Darjeeling


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Darjeeling

The name Darjeeling comes from the Tibetan words “Dorje”, which is the thunderbolt sceptre of the Hindu deity Indra, and “ling, which means "a place" or "land". The history of Darjeeling is intertwined with that of Nepal, Sikkim, British India, and Bhutan. Until the early 19th century, the hilly area around Darjeeling was controlled by the Sikkim with the settlement consisting of a few villages of the Lepcha and Kirati people. The Chogyal of Sikkim had been engaged in unsuccessful warfare against the Gorkhas of Nepal. From 1780, the Gorkhas made several attempts to capture the entire region of Darjeeling. By the beginning of the 19th century, they had overrun Sikkim as far eastward as the Teesta River and had conquered and annexed the Terai and the entire area now belonged to Nepal. In the meantime, the British were engaged in preventing the Gorkhas from over-running the whole of the northern frontier. The Anglo-Gorkha war broke out in 1814, which resulted in the defeat of the Gorkhas and subsequently led to the signing of the Sugauli Treaty in 1816. According to the treaty, Nepal had to cede all those territories which the Gorkhas had annexed from the Chogyal of Sikkim to the British East India Company (i.e. the area between Mechi River and Teesta River). Later in 1817, through the Treaty of Titalia, the British East India Company reinstated the Chogyal of Sikkim, restored all the tracts of land between the River Mechi and the River Teesta to the Chogyal of Sikkim and guaranteed his sovereignty.

Darjeeling conjures visions of serenity, of vibrant green hills steeped in splendor. Land of breathtaking beauty crowned by the majestic Himalayas, amidst undulating tea gardens, mesmerizing scenic beauty and great location popularly known as the Queen of the hills. Jewel in the crown of the Eastern Himalayas and offers spectacular views of the Himalayan ranges including Mount Everest, Mount Kanchendzonga and the spectacular Himalayan range. Famous for tea gardens, breathtaking valleys and scenery, situated at an elevation of 2123 meters / 70001 feet, it has a rich legacy. The traveler - whether a student or a adventurer, an ornithologist or a photographer, a botanist or an artist - one will find in Darjeeling an experience which will remain etched in memory forever. Kalimpong, Kurseong and Mirik are three subdivisions of Darjeeling hills. It is also known for its Mountain railways of India popularly known as Toy Train. Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List in the year 1999. It scales an elevation of 326 meters to 2,203 meters. We charter / hire Darjeeling Himalayan Railway or attach bogie subjected to the numger of guest. We do organize excursion with Darjeeling Himalayan Railway. Darjeeling Himalayan Train with Steam locomotive or diesel locomotive is hired or chartered by us. There are regular trains from New Jalpaiguri, Darjeeling, Kurseong and few arrangement for joy ride in DHR.

Darjeeling town is a hill station in north east India and is in the state of West Bengal. The nearest airport is Bagdogra (IXB) and the nearest major railway junction is New Jalpaiguri Railway Station (NJP). It takes about 3 to 3.5 hours to reach Darjeeling from both these locations by car. The town is small (about 10 square kilometers), Darjeeling is also a district and spans over a large area of about 3108 square kilometers. The district consist of Kalimpong, Mirik, Kurseong, Siliguri, Naxalbari, Bagdogra, Maneybhanjan, Sandakphu, Jorepokhori, Deollo, Pedong, Reshi, Samthar, Baramangua, Mungpoo, Odlabari, Latpanchar, etc are some of the other tourist spot.

The hill town was originally set up as a sanitarium or health resort by the British in mid 1800s. But over the years, it earned its name for its world famous aromatic or Orthodox tea and then with opening up of roads and Darjeeling Himalayan Railway. While driving to Darjeeling guest will cross numerous sprawling tea estates. Tailor made package tour of Darjeeling are organised by us . We also provide vehicle for tourist.

