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Located in the crag of the lofty mountains at an altitude of 2050mt is Darjeeling a famous hill station of West Bengal. Overlooking the mesmerizing snow capped Himalayas range Darjeeling has enthralled the minds of people from far and wide with its aromatic tea leaves. The valleys enclosing this pictorial town are dotted with lush tea gardens. Darjeeling is also the home of first hill passenger locomotive “Darjeeling Himalayan Railway”. DHR or as commonly known as “Toy Train” is one of the crown jewel of Darjeeling tourism. In 1999 DHR of Darjeeling was listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Since 1881 Darjeeling Toy Train has retained its original state. The unique landscape of Darjeeling has made it an adventurers’ hub where visitors can indulge in adventure activities like mountain biking, trekking, paragliding, and rock climbing.
Chowrasta, located in the heart of this scenic hill station is the most popular hangout destination. Offering the view of Mt Kanchenjunga on one side and colonial structure on the other, Chowrasta has being a favored tourist attraction of Darjeeling. The word Chowrasta is derived from the native language which means Junction of Four roads. From Chowrasta visitors can take a leisurely walk towards the famous Mall Road of Darjeeling. Along bustling with people of all age group due to free Wifi here visitors are safe from the constant buzzing and honking of vehicle. Chowrasta is the first vehicular and smoking free zone in Darjeeling.
Located below the taxi stand of Darjeeling is Lloyd Botanical Garden. Housing an impressive collection of orchids, rhododendron, and cactus Llyod Botanical Garden is the first and only botanical garden of its kind in Darjeeling. It was established in 1878 after William Lloyd gifted this land to build a botanic garden as distinct as of Botanical Garden of Kolkata. Lloyd Botanical Garden has become an ideal picnicking spot and spending some leisurely time while enjoying the vibrant view of blooming orchids and rhododendrons.
Lloyd Botanical Garden Timings: 8:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Perched at an altitude of 7000mt, Padmaja Naidu Zoological Park is the largest zoo of West Bengal. Padmaja Naidu Zoological Park also known as Darjeeling zoo is one of the highest altitude zoos. It is worldwide famous for its captive breeding of endangered species like Red Panda, Snow Leopard, Himalayan Salamander, and Tibetan Wolf. Darjeeling Zoo is famous for housing Royal Bengal Tiger, Black Bear and exotic species of bird. Visitors can also visit the Bengal Natural History Museum in Darjeeling Zoo. Here visitors can learn about the living and extinct species which inhabitant the dense forest of Eastern Himalayas.
Padmaja Naidu Zoological Park Timings: 8:30 am to 4:00 pm (Closed on Thursdays)
Entry fee of Padmaja Naidu Zoological Park for: Indians- Rs 30 | Foreign Nationals- Rs 100
Batasia Loop is a famous tourist destination situated on the road between Darjeeling and Ghoom. Sited amidst the well manicured garden Batasia Loop offers the panoramic vista of Darjeeling town. It is located at a distance of 8km from Darjeeling. Batasia Loop was built to overcome a gradient when railway tracks where laid in the hilly slopes of Darjeeling. Here, visitors can see the iconic Toy Train of Darjeeling making a 180 degree turn in the famous loop of Batasia. There is also a war memorial built to commemorate the soldiers.
Batasia Loop Timings: 5:00 am to 8:00 pm
Entry fee of Batasia Loop: Rs 20
Located above Ghoom Station of Darjeeling Tiger Hill is most famous sunrise point of Darjeeling. At an altitude of 2590mt Tiger Hill is the highest hill of Darjeeling. The distance from the taxi stand of Darjeeling to Tiger Hill is 12km. Visitors from far and wide travel to Darjeeling to witness the sunrise over Mt Kanchenjunga and its surrounding range from Tiger Hill. The sunrise from Tiger Hill has left traveler awe-stricken and mesmerized.
Nestled amidst the emerald green forest of Darjeeling atop the Jaldapahar hill is the famous Japanese Peace Pagoda of Darjeeling. The white washed stupa of Japanese Peace Pagoda is the located at a 10mins walking distance from Darjeeling. The construction of Japanese Peace Pagoda started in 1972 under the commandment of Nichidatsu Fuji and was finally inaugurated in 1992. Housing the four avatars of Buddha including Maitreya Buddha Japanese Peace Pagoda has become one of the places in Darjeeling to find tranquility and peace of mind.
Japanese Peace Pagoda Timings: 6:00am to 6:00pm
Flanked across the cascading waterfall in scenic gorge is Barbotey Rock Garden or Rock Garden of Darjeeling. It is a man-made picnic terrace garden which has become one of the prime attractions of Darjeeling for nature lovers. Barbotey Rock Garden is located at a distance of 11km from main town of Darjeeling. It was built to boost the tourism of Darjeeling after the riot of 1980’s. Here in Barbotey Rock Garden visitors gets an impeccable view of sprawling tea garden and lofty hills. The best way to relish the beauty of Barbotey Rock Garden is by indulging in boating. Although the ride towards this pictorial tourist destination is bit rough but the surreal view of water cascading down the rugged terrain is enough to put anyone under a trance. During monsoon season the waterfall of Barbotey Rock Garden can be seen at its pristine form.
Barbotey Rock Garden Timings: 8:00 am to 6:00 pm
Entry fee of Barbotey Rock Garden: Rs 10
Located above Sonada at a distance of 16 km from Darjeeling Chatakpur is a scenically blessed eco village in Darjeeling. Blessed with rich flora and fauna Chatakpur is situated along the periphery of Senchel Wildlife Sanctuary. It is one of the offbeat destinations of Darjeeling which is famous for its surreal sunrise over snowcapped Himalayan range. The rustic life style, astounding trekking route and serene ambiance Chatakpur has become a must visit destination for nature lovers and travelers who wants to find solitude amidst nature.
How to Reach Darjeeling: Situated at a higher altitude Darjeeling does not have its own airport. The closest airport of Darjeeling is at Bagdogra at a distance of 96km. Visitors can board a fight for Bagdogra from major cities of India like Kolkata, Mumbai and Delhi. From Bagdogra visitors can easily reach Darjeeling in hired cab and shared taxi. If visitors are traveling through train they need to board the train for New Jalpaiguri Railway Station. The distance between NJP to Darjeeling is 72km.
Best time to visit Darjeeling: Each season has its own beauty of relish in Darjeeling but summer season (April to mid June) is the best time to visit Darjeeling. This time is ideal for escaping the scorching summer heat of plain region. But for the visitors who want to indulge in adventure activities like trekking and rock climbing in Darjeeling October to Mid December is the best time. This time is also perfect to witness an unhindered view of Mt Kanchenjunga and its surrounding ranges from Darjeeling.