About this blog: We have been exploring Darjeeling ever since we started travelling. We have also blogged about this place for long. This Darjeeling Travel Guide was written sometime back. We have now updated this Darjeeling travel guide with all the latest information and required to plan a Darjeeling trip. This guide might help you when you visit the “Queen of Hills” and make you plan a perfect Darjeeling tour.
Darjeeling, the quaint hill station located in the northern part of West Bengal is undoubtedly one of our favourite destinations of all times. To be honest, we can never get enough of Darjeeling. A land of breathtaking beauty surrounded by rolling green tea plantations along with the majestic Kanchenjunga ranges towering above the skyline has earned it the moniker of Queen of Hills.
The eternal beauty and the quaint Victorian charm of the place are enough to lure travellers and tourists alike. And the cherry on the top is the adorable Darjeeling toy train that whistles its way through the mountains. Which other hill stations have so many beauties rolled in one!
- Darjeeling Trip Plan | About Darjeeling
- What is the Best Time to Visit Darjeeling?
- How to Reach Darjeeling?
- Best Places to visit in Darjeeling
- 1. Tiger Hill
- 2. Batasia Loop and War Memorial
- 3. Darjeeling Mall or Chowrasta
- 4. Darjeeling Zoo and HMI
- 5. Rock Garden and Ganga Maya Park
- 6. Japanese Temple and Peace Pagoda
- 7. Happy Valley Tea Estate
- 8. Observatory Hill and the Mahakal Temple
- 9. Ghum Monastery
- 10. Tenzing and Gombu Rocks
- 11. Tibetan Refugee Self Help Centre
- Darjeeling Travel Guide | Darjeeling Sightseeing
- Where to Stay in Darjeeling?
- What are the Best Places to eat in Darjeeling Trip?
- How much does it cost to travel in Darjeeling?
- Shopping in Darjeeling Trip | Darjeeling Travel Guide
- Day trips from Darjeeling | Darjeeling Travel Guide
- Darjeeling Trip – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs answered)
- Other Resources on Darjeeling
Darjeeling Trip Plan | About Darjeeling
Darjeeling is located at an altitude of about 6710 feet and is one of the most beautiful destinations in India. The name Darjeeling came from two Tibetan words ‘dorje’ meaning and ‘ling‘ meaning land. So Darjeeling literally means ‘the land of thunderbolt’.
Previous to its acquisition by the British East India Company in 1835, Darjeeling was a part of Sikkim (Sikkim was an independent kingdom then) and also of Nepal for a brief period of time.
During February 1829, a British Officer Caption Llyod spent a few days in Darjeeling. The place was then known as the “Old Gorkha Station of Darjeeling”. The place was nothing like what it is today. It was a deserted region with dense forests and mountains. Caption Llyod realized that Darjeeling can become a great sanatorium or health resort for the British officers.
What is the Best Time to Visit Darjeeling?
Usually, Darjeeling has two main peak seasons for tourists – March to May and October to November. This is the time when Darjeeling gets the maximum footfall of tourists. When you want to plan your Darjeeling trip, entirely depends on what you want to experience at Darjeeling. Here I would mention briefly about the seasons in Darjeeling.
|March to April||Spring||6 – 17 degrees|
|May to mid-June||Summer||11 – 19 degrees|
|Mid-June to September||Monsoon||13 – 19 degrees|
|October to November||Autumn||6 – 18 degrees|
|December to February||Winter||2.5 to 10 degrees|
March to May (Spring and Summer)
This is one of the best times to visit Darjeeling. The weather remains pleasantly cool. After all, one of the main reasons for planning a Darjeeling trip is to beat the summer heat in the plains. The sky also remains clear giving a clear view of the Kanchenjunga ranges. But this is also a peak tourist season and Darjeeling will be full of local tourists.
March and April is the spring season and also the blooming season of rhododendrons.
June to September (Monsoon)
Monsoon usually starts by mid-June and lasts until September. During the monsoon, there are chances of landslides and some of the roads might be closed due to rains. Darjeeling, however, looks immensely beautiful and romantic during the rains, though you won’t get any mountain views as the weather remains cloudy most of the time. Also, tourism is low at this time and you get to see an uncrowded and relatively serene Darjeeling.