Darjeeling Places of Interest Natural History Museum

Natural history museums provides an insight into the natural world of flora and fauna of the region. These museums depict the archeological evidences of the natural world and evolution of the natural environment. Sightseeing in Darjeeling will definitely have this in your itinerary no matter whoever the travel agent is. This museum offer glimpses of the natural world. There are several gardens and museums in Darjeeling that attract a lot of visitors and Natural History museum is worth visiting. Other than the museum one can also visit the Padamaja Naidu Zoological Park, botanical and the Lloyd Botanical Garden in Darjeeling but the historical order and the system of this museum will certainly attract attention. Natural History Museum in Darjeeling was established in the year 1903. In this history museum one can get acquaintance with nearly over 4000 specimens of Himalayan fauna and also a number of fauna indigenous to this particular region. The attractions or draws at the museum include fish insects, birds, bird's eggs, reptiles, butterflies and a large number of herbarium. Also present are the rare variety of crocodile, the estuarine crocodile. This specie of crocodile is responsible for loss of many human lives in Asia. There is a veritable riot of colors at Bengal Natural History Museum at Darjeeling in the form of vibrant and beautiful butterflies. Other than the butterflies there are a number of stones in their mineral forms that are displayed in a beautiful manner. This History Museum remains open on Sunday and Thursday it remains closed. The Museum opens from 10.00 in the Morning to 4.00 in the evening.

Japanese Peace Pagoda / Bhutia Busty Monastery

This is a peace pagoda as the name suggest was built in the Japanese style. It was established by Nipponzan Myohoji, a Japanese Buddhist order in the year of 1972. It is situated on the slopes of the Jalapahar Hill. The landmark constructed by Japanese Monks commands an excellent view of the town and on a clear day one can view the Himalayan Range. The approach to the pagoda is by foot or on vehicle. The pagoda is supposed to be one of the highest free structures in the town. Its importance is enhanced as it is suppose to showcases the four avatars of Buddha. Peace Pagoda is amonument which adds to the beauty to the landscape of Darjeeling and is situated nearly two kilometers from Chow Rasta. It is 28.5 meters from the ground level and has a diameter of 23 meters. There are four statues of Buddha in gold polish and eight carvings on sandstone depicting different stages of Buddha’s life in the wall of the Pagoda.It was established by the Japanese and close to this Pagoda is the monastery of the same sect. The monastery was built in 1972 but the in 1989 work on the Pagoda began and was inaugurated in 1992. An ideal spot to spend few moments with the sound of the mystic peace mantra.Bhutia Busty Monastery is situated about ten minutes walk from the Chow Rasta. It is on the way that passes besides the Step Aside Cottage. The monastery was built as a branch of the Phodong monastery of Sikkim by the Chogyal of Sikkim.

War Memorial

This war memorial was erected in Ghoom, Darjeeling in memory of brave Gorkha soldiers of Darjeeling and the surrounding hills. This soldier laid down their lives for the country in all wars and operations since independence. It was officially sanctified on 22nd March 1995. There is an entry fee of Rupees Five to this memorial. It is in the center of the Batasia Loop. One can visit this memorial from toy train also as it goes around this memorial making a circular path to gain height here. There is a special train from Darjeeling which is solely with the purpose to visit the War Memorial, Batasia Loop and Ghoom Monastery. This memorial for the Gorkha soldiers who sacrificed their lives after the Indian Independence in 1947 is the main attraction of the area. From the Batasia Loop one can get a panoramic view of Darjeeling town with the snowy peak of Kanchenjunga and other peaks of Himalayan Range in the back - drop. A beautiful garden has been laid for the guest to spend time in the area. There is the famous Ghoom monastery situated just opposite to the Batasia Loop or the War Memorial hence guest visiting the area can enjoy all these places. It is advisable for the guest to visit this area either early morning or late evening to get a glimpse of the beauty of the Himalaya and the rising or setting sun.

Himalayan Mountaineering Institute

This mountaineering institute was founded in 1954 to commemorate the historic conquest of Everest on the 29th of May 1953, when Tenzing Norgay Sherpa of Darjeeling and Edmund Hillary of New Zealand set foot on Mount Everest. Edmund Hillary of New Zealand went on to be titled as Sir Edmund Hillary for the great achievement. The Institute was formed with the sole intention of imparting mountaineering skills to all the enthusiasts and was initiated by the Indian prime minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. Tenzing Sherpa was one of the founding members and the Field Director of the Institute. It is situated on Jawahar Parbat adjoining The Padmaja Naidu Zoological Park. This Institute houses a museum which holds a rare collection of mementos from various Everest expeditions. Nawang Gombu, the first man to have climbed the Everest twice is presently the Chief Advisor for the Mountaineering Training. The institute till date has various rock climbing and mountaineering courses.

