8 Best Tourist Places to Visit in and Near Darjeeling

The hill station of Darjeeling in West Bengal constitutes one of the top tourist attractions with an amazing climate and a host of famous locations. While winter is the best time for snow, you can plan a trip during the summer season for a less foggy weather. The rain here makes the ambiance utterly romantic so it may be the best season for honeymooning couples. Here is a list of sightseeing places in and around Darjeeling where you can create some unforgettable memoirs.

Places to Visit in Darjeeling

Tiger Hill

Darjeeling Beautiful Places Tiger Hill

Located at an elevation of 2,590 meters, Tiger Hill is a summit of the Town of Ghoom, and a renowned viewpoint to observe the snow-clad Himalayan Range.

Getting Here:

From the city, hire a jeep and reach the hill base through Alubari, Jorebangla, and Chowrasta. Overall it would take around 1 hour, depending on the traffic. You need to get off the car at the base of the hill, and climb around 500 meters to get to the top.

You can book your trip with jeeps from the Clubside taxi stand. It includes a tour to Batasia loop and the monasteries of Ghoom while returning from Tiger Hill.

Once You Reach:

The mountain peaks do look stunning in the golden rays of the sun, so get a good spot on the observatory tower to enjoy the view for a few hours. On a clear day, you may spot Mt. Everest, the world’s highest peak along with Mount Kanchenjunga, Lhotse, Makalu, and peaks like Pandim, Jannu, and Kabru.

Relevant Details:

Start as early as 3:00 am so as to avoid too many tourists, and take along warm clothes and a camera. Those interested in trekking must carry necessary equipment like first aid box and torch. You may get your morning tea from local vendors. Toilets are available at the Observatory tower but are not too clean. There are various snacks like samosas and pakoras available, sold by local women, decked up in traditional attires.

Best time to visit:

November-February



Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park

Darjeeling Best Place Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park

This zoo, sporting a hilly landscape of about 68 acres, aims to conserve several endangered species like red panda, snow leopard, and Tibetan wolf. The largest high altitude (2,134 m) zoo of India was opened in 1958. Adoption and donation programs are carried out throughout the year.


Getting Here:

To get to the zoo located at Jawahar Parbat (earlier known as the Birch Hill Park) you may either go via Mall Road or Lebong Cart Road. Whichever road you take, you will have to walk for around 5 minutes to the entrance of the zoo, since cars are not permitted up to the gate. The cars can be parked at the roadside.

You may also avail the GTA initiated battery-powered carts that operate (only during the peak seasons) between the Bhanu Bhawan (i.e. Gorkha Bhawan) on Mall road and the Zoo/HMI from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.


Once You Reach:

Look out for Tibetan wolves, Himalayan black bears, red pandas, snow leopards, and other big cats. There are birds like blue and gold macaws and rose-ringed parakeets. From medicinal plants to shrubs, there is a wide range of trees and climbers as well.

Relevant Details:

Toilet facilities and drinking water are available near the aviary.

Timing:

Summer 8:30am-4:30pm; Winter 8:30am-4:00pm (Closed on Thursdays)

Best time to visit:

March-June & September-January


Peace Pagoda

Tourist Places around Darjeeling Peace Pagoda

The Peace Pagoda, with a height of 28.5 meters, is one of the 30 pagodas of its kind in the world that were established under the supervision of Nichidatsu Fujii, a Buddhist monk from Japan, to promote harmony. The Lotus Sutra says that the pagoda is a representation of Budhha, implying peace.


Getting Here:

Take a car or a jeep from Darjeeling to reach the Jalapahar Road, where the Peace Pagoda is located. If you take the Lal Kothi Road then it would hardly take around 10 minutes. From the Clubside Junction, passing the AJC Bose Road and Gandhi Road, it takes around 30 minutes of walking to reach here.

Once You Reach:

Apart from the golden Buddha statutes, other attractions include the sandstone carvings illustrating mythological events like the “Great departure of Siddhartha” and “The Gift of Mango Grove by Amrapali at Vaishali”. Do a ‘Parikrama’ or a round tour of the pagoda to see four positions of Goutam Budhha, standing, sitting, sleeping, and meditating. If you visit the pagoda during the drumming prayer session, you would be handed a small drumming pad and a stick. There is a temple at less than 1 km distance from the pagoda, known as Nipponzan Myohoji Buddhist Temple.

Relevant Details:

You may take pictures inside the temple but not in the prayer room. Toilet facilities are available.

Timing:

Everyday from 4:30 am-7:00 pm

Best time to visit:

Throughout the year


Chowrasta Mall and Chowk Bazar

Place to Visit Darjeeling Chowrasta Mall

The Chowrasta Mall is famous for housing some of the town’s oldest shops selling everything from pieces of jewelry to curios. Another popular market is the Chowk Bazaar or Lower Bazaar where all kinds of household goods along with grocery products are available at cheap rates.


Getting Here:


It is a 5-7 minutes’ walk from the Gandhi Road via Nehru Road to get to the Chowrasta Mall. This is the main terminus for jeeps, taxis and buses, and no outside vehicles are allowed near the complex. So, you can take a car to reach Gandhi Road and cover the rest of the way on foot.
From the Chowrasta Mall, the Chawk Bazaar is around 20 minutes of walking distance.

