Darjeeling Tourism- 15 Best Places to Visit in Darjeeling

Darjeeling is a small town in West Bengal located at an elevation of 6700 ft above the sea level. Darjeeling is the most popular hill station among the eastern states of India and also quite fascinating among mountain lovers.

Darjeeling is situated in the Lesser Himalayan Range (a major east-west range with an elevation of 3700-4500 ft). This Hill station is known for the beautiful view of Mount Everest and Mount Kanchenjunga ranges. The climate at Darjeeling is best suited for a tea plantation and the tea gardens are often visible in this area. Darjeeling is among the top producer of world’s famous Black Tea.

The climate at Darjeeling and the hilly geography provides the best habitat to many Himalayan wildlife animals and birds. It is also the home to many medicinal plants and herbs. The clouds often play hide and seek in Darjeeling, hence anytime in a day it can rain. Hinduism and Buddhism are the prime religion in Darjeeling and the Nepali community is quite prominent in this town. Bengali is the first language here followed by Nepali and Hindi.

Best time to visit Darjeeling: October to March

PLACES TO VISIT IN DARJEELING:

Darjeeling has much to offer to the tourist, hence to enjoy the weather and to cover the important attractions, at least a 4-5 days stay at Darjeeling is very much needed.  Speaking about the places to visit in Darjeeling, there are many beautiful tourist attraction in Darjeeling starting from the legendary Toy train to Tiger Hills. The following are the top 15 tourist attraction of Darjeeling:

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Now, let’s detail each of these places:

1. MOUNT KANCHENJUNGA:

Kanchenjunga from Tiger Hills
Kangchenjunga early in the morning view from Tiger Hill | Photo by DC Assam (CC BY- SA 4.0)

Kanchenjunga mountain is the world’s third highest mountain and it rises from a part of the Himalayan Ranges. Kanchenjunga is 28169 ft in height and comprises 16 main peaks. The Kanchenjunga lies partly between Nepal and Sikkim. It is one of the main attraction in Sikkim and Darjeeling.

Kanchenjunga remains rainy for most of the years and this is the reason that the weather in Darjeeling and Sikkim is quite unpredictable. The Tiger Hill, Jhandi Dara Sunrise Point, and Sandakphu are the top tourist spot that gives you the best view of Kanchenjunga Hill during sunrise

Entry Time: 24 x7
Entry Fees:   Zero
Best time to visit Kanchenjunga: February to May

Read more: 16 Best Places To Visit In Sikkim

2. TIGER HILL:

Sunrise from Tiger Hills,Darjeeling
A small drop of the sun rising in the skies of Darjeeling | Photo by Nasrin Mondal (CC BY- SA 4.0)

Tiger Hill is the most popular tourist attraction in Darjeeling. It is about 11 kilometers from Darjeeling town and situated at an altitude of 8882 feet. Tiger Hill is one of the two points in India from where one can witness the beautiful panorama of snow-capped Mount Everest and Mount Kanchenjunga together.

When the first ray of the sun falls on the snow of Mount Everest, it shines like a diamond in the sky and hundreds of tourist visit here every day for this view. On a sunny day, peaks like Kabru, Rathong, and Kokhtang are also very much visible from tiger hill.

Entry Time: 24 x7
Entry Fees:   Zero
Best time to visit Tiger Hill: February to May

3. GHUM AND DARJEELING HIMALAYAN RAILWAY:

Darjeeling Toy Train at Batasia Loop
DHR at Batasia Loop | Photo by SupernovaExplosion (CC BY- SA 2.0)

The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway which is commonly known as the Toy Train or DHR is a 2 ft narrow gauge railway line that runs between the New Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling station through the beautiful loop of this Hill Station. This railway was founded between 1879 to 1881 and is an 88 kilometers long route via zig-zag and five loops.

The Toy Train’s route is at an elevation of 328 ft to 7218 ft and reaches up to Ghum railway station, which is India’s highest railway station situated at an elevation of 7407 ft. The famous Ghum Monastery and Batasia Loop are located at this hilly location.

On 2nd December 1991, the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway is declared as UNESCO’s world heritage site.

