India Guide

Things To Do In Darjeeling Trekking at Darjeeling Hill Station

Things To Do In Darjeeling Trekking at Darjeeling Hill Station

Ripe with pristine flora and fauna, Darjeeling is a nature lover's paradise. With generous options for sightseeing and trekking, visitors are inundated with choice. While you might have enjoyed the scenery and history from the Toy Train ride in, Darjeeling offers many more opportunities to enjoy its distinct environment while inhaling the fresh air.

Things To Do in Darjeeling

Start with the obvious. Seek out a prime spot to take in the impressive views of the Himalayan horizon. Tiger Hill, just 11km south of Darjeeling offers such a place. Experience a sunrise like no other by getting to Tiger Hill early in the morning to catch the first glimpse of daylight stretch over the horizon and light up Everest and Mt Kanchenjunga, a truly magical sight of some of the highest mountains in the world. Be aware that this is one of the biggest tourist attractions in the area, so don’t be fooled into thinking you will have the place to yourselves as tourists scramble for the best observation point. To book your trip you can either book through a travel agency or organise your own jeep ride. Try to plan your trip for a clear day for the best sights.

You cannot come to Darjeeling without visiting a tea plantation. Take a trip to the Happy Valley Tea Estate situated just below Hill Cart Road making sure you visit during the plucking and processing time usually between March and May. Don’t be surprised if you are whisked away by one of the employees for a look through the factory. A tip will most likely be on their mind and Rs20 is an appropriate amount for each visitor to contribute for their efforts.

For a cultural quest, visit the Yiga Choling Gompa, Darjeeling’s most famous monastery and home to the yellow hat monks. Located just west of Ghoom, this historical monastery encloses several beautiful murals, bound Tibetan texts and tall statue of the future Buddha providing a good insight to the culture and nature of the people.

For those history buffs, a trip to the Bengal Natural History Museum might be something worthwhile. It is a popular tourist site just off Bishop Eric Benjamin Road. Not to be missed is the collection of huge leeches kept in jars, but perhaps something the faint hearted should avoid.

Darjeeling is also a trekker’s paradise. Traipse through the gorgeous scenery of West Bengal and climb up to lookouts to view spectacular mountain views. There are several trekking routes for beginner’s right up to experienced trampers. Talk to your travel agent or visit this website for more information on the routes available.

The ideal time to trek would be late in the year when there are warm temperatures and blue skies. If you can, get your hands on a Himalayan Treks leaflet from the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council as it contains a useful map and describes major routes. A popular trek is the Singalila Ridge Trek which spans from Sandakphu to Phalut sporting fantastic Himalaya views. Note that travelling with a guide is mandatory within the Singalila National Park and can be hired through the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council, a travel agent or obtained at the beginning of the track.

For those adventure seekers, try a kayaking or canoeing trip or even a white water canoeing or rafting trip for those adrenalin junkies. Take a day trip or head out on a safari for several days. The best time for these water activities is May/June and September/October. Trips are able to be booked through travel agents easily and are usually run along the Fangeet and Teesta Rivers.

Festivals are also a great way to learn about the Darjeeling culture. Colourful fairs are often seen along the Teest River celebrating New Year’s Day and Durga Puja is celebrated with beautiful images of the Goddess Durga being immersed in the water after being in a colourful procession. Festivals are a great way to experience different facets of the culture, especially in a place like Darjeeling which has such a diverse multi cultural society, hence the many festivals that are celebrated.