Padmaja Naidu zoological Park / Shrubbery Nightingale Park

This is one of the best high altitude wild life parks in India. It is the home of the Siberian Tiger, Himalayan Black Bear, Barking Deer, Red Panda and a variety of other rare wildlife. Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park or the Darjeeling Zoo exhibits some rare Himalayan Fauna including the Snow Leopard, Red panda, Tibetan Wolf, Himalayan Pheasants, etc. It is a real treat for all wild life enthusiasts. The park is situated in the same enclosure as of Himalayan Mountaineering Institute hence is the biggest crowd puller in Darjeeling. Tourist can also enjoy the nearby Snow Leopard Breeding Centre. Shrubbery Nightingale Park - It was once the private courtyard of Sir Thomas Tartan’s bungalow which was referred to simply as The Shrubbery. This property was developed as a public park. First a popular resort for British women who would come to drink tea and chat in the 1950s and 60s. A musical fountain is one of the park’s contemporary attractions. It is better to visit this park in the evening, it is romantic and serene.

Tiger Hill / Ghoom Monastery / Yiga Choling Monastery

It is situated at an elevation of nearly 8500 feet / 2600 meters. Tiger hill is nearly 35 minutes drive and is 11 kilometers from town of Darjeeling. It can be reached either by jeep or by foot through Chowrasta, Alubari - Jore Bungalow and then the incline up to the summit which takes about 2 hours. Tiger Hill is the summit of one of the peaks at Ghoom. Ghoom is also known for the highest railway station on the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (UNESCO World Heritage Site). Tiger Hill is known for the spectacular sunrise over the Himalaya. Panorama of the Kangchenjunga from Darjeeling's Tiger Hill when the first rays of the sun shed light upon the peaks of Himalayan peaks and then bathing it in a beautiful range of color. From Tiger Hill, Mount Everest is visible, peeping out through two other peaks standing by its side.

Mount Makalu looks higher than Mount Everest due to the curve in the horizon. Bird’s eye distance is nearly 107 miles to Mount Everest. Chumal Rhi mountain of Tibet nearly 84 miles away looks like a great rounded mass over the snowy Chola Range. While at Tiger Hill one can also visit Senchel sanctuary and the artificial lake which serve as a reservoir of water supply to the Darjeeling town. Yiga Choling Monastery in Ghoom is nearly 7 kilometers away from Darjeeling town. The monastery belongs to the Gelugpa sect and was built in 1975 by a lama Sherpa Gyantso and contains a 5 meters high statue of Maitrey Buddha. This was unveiled and sanctified on 1918. The interior of the statue contains precious stones which are also studded on the surface of the image and there are sixteen volumes of the sacred commandments of Buddha printed in Tibetans.

Rock Garden / Ganga Maiya Park

Barbotey Rock Garden or popularly known as the Rock garden with its beautiful falls called the Chunnu Summer Falls. The Ganga Maya Park near it is also an added tourist attraction in the town of Darjeeling, West Bengal, India. There is another rock garden in Darjeeling known as Sir John Anderson Rock Garden and is a part of is a part of Lloyd's Botanical Garden. Situated approximately 10 kilometers from Darjeeling is a drive to be remembered with great rise and fall of heights. The road is to the right well before reaching Ghoom. The road descends rapidly into the valley. With sharp bends all the way, there are breathtaking / scenic views at many The Rock Garden is not one in the conventional sense. With a natural fall, artificial pond and various view points makes it attractive. The garden offers a beautiful view of a hill stream cascading over rocks along the slope, done up with flower gardens and sitting spaces at different levels. The Ganga Maya Park is further down the road nearly 3 kilometers from the Rock Garden. Mountain stream, past gazebos, clumps of flowering shrubs and trees, lake with boating facilities are available.