Honestly, monsoon is one of our favourite times to visit Darjeeling. We get rooms at cheaper rates, the roads are empty and the mist and clouds that envelope the roads make Darjeeling completely mesmerizing.
October to November (Autumn)
Autumn is also a good time to visit Darjeeling. The weather remains pleasant, the nature is vibrant and the skies are clear. You would get great views of the snow-covered peaks during this time. Bur again, this is a peak season and Darjeeling will be full of tourists, both local and international.
December to February (Winter)
Winter in Darjeeling is extremely cold and the higher altitudes of experience snowfall in December. Tiger Hill, located only 11 km from Darjeeling also experiences snowfall during the winter. Darjeeling gets fewer tourists during this time. If you plan to visit Darjeeling during the winter, do carry woolens with you.
Winter is our favourite time for Darjeeling tour. We love to enjoy the winters of hill stations and Darjeeling never disappoints us in this matter. Also, Darjeeling oranges are quite famous and we get that during the wintertime.
Having said these, you cannot really predict the weather on the hills. At one time, it is sunny and bright and in the next moment, it can become cloudy and foggy.
How to Reach Darjeeling?
The nearest airport is the Bagdogra Airport and the nearest broad gauge railway station is New Jalpaiguri (NJP). I have mentioned broad-gauge railways because you can reach Darjeeling from NJP by the famous toy train.
From NJP, you will get both shared jeeps as well as rented vehicles to reach Darjeeling. From Bagdogra Airport, you will get rented cabs to reach Darjeeling. Shared jeeps are also available from Siliguri Main Bus Stand towards Darjeeling. Buses are also available from Siliguri towards Darjeeling, but I would recommend you to travel by the shared sumos instead of buses.
Pro Tip: If you are coming from abroad, you will need some sort
of a visa that can be applied for online, or at the embassy. For
example, The India evisa for Canada citizens is available online.
Best Places to visit in Darjeeling
- Tiger Hill
- Batasia Loop and War Memorial
- Darjeeling Mall or Chowrasta
- The Darjeeling Zoo and HMI
- Rock Garden and Ganga Maya Park
- Japanese Temple and Peace Pagoda
- Happy Valley Tea Estate
- Observatory Hill and the Mahakal Temple
- Ghum Monastery
- Tenzing and Gombu Rocks
- Tibetan Refugee Self Help Centre
Darjeeling is a small hilly town, but there are a number of places to visit in Darjeeling that can be accessed by travelling a short distance. Darjeeling town is small, but Darjeeling district spans across 3,000 sq km. While there are a number of places to visit in Darjeeling and several attractions around the town, you can also visit Kurseong and Kalimpong, two other hill stations that are also quite beautiful and charming. Here I have discussed some of the must-visit tourist attractions in Darjeeling.
1. Tiger Hill
I personally feel that a Darjeeling trip can never be completed without watching the sunrise at Tiger Hill. Located at the highest point in Darjeeling at an altitude of 2,590 m, Tiger Hill is located about 11 km from Darjeeling town. If you visit Tiger Hill in the day, it is just another viewpoint and you will hardly see any tourist there. But early in the morning, the place is full of a long queue of cars and people waiting for the sun to rise. Tiger Hill is now internationally famous for its magnificent sunrise view above the Kanchenjunga and other eastern Himalayan ranges.
There is a watchtower at Tiger Hill from where you will get a sweeping view of the mountain ranges. It is an amazing experience to see the first rays of sun falling on the snow-clad ranges of the Kanchenjunga and Everest. The sky gradually changes colour from golden yellow to orange as the sun rises up the horizon.
The best time to get clear views of sunrise is during autumn and winter. But the weather in Darjeeling can be quite unpredictable and a sudden cloud can totally obstruct the sunrise view. Even otherwise, Tiger Hill is a great place to visit in Darjeeling to soak in the Himalayan beauty.
