The toy train
coming from Siliguri is some thing which is liked by the elders
and the children equally. The real fun in coming to Darjeeling
is on the toy train. It takes six to seven hours to cover a
distance of 82 kms and the slow speed gives you enough time to
watch and appreciate the beauty which nature has provided it.
This train passes through the Forests, waterfalls, over deep
valleys and through the mountains and tunnels.
Trekking In Darjeeling
of the famous trekking route taken by the trekkers is that of the
Darjeeling-Sandakphu / Phalut trek. This trekking route is best
during the months of April, May, October and November. As during
these seasons the visibility is clear and the weather is also
hospitable. For trekking on this route one does not have to carry
much luggage as the Gorkha Hill Council has provided trekkers hut
and other facilities all along the route. But it is advisable to
carry your own sleeping bags. On this route the trekker must be
prepared for all kinds of weather and high altitude mountain
sickness. The trek passes through low areas and very high ridges
so temperature varies a lot be prepared for all types of weather.
There surroundings may be very attractive but there are some areas
which have long stretches without any water, so carry water with
yourself. Regular meals are available. Guides and porters can also
Phalut is also called the view point of the Himalayas and is one
of the most important & famous treks in the region. The trek
starts with a small bus trip to Manaybhanjang. From here the trek
passes through the mountains to Sandakphu. From here you can
proceed further up or you can return via Rimbik then to Darjeeling
by Bus. One can also take a short cut and not go to Ohalut. From
Sandakphu backtrek to Bikhay Bhanjang and cut across to Rimbik.
But keep in mind that this trek is a difficult one with no water
or food in between.
Prime Attractions of Darjeeling
This railway loop
is an interesting example of engineering. At this loop the toy
train takes a very unique turn. This loop is just five kilometer
from the main town of Darjeeling. 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.
With the back drop
of the Kanchenjunga range stands on a monastery called the Bhutia
Busty Gompa. This monastery was shifted from the observatory hills
to the present place. The Gompa is a branch of the Nyingmapa
sect's Phodang Monastery in Sikkim. The monastery is not far from
the chowrasta and is very tastefully decorated. It also has a
library which has a copy of the Tibetan Book of the Dead.
This place is worth
a visit for its exotic and exclusive collection of a variety of
Himalayan plants, flowers and orchids. This place is near the taxi
stand. The gardens also has a green house.
This is one of the
important place for shopping in Darjeeling . Here the Nehru Road and
the Mall Road intersect each other. The snow capped peaks of Kanchenjunga are visible from this place. Near Chowrata
several Hindu and Buddhists temples. This place is over flowing
with foreign tourists. You can also enjoy a pony ride form this
About 8 kms from
Darjeeling is the Dhoom Gompa. Here a very beautiful statue of the
Maitrayie Buddha ( prospective Buddha) is established. The
Monastery has also preserved some of the rare handwritten Buddhist
Here the tea from
the gardens is processed. One can spent a few hours here. Entry is
only allowed to persons who have permission from any officer of
Mountaineering Institute & Museums
Mountaineering Institute is on the West Jawahar road. The
institute runs courses for training mountaineers as well as has
the very good collection of mountaineering equipments which have
been used in various mountaineering expeditions or otherwise.
Specimens of Himalayan flora and fauna are also kept here. The
record of attempts made to conquer Mt. Everest has been kept in
the Mt.Everest Museum. The institute also screens short films on
mountaineering. You can also view the Himalayan peaks through the
Zeiss Telescope given to the Nepalese Maharaja by Hitler. Sherpa
Tenzing Norgay was the Director of this institute for many years
and he was cremated near the institute after his death in 1986.
Near the institute is Srabri which gives a very good view of the
Single valley and the Kanchenjunga range. One can sit at Srabri
and feel the cool breeze from the valley.
From Darjeeling one
can have the best, uninterrupted view of the worlds third highest
peak. Bhan Bhakta Sarani provides one of the enthralling views of
these snow capped peaks. The Chowrasta also gives you a good sight
to the Kanchenjunga peak.
