A place can be charming for myriad reasons—for its natural scenery, its local flavors, its culture, its location or even its unique treasures. When all these reasons combine to make a quaint place massively popular—perhaps you can only call it a tourist wonder. So can be said of Darjeeling. A hill station tucked away in West Bengal—that offers panoramic views of high peaks and the awesomeness of being a hilly tourist retreat.
1. Tiger Hill –
Wake up before the sun rises and get a hot water bath—water could run scarce if not used carefully in Darjeeling—to trek up Tiger Hill. One of the most iconic spots in Darjeeling, Tiger Hill allows you to view Mount Everest in its grandeur. Also, you can spot Makalu peak that seems to kiss the skies higher than Everest—but then that is due to the horizon’s curve.
Timing- 4:00 AM – 6:00 PM
2. The Mall –
An arcade of sorts, this is Darjeeling’s most famous tourist hub. From British era saddle shops to hat stores; to antique jewelry as well as semi precious stones; the Mall is your paradise to shop up some local fare. There arenumerous restaurantsthat offer mouth watering delicacies and you could also go and take a pony ride. Simply bethe one to experiment yourself with food at the Mall and you could stumble upon the best sandwiches or momos over here.
Timing- Till 8 pm
Entry- Free; Pony Rides range between INR 100 and INR 200
3. Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park –
A local landmark that is internationally acclaimed ,the Darjeeling Zoo dates back to 1958 and sprawls over 67 acres. It is the only zoo which is located at the highest altitude in India. From the red panda to the Himalayan wolf, there are variety of species that you can look forward to meet over here.
Timing-8:30 AM – 4:00 PM, Closed on Thursday
Entry- INR 30/ Indian
4. Toy Train-
Hop along this historic narrow gauge railway that plies between Darjeeling and New Jalpaiguri. It has become an icon of gaiety and laughter since the toy train got featured in countless movies and documentaries. The Toy Train or the Darjeeling Himalayan Railways stand listed at theMountain Railways of Indian World Heritage Site.
Timing- 9 AM-4 PM
Entry- Darjeeling-Ghoom-Darjeeling steam engine train costs INR 1,165/ticket; Diesel engine train costs INR 695/ticket. Chartered rides cost INR 55,000
5. Darjeeling Peace Pagoda –
Feel yourself connected to the spiritual well being and inner peace irrespective of caste. It was built between 1885–1985 under Nichidatsu Fujii, a Japanese monk of Buddhism. The original foundation stone dates back to November 1972 but was inaugurated only in 1992. The pagoda had been designed by M. Ohka and took almost3 years to get constructed. The pagoda towers at 28.5 meters height.
Timing-4:30 AM – 7:00 PM
6. Observatory Hill –
Yet another must-visit spot in Darjeeling is the Observatory Hill, this is located around Chowrarasta square and is famous for offering great views of the Kanchendzonga as well as an ancient temple that is dedicated to Lord Shiva’s Mahakaal visage.
Timing- 7:00 AM – 7:00 PM
7. Happy Valley Tea Estate –
Darjeeling is perhaps synonymous with tea as much as it is with hills. Make sure you visit this estate that is famous for being located at a height of 2100 meters above sea level. Dating back to 1854, you can even buy some local tea leaves packed in an awesome-looking gift containers.
Timing- 8 AM- 4 PM; Closed on Sunday-Monday
Indeed, Darjeeling is one place that comes with so many varied things to do that you could get confused by the sheer variety of what’s on offer here.
Further Read – 15 Best Hill Stations in India