Standing high in the Himalayas at an altitude of 2134 meters above sea level, Darjeeling - the name is a Tibetan origin, has come from the monastery name 'Dorje-Ling (the monastery of Lamaist Buddhist) 'Dorje(Thunder) and 'Ling'(place) - full meaning is the Thunderbolt, offers breathtaking views of snow-capped mountain peaks, with the Kanchenjunga rising higher than all the others. Often referred to as the "Queen of the Hills", it remains just as alluring with its tiny waterfalls, little villages and a narrow-gauge railway track called Toy Train and people from all over the world comes to enjoy the Joy Ride.
Surrounded by world-famous tea gardens and snow-capped mountains, Darjeeling remains one of the most exotic destinations for Nature Lovers and Honeymooners. Tiger Hill is situated at an altitude of 2590 meters / 8482 feet and 13 kilometres from Darjeeling town, this spot is of international fame for the magnificent view of the sunrise over 'Kanchanjunga' and the great eastern Himalayan Mountains. Even Mount Everest, the world's highest peak is viable from Tiger hill. Graeme Westlake in his book 'An introduction to hill stations on India' refers to Darjeeling as having "A view Scarcely Unrivalled on Earth". In the year 1849 Darjeeling was declared as the summer capital of the British Government and the entire city was created by the British - East India Company.
Tiger Hill is a lookout point 11km from Darjeeling. Each day tourist-laden jeeps convoy heads up there before dawn to catch the sunrise and the spectacular ridge of Himalayan massifs, including nearby Khangchendzonga, the world's 3rd highest peak. In Tiger Hill of Darjeeling, the best experience one can have in their whole life - "The Sunrise" which you can never experience in any other part of the world with the mountains changing colours with the raise of the rising sun is a scene you would never miss.
Darjeeling Tea has been one of the finest brands in the tea industry throughout the world. There are more than 80 tea estates in Darjeeling and the turnover of the tea industry is more than the various forms of tourism industry put together. The finest tea is said to be made out of the youngest shoots. In the local language, it is called 'due pat Ek suiro'
Mirik Lake, also known as Samendu Lake is the most picturesque spot in Mirik. Located in the heart of Mirik, the lake is 1.25 km in length and the depth of the water varies from a minimum of 3 ft to a maximum of 26 ft. With serene surroundings, a walk around the lake would be a fascinating one. Besides, visitors can also enjoy boating and horse riding here.
Aloobari Gompa, which is situated three kilometres away from the centre of Darjeeling, is a monastery where you can find Tibetan and Sikkimese monks. Aloobari Gompa is known as Mak Drong Gomba and is along Tenzing Norgay Road. Thupten Sangachoeling Gompa and Sonada Gompa are other monasteries also seen nearby, in between Aloobari Gompa and Darjeeling. Aloobari Gompa is a place of choice to visit.
Set on the slopes of Jalapahar hill in Darjeeling, the Japanese Peace Pagoda is a symbol of peace and spirituality. It is one of the creations of Nichidatsu Fuji, a Japanese Buddhist monk, who also founded the Nipponzan-Myo-ho-Ji Buddhist Order. Designed by M. Ohka, the Peace Pagoda claimed to be the tallest free structure in the town with a height of 28.5 m and a diameter of 23 m. It houses four avatars of the Buddha. Located close to the Pagoda are a Buddhist Temple and a traditional Japanese style monastery, which tourists can also visit.
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HOW TO REACH DARJEELING & GANGTOK
Gangtok is easily accessible from New Jalpaiguri (NJP) 120 km, Bagdogra Airport (IXB) 124 km, and Darjeeling (98 km). Travellers can easily book private taxis, SUV cars or shared jeeps from Bagdogra, NJP, Siliguri and Darjeeling. Prices vary depending upon no of passengers and negotiation. Depending upon negotiation NJP to Gangtok may cost Rs 350/- to Rs 400/- per person. But one thing to remember, hiring a vehicle from Darjeeling to Gangtok may cost travellers more bucks, generally, they need to target those cars which are returning to Gangtok from Darjeeling. Though it entirely depends on seasons, negotiation and no of travellers
BEST TIME TO TRAVEL DARJEELING AND GANGTOK
March to June: Mainly Summer is the peak season for Gangtok Tour. When the southern part of India suffers from the scorching heat, travellers want to cool themselves by spending some days in the cool lap of the Himalayan city of Gangtok. The entire city is thronged with travellers from every corner of India, even foreigners gather in a group to enjoy the chilling breeze.
October to March: One of the perfect times to book the Gangtok Package Tour. Post-October, the monsoon ends and the weather becomes exciting with clear sky and sunny days. January & December is the coolest and the average temperature varies between 4°C to 7°C. It is also considered the best time to visit Gangtok & North Sikkim.
July to September: This is mainly the monsoon season in Gangtok and often experience incessant rain. The landslide is common at this period and travellers may face difficulties for travelling to and from Gangtok. Despite that many travellers look for this season as hotels and car vendors offer a good amount of discount. So if you want to conduct a budget-friendly journey to Gangtok, this is the ideal season.
BEST PLACES MUST VISIT IN GANGTOK
Nathula Pass - One of the three open trading border posts between China and India.
Rumtek Monastery - One of the largest monasteries in Sikkim.
Tsomgo Lake - Famous for its magnificent view in the lap of the Himalayas.
Tashi View Point - Offers amazing views of the Mt. Kanchenjunga.
Baba Harbhajan Singh Memorial - Known as "Baba Mandir" one of the sacred places for Soldiers and Travellers.
Enchey Monastery - one of the most famous monasteries for divinity and spirituality.
Ganesh Tok - A temple dedicated to Lord Ganesha.
Hanuman Tok - A Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman
Do-drug Chorten - It is a Stupa built by Trulshik Rinpoche, head of the Nyingma order of Tibetan Buddhism Seven Sisters Waterfalls - A popular waterfall located on the Gangtok-Lachung Highway.
Bakthang Water Falls, Ban Jhakri Falls.
BEST PLACES MUST VISIT IN DARJEELING
Tiger hill ( Famous Sunrise point)
Darjeeling Rope Way
The Himalayan Mountaineering Institute & PNZ Zoological Park
Darjeeling Rock Garden and Ganga maya park.
Lamahatta Eco park , Mirik Lake and Pashupati Market ( Indo Nepal Border) ,Bengal Natural history Museum.
Darjeeling Observatory Hill and Maha Khal Temple.
Tinchuley , Takdha ,Happy valley Tea estate etc.
ADVENTURE ACTIVITIES ONE CAN MAY ADD WITH AN ADDITIONAL COST
Paragliding @ Gangtok – Ranka
Rafting at River Teesta @ Sikkim Melli
River side camping @ Sikkim Melli