Darjeeling is a lovely hill town in the state of West Bengal, India. It is situated between the Himalayan nations of Bhutan and Nepal and in the foothills of the Himalayas Kangchendzonga range, the third highest mountain in the world. With an altitude of 2100 meters above sea level, Darjeeling offers breath taking view of the Himalayan range.
It was under the King of Sikkim until the early part of eighteenth century. The Gorkhas invaded the region but eventually lost to British. The British used the place to escape the heat and developed the area as a hill station and tea-growing area.
When we arrived in this hill station, I noticed that the town has far more of a Nepali and Tibetan feel to it. I've seen many Buddhist Monasteries and Gompas around the town.
Darjeeling is not a big town. If you're physically fit, walking up and down the hill is the best way to see all the places of interest. But for those who prefer to travel comfortably and don't want to deal with walking up and down the slope, there are a lot of travel agencies around the town offering car deals which you can avail to move around the town. It's also a good way of exploring the town because you can travel at your own pace and stop anywhere you want especially when you see something interesting along the way. Wherever it is, travelling with car is very convenient. A comfortable trip is always more enjoyable.
Darjeeling is not just popular for its picturesque scenery with brilliant views of snow capped mountain ranges but also for the extensive cover of plush tea gardens. In fact, one of the best aromatic tea in the world is produced here.
Another major attraction that Darjeeling offers is the Toy Train which becomes the prime attractions among local and foreign tourists. The Himalayan toy train is listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Here are some places to visit in Darjeeling:
Himalayan Mountaineering Institute
Himalayan Mountaineering Institute is a training center and a museum located inside the Darjeeling Zoo. It houses the final resting place and memorabilia of Tenzing Norgay, the first director of the institute and the first person to ascent to the top of the Mount Everest along with Sir Edmund Hillary in 1953.
Lloyd Botanical Garden
Lloyd Botanical Garden is also known as Darjeeling Botanical Garden. The garden was established in 1878 by Mr. William Lloyd, after whom the garden was named. This garden is known for its collection of flora and different herbs which can only be seen or dominant in the Himalayan region.
Padmaja Naidu Himalayaz Zoological Park or commonly known as Darjeeling Zoo is quite small but exhibit some interesting animals such as Black Bears, Leopards,Red Pandas, Siberina and Bengal Tigers. This zoo in Darjeeling is the only specialized zoo in the country and is internationally recognized because of conservation of breeding of Snow Leopard and Red Panda.
Happy Valley Tea Plantation
The estate produces world class Darjeeling Tea.. It is one of the oldest and most renowned tea estate in Darjeeling. Tea picking, manufacturing and processing of tea can be seen here.
Darjeeling is an ideal destination in West Bengal both for nature lovers as well as adventure lovers. It's surely a place not to be missed when you visit India.