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DARJEELING                               General Information of Darjeeling

Darjeeling, world famous for its teas, is nested in a setting of Kanchenjunga and Mount Everest, Tibetan Monasteries, Himalayan Tribal Life, Pine Trees etc. Which make her qualify as the queen of the hill stations.

Darjeeling was the first hill region in India where organized trekking was first conducted by Dr. Hooker in the 1840s. The breathtaking panoramic views of Mt. Everest and Kanchenjunga have been alluring thousands of nature lovers from different parts of the world since then.

Places to see :

Tiger Hill- 11 kms. 8482 ft./2590 mtrs; Ghoom Monastery- 8 kms; Batasia Loop- 5 kms; Himalayan Mountaineering Institute- 2 kms. 0830-1300 & 1400-1630 hours; Himalayan Zoological Park; Darjeeling Rangeet Valley Passenger Ropeway- 8 kmslong ropeway. Fare: Rs.25 return journey; Tibetan Refugees Centre; Lebong Race Course; Natural History Museum- 1000-1600 hrs; Happy Valley Tea Estate- 3 kms; Lloyds Botanical Garden- 0600-1700 hours; Observatory Hill; Dhirdham Temple; Senchal Lake- 10 kms.

HOW TO REACH

There are flights from Calcutta to Bagdogra which is 90 kilometers from Darjeeling. The nearest railhead is Siliguri. The Toy train runs from New Jalpaiguri/Siliguri. There are taxis available from Bagdogra, Siliguri and New Jalpaiguri. If one has never been to Darjeeling and believes that real holidaying lies in the enjoyment of experience, then one should take the mini train from New Jalpaiguri. Completed way back in 1881 by Franklin Prestage, the mini train is the best way of traveling to the old Gurkha station of Darjeeling.

SPECIAL FEATURE: JOURNEY BY TOY TRAIN

The narrow gauge railway lines fondly called the toy train extend to over 4,500 kilometers mostly in the hilly regions of India. Among these one of the best known is the 83 kilometers long, 610 mm gauge toy railway spanning the gorgeous terrain between Siliguri and Darjeeling. Nestled in the serene Himalayan splendor, the zigzag railway passing through a variety of foliage, linking Siliguri in north Bengal with Darjeeling, is a marvel of miniature rail engineering. The train girdles along streams and tea gardens on the way to Sukana, up a spur of the Singalele range from where the ascent of the line begins. The train strikes the first spiral or loop followed by the second in proximity of the 20 kilometer post, an amazing engineering feat, practically a double loop, for the rise from Rungtong to Tindharia. The third loop is about 22 kilometers away and lends an enchanting peep into the valley below with the Bhutan range in the east, the Teesta river and its Tiger island in the south-east. The sensational point of the fourth spiral, the Agony Point, is reached outside the Tindharia station.

The scenic beauty along the rail line is a thing of joy forever. From those stalwart sal trees, the railway track twists in and out of ravines, the tall cotton trees, the buttressed semul palms, the giant bamboo all entwined with creepers and loaded with ferns and moss. There are fig tress, oak and chestnut trees, the birch, the maple brambles and orchids, some of them interspersed with walnut trees and laurels until, in the vicinity of Cheem, the center of the Buddhist monastery of the Yellow Sect, there is that glorious glimpse of primroses, magnolias and rhododendrons. This luxurious vegetation is topped with sublime landscapes of snowy heights, more than a dozen peaks standing aloft above 6,000 meters the renown Kanchenjunga and the mountains of east Nepal, Sikkim and Tibet.

WHERE TO STAY

Hotels abound in Darjeeling. Besides the International Youth Hostel, there are more recently opened resorts as well. There is a hotel which boasts as the place where Jinnah met his wife whom he courted and married soon after. Many of the old villas and estates that passed into Indian hands once the British left have been converted into hotels. Hotel Shangrila which is built along the main promenade, Chowrasta, is typical of the traditional pagoda style architecture. It also houses a travel and trekking agency.

Excursions :

1. Sandakphu: 58 kms. Jeepable Road. Tourist can reach by jeep or by landover.
2. Tonglu : 10074 feet or 2070 metres.
3. Phalut : 3600 metres.
Warden,Youth Hostel,Darjeeling organises regular Trekking Tours during season.

General Info. :

Altitude : 2134 Metres.
Climate (deg C) : Summer- Max. 14.9, Min. 8.6; Winter- Max. 6.11, Min. 1.50.
Best Season : April to middle June and September to November.
Clothing : Summer- Light Woollens & Tropicals; Winter- Heavy Woollens.


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