Darjeeling is one of the prettiest hill stations in India located in northern part of West Bengal. It's all about magnificent views of snowcapped Kanchenjunga, torrents flowing down the mountain slopes, lovely tea gardens, landscapes with firs, pines & ferns, and all that combined with friendly people and modern yet colonial charm.
You can find about 4,000 different types of flowering plants in Darjeeling district including rhododendrons, orchids, magnolia etc, there are some 300 types of ferns including the rare fern trees. And if you care to go around the forested land, you can see some amazing animal life like red pandas, pangolins, yellow throated martens, barking deer as well as leopards and even elephants in their natural habitats. And of course if your vacation plan is to relax, enjoy food, do shopping and sightseeing, the friendly natives like the Nepalis, Tibetans and Lepchas will make you feel perfectly at home as you enjoy the fabulous weather and charm of the place.
One of the major tourist attractions in Darjeeling is the Tiger Hill, which is the highest point in the region. It stands at an elevation of 2,590 meters overlooking the spur of the snow capped mountain ranges of the Eastern Himalaya. The Tiger Hill is one of the two points in India from where you can capture the entire panorama between Mount Everest and Kanchendzonga along with other peaks like the Kabru, Rathong and Kokhtang on a sunny morning. The other point from where you can have a glimpse of a similar panorama is from Phalut, at 3,600 meters approximately, which can be only reached by trekking. The Phalut trekking route from Darjeeling starts from Manebhanjan and goes through Tonglu, Giribas, Kalapokhri and Sandakphu. The Singalila National Park that falls on the trekking route is yet another attraction in and around Darjeeling. Nonetheless, the Tiger Hill is best known for the amazing view of the Kanchendzonga peak at sunrise. It is easily accessible by road and roughly takes 40-45 minutes to reach from Darjeeling town.
Himalayan Mountaineering Institute and Darjeeling Zoo
A well-stocked museum that displays several mountaineering gears and expedition artifacts, the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute is a must visit place in Darjeeling especially for the mountain lovers. It was built in the memory of Tenzing Norgay who, along with Sir Edmund Hillary, climbed the Everest in 1953. The Himalayan Mountaineering Institute further runs a boarding school for mountaineering students and maintains a memorial dedicated to Tenzing Norgay, a restaurant, and a souvenir shop. Located within the premises of the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute is the Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park, which is also known as Darjeeling Zoo. It spreads over approximately 68 acres and houses many endangered species of animals adapted to alpine conditions like the snow leopard, red panda, goral (mountain goat), Siberian tiger, Tibetan Wolf and a variety of birds. The Himalayan Mountaineering Institute and Darjeeling Zoo is perched on the Birch Hill, which is easily accessible from Darjeeling Mall.
A paradise for nature lovers, the Batasia Loop is specifically known for its spiral of a narrow gauge railway track on the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway where the Toy Train makes a complete loop around a wonderful circular garden. It covers an area of 50,000 square feet and is dotted with several flowering plants. It also maintains an eco garden, Gorkha War Memorial, and many restaurants and eateries. The Batasia Loop is approximately 5 kilometers away from Darjeeling town and is close to Ghoom. If you are lucky enough then on a clear sunny day, you will get a jaw breaking view of the Kanchedzonga range.
Darjeeling Mall and Chowrasta
Located in the heart of Darjeeling town, the Darjeeling Mall and Chowrasta is one of the best places in Darjeeling that one cannot afford to miss on his or her trip to Darjeeling. It is a rendezvous of people from all over the world and is notable as a popular tourist hangout in Darjeeling. Besides hosting several boutique shops, restaurants and eateries… this place is just your own pick where you would love to get hold of the nature at its best. One side of the mall is thickly layered with pine forest under the shadow of the towering mountain peaks, the other side lies shops of traditional garments, handicrafts, carpets, rugs, paintings, semi-precious jewellery and metalwares. Some of the noted shops, restaurants and eateries in the area are Habeeb Mullick & Son, Curio Corner, Nathmulls Tea & Sunset Lounge, Golden Tips, Life & Leaf, Jolly arts and Bhutan Tibet Art Shop. The Hawa Ghar and the huge golden color statue of the Nepali poet Bhanubhakta Acharya are the two major attractions in Chowrasta. The Bhutia Market, which is close to Chowrasta is another attraction for shopaholics.
Rock Garden and Ganga Maya Park
Both these places around Darjeeling town are haven for botanists. The Rock Garden, which is approximately 10 kilometers from Darjeeling town, is set with picturesque and colourful terraced gardens dotted with highly diversified flowering plants… blazing the rocks and cliffs at different levels. The Chunnu Summer Falls is another additional feature that makes the park more scenic. On the other hand, 3 kilometers ahead is the Ganga Maya Park, which is another nature park with a narrow gushing stream flowing through it. The park also hosts gardens dotted with varied species of colourful flowers and a lake. Tourists can also enjoy Gorkha folk dance at Ganga Maya Park.