Train Time: Every dayy,  8:55 am to 5.00 pm
Minimum charge in 1st class: INR 145
Minimum charge in 2nd class: INR 30
Best time to visit Darjeeling Himalayan Railway: September to May

4. BATASIA LOOP (BATASIA ECO-GARDEN):

Batasia Loop Darjeeling
Batasia Loop | Photo by Sankar 1234 (CC BY- SA 3.0)

To enjoy the 360 degree view of entire Darjeeling, Batasia Loop is a must visit place in Darjeeling. Batasia garden was inaugurated in the year 1919. It is a famous tourist attraction which is 5 kilometers away from Darjeeling town.

From the Batasia Loop, you can see the snow-capped Eastern Himalayan Range and the Mount Kanchenjunga on the other side. The Batasia Loop is famous for the toy trains running between the beautiful flowering garden.

From the top of the garden, you can see the toy trains making a loop through the spiral track. This garden is covered with seasonal flowers throughout its area and it’s an eco-garden. In case you have missed enjoying the ride of a toy train, then Batasia Garden is the best place to sit along the sides of the railway track and enjoy the view of Toy Trains.

Entry Time: Everyday 7.00 am-5.00 pm
Entry Fees: INR 20 per person
Best time to visit Batasia Loop:  September to May

5. OLD GHUM MONASTERY:

Ghoom monastery Darjeeling,West Bengal
Ghum Monastery | Photo by Neil Satyam (CC BY- SA 4.0)

Built in 1850, the Ghum monastery belongs to the Gelukpa or the Yellow Hat sect of Tibetan Buddhism. This monastery is also known as Yiga Choeling and is one of the oldest monasteries in North East India. This monastery is 7 kilometers away from Darjeeling town at an elevation 8000 ft.

Yiga Choeling was constructed under the supervision of the famous Mongolian astrologer and Monk Sokpo Sherab Gyatso. He was the 1st head at this monastery and continued to serve until 1905.

This monastery is famous for its 15-foot model of  Gautam Buddha which is known as “The Maitreya Buddha” or “The Gyalwa Shampa”, which means “the Buddha of the Future”.

During the fourth month of the Tibetan calendar, this monastery conducts 16 days of meditation programme. During this time many monks and Lambas from all corners of the country unite here

Entry time: Everyday 7.00 am-7.00 pm
Entry Fees: Nil
 Still Camera  INR 10
Best time to visit Old Ghum Monastery:  Throughout the Year

Read more: Diskit Monastery Travel Guide: Maitreya Buddha in Nubra Valley

6. SENCHAL WILDLIFE SANCTUARY:

Senchal WildLife Sanctuary
Senchal Wild Life Sanctuary, Darjeeling, India | Photo by PP Yoonus ([email protected]) (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Established in the year 1915, Senchal Wildlife sanctuary is one of the oldest sanctuaries of India. The sanctuary is spread over 39 square kilometers at a range of 4,900 to 8,500 ft.

Access to Senchal wildlife sanctuary is restricted, hence to visit this location, you need to take a special permit from the Ranger’s Office at Jorebunglow.

The diverse wildlife at the sanctuary majorly comprise of Animals include Himalayan black bears, barking deer, leopards, monkeys, flying squirrels, wild dogs, scaly anteaters and many more. The sanctuary is also known for bird watching. You can commonly see a golden back woodpecker, emerald cuckoos, black-backed pheasant, red jungle fowl, hornbills, Babblers, Sunbirds etc. 350 types of flowering plants.

Senchal Wild Life Sanctuary is about 11 kilometers away from Darjeeling town.

Entry Time: 7.00 am-7.00 pm
Entry Fees: Zero
Best time to visit Senchal Wildlife Sanctuary: Throughout the year

7. SENCHAL LAKE:

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Located at a height of 8,160 ft, Senchal Lake is a part of Senchal wildlife sanctuary. This lake is the main reservoir of potable water for Darjeeling. Senchal Lake is situated at a distance of 10 kilometers from Darjeeling town and a popular picnic spot among the locals.

Senchal Lake lake is also popular for bird watching. During winter, the Siberian birds can be spotted very easily.

