Darjeeling - Introduction
The adventure destination of Darjeeling in West Bengal offers several sports to the daring. The cool height of the Himalayas, the spectacular sunrise and sunsets are unforgettable sights at Darjeeling. As it is Darjeeling attracts botanists, ornithologists, adventurers, photographers and holidaymakers alike.
Darjeeling - Adventure Sports
Looking for adventure? Come on over to Darjeeling. The adventure destination of Darjeeling offers trekking, hand gliding, ballooning, river rafting, mountain biking, rock climbing, archery contests, elephant rides and golf! There is so much to do at Darjeeling.
Trekking in the Darjeeling region is very rewarding with the varying landscapes. To top this there are glorious mountain sights including the view of the four majestic over 8000 meter high peaks of Everest, Kanchenjunga, Makalu and Lhotse from the vintage point of Sandakphu. The most popular of treks is the one through high altitude areas across the Singalila range in Darjeeling. Another fascinating high altitude trek is in the Kalimpong region from Relli, Pankhasari, and Neora to the highest point in the areas, area, Rochella. The annual run and trek event has adventurers trekking from Manebhanjan in the Himalayan foothills to Sandakphu.
The high ridges, cliffs and deep-down valley of Darjeeling offer excellent opportunities for Hand Gliding and Ballooning. At the same time River Teesta with its deep gorges, rapids and strong currents is ideal for river rafting. There are several trips that take up stretches from 25 km to 65 km into Sikkim and North Bengal. Besides River Teeesta you may indulge in Canoeing and kayaking at the lake in Mirik.
The adventure sport of Mountain Biking takes the adventurers from Martam to Gangtok in Sikkim, via the famous Rumtek monastery.The Himalayan Mountaineering Institute in Darjeeling is the place for the Rock Climbing enthusiasts.At the annual Tea & Tourism Festival in Darjeeling archery competition, with traditional Sikkimese bows and arrows are held. At Jaldapara you may catch sight of the one-horned rhinos and Bengali tigers while enjoying the elephant rides.
Darjeeling - Sites In and Around
The hill resort of Darjeeling is dotted with several places of tourist interest. Ghoom is one of the major landmarks in Darjeeling. The renowned Yiga Choeling Monastery dominates the hillock. While visiting the monastery you must check out the images of Maitreya Buddha. Then there are the ancient palm leaf and paper manuscripts in Tibetan script too, of much interest to the historians.
The Museum of Natural History is another tourist attraction in Darjeeling. The museum boasts of a fine collection of Himalayan animals, reptiles, birds and insects.
For the botanist, an animal and nature lover Darjeeling offers several places of interest. At the Lloyd Botanical garden all tourists may enjoy the captivating collection of alpine flora and orchids. Darjeeling also has the Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park. The zoo happens to be the only center in India for the breeding of the rare snow leopard. The Ussurian tigers and the Himalayan black bear are also among its attractions.
Close to the zoo is another tourist attraction of the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute. The institute was established in 1954 by the then Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, in the wake of the conquest of Everest. Tenzing Norgay was its first Director and Advisor till his demise.
After visiting the zoo, you must ride the Darjeeling-Rangit Valley ropeway. The longest ropeway ride in Asia offers several spectacular sights. The numerable tea gardens in and around Darjeeling are also worth visiting. The Mall acts as the heart of Darjeeling town. It happens to be an important meeting point for all tourists.
The Observatory hill, Dhirdam Temple, Aloobaari Monastery, Bhutia Bustee Monastery and the Ava Art Gallery are the other sites worth visiting in Darjeeling.
Darjeeling - Sites Near By
The hill resort of Darjeeling has several sites near by that make excellent excursion options.
The Tiger Hill is situated at an altitude of 2,590 meters and is 11 km from the main town. The Tiger Hill has earned international fame for the magnificent view of sunrise over the Kanchenjunga and other great Eastern Himalayan peaks. Here the golden glow of the rising sun changes the colour of the snow-capped peaks to crimson, pink, and shining gold.
Across the Teesta River, between the heights of Dedo and Durbindra Hills lies Kalimpong. Situated at an altitude of 1,250 meters, Kalimpong is the home of beautiful flower nurseries, monasteries, and the handicrafts industry.
Then there is the picturesque Kurseong at an altitude of 1,458 meters. Many tourists halt at Kurseong on their way to Siliguri from Darjeeling. Mid-way between Siliguri and Darjeeling lies another hill resort of Mirik. At 1,767 meters Mirik is famous for its lake, boating facilities and plantations of pine, cardamom, and oranges.
For the adventure seekers visit to Phalut at 3,600 meters is a must. The trekkers are aptly rewarded with the wondrous views of the Himalayas from Phalut.
Darjeeling - What to Buy
While on a shopping spree at Darjeeling you can get yourself photographed with the snow-clad peaks of Himalayas in as backdrop. Some tourists even dress up in the local attire or by portraits of locals in traditional attire. You must check out the variety of woolens and other warm clothing.
For gift items and souvenirs from Darjeeling you may pick up Tibetan crafts like carpets, wood and leather work. The Tibetan Refugee Self Help Center is one place where you will get the best of items.
Darjeeling - How to Reach
For air transport to Darjeeling the nearest airport is at Bagdogra. There are regular flights that connect Bagdogra with Kolkata. For train transport the railhead at Siliguri is the nearest to Darjeeling. You may even enjoy the toy train that runs from New Jalpaiguri/Siliguri to Darjeeling. The nearest bus station to Darjeeling is at Siliguri.
Darjeeling - Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit Darjeeling is from March-May or September-November. The rains which start by May end are heavy downpours making living conditions cold and dreary. In winter there is a drastic fall in temperature from the summer's 15 to 25 degrees centigrade to 2 to 10 degrees in winter.
Darjeeling - Where to Stay
Accommodation is easily available at the hill resort of Darjeeling. There are several hotels that dot Darjeeling. Resorts and Hostels also offer comfortable stay. You may pick the one that suits your budget.
Good and hygienic food is also available at reasonable rates in Darjeeling. There are many restaurants and eateries that cater to the needs of the tourists. There are eating joints known especially for milk shakes, pastries and scrumptious patties. For whose who wish to lift their spirits a glass of the local chhang (an intoxicant drink made of barley) is a must try!
Darjeeling - Fairs and Festival
The Teesta Tea and Tourism Festival is an annual festival that takes place in Darjeeling during the months of December-January. Competitions and stalls add color to the festival.