About Darjeeling

What can one do in darjeeling..   Plenty. To start with, there is a lot of walking around town that one can do. One can start with brisk morning and evening walks around the Mall, or walk up to St. Paul’s School, or take the back road to Jorebungalow with stunning views of the mountains and valleys, or a casual walk to the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute and Himalayan Zoo.

One cannot, of course, come to Darjeeling and not visit a Tea garden. Darjeeling Tea is famous all over the world for its delicate flavour and aroma. So while you are in town it would be worth your while to visit any of the nearby tea gardens that produce the “champagne of teas!”

A must-do in Darjeeling has to be to wake up before the crack of dawn and drive up to Tiger Hill to see the sun rise over the Himalayas. This is a sight guaranteed to remain a thrill for life! Imagine being able to see four of the world’s five highest mountains at one glance, including Mount Everest.

Another thrill that one can never get anywhere else in the world is to take a joy ride on the famous Darjeeling Himalayan Railway or the popular Toy Train, driven up and down the hills by steam engines constructed over a hundred years ago! A Trip to Ghoom at 7407 ft - the highest railway station in India - can be very exciting. Incidentally, it is called the toy train because the span of the tracks is an amusing, if incredible, 24 inches!

Darjeeling is also home to several Buddhist monasteries, ranging from some over two hundred years old and still continuing as living communities for the Lamas to those that have come up in more recent times. The most famous of these are the ones at Bhutia Busty, Ghoom, Bloomfield.

Among the other places one must visit is the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute - perhaps India’s most well known mountaineering institute with its famous line of Sherpa instructors. The Institute houses a very interesting Everest Museum, exhibiting some of the most intriguing artefacts from man’s early efforts to conquer the highest mountain in the world.

Equally interesting is the Himalayan Zoo next door which attracts several visitors to its unique Red Panda and Snow Leopard Breeding centres - one of its kind in the world.

If you wish to see the world famous Tibetan carpets being hand-woven or would like to take home a sample the best place for this is the Tibetan Refugee Self Help Centre near Lebong. Here you are assured of a genuine product at value for money prices.

There are plenty of restaurants in the town to cater to all kinds of palates; but if you are in Darjeeling you cannot miss out on a plate of piping hot steaming momos or thukpa (noodle soup), garnished with some really hot chilly paste (if that suits you!). There are several places that serve this delicacy - ask the friendly local for the best choices.

Darjeeling offers the shopaholic plenty of things to see and buy. Basically, the town is divided into two parts - the Lower Bazar (also called Chowk Bazar) with its quaint vegetable stalls, tea shops and bric-a-brac and the Upper Market, along Nehru Road, near the mall, with photo studios, curios, book shops and up market restaurants.

Other interesting sites to visit in and around Darjeeling are the Batasia War Memorial and Railway Loop, the Observatory Hill, Tenzing and Gombu Rocks, the Natural History Museum, Lloyd’s Botanical Garden, the Shruberry Garden, Step-A-Side and the Darjeeling Rangeet Passenger Ropeway.

The nearest airport is Bagdogra which is well connected with almost all the major airports in the country. Taxis ply regularly between the airport and Darjeeling. Springburn will arrange for you to be picked up or dropped at the airport. Please ask the Reception for details.

The nearest railhead is New Jalpaiguri (more popularly called NJP). Major trains from all over the country pass through this important railway junction.

Taxis and buses are available at the Railway Station to bring you to Darjeeling and if you so wish, Springburn can also make the arrangements for you! Another way of travelling from NJP to Darjeeling is on the Toy Train but do enquire if the service is running because often landslides on the railway track do lead to cancellation of services.

One can visit Darjeeling all round the year. The summer time is a good time to escape the heat of the plains and see the flowers in bloom. The autumn and winter months are the best time to see the mountain ranges.

The weather, at any given time in the year, is quite unpredictable and therefore we would suggest carrying light woollens in summer and something more warm in the autumn and winter months.

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