2. Batasia Loop and War Memorial
Batasia Loop is located on the Hill Cart Road and is about 5 km from Darjeeling town and is one of the major attractions of your Darjeeling trip . The Batasia Loop is a gigantic railway loop where the Darjeeling toy train takes a 360-degree turn just after Ghum. You can get a panoramic view of the Kanchenjunga ranges and the entire landscape from here. There is a well-maintained eco-garden at Batasia Loop along with proper seating arrangements from where you can sit down and see the wonderful views.
The War Memorial is located at the centre of the Batasia Loop. The War Memorial was opened in 1995 to pay homage to the Gorkha soldiers who sacrificed their lives for the nation. Just in the middle, there is a 3-metre bronze statue of a Gorkha soldier paying homage. Outside the Batasia Loop, there is a small market area selling curios, bags, hats, and other decorative items. You can visit Batasia Loop after a trip to the Tiger Hill to watch the sunrise.
Timings: Everyday 5:00 AM to 8:00 PM
3. Darjeeling Mall or Chowrasta
Darjeeling Mall or Chowrasta is the centre of Darjeeling town and is the most happening place in the entire town. It is a flat piece of land converted into a pedestrian-only zone and no traffic is allowed at the Mall. There are seating arrangements around the Mall where you can relax and have a steaming hot cup of Darjeeling tea. A number of shops are located in the Mall area including tea bars, curio shop, book shops and more. You can stroll around the Mall leisurely or else simply sit on the bench and see Darjeeling come alive in front of you. Horse ride is also available around the Mall at a prefixed rate.
There are a few important places to visit around Darjeeling Mall. You can take a walk around the Mall Road and visit a few of the important and heritage places in Darjeeling. There is also an open-air auditorium and stage where many functions and cultural programmes take place. The Mall or Chowrasta is actually the social fabric of Darjeeling town.
4. Darjeeling Zoo and HMI
Darjeeling Zoo or Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park is one of the attractive places to visit in Darjeeling. Covering a vast area of 27 hectares, the zoo is the only specialized zoo for the conservation breeding programs of rare Himalayan species like the red panda, snow leopards, Tibetan wolf, Himalayan Black bear and other endangered species.
The Darjeeling Zoo is the largest high altitude zoo in India and covers an area of 67.5 acres at an average altitude of 7,000ft.
The Himalayan Mountain Institute or the HMI is said to be a pilgrimage for mountaineers and climbing enthusiast. It is also a must-visit place for all mountain lovers. It has a museum with mountaineering displays and many expedition artefacts. HMI is located in the same complex as the zoo and both of these can be visited together. Whenever we go for a Darjeeling trip, we make it a point to visit HMI. Just staring at the complex and reading its slogan “May you climb from peak to peak” gives us a feeling of happiness.
Timings: Everyday from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM in the summer and 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM in the winters.
5. Rock Garden and Ganga Maya Park
The Rock Garden and Ganga Maya Park are two beautiful parks located close to each other. The Rock Garden, located about 10 km from Darjeeling town is a terraced garden that has been cut through the rock and seating arrangements are made in between. The major attraction here is the cascading waterfall flowing down the rocks. The Rock Garden is also known as the Barbotey Rock Garden and was created by Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council to boost tourism in Darjeeling.
Ganga Maya Park is about 3 km from Rock Garden and is more spread having a beautiful flower garden and fountains. There is a small lake in the park where tourists can enjoy boating.
6. Japanese Temple and Peace Pagoda
The Japanese Temple and Peace Pagoda is the symbol of peace and a place of tranquillity. It is located in the Jalapahar Hills about 10 minutes driving distance from Darjeeling town. The temple is also known as the Nipponzan Myohoji Buddhist Temple and was built in 1972 under Nichidatsu Fujii, a Buddhist Monk from Japan. Built in the traditional Japanese style, the temple has two storeys. The view from here is simply wonderful. You can see the Kanchenjunga peak from here.
The Peace Pagoda is located just beside the temple. The Japanese Peace Pagoda was built to bring people together from all castes and creeds for the purpose of world peace. You can occasionally hear Buddhist chants and prayer at the temple. The place is indeed full of serenity and you can feel it once you are there.