Tibetan Refugee Self Help CenterDhirdham Temple

The Tibetan Refugee Self Help Center in Darjeeling was established to give shelter to the Tibetans refugees. It is a rehabilitation centre in the hills region established in 1st October, 1959. The resident produces Tibetan handicraft and is their main activity for a livelihood. It is located at the hillside of Lebong in the district of Darjeeling, in West Bengal, India District of West Bengal. In the month of June 1960, the Centre started a small Nursery School also.Dhirdham Temple resembles the famous Pashupatinath Temple of Kathmandu, Nepal and was built in 1939. It is situated just below the railway station. Ava Art Gallery is nearly 2 kilometers from Chow Rasta on the way to Ghoom. Inside the gallery are displayed some of the fine art and embroidery works of Ava Devi. These places of interest are not so common among tourist but again some guests are interested to visit these places. We extend all support to visit these places of interest.

Chow Rasta

A major attraction of the Chow Rasta is the Mule rides and is an ideal place to take a relaxed stroll. It’s a small plateau with sitting arrangement and with the view of the Himalayan range and it is situated on the ridge above the Darjeeling town and is lined with shops and restaurants. Like on Nehru Road below the Chow Rasta is Glenary’s Restaurant that is neat and spacious and offers a wide range of meals with a confectionery on the ground floor. Amigos on the Chow Rasta and Keventer’s Snack Bar on the Nehru Road and Robertson Road are also good places for some snacks. What the Ridge is to Simla, Chow Rasta is to Darjeeling. Benches line the Mall on the Chow Rasta and one can sit on these to enjoy a few quiet moments. The beautifully designed wooden shops on the Mall are more than a century ago and still reminds one of the British era. Many curio shops sell thankas (scrolls with religious paintings), fabrics, wood - carvings, carpets and many other products.

Natural History Museum / Observatory Hill / Lloyd Botanical Garden

A few minutes walk from Chow Rasta is the Natural History Museum which has a wide range collection of preserved reptiles, birds, butterflies and other insects. A visit to the museum is a must especially for scholars of natural sciences. One can also walk on the road that skirts around the Observatory Hill and brings you back to where you started and takes about half an hour to cover. Above the Chow Rasta is the Observatory Hill on which is the Mahakal temple. Lloyd Botanical Garden is nearly ten minutes walk from the Chow Rasta a forty acre garden. It has a wide range of flora like chestnut, ash, birch, magnolia and maple trees with various species of orchids, azaleas and many other plants. A huge green house in the garden accommodates some of the species that are vulnerable to the weather it is a representation of all the types of flora that is found in the Himalayan region. The garden is more than century old and was donated by a British banker residing in Darjeeling.

Darjeeling Himalayan Railway

The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway is also popularly known as the Toy Train or the DHR. It runs on a 2 feet / 610 millimeter gauge also known as the narrow gauge. This popular railway line connects New Jalpaiguri Station from Siliguri to Darjeelingin the Indian state of West Bengal. This railway line is in the section of North East Frontier Railways under the Indian Railways. Siliguri located in the plains at the base of the Himalayas is connected with Kolkata by standard gauge railway in 1878. The road from the hills of Darjeeling to Siliguri had cart services in ancient times. Hence the road is known as the Hill Cart Road. The Darjeeling Himalayan Railways use to be part of the Hill Cart Road.Franklin Prestage an agent of Bengal Railway Company approached with a proposal of laying a steam tramway from Siliguri to Darjeeling. Sir Ashley Eden, the Lieutenant Governor of Bengal formed a committee to assess the feasibility of the project and the proposal was accepted in 1879 and construction started the same year.

In the year 1880 eight steam locomotives arrive from the works of Messrs Sharp Stewart, Manchester, England. In the month of March Lord Lytton, the Viceroy of India inaugurated the railway line for the people between Siliguri and Kurseong.The purpose of the railway was to reduce the haulage rates of commodities to Darjeeling and to improve the viability of local industries such as tea production.In the year 1881, July 3rd the line was officially opened to Darjeeling. It is 51 miles / 82 kilometers in length. The elevation was from 400 feet / 120 meters at Siliguri to the highest point at Ghoom / Ghum is 7407 feet / 2257 meters and finally descending to Darjeeling at 6812 feet / 2075 meters. The Company is renamed the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway Co.In the year 1999 - The DHR is awarded World Heritage status by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). This was the second railway in the world to get such status. 41 kilometers Semmering Railway in Austria was the first. UNESCO states that DHR is an outstanding example of the influence of an innovative transportation system on the social and economic development of a multi-cultural region which was to serve as a model for similar developments in many parts of the world.