Entry Time: 7.00 am-7.00 pm
Entry Fees: Zero
Best time to visit Senchal Lake: February to March and then September to December, during sunrise

8. LLOYD’S BOTANICAL GARDEN:

Lloyd's botanical garden, Darjeeling, India
Lloyd’s botanical garden, Darjeeling, India | Photo by Jeabapt (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Lloyd’s Botanical Garden was founded in 1878 on a 40 acres open hill slope which was donated by William Lloyd, the owner of the Lloyd’s Bank in British India. Lloyd wanted to develop the 40 acres land into the best botanical garden in Asia and annex of the Botanical garden in Kolkata.

This garden is divided into 3 sections, where the upper section collects the various indigenous Himalayan plantation.

The middle section has a collection of fern and conifer trees along with Alpine collections. Also, it has more than 150 species of Cactus and around 2,500 orchids from 50 different variety. The Last or the lower section has a cross- country collection.

Hawthorn, Blackberry, Birch, Chestnut etc that have been imported from Europe, then Plums, Cherries, Weeping Willows etc from China and Japan, Magnolia Grandiflora, Jurrriferus Bermudiana from the USA, Wattle and Silver Oak from Australia and New Zealand etc are some of them.

Entry Fees: INR 50 per person
Best time to visit Lloyd’s Botanical Garden:  September to March

Read more: Top 16 Places to visit in Kulu-Manali

9. PADMAJA NAIDU HIMALAYAN ZOOLOGICAL PARK:

Red Panda at Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park
The Red Panda | Photo by Sumita Roy Dutta (CC BY- SA 4.0)

Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park which is also called the Darjeeling Zoo is about 3.3 kilometers away from Darjeeling town. This zoo was opened in 1958 and it spreads over 67.56-acre. Being situated at a height of 7000 ft on Jawahar Hill of Himalayan Valley, this zoo is considered the largest high altitude zoo in India and quite famous among foreign visitors.

This zoo is completely adverse to any typical zoo of any city. Rather it is the home of many high altitude animals or plants, among which some are the declared as the endangered species. The zoo has specialized in breeding animals that are habitual in Alpine conditions and also have captive breeding programs to save the generation of the Himalayan wolf, snow leopard, Siberian Tiger, and even red panda.

This zoological park is a member of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums and has received the prestigious international award “The Earth Heroes” in 2014 out of over 300 zoos worldwide. Every year, over 3 lakh visitors are recorded on an average.

Entry Time: Every day except Thursday, 8:30 am – 4 pm
Entry Fees: INR 30 (Indian) and INR 100 (Foreign Tourists)
Still Camera:  INR 10
Best time to visit Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park: September to Mid- May.

10. PEACE PAGODA, DARJEELING:

Japanese Peace Pagoda, Darjeeling
Japanese Peace Pagoda, Darjeeling | Photo by Sujay25 (CC BY-SA 4.0)

This Buddhist Stupa is located on the slants of the Jalapahar hills of Darjeeling and is about 2 kilometers from the Darjeeling town. The objective behind this stupa is to unite the people of all the caste/ creed/ religion to come together and search for peace in the world.

This Peace Pagoda is also known as Shanti Stupa, was constructed under the guidance of Nichidatsu Fujii(1885–1985), a Buddhist monk from Japan and founder of the Nipponzan-Myōhōji Buddhist Order.

Nichidatsu Fujii is best known for his decision of making Peace Pagoda/ stupa in different parts of the world from 1947 onwards. The object of these stupas is to unite people towards world peace. This stupa is a reflection of Japanese architecture. The stupa is about 94 ft in height and 75 ft in diameter. It is also famous for highlighting the four avatars of Gautam Buddha.

Entry Time: Everyday 4:30 am-7.00 pm
Entry Fees: Zero

11. NIPPONZAN MYOHOJI BUDDHIST TEMPLE:

Nipponzan Myohoji Buddhist Temple
Nipponzan Myohoji Buddhist Temple | Photo by Sujay25 (CC BY- SA 4.0)

This two storied Japanese Buddhist temple is located in the middle of the lush green valley in Darjeeling. The temple is also called the Nipponzan Myohoji Buddhist Temple, as it was initiated and established to represent the Nipponzan-Myōhōji Buddhist Order.

The temple has a big entrance followed by a big prayer hall. The prayer hall has a large golden statue of Buddha that represents peace. This temple is another magnificent example of perfect Japanese architecture. The monks can be seen reading and offering prayers in the temple premise.

