Darjeeling, West Bengal
At a height of 2050 meters, Darjeeling is one of the most visited destinations in the state of West Bengal and Darjeeling tourism is one of the mainstays of the tourism industry in this state. Darjeeling has always been famous as Himalayan hill station and it was historically fought over by both Nepal and Sikkim. It was the British Raj that took over the region and hence Darjeeling became a part of India. At present, Darjeeling is one of the best-known hill stations which attract tourists from all over the world throughout the year. Darjeeling is surrounded by tall Himalayan Mountains and beautiful valleys; this splendid hill station is also renowned for its tea plantation. A large spread of tea gardens adds a lush beauty to the city. The one thing which takes the breath away is the view of Kanchenjunga which is the third highest mountain peak in the world, The hill station is quite popular for shopping as well.
Darjeeling is one of the most frequented hill stations in India. The mighty hill station also encircles the hues of many other hill stations of North Bengal and Sikkim as well as the Gorumara National Park which is only 140 km away. The nearest airport to Darjeeling is Bagdogra which is approximately 95 km away from the city. The nearest railway station to Darjeeling is New Jalpaiguri which connects the city with all the major parts of the country. The distance from New Jalpaiguri to Darjeeling the distance is approximately 75 km. The other nearby hill stations are Kalimpong at a distance of 50 km & Gangtok at a distance of 110 km.
Here the summer season usually lasts from April to June. The summer remains on the mild side and maximum temperature can move up to 25 degrees Celsius. Cool winds in the hill station make the evenings quite pleasurable. The monsoon season is through the months of July and August in Darjeeling. Heavy rainfall occurs during this season therefore it is not seen as a perfect time to pay a visit. Some travelers still love to visit to enjoy a good downpour. Winter season is another ideal time for the tourists to come and enjoy the serene beauty of this glorious hill station. The season is starts from September and carries on through March. December and January are quite cold and freezing and minimum temperature can dip to –2 °C in this region.
The best time to visit Darjeeling is from September to June that is autumns, winters, springs and summers. At one end autumn and spring offers a mild and rejuvenating climate whereas the winter offers a chilled weather in contrast to the bracing climate in the summers.
To explore the joyful toy train ride along the charismatic Himalayan ranges and undulating tea gardens and to catch a glimpse of magical sunset over the towering Kanchenjunga ranges, a quick escapade to Darjeeling would be a great idea. In the lap of West Bengal, Darjeeling has evolved as a popular hill station because of its multiple trekking routes, quaint colonial charm, authentic Himalayan cuisine and an overall natural beauty made of lush green tea gardens and snow clad mountains. It is where couples seek love and adventurers seek thrill. The Himalayan Mountaineering Institute and Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park are two major attractions in Darjeeling.
Darjeeling Himalayan Railway - The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway is a UNESCO World Heritage narrow gauge rail network still operates with the original steam engines and the loops along the route are all remarkable feats of human endeavour and engineering. The Toy Train is a modern engineering marvel and deserves its spot in the limelight.
Senchal Lake - Senchal Lake is placed at a distance of about 11 km away from the center of Darjeeling; this is a major lake of the region. Located near tiger hill and at an elevation of 8515 feet above sea level, the place attracts a number of tourists due to its picturesque views as well as scenic charm. It is an ideal place for people to spend quality time in the arms of Nature.
Ghoom Monastery - Nestled at a distance of approximately 8 km from the heart of Darjeeling, Ghoom Monastery is one of the major attractions in Darjeeling. The Ghoom Gompa was founded by a Mongolian astrologer/monk in the year 1875. The place is also well-known as Yogachoeling Gompa. One is greeted by a huge ''Maitreya Buddha'' statue at the entrance gate of the Gompa.
Mahakal Temple - Mahakal Temple atop the Observatory Hill in Darjeeling is another reason to plan an exotic vacation at Darjeeling. A beautiful amalgamation of Hindu and Buddhist cultures, Mahakal Temple stands as a magnanimous and historical edifice at the place where a Buddhist Monastery by the name of ''Dorje Ling'' once stood. Legends says that shiva-lingas representing Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwar have manifested themselves here in the year 1782. Either for a leisure visit or a pilgrimage trip, people love to visit the shrine and lay down their holy prayers and offerings to the Lord. While the gold plated idols of Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwar soothes worried eyes of devotees, the magical sound of prayers chanted by Hindu priests and lines from Buddhist Holy Scriptures read by Buddhist monks heal the mind and cheer up the mood. Bells and hundreds of colourful prayer flags hung all over the shrine continuously narrate the presence of holiness in the air of the surrounding. A spectacular religious ambience juxtaposed by breath taking panoramas of Himalayan ranges is no doubt a unique proposition of Mahakal Temple.
Observatory Hill - Known as Makal-Babu-Ko-Thaan, Observatory Hill is one of the oldest sites in the Darjeeling. The place has a rich historical backdrop. As per a legend, there is a myth that Lord Indra''s scepter (Dorje), representative of his thunderbolt, had fallen at this place (ling). Therefore, the city got its name from two words ''Dorje'' and ''ling''. The hill is quite popular amongst tourists due to its Hindu and Buddhist temples.
Happy Valley Tea Garden - This is a must see place in Darjeeling. It is quite popular among travellers for obvious reasons. Watching the actual process tea manufacturing is worthwhile. The scenic charm of this tea garden is heart-warming. Happy Valley is the most accessible Tea Estate, as it is only about 3 km from town.
Himalayan Mountaineering Institute - It is a perfect place in Darjeeling for those who love to enjoy the thrilling experience of adventure activities. It is one of the oldest mountaineering institutes in India and plays a vital role in mountaineers training.