With snow clad peak of Kanchenjunga overlooking the vast expanse of finely manicured tea estates, the favorite Himalayan hill station of Darjeeling allures travellers all year round. Lush green vistas swaying in the melody of floating clouds paving way for ethereal views of the hilly terrain; Darjeeling makes it for a charismatic mountain escapade.
Best Time to Visit
With the average annual temperature of around 25 degrees, city dwellers flock the city of Darjeeling throughout the year. The ideal time to plan a trip to Darjeeling would be the months of April – June, with the weather being pleasantly cool, one can relish the wide variety of blooms around the hilly slopes. Its best to avoid the monsoon months of July-Sept when heavy rains usually end up in landslides and roadblocks.
Places to Visit
(I) At a distance of 13 km from the city, heading to Tiger Hill early in the morning promises magnificent views of Kanchendzonga. Watching the sun softly paint the magnificent Himalayan peaks in a hue of orange has its own charm.
(II) Soak in the lush green ambiance by strolling alongside the aromatic tea gardens at Happy Valley Tea Estate. If visiting during months of summer, one can observe tea plucking activities and have a look at the manufacturing process inside the factory. Sit back and sip your favorite tea prepared from freshly plucked leaves at the Happy Gold Cafe, run by a local lady.
(III) Situated at a distance of 8 km from Darjeeling, visiting the Ghoom Monastery truly gives the real essence of this hill station with tranquility at its finest. With intricate interiors and exotic views of the valley, spending an afternoon around here guarantees much needed peace and calm.
(IV) Standing calmly atop a hill, a melancholic thirty minute walk to the Peace Pagoda and Japanese Temple located at the end of AJC Road would be perfect for some quiet moments amidst the hills. With beautiful artwork showcasing various births of Buddha accompanied by the rhythm of hand drum reverberating across the premise, visiting this place will be an enthralling experience.
(V) A walking distance from the marketplace of Chowk Bazar, Lloyds Botanical Garden treats its visitors with a vibrant burst of colors. With an exquisite collection of indigenous plants along with a large variety of cactus, succulents and many rare plant species; a casual walk along the garden slopes promises to be delightful venture.
Where to Eat
From Thai, Tibetan to Chinese and good old North Indian delights, strolling along the much famed Mall Road, one can experience the rich culinary scene of Darjeeling. With a large variety of cuisines, Darjeeling caters plenty of small shacks serving scrumptious food along with cozy ambience of popular contemporary cafes.
- Located right on the road for Chowrasta, Kunga Restaurant promises to greet you with freshly steamed momos among other Tibetan delicacies.
- For a wide variety of vegetarian meals along with an idyllic view of the valley, head out to Frank Ross Cafe on Nehru road.
- For a modern cafe vibe and an exotic collection of coffee, pastries, smoothies and more, Himalayan Java Coffee at Nehru Road.
- Located in the heart of Mall Road, Nathmull Tea Shop offers excellent tea blends and bakery delights with the company of soothing views.
Where to Shop
(I) From popular handmade items like paintings, Buddhist artworks to local jewellery and woolen scarves and shawls; venturing around the streets of Mall Road or the more popularly known Chowrasta is the ideal place to soak in the real vibe of this hill station. Make sure you buy a stash of your favorite tea here!
(II) Ghoom Monastery Market is the is the perfect place to buy Tibetan curios and artifacts like prayer wheels, flags, laughing Buddha, wall paintings and more.
(III) For exquisite handicraft products including carpets and rugs, home decor items along with local knick knacks, make sure you visit Tibetan Refugee Self Help Centre, located on Gandhi Road.
Nestled in the foothills of Himalayas, the scenic town of Darjeeling contains more than what appears to the eye. From curling up in cozy cottages to finding your way around bustling markets and picturesque monasteries, Darjeeling calls out to those seeking a tranquil environ and vintage charm.
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