Ghoom Monastery

This monastery is situated just opposite to the Batasia Loop or the War Memorial. Nearly 8 kilometers from Darjeeling is the Ghoom Gompa. Here a very beautiful statue of the Maitriyia Buddha is established. The Monastery has also preserved some of the rare handwritten Buddhist manuscripts. There are three other Gumpha like Samdenchoeling, Sakyachoeling and the Phin Sotholing. Midway between Ghoom and entry of Darjeeling town is the Thupten Sangachoeling Gompa. Tourist and Guest interested in Tibetan Buddhism often visit or study here. A little closer to Darjeeling on the same road is the Sonada Gompa.This place also has a very good market where you can buy the purses, bags and other decorative items made by the local women at very reasonable price The monks or many Buddhist women sells Tibetan handicrafts and religious objects. If the monastery is closed nearby cottages will definitely please you with their ware. It is advisable for the guest to visit this area either early morning or late evening to get a glimpse of the beauty of the Himalaya and the rising or setting sun. At Ghoom one can spend more than a day. The Monastery, The highest Railway Station of Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, The War Memorial, Batasia Loop and the scenic beauty is worth enjoying.

Ava Art Gallery

It is a colourfull building and can be seen from the main road entering Darjeeling. Bright colored two storied building on the left as you drive along the main highway or the Hill Cart Road towards the town center. At the outskirts of the town and 4 kilometers away from the center of the town is this historical Gallery. Ava Art Gallery was jointly established in 1965 by Late Ava Devi who was known as a genius of embroidery art and Bhopal Rao Sett. The gallery showcases a permanent collection of over 60 pieces of exquisite artwork includes oil, water and thread paintings .Inside, there is a permanent collection of sixty pieces of exquisite artwork of Ava Devi including water, oil and thread paintings. There are two special paintings in the gallery that you must not miss. Two painting called Strong and Torture seems to observe some delicate hand made embroidery and Silk appliqué as well. The silk work has been done by splitting the silk thread some 20 times.

SOME MORE PLACES

Other places of interest for visit / stay are Lepchajagat, Baramangua, Tinchuley, Peshok, Palmajua, Jorepokhori, Sukhiapokhri are few other spots worth visiting. Maneybhanjan is the base camp for Sandakphu. Kurseong – At an altitude of 4860 feet / 1482 meters and it is exactly halfway between Darjeeling and Siliguri. It is a bustling town. A quiet town between Siliguri and Darjeeling noted for its secluded charm and Eagle's Crag, offering a commanding view of the undulating plains below. Places to visit are Eagle's Crag, Deer Park, Forest Museum, Giddhapahar Netaji (Subhash Chandra Bose) Museum, Shiv Mandir, Makaibari Tea Estate, Saint Mary’s Hill, Downhill, Bagora and Chimney Dhura. Few beautiful Places like Chatakpur Home stay, Kettle Valley, Tathagata Home Stay, Takdah, Dilaram, Sittong Home Stay near Latpanchar, Lamahatta near Tinchuley are fast gaining popularity among tourist.

Communication / Connectivity Airways

Bagdogra Airport (IXB) is approximately 100 kilometers from Darjeeling. Bagdogra airport is served by regular Indian Airlines, Spice Jet, Kingfisher and Jet Airways. There are daily flights from Kolkata, Guwahati and Delhi. The airport is well connected by road and railways. Private vehicles for nearby tourist spots are available from the airport.

Railways

Darjeeling has a narrow gauge Junction with the heritage train plying from New Jalpaiguri (NJP) to Darjeeling on daily basis. New Jalpaiguri (NJP) is approximately 100 kilometers away and is the nearest major railway station. New Jalpaiguri (NJP) station has all the three gauges i.e. Narrow, Meter and Broad. There are regular train services to all the major railway station like Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata, Patna, Mumbai, etc.

Roadways

Situated in the extreme end of National Highway number 55. Branches off from National Highway number 31 and at a distance of 90 kilometers from Siliguri is Darjeeling. It is approximately 100 kilometers from Bagdogra Airport (IXB). It is a little over a 115 kilometers from Gangtok, and approximately 60 kilometers from Kalimpong. Darjeeling is well connected to Siliguri by four alternate routes.