DARJEELING (Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council) in northeast India provides the perfect ambiance

of a hill resort with its mild climate and laid back charm. Its verdant hills and valleys are steeped in color, and are interspersed with vast stretches of lush green tea gardens. Presiding over all these is the 8,586 m Mount Khangchendzonga looming over the northern horizon, giving a magical aura to the land that entices thousands to its environs and leaves all the senses intoxicated.

Darjeeling is hemmed in by Sikkim in the north, Nepal in the west and Bhutan in the east. Darjeeling town, Kalimpong and Kurseong are the major urban centres. Heavily influenced by British India, Darjeeling still carries imprints reminiscent of its colonial past. The toy train is one of the most striking examples of Darjeeling's British Raj influence.

DARJEELING TOWN
Darjeeling town (population 83,000 and elevation 2,134 m) is located on a spur with houses hugging the hillside. The places to visit are Chowrasta, a wide promenade atop a ridge lined with shops and restaurants; Mall Road, starting and finishing at Chowrasta, for a leisurely stroll amidst peaceful surroundings and splendid views; Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park which has the Siberian tiger, Himalayan black bear, red panda, snow leopard and many other animal and bird species, and the nearby snow leopard breeding center and the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, a training center for mountaineers which also houses the Everest museum' Natural History Museum, with its fine display of Himalaya wildlife; Observatory Hill which has Hindu and Buddhist Shrines; Dhirdham, a pagoda style Hindu temple; Tibetan Refugee Self-Help Center, a major center for the production of Tibetan carpets, woodwork and leather goods; the Buddhist monasteries of Bhutia Busty, Thupten Sangag Choling(Dali) and Yiga-Choling (Ghoom); Batasia Loop, a marvelous feat of railway engineering; Tiger Hill for its renowned sunrise view over Khangchendzonga and the eastern Himalaya; Japanese Peace Pagoda, established by the Japanese Buddhist order, Nipponzan Myohoji; and Lloyd's Botanical Garden which has a varied collection of Himalayan flora.

Visitors can also take a ride in the Darjeeling-Rangit valley passenger cable car or hop on the toy train which wheezes and winds all the way from Siliguri to Darjeeling town via Kurseong.

AROUND DARJEELING

KALIMPONG(pop.45,500) is a sleepy little town situated at an altitude of 1,200 m, some 50 km to the east of Darjeeling. It once used to be the hub of the trans-Himalayan trade between India and Tibet when merchants used to ferry commerce by mule caravan over the Jelepla pass on the Sikkim-Tibet border.

The places to visit are Kalimpong Arts and Craft Center for handicraft goods; Tharpa Choling Monastery, a repository of old scriptures, and documents; Thongsa (Bhutan) Monastery, the oldest in the area; Dharmodaya Vihar, a Nepalese Bhuddhist temple; Parnami Mandir and Mangal Dham; Durpin Danda from where the mountain ranges of Sikkim, including Jelepla, Tiger Hill and the confluence of the Relli, Riang and Tista rivers can be views; Zong Dog Palri Fo Brang Monastery at Durpin Danda; Delo View Point for magnificent views: and Kalimpong famous flower nurseries.

LAVA - LOLAYGAON
Lava is situated at a height of 7200 ft. and is 101 kms from Siliguri via Kalimpong. The beauty of this quiet and romantic place lies in its dense forests of Berch, Pine and Juniper and the variety of orchids. While at Lave, enjoys a day's outing to the fascinating Chhangey Ralls (12 kms from Lava) with 2 Sunrise points viz. Ghanti Dara and Tiffin Dara, Lava Monastery, Nature Interpretation Centre. If you are a little adventurous you can take a 12 km trek to Jelepa and Rachela pass situated on the Trijuntion of Sikkim,Bengal and Bhutan.

Just 24 km from Lava, at 7012 ft, Lolengaon offers wondrous views of the peaks of Khangchendzonga, Pandim, Kabru, Jana Siniolchu, Kang, Talung, Kaumbhakarna, Dome, Jupuno, Narsing and Simvo.

Rishap at 8500 ft. is a small hamlet at tri-junction of Sikkim, West Bengal and Bhutan and it reached by a 9 km jeep able road from Lava. You can also reach there by a 3 km trek from Lava. Over viewing Neora Valley National Park and with spectacular 360 degree views of snow clad peaks & passes (Mt. Khangchendzonga, Nathula, Jelepa), Rishap is a real treat for tired eyes and souls. 

KURSEONG (elevation 1,458 m) is a quaint little town about 30km to the south of Darjeeling on the way to Siliguri.

The market consists of rows of shops lining the main road which is crisscrossed at several points by the railway tracks of the toy train. The places to visit are Eagle's Crag which has a park from where glorious views of Khangchendzonga on one side and the southern plains on the other can be taken in; Dow Hill which has the forest museum, Deer Park a water reservoir, all set amidst moss-laden conifers; and Chimney, a serene, open meadow.

MIRIK (elevation 1,767 m) is another tiny hill resort easily accessible from Siliguri, Kurseong or Darjeeling. The center-piece of the town is the Sumendu Lake where boating under the serene gaze of Khangchendzonga makes for a most relaxing pastime. Rameetay Dara and Deosi Dara are two elevated points near the lake from where the view is terrific. Apple orchards and tea gardens are other attractions.
 

   

I T I N E R A R I E S


GENERAL INFORMATION


VISA AND PERMITS: Foreigners visiting Darjeeling must possess an Indian visa. No special permit is required for either traveling or trekking inside Darjeeling. However, necessary travel documents need to be shown as and when required.
Transport is providing by buses, four-wheel drive and smaller vehicles. Local taxis are also available for hire for getting around.

ACCESS: From Kathmandu, take the one-hour flight to Bhadrapur (the nearest Nepalese airport to Darjeeling), drive to Kakarbhitta (Nepal-India border, 34 km), to Siliguri (36 km) and to Darjeeling (77 km, 2 hours 30 minutes). Darjeeling is also connected by road with Sikkim (120 km) and Bhutan (about 200 km). Darjeeling town is 90 km from Bagdogra, the nearest Indian airport, where scheduled flights operate from New Delhi, Kolkota and Guwahati. The nearest railheads are Siliguri and New Jalpaiguri (88 km), which is, connected Kolkata, New Delhi, Guwahati and other major Indian cities. From Siliguri, buses, taxis and the famous toy train (8 hours) leave for Darjeeling.

SEASON: March-May and September-November are the best times to visit. Bring light woolen clothing during summer (maximum temperature 16 degrees Celsius) and heavy woolens in winter (minimum 1.6 degrees).

ADVENTURE: Trekking, white water rafting, kayaking, canoeing, mountain biking and rock climbing.


ITINERARIES

 

DARJEELING & KALIMPONG TOUR

Duration: 7 Days
Months: March to mid June - October to January

DAY 01: Bagdogra- Siliguri. Half day Sight Seeing.
DAY 02: Siliguri - Darjeeling