Timings: Everyday from 4:30 AM to 7 PM
Prayer timings are from 4.30 AM to 6.00 AM, and 4.30 PM to 6.30 PM
7. Happy Valley Tea Estate
How can your Darjeeling trip be complete without visiting a tea garden? Happy Valley Tea Estate is the best place where you can get a first-hand experience of tea gardens as well as how the tea leaves actually make way to your cup. The tea estate was established in 1854 and was known as the Wilson Tea Estate. Later the estate was renamed as Happy Valley Tea Estate. The estate covers an area of about 110 hectares and is one of the highest tea estates in West Bengal. Most of the tea bushes here are more than a century old!
Located below the Hill Cart Road, one of the best times to visit Happy Valley Tea Estate is during the plucking and processing season between March and October. During this time, an employee with take you around the tea factory and explain the process of withering, rolling, fermenting and drying and also explain how black, green and white tea is extracted from the same tea leaves. At the end of the tour, tea tasting is also offered. There is also a tea boutique from where you can but best quality Darjeeling Tea is grown at the estate.
Timings: The Tea estate and factory are open from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM from Tuesday to Saturday. The factory remains closed between November to February as tea plucking does not take place in winter.
8. Observatory Hill and the Mahakal Temple
The Observatory Hill and Mahakal Temple is located just behind the Mall. The Mahakal Temple is located at the summit of the Observatory Hill. As you walk around the Mall Road, you will see a flight of stairs leading up to the hill and the temple. It is believed that a Buddhist monastery named Dorjeling Monastery once stood at the place where the Mahakal Temple stands.
The original monastery was built in the year 1765 by the Lama Dorje Rinzing and it was destroyed in 1815 during the Gorkha invasion. Later the Mahakal Temple was built at the place and the monastery was rebuilt at about 1.5 km downhill from the Chowrasta.
At Mahakal Temple, you will not only hear the chants of Hindu prayers but will also hear the Buddhist monks reading scriptures. It is a beautiful communion of Hinduism and Buddhism, just as we saw at Bhaktapur Durbar Square in Nepal.
Timings: From sunrise to sunset.
9. Ghum Monastery
One of the most magnificent monasteries near Darjeeling is the Ghum Monastery, also known as the Yiga Choeling Monastery. Located at Ghum at an altitude of 7400 ft and 8 km from Darjeeling town, it is one of the oldest Tibetan monasteries to be built in Darjeeling area. The major attraction of the monastery is the 15 ft high statue of Maitreya Buddha or future Buddha.
It is believed that the clay to make the statue of the Buddha was brought all the way from Tibet. In front of the statue, there are two huge oil lamps that are kept burning all the time throughout the year. The monastery also houses a number of rare Buddhist manuscripts including a 108-volume Kangyur – The Tibetan Buddhist Gospel.
10. Tenzing and Gombu Rocks
The Tenzing Rock is a naturally formed huge rock in Darjeeling and is named after the famous Tenzing Norgay. The Gombu Rock stands just opposite to Tenzing Rock and is named after Nawang Gombu, the nephew of Tenzing Norgay who had scaled Mt Everest twice in 1963 and 1965. These rocks are used by the HMI for rock climbing training. The right face of Tenzing Rock is used for amateur climbers, so you can also give a try at rock climbing.
11. Tibetan Refugee Self Help Centre
The Tibetan Refugee Self Help Centre was established in 1959 for the rehabilitation of the Tibetans who had migrated to India after the Chinese invaded Tibet. In order to sustain, they adopted the principle of self-help.
The Tibetans make exquisite handicrafts, shawls, carpets, carved wooden and other items. If you visit there, you can see the Tibetan men and women working patiently on these handicrafts. There is an outlet from where you can buy these handicrafts. The Tibetan Refugee Centre is located on a hilltop that can be approached from Lebong Cart Road. There is also a small monastery at the complex. This is one of our favourite places to visit in Darjeeling trip.
