Darjeeling is one of the most scenic hill stations in West Bengal. The unequivocal queen of hills is nestled at the Lesser Himalayas at an altitude of 6,700 ft, and its beauty is like no other. If you are someone who loves the charm and beauty that comes with a quaint hill station, then Darjeeling is your best bet. Darjeeling is both a town and a district, and it is a place you would want to revisit time and time again. The quaint and beautiful little town tucked in between dense green canopy and overlooking the majestic and breathtaking Kanchenjunga is a sight to behold. The Kanchenjunga, the third highest mountain in the world, can sometimes be a rare sight, but this elusive nature makes seeing it and your trip to Darjeeling more worthwhile. However, there are, of course, other places that are equally as mesmerising. Let’s take a look at a few that you can visit over the course of a weekend trip.
A trip to Darjeeling will be amiss if you do not go to Tiger Hill. Trust me: it is tradition! With bated breath and the chill in your bones, get dressed for the occasion and head out by 4 AM to go to Tiger Hill. There is nothing more enchanting than watching the sunrise with the Kanchenjunga in all of her glory, changing colours along with the sun. While there, sip on tea or coffee to keep yourself warm and take in the sight that nothing else can compare to.
The toy train ride in Darjeeling is notoriously famous and rightly so! The train ride starts from Darjeeling railway station and will take you to Ghoom, the second-highest railway station in the world, and back via Batasia Loop. The ride covers a total of 14 km and takes about 2 hours. The ride itself is fun and entertaining, especially for children. The scenery is breathtaking and will fill your heart with happiness. No wonder this toy train in Darjeeling has been accorded a UNESCO World Heritage Site status. You should check out the timing of the rides on the website of the Indian Railways as they are subject to change depending on seasonal demands.
If you are craving a little spiritual experience, then Ghoom Monastery is a must. There is something genuinely divine about synchronous chanting of the Lamas that early in the morning – the air gets filled by their prayers and will take you to a calmer and more collected state. Inside, you will be greeted with the 15 feet high statue of Maitreya Buddha, which will definitely feel like an out-of-body experience. The Ghoom Monastery, the oldest Tibetan monastery in Darjeeling, is beautiful inside and out, and the experience will stick with you long after you have gone home.
If you are in Darjeeling and do not visit a tea garden in the district, then you really will lose out on a beautiful experience. Apart from tasting some excellent tea and getting the opportunity to buy some for relatives back home, you can sit in the garden and take in the acres of verdant tea plantation in front of you in the chilly weather. The hot and flavourful tea, along with nature’s beauty, will definitely keep you occupied for a couple of hours. The best time to visit a tea garden is in the afternoon.
Although the Mall Road, better known as simply the Mall, is the place you go to regroup at any point in the day, it is advisable to spend a reasonable amount of time here to get your shopping dreams fulfilled. The Mall is teeming with shops that sell various things, and you would not be able to stop yourself from buying them. And if you are tired of all the walking, remember to visit Glenary's and Keventer’s not only for their sumptuous food but also for the stunning sight of the hilly terrain you can behold from the restaurants.
The Peace Pagoda, built in 1992, is truly a place where you can find some peace after the hustle and bustle of city life. The Japanese-style Pagoda was built under the direction of Buddhist monk Nichidatsu Fujii and welcomes people from all religion, caste and creed. Visit the Pagoda and take in the serenity and the beauty of nature while you recharge and become one with yourself. The Peace Pagoda remains open from 4:30 AM to 7 PM.
Darjeeling is well connected by road, rail and air. The nearest airport is Bagdogra, while the nearest train station is New Jalpaiguri (NJP). You can also reach Siliguri by road. From all of these places, it will take around 3 hours to get to Darjeeling town. There are ample taxis and other vehicles that you can board from all of these places, which will take you directly to Darjeeling.
The best time to visit Darjeeling is from March to May (spring) and from October to November (autumn). The weather is perfect during these times, and you will feel a nice chill without experiencing the biting cold. However, avoid travelling during the monsoons as landslides can ruin your plans.
Darjeeling’s beauty lies in its peaceful atmosphere surrounded by warm and loving people and breathtaking nature. The queen of hills will help you cleanse your soul and bring peace and happiness because of how calming it is. Bengalis grow up hearing stories of how a trip to Darjeeling can change your life – it is time for you to experience it as well, at least over a weekend.
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