Entry Time: Everyday 4:30 am-7.00 pm
Entry Fees: Zero
Best time to visit Nipponzan Myohoji Buddhist Temple: Throughout the year

12. BHUTIA BUSTY MONASTERY:

Bhutia Busty Monastery Darjeeling
View over Bhutia Busty Monastery – Darjeeling – West Bengal – India | Photo by Adam Jones (CC BY-SA 2.0)

This Buddhist Monastery is located in the Bhutia colony of Darjeeling is also known as Karmaa Dorjee Chyoling monastery. This monastery belongs to the Red Sect of Buddhist Lambas and is strongly associated with the Kagyu and Nyingma orders of Tibetan Buddhism.

It is about 1.2 kilometers away from the Darjeeling town. Originally, the monastery was located on the Observatory hills but later transferred to Darjeeling in 1879.

The monastery was destroyed time and again during several wars and earthquake in 1934,  Later with the help of Chogyal of Sikkim, the monastery was rebuilt and now is in proper condition. The monastery is built as a Typical Tibetan style with the influence of Sikkim culture to a certain extent.

This monastery is known for preserving some of the old Buddhist scripts and books. The monastery possesses the original copy of the famous “Book of Dead”, which is of high value in Buddhism.

Entry Time: 10.00 am- 4.00 pm on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday only.
Entry Fees:  Zero
Best time to visit Bhutia Busty Monastery: September to June

13. DALI MONASTERY:

Group at a Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Dali Darjeeling India
Group at a Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Dali, Darjeeling, India| Photo by Hyde Center (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The famous Dali monastery which is also known as the Druk Sangag Choling Monastery is one of the biggest monasteries in West Bengal and believed to be of great religious value. This monastery is about 2.5 kilometers away from the Darjeeling Railway Station and 4 kilometers away from Darjeeling town, on the famous Hill cart road of Darjeeling.

This monastery belongs to the Kargyupa sect of Tibetan Buddhism and was built by Kyabje Thuksey Rinpoche in 1971. Dali monastery is famous for preserving and practicing the Tibetan Buddhism culture. It was the home of Drukchen Rinpoche XII, who was the supreme leader of the Kargyupa sect. It is the home of more than 200 Himalayan Monks, who study and spread the Buddhist culture around.

Entry Time: Everyday 7.00 am-7.00 pm
Entry Fees: Zero
Best time to visit Dali monastery: Throughout the year

14. DARJEELING ROPEWAY:

darjeeling ropeway West Bengal
Darjeeling Ropeway| Photo by Ram Joshi (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Darjeeling Rangit Place Traveler Wire Car” commonly known as the ‘Darjeeling ropeway’ is India’s first traveler ropeway and one of the famous ropeways in Asia. Darjeeling ropeway is India’s first cable car system established in 1968 at an altitude of 7000 ft.

It connects and transports the passengers from North Point in Singamari to the Singla Bazaar, which are sited on either side of Ramman river. This tour gives the best view of numerous tea estates, waterfalls, and the regal Kanchenjunga.

Entry time: 10.00 am- 4.00 pm (Winter and Monsoon) and 10.00 am – 2.00 pm (Summer and Autumn)
Entry Fees:  INR 200 per person
Best time to visit Darjeeling ropeway: September to June

Read more: Top 14 Places to Visit in Lahaul and Spiti Valley

15. ROCK GARDEN:

Barbotey Rock Garden Darjeeling, West Bengal
Barbotey Rock Garden Darjeeling | Photo by Csheik (CC BY- SA 4.0)

About 10 kilometers down the Darjeeling valley, at Chunnu Summer-fall, the Rock Garden or Barbotey Rock Garden is a newly popular tourist attraction in Darjeeling. It is a multilayered garden around the Chunnu summer fall which is a natural fall in this valley. Numerous small bridges are constructed over the stream on your way ahead in this garden that presents a beautiful view of the fall flowing through the rocks.

The rocks bend here and there and then gets merged into a small lake which is popular for boating. The roads towards this garden are steep with sharp bends. One can view the beautiful Darjeeling landscape and Kanchenjunga ranges in this route

Entry Time: Everyday 10.00 am- 4.00 pm
Entry Fees:  INR 10 per person(Indian)// INR 50 per person (Foreigner)
Best time to visit Rock Garden: Throughout the year.

 

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