Magnificent Ghum Monastery
A City Where Cultures Come Together
Situated at an altitude of 2134 m above sea level, Darjeeling is one destination for which any number of praising words seems inadequate. The town gets its name from Tibetan words 'dorje' and 'ling' which mean 'thunder' and 'place' respectively which makes Darjeeling 'The Place of Thunder'. The pleasant climate of this place attracted British officers who developed Darjeeling into their summer getaway. There are many places in this sedate town that hold on to the aura and tinge of its colonial past. And with many monasteries, Darjeeling has a touch of religion to it as well. But what glorifies Darjeeling in the world map today are its many varieties of tea. Plucked from different estates and in different seasons, the tea is of varying aroma and tastes.
When visiting Darjeeling, there are none better ways than by taking a ride in the charming toy train which runs on Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, recognized as a world heritage site by UNESCO
Attractions - Religion In Nature's Lap
Nature in itself is an attraction in Darjeeling. Dotted with some fantastic tea gardens, and deep running valleys, Darjeeling is one of the most widely toured destinations in entire East India. The Monasteries, the magical sunrise, the pleasant climate are all a part an non-exhausting list of attractions.
Major Attractions of Darjeeling
|Darjeeling Tea Gardens
||Darjeeling Toy Train|
Darjeeling Tea Gardens are famous not only in India, but in many countries of Europe as well. The entire town is dotted with some of the finest tea gardens known for their different types of tea. Tea from these gardens differ in their aroma, taste, texture and color. Happy valley Tea Estate is the most famous and one of the oldest tea estate in Darjeeling. Some tea plants are as old as 150 years old and you will be surprised to know that the youngest tea plant here is more than 80 years old. Black tea is the most renowned variety, however, Darjeeling oolong and green teas have also made it big in foreign Markets.
Other Attractions In Darjeeling
There are probably none better place than Tiger Hill in Darjeeling to view a gorgeous sunrise. Watch the sun rise glistening Mt. Kanchenjunga with its rays bathing it in golden hues. Situated at an altitude of nearly 8500 feet, Tiger Hill is the highest place in Darjeeling which can be reached by jeep or by trekking through Chowrasta. If you are lucky, you might just get to view Mt. Everest that peeps through two other peaks. One can also get a glimpse of snow covered peak of Chumal Rhi situated in Tibet. Do not forget to visit Senchel Sanctuary just few kilometers from here which is famous for two artificial lakes. The sanctuary is also the only breeding center of rare snow leopard.
Situated just 8 km from Darjeeling, Ghum Monastery is the popular name of Sampten Choling Monastery in Ghum. Build in the year 1875 by Lama Sherab, the monastery belongs to the yellow sect of Buddhists and is most famous for its 15 feet high statue of Maitreya Buddha. One can see a huge Tibetan influence in the environment and prayer rituals.
Observatory Hill is the best spot from where you can get breathtaking views of snow clad Himalayas and Mt. Kanchenjunga. It is situated near Chowrasta Square which is more popularly known as 'The Mall'. This is original location of Bhutia Busty Monastery which today is situated at Chowrasta. This has made the Observatory Hill a revered site by Buddhists. There is a temple as well dedicated to Lord Shiva. The Temple of Mahakala is a sacred place for Hindus who are regular at the temple. Apart from beautiful views of Himalayas, one must visit Observatory Hill for shopping and for pony rides.
Accommodation In Darjeeling
Darjeeling has some of the nicest hill resorts around. Almost every resort provides you with basic facilities and spellbinding scenic views. There are many luxury hill resort that are more strategically placed close to city center. On a clear sky day, you can even get a view of Himalayas from the rooms of these resorts. Darjeeling is not a place where too many people come to work. However, some who wish to do their business amidst the picturesque hills, will find basic business facilities. Hotel Windamere, The Elgin Hotel, Hotel Sinclair are the luxury category accommodations and Dekeling Resort, Hawk's Nest, and Hotel Mohit are slightly cheaper and more affordable.
How To Reach Darjeeling
Bagdogra has the nearest airport to Darjeeling. It is connected to all the major cities of India like Kolkata, Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore. Air Deccan, and Indian Airlines are the major flight operators to Bagdogra. It takes around 3 hrs from the airport to reach Darjeeling by road.
New Jalpaiguri is the nearest major Railway station to Darjeeling. Although there is a railway station in Darjeeling but it receives only Toy Train from New Jalpaiguri. From NJP (New Jalpaiguri) station, the toy train takes nearly 8 hrs to cover the odd 80 Km journey.
You can hire a shared taxi or a shared jeep from Bagdogra Airport or New Jalpaiguri Railway station. You can also take a pre paid taxi from both these destinations which is the advised mode of commuting.
Darjeeling is not a very huge town so you can visit the main destinations by foot itself. However, there are taxis and shared jeeps as well inside Darjeeling. Take note that taxis are not allowed to many parts of the town so it is better to ask before a local guide before you start your journey.
|Darjeeling - An Unforgettable Experience - By Shibani Banik
During our stay, we visited the famous seven points of Darjeeling, which is considered to be the most panoramic of all......