Spanning a steep mountain ridge and full of amazing tourist spots, Darjeeling is one of the top destinations in India that offers the perfect getaway for travellers. It is a quaint hill station located in the Indian state of West Bengal that offers visitors with the perfect set-up to unwind and relax. With panoramic views of the magical Kanchenjunga peak, the hill station is nestled amidst tea plantations which are also some of the best places to visit in Darjeeling. But that’s not all; unending natural beauty, captivating sunrises, toy train rides, the beguiling aroma of tea leaves, and intriguing colonial-era architecture also await your arrival in Darjeeling.
Be it riding the 140-year-old Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, visiting the Buddhist monasteries, having a freshly brewed cup of Darjeeling tea or getting the chance to pluck some tea leaves by yourself, there are so many places to visit in Darjeeling that the destination offers you a great opportunity to create myriad experiences on your next vacation. Here is a list of some of the best spots in Darjeeling that you should add to your itinerary for the perfect vacation: –
1. Tiger Hill
One of the best places to visit in Darjeeling, Tiger Hill is the go-to place if you want to catch breathtaking views of the snow-clad Himalaya range. Travellers especially flock to Tiger Hill to watch the splendid sunrises that illuminate the peaks of Kanchenjunga. The superb view of the snow-capped mountains is what attracts travellers the most here. Despite being a famous place in Darjeeling, Tiger Hill offers a peaceful respite and a beautiful morning spectacle.
2. Darjeeling Himalayan Railway
Running between New Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling, the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway is a gauge train that offers one of the most memorable experiences in the small town. The train embarked on its first journey in 1881 on 2 feet wide tracks.
Lovingly called the ‘Darjeeling Toy Train’, the ride offers scintillating views of the mountains. You also get to gaze upon local life as you pass by villages and local shops. So, make sure that you do not miss out on a ride aboard the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway to experience some of the most amazing sights in Darjeeling.
3. Batasia Loop
One of the most incredibly scenic train routes in all of Darjeeling, the Batasia Loop is a toy train pathway that minimises the elevation of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway. One of the most beautiful places in Darjeeling, the Batasia Loop seems to grab your attention with its design. The making of the loop is such that the track can be seen wrapping around itself. The lush green pathway offers enchanting views of nature. The loop is one of the best places to see in Darjeeling and must be visited on your Darjeeling trip.
4. Himalayan Mountaineering Institute
Himalayan Mountaineering Institute is another destination that you can add on to your list. Founded in 1954, the prestigious institute is one of the top mountaineering institutes on the planet. This is the best place to visit in Darjeeling for aspiring mountaineers from all over the world over who come here to develop their mountaineering skills. The institute is set amidst scenic landscapes, which is why it has also become quite a popular tourist spot in Darjeeling. One can get a marvellous view of Kanchenjunga from here.
The Himalayan Mountaineering Institute has trained numerous students, which also includes people from various other countries. Mountaineering requires deliberate techniques, and this is where this amazing institute plays a major role. The institute is one of the most famous places to visit in Darjeeling, so do make a pit stop here during your tour of the town!
5. Singalila National Park
Singalila National Park spans the Indian portion of the picturesque Singalila Ridge. The park not only provides breathtaking views of the eastern Himalayas but also houses the rhododendron forests. These forests are a sight to behold when they bloom in late April and May. The park is one of the best places to visit in Darjeeling for a tryst with nature in an extremely tranquil setting. Upon visiting the park, you will also be able to find rare species of animals here. Interestingly enough, the rare red panda and the Himalayan black bear can also be found here.
In addition, the park is one of the tourist places in Darjeeling that are a haven for adventure lovers and trekkers as the park forms a section of a trekking route. One of the famous spots of the town, Singalila National Park must form a part of your travel itinerary.
6. Japanese Peace Pagoda
Another famous place in Darjeeling, the 28-meter high Japanese Peace Pagoda is among the 70+ pagodas that the Japanese Buddhist Nipponzan Myohoji organisation constructed around the world. At the time of the drumming puja sessions in the nearby temple, visitors are provided with a hand drum and offered encouragement to become a part of the rituals. The pagoda is one of the best places to visit in Darjeeling for people who are interested in experiencing different cultures and is a destination that must be explored for the one-of-its-kind experience that it offers to visitors.
7. Happy Valley Tea Estate
One of the best places to see in Darjeeling, the Happy Valley Tea Estate is an 1854 estate in Darjeeling. It is a great place to learn more about tea, especially from March to November when the plucking and processing are in progress. Offering a spellbinding view of the Himalayan foothills and the remarkable beauty of nature, the estate should be a must-visit on your Darjeeling tour. You will find it hard to leave the place as acres of tea gardens surround you and seem to cast a magical spell with their beauty.