Once You Reach:

Search for handmade items like Tibetan masks and scroll paintings (Thankas), traditional boots, Khukri or curved Gorkha knives, woolen materials such as shawls, jumpers, caps, and scarves. You may also embark upon a pony or horse ride to the nearby Ranga Manch Bhawan offered by local boys at Rs 100 or 200 per person. Since the peace pagoda is only 1.3 Km away from the Chowrasta Mall, you can come here on your way from the pagoda, to cover both in one day.

Relevant Details:

There are many eateries, but keep in mind that all shops normally close around 8:00 pm. You may find the roads too crowded and often dirty.

Best time to visit:

Throughout the year


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Places to See in Darjeeling Chowk Bazar

Himalayan Mountaineering Institute

Darjeeling Famous Places Himalayan Mountaineering Institute

The Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (HMI) is one of the oldest in the country and an inspiration for all climbing enthusiasts who desire to scale the heights of Mount Everest. It was built in the year 1953, in honor of Tenzing Norgay and Sir Edmund Hillary after they conquered the Everest in the previous year.


Getting Here:

It is located on Jawahar Prabhat Road and can be easily reached by taxi or bus.

Once You Reach:

There is a mountaineering museum inside, where you get to see photographs and films on mountaineering. The HMI also has a powerful telescope installed through which one may relish magnificent views of the entire Kanchenjunga.

Relevant Details:

Cameras are allowed but extra charge ranging 10-20 rupees is levied. There is a restaurant and a tea parlor inside the complex for refreshments. The entry fee is around 50, but since the Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park and Bengal Natural History Museum are situated within the same complex, there is a combined ticket costing 60-70 rupees per person and it will give you an access to these three places.

Timing:

9:00 am-1:00 pm and 2:00 pm-5:00 pm (Except Tuesdays)

Best time to visit:

Throughout the year



Happy Valley Tea Estate

Darjeeling Sightseeing Places Happy Valley Tea Estate

With an extensive area of 437 acres, at an altitude of 2,100 meters above sea level, this second oldest (After Makaibari, the oldest) tea garden of Darjeeling is located just 3 km away from the town.


Getting Here:

Hire a car from Chowk Bazaar and come via T.P. Banerjee Road to reach here.

Once You Reach:

Relax and enjoy a ‘cuppa chah’ (tea) from the tea factory attached with the estate, with a range of rolling hills at the backdrop. This tea factory at the Happy Valley is one of the highest tea factories in the world. You can also learn a lot from the guides and professionals about the actual process of making tea from picking to manufacturing.

Relevant Details:

There are multiple hotels for having lunch and freshening up.

Timing:

Every Tuesday to Sunday 8:00 am-4:00 pm

Best time to visit:

March-May



Old Ghoom Monastery

Darjeeling Place Old Ghoom Monastery

This monastery, alternatively known as the Yiga Choeling Monastery, is the largest in Ghoom, built in 1850 CE by the Mongolian monk and astrologer Sokpo Sherab Gyatso. The first Tibetan Buddhist Monastery of Darjeeling, it belongs to the Yellow Hat sect.


Getting Here:

You may take a car from the hill station, or board the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (Toy Train) to get down at Ghoom. It is about 8 km from Darjeeling.

Once You Reach:

Spend some time at the prayer hall, take a glimpse of some handwritten Buddhist manuscripts, and also visit the 4.5-meter high Tibetan clay statue of “Maitreya Buddha”. There are two oils lamps in front of the statue and they keep on burning all the time. See the huge bell and drum located inside the monastery, along with portraits of great Buddhist leaders and prophets.

Relevant Details:

You may take photographs inside the monastery at the cost of 10-20 rupees and for video, you have to pay extra 40-50 bucks. There are some hotels nearby, but if you are only on a day trip, you may head to the Chowrasta Mall just 2.6 km away.

Timing:

Check the opening and closing hours before going as it may vary in different seasons

Best time to visit:

Throughout the year



Tinchuley

Darjeeling Places to Visit Tinchuley

At a distance of 32 km from Darjeeling, Tinchuley is a hamlet not known to a lot of tourists. The rocky road has hiking trails leading up to an elevated point that offers a panoramic view of the Himalayan range. The name Tinchulay has derived from “Tin Chullahs” meaning ‘three ovens’, as the three hills encircling the place look like an oven. This is a part of the WWF’s promotion of village tourism and organic village.


Getting Here:

A hired car from Darjeeling takes nearly 1.5 hours to get here via Peshok Road.

Once You Reach:

You may picnic with your friends and family amidst the fog and greenery, or do some bird watching from the Tinchuley View Point if the day is clearer. Witness the meeting point of the river Teesta with its tributary Rangeet. When you are done seeing the village, travel another 3 km to visit another mountain village Takdah, take a tour of the Rungli Rungliot Tea Estate. Within 8 km, there are some Orange Orchards as well.

Relevant Details:

If you intend to stay for a few days, check into one of the budget hotels or guesthouses located within the village itself.

Best time to visit:

October-April


Darjeeling is a romantic, educative, and fun destination to travel to. It is often visited along with Gangtok, a city in the nearby state of Sikkim. The geographical feature is similar in both places.

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