Apart from these 11 fabulous places, you can visit the Shrubbery near the zoo and the Botanical garden near the Chowk Bazar.
Darjeeling Travel Guide | Darjeeling Sightseeing
You can go for Darjeeling sightseeing tours by getting a reserved car from Club side taxi Stand or Chowk Bazar. Usually, the cars offer 3 types of sightseeing tours – 3-point, 5-point and 7-point sightseeing tours.
- 3-point Tour: This is the early morning tour covering sunrise at Tiger Hill, Batasia Loop and Ghum Monastery.
Tentative Rate for reserved Taxi: Rs 1200.00 – 1500.00
- 5-point Tour: This includes Japanese Temple and Peace Pagoda, Lal Kuthi, Dhirdham Temple, Ava Art Gallery and Darjeeling Zoo. This takes about 3 hours
Tentative Rate of reserved car: Rs 1200.00 – 1500.00
- 7-point tour: This covers most of the famous attractions of Darjeeling like the Darjeeling Zoo and HMI, Darjeeling Ropeway, Tenzing and Gombu Rock, Happy Valley Tea Estate, Tibetan Refugee Centre, Lebong Race Course.
Tentative Rate of reserved car: Rs 1500.00 – 1700.00
You can also reserve a car and explore Darjeeling as per your choice. For more details of Darjeeling sightseeing and costs, please read our detailed post.
Darjeeling Toy Train
The Toy Train ride or Darjeeling Himalayan Railways is undoubtedly one of the major attractions of Darjeeling and should be a part of your Darjeeling tour. DHR is the first mountain railway in India opened in 1881 to connect Darjeeling with the plains in Siliguri. This mountain railways is said to be one of the best examples of mountain railways and definitely an outstanding engineering feat achieved during those times. The DHR has been accorded the UNESCO World Heritage site status.
If you have the time, the best way to experience the Darjeeling Toy Train is to take a ride from NJP to Darjeeling. It is a long ride almost taking a day, but the ride will be one of life kind of experience. If you do not wish to venture in this journey, you can take a toy train ride from Darjeeling to Ghum or Kurseong.
The best way is, however, to take the Darjeeling Toy Train Joy Ride. This is a 2-hour ride starting from Darjeeling Station to Ghum and back covering a distance of 14 km. The train stops at Batasia Loop. The fare for Darjeeling Joy Ride is between Rs 1000.00 to 1600.00 per head.
How can I probably not talk about Darjeeling Tea while writing about Darjeeling? There is almost no doubt that Darjeeling is one of the finest producers of tea in the world. There are a number of tea gardens and estates in Darjeeling district producing some of the finest qualities of tea. A packet of Darjeeling tea is one of the prized souvenirs of India that you can take home.
The cup is actually waiting for you. Take a sip and enjoy the aroma and taste of fresh and pure Darjeeling Tea. Well, that is enough of tea advertisements! Let me now tell you where you can have tea in Darjeeling. There are several outlets, tea lounges and tea bars from where you can taste Darjeeling Tea. Personally, our favourite is the Darjeeling tea at Nathmulls on Darjeeling Mall and Glenarys on Nehru Road. We also love the tea served by the roadside vendors.
Some of the best places to have tea during your Darjeeling trip are
- Nathmull’s Tea and Sunset Lounge
- House of Tea
- Golden Tips Tea Lounge
- Afternoon Tea at Windermere
- Happy Golden Cafe
You can buy your packet of tea from any of these places. But I would suggest you buy Darjeeling tea from places that would provide you with an invoice and not from any roadside stalls. Happy Valley Tea Estate is another good place to buy Darjeeling Tea.
Where to Stay in Darjeeling?
With time, Darjeeling town has faced a lot of constructions, many of which are unplanned. Quite obviously, these constructions include mainly hotel. Darjeeling has a number of hotels catering to all types of budgets and travellers. These include century-old heritage stays, homestays, hostels and hotels as well. Here I will name a few hotels in Darjeeling of various categories.