Kurseong is mid way
between Siliguri and Darjeeling. The way from Darjeeling to
Kurseong is generally open throughout the year. So, the toy train
is not coming to Siliguri then you can come up to Kurseong. This
place is equally beautiful and is full of natural splendour.
The museum has a
collection of over 4300 specimen . Established in 1903, this
natural history museum packs in its folds a rich collection of
fauna found in the Himalayas and in Bengal. Among the attractions
are included in the estuarine crocodiles. This unique museum also has
a good collection of butterflies. The mineral forms of various
stones are displayed in a very attractive manner in the museum.
point provides one of the breathtaking views of Kanchenjunga
peaks. This place is also very sacred for the Hindus and the
Buddhists as there are temples and the monasteries at this place.
The Kali temple is decorated with the colourful flags. Be aware of
the monkey groups as some of these are very aggressive.
attraction in Darjeeling has been the ropeway. This was the first
ropeway in India. It connects the North point (7000 ft) to the
Singla Bazaar (800 ft). The rope covers a distance of 8 kms in 45
minutes. The seats in the ropeway is limited and it is better to
get the tickets in advance. The ropeway is exciting and unique for
any one visiting Darjeeling.
Where the road from
Gangtok to Darjeeling takes its great bend high above the Teesta
river, directly opposite Kanchenjunga, a Buddhist monk many years
ago is believed to have proclaimed "Rungli Rungliot" This pious
benediction which, literally translated, means "thus far and no
further" is alive and well today in the shape of one of the most
celebrated tea gardens in the Darjeeling hills. The village is
steeped in legend.
A scenic place near
the tiger hills. This place has popularly come up as a picnic spot
among the tourists. The lake supplies drinking water to the town
Siliguri / New
The twin Cities of
Siliguri and New Jalpaiguri are the departure point to Darjeeling,
Sikkim and the North Eastern States. Being the nodal point this
place has become very busy and crowded. This area has got
population over 2.5 lakh people. Siliguri also acts as a transit
point for Nepal. This place is not very pleasant to stay as there
are always long lines of buses and trucks. These trucks and
vehicles might be good for business but they provide very ugly
sight. Tourists come to Siliguri and New Jalpaiguri mainly to
change bus or catch trains. If you have time then visit the almost
forgotten wild life sanctuary of Jaldhapara. The best season to
visit this park is between October and May. This is the time when the
new grass has come up and animals are out there. The sanctuary has
elephants, dears, tigers and other animals but the main attraction
is the Rhinos which are threatened by the poachers. Elephant
Safari can be taken from Hollong.
zoologists and the environmental scientists are trying to protect
the endangered species by breeding them in captivity. Following
this trend is Kiran Moktan who has devoted his life in breeding
program of snow leopards. Snow
leopards are animals who have to be kept in large enclosures.
Visitors are allowed in the centre but they have to watch the
animals in utter silence.
Refugee Self-Help Centre
In 1959 a centre was
established for the refugees who had fled Tibet with the
Dalai Lama after the Chinese invasion. This self help centre has
been developed as workshop for the manufacture of handicrafts. The
fine and superb carpets, woollens, woodcarvings and leather work
form of this centre has been very popular among the tourists. The
money collected after the sale of the products goes to the
Tibetans who work here. The variety of Tibetan Curios on sale are
also attracting the visitors in a big way. This centre has
established itself in the International scenario as place for
hard work, self esteem and truth.
The zoo is situated
two kms form the main town. This zoological garden houses some of
the rare species of animals and birds. This is only zoo in India
having the Siberian Tigers. Apart from these the rare Red Panda is
also there. The Snow Leopards, Great Grey Birds, Snow Yaks are
some animals which attracts the tourists in great numbers.
The entry in the zoo is by tickets which are also valid for the
natural history museum and the mountaineering institute & museum.