. You can take short trips to Mirik, land of oranges, and
the charming city of Kalimpong, famous for its orchids and curio shops. In
the same area is Kurseong from where you can get a panoramic view of the
Gangetic delta from Eagle's Crag. Takdah, situated around 26 km from
Darjeeling, is famous for its beautiful nurseries besides producing some of
the best-flavoured tea in the world.
Situated at a distance of 26 km from Darjeeling, the Takdah valley is
famous for the beautiful nurseries that preserve some of the rare species of
orchids and plants of Himalayan origin. Takdah also produces some of the
best-flavoured tea of the world.
Kurseong is a peaceful hill station surrounded by some beautiful tea
gardens. Situated at an altitude of 1,458 metres, the pollution-free climate
and pleasing atmosphere of Kurseong make it an ideal resort to beat the
summer's heat. The Makaibari Tea Estate and Forest Museum on Dow Hills are
its main attractions. It also makes a mid-trip halting place between
Siliguri on the plains and Darjeeling hills.
Darjeeling offers a variety of woollen and other warm clothing to the
tourists. With so much interaction across the border with Nepal, the markets
are flooded with imported goods. Plenty of Tibetan ware is also available,
especially at the Tibetan Refugee Self-Help Centre just off the Lebong Cart
Road. Nehru Road has some good shops like Curio House and Manjusha Bengal
Emporium. Highly recommended is Habib Malik's at Chowrasta.