One of the well-known Darjeeling tourist places, the tea estate has its origins connected very closely to the history of manufacturing and cultivating the world-renowned Darjeeling Tea. Make a pit-stop at the Happy Valley Tea Estate for a well-rounded trip as well as a cup of delicious Darjeeling tea.
8. Tibetan Refugee Self-Help Centre
Established in 1959, the Tibetan Refugee Self-Help Centre houses carpet manufacturing workshops, a Tibetan Buddhist temple, wool and woollen items, woodcarvings and much more. One of the best places to visit in Darjeeling, this refugee centre can be visited to check out a fascinating photographic exhibition that lets you know more about Tibetan history. The centre also comprises of an orphanage, school, gompa, clinic, and a house for the aged as well. Perched at a hilltop, the centre is one of the most interesting places to see in Darjeeling. It provides various shopping options as well. If you wish to buy certain products you can do so from the centre’s retail area.
9. Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park
The Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park was established to preserve, conserve, and study Himalayan fauna and is one of the most well-known tourist places of Darjeeling. The forested and rocky environment houses a variety of species such as the clouded leopard, Himalayan wolf, red panda, and Asiatic black bear. Nature enthusiasts and animal lovers are welcome here! One of the best places to visit in Darjeeling, the park would be a great addition for your itinerary to explore Darjeeling.
10. Ghoom Monastery
An old Buddhist Monastery in Darjeeling, the old Ghoom Monastery or the Yiga Choeling is one of the most famous places of Darjeeling. Upon visiting the monastery, one can see a statue of Maitreyi Buddha placed in the central hall. Interestingly enough, the statue is made only with clay. Moreover, inside the Yiga Choeling, one can see the images of many Buddha deities and lamas. Another interesting thing you will be able to see at the monastery is the walls that are painted with Tibetan Buddhism art.
There are plenty of rare Buddhist manuscripts that one can find here. The magnificent Kanchenjunga can be seen from outside the monastery, adding to the enchanting experience of visiting the place. The monastery is one of the Darjeeling tourist places that are included in the bucket list of many travellers. Above the monastery, there is a hilltop that houses the Ma Kali Temple, where devotees offer prayers on a full moon day.
11. The Darjeeling Ropeway
One of the most scenic hill stations, Darjeeling is home to beautiful landscapes. Be it the captivating snow-clad mountains or the beguiling valley with serene tea estates, the hill station knows how to charm its visitors. The Darjeeling ropeway is famous among travellers because they get to gaze in wonderment at the divine beauty of this hill station from a completely new perspective. It offers an umpteen number of panoramic views while travelling through the valley and that is why it is one of the most famous tourist spots of Darjeeling.
The ropeway is a cable car system that provides a mesmerising lens to gaze at Darjeeling’s beauty. From cascading waterfalls to the alluring Kanchenjunga, plenty of attention-grabbing views make the cable car experience extremely memorable. Passengers are transported in the cable car right from Singamari’s North Point to Singla Bazaar. The cable car stops for some time during the trip which is when travellers can explore the adorable tea gardens.
12. Observatory Hill
A popular tourist spot in Darjeeling, Observatory Hill is a rising hill that houses many popular temples. The famous temples that are spread across the hill include the Kanchenjunga Temple, Tibetan Memorial Shrine, and Mahakal Temple. The chief summit temple is staffed by a Buddhist lama and a Hindu priest. This temple is sacred to a Buddhist protector deity known as Mahakala. It is one of the best places to visit in Darjeeling to explore the Himalayas. For travellers wishing to visit Hindu and Buddhist temples, Observatory Hill is the perfect place to go. The trekking routes on this hill are absolutely breathtaking and are another reason why travellers are drawn to this place. It is one of the most serene and most beautiful places to visit in Darjeeling.
The Best Places to Visit for Shopping in Darjeeling
There are many interesting things to buy in Darjeeling such as the delicious Darjeeling Tea, woollen items, handicrafts, and much more. You can head to the Nehru Road Market for some street shopping or shop for jewellery items at Mall Road. If you wish to take some handicraft items back home, then you can also shop at Teesta Market. There are good hand-knitted items available at Bhutia market. Hence, you can easily go on a shopping spree during your trip as there are many interesting things to buy in Darjeeling and many places to buy them from. You will definitely have a wide variety of souvenirs to take back home.
Darjeeling not only offers a mesmerising view of the mountain ranges but engulfs you with its scenic beauty and peaceful environs. Offering an ideal way to explore the Himalayas with numerous tourist places, Darjeeling provides a peaceful respite in the lap of nature. Be it the toy train ride, Buddhist monasteries, the temples, or the tea estates, the best spots in this town promise to leave you in sheer wonderment and delight.
To plan the best trip to Darjeeling, you can also opt for a Darjeeling package that offers a pre-planned itinerary. Going for a trip package lets you concentrate on having fun during your vacation as you explore the best tourist attractions.