Luxury Hotels in Darjeeling
- Windermere (Best views of Kanchenjunga)
- Cedar Inn (Best views of Kanchenjunga)
- Mayfair Darjeeling
- Sinclairs Darjeeling
Mid Budget Hotels
- Little Tibet
- Central Nirvana (Best views of Kanchenjunga)
- Central Gleneagles Heritage Resort
- Hotel Shangrila
- Darjeeling Tourist Lodge (Best views of Kanchenjunga)
Budget Hotels in Darjeeling
- Classic Guest House (Best views of Kanchenjunga)
- Broadway Annexe
- Dekeling Hotel
- Hotel Capital
- Old Bellevue Hotel
- Pahari Soul Homestay (Best views of Kanchenjunga)
- Happy Valley Homestay
- Himalayan Inn
What are the Best Places to eat in Darjeeling Trip?
Darjeeling has a unique mixture of Bengali, Nepali and Tibetan population. This is reflected well in the food and cuisine of Darjeeling. Added to this is the English influence. So overall, food in Darjeeling is simply something that we can die for.
Delicious and crisp English breakfast is quite common in Darjeeling. Keventers and Glenarys are just the places to have a proper English breakfast. Bacon, sausages, omelettes, eggs with sunny side up, sandwiches along with fresh Darjeeling Tea – who can say no to such food? For the health-conscious, the oil can be a turn-off though.
Darjeeling is also famous for momos, thukpas and Tibetan and Nepali dishes. There are restaurants serving Indian and Continental cuisines. In short, you will not be disappointed in Darjeeling regarding food!
For detailed information, you can read our article on the best places to eat in Darjeeling.
How much does it cost to travel in Darjeeling?
Darjeeling can be quite easy on the pocket if you wish so. A typical cost of travelling in Darjeeling is given:
|Accommodation (per day/per room)||Budget: INR 1200 – 3000|
Mid-budget: INR 3000 – 4500
Luxury: INR 5000+
|Food (per day/ per person)||Small Restaurants: INR 300-500|
Mid-range: INR 600-1000
Fine Dining : INR 1000+
|Sightseeing Tour||Fixed cost|
Sightseeing costs in Darjeeling by car are fixed. To reduce costs, you can share with other like-minded travellers. You can also walk around and explore Darjeeling on foot. We usually do that on our visits to Darjeeling. You can also hop on to the taxis that the locals use for commuting and visit from one point to the other, and then walk the remaining way.
Trekking permit at Sandakphu-Phalut will come at a fixed cost and so does guide and potter. Permit fee for Singalila National Park is only INR 100. You will get the details of the trek in our blog on Sandakphu Trek.
Shopping in Darjeeling Trip | Darjeeling Travel Guide
Darjeeling, like most of the hill stations, is a shopper’s paradise. And one of my favourite thing to do in Darjeeling trip is window shopping! These days, you will get almost everything in Darjeeling town. However, you would probably want to buy Darjeeling Tea, antiques and jewellery, handicrafts and curio, woolen from Darjeeling.
Some of the popular handicraft items that you can buy from Darjeeling includes Tibetan masks, Thangkas, Khukris (curved Gorkha knives having decorative handles), curios and traditional jewelleries and showpieces. Stoles, woollen sweaters, jackets, caps and pashmina shawls are also widely sold.
There are many old shops and boutique shops at either side of the Nehru Road leading up to the Mall. Nepal Curio House is one of our favourite places to hunt curio items, masks and thangkas. A Biswa Bangla outlet has also opened at Nehru Road that sells Bengal handicraft items. Another place that I would like to mention is Das Studio. You will get photography items and some old and rare photographs of Darjeeling and the mountains here. Check out the old Darjeeling postcards here.
Darjeeling Mall is also dotted with a number of shops. I would like to mention about Oxford Book Stores, Habeeb Mullick & Sons (one of the best places for curios), Golden Tips and Nathmull’s at Chowrasta.
Mall Road has temporary shops with hawkers selling woollen and dress items. Bargain well when buying from these markets.
Chowk Bazar at lower Darjeeling is a bustling market where you can get any types of household items, clothing items, bags, footwear, grocery and spices. It is infact the local market of Darjeeling town. Prices are relatively cheaper at Chowk Bazar, but I cannot guarantee the quality for items like dresses, shoes and bags.
If you want to buy authentic Tibetan handicrafts, then you should head towards the Tibetan Refugee Self Help Centre off the Lebong Cart Road. You will get handmade Tibetan carpets, scarves, clothes, handicrafts, thangkas and many more made by the local artisans.
Day trips from Darjeeling | Darjeeling Travel Guide
You can make day trips from Darjeeling to Mirik (known for Mirik Lake) and Kurseong. We recommend to hire a car from Chowk Bazar or Club side taxi Stand to visit these places.
Darjeeling is also the nearest town to Maneybhanjan, the base camp of Sandakphu trek.
Darjeeling Trip – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs answered)
Bagdogra is the nearest airport to Darjeeling. It is around 68km and takes about 3 to 3.5 hours to reach Darjeeling.
Yes, Darjeeling is quite safe for tourists and travellers. In the last few years, there had been a few agitations when Darjeeling had come to a stop. But now, Darjeeling is quite safe to travel. Do take an informed decision before your Darjeeling trip or travelling to any place.
Darjeeling is quite famous for mountains and the views of Kanchenjunga, third highest mountain of the world and tea gardens. Darjeeling tea is known all over the world. Also, Darjeeling Himalayan Railways (toy train) is an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Sunrise at Tiger Hill is also a major attraction.
The name ‘Darjeeling’ came from the Tibetan words, ‘dorje’ meaning thunderbolt (originally the scepter of Indra) and ‘ling’ a place or land. Thus Darjeeling is popularly known as ‘The land of the thunderbolt’.
Nepali, Bengali, Hindi and English are widely spoken in Darjeeling. Nepali is spoken by more than 70% of the population in Darjeeling, Kurseong and Mirik and is the main language in the hills, followed by Bengali.
Which is the best time to visit Darjeeling?
Darjeeling has two main peak seasons for tourists – March to May and October to November. Usually these months are the best time to visit Darjeeling as the climate is at its best during this time and is perfect for outdoor activities.
Since the last couple of years, Darjeeling has witnessed snowfall in the months of December. But that is also for a few days. You will see snowfall at Sandakphu for sure.
Yes, it is advised to carry woolen clothes even during the summer. At least a windproof jacket should be taken. The weather is highly unpredictable in Darjeeling. If it rains, the weather suddenly becomes very chilly.
2-3 days are good enough for a leisurely Darjeeling trip covering the main attractions. Usually, a trip to Darjeeling and Gangtok is done together. In that case, 7-8 days are good enough for both the destinations.
Darjeeling is a sleepy little hill town. While there are bars and pubs in Darjeeling, but the town usually sleeps by 11 pm.
Yes, there are sufficient ATMs in Darjeeling. There is an SBI ATM at Darjeeling Mall. Also, most of the shops accept debit and credit cards these days.
Darjeeling is famous for its tea and you can buy Darjeeling Tea as souvenirs. You can also buy local handicraft items like Tibetan masks, paintings, thangkas, local jewellery items, woolens like shawls, pashminas and stoles, Khukris and other curio items. Authentic handmade carpets, wooden items and woollen items are available at Tibetan Refugee Self Help Centre.
Golden Tips and Nathmulls are some of the best places to buy authentic Darjeeling tea. Both shops are located at the Mall. You can also buy Darjeeling Tea from Happy Valley Tea Estate. It is recommended not to buy tea from road-side shops unless you are absolutely sure about the quality.
Other Resources on Darjeeling
- 12 Best Places to Eat in Darjeeling
- Darjeeling Mall and a Heritage Walk around the Mall Road
- Darjeeling Zoo – A Photostory
- Movies shot in Darjeeling
- Darjeeling Himalayan Railways
- Darjeeling in Monsoons
- Rangaroon – Experience Tea Tourism near Darjeeling
- Singtom Tea Estate and Resort – Tea Tourism in Darjeeling
- A Brief History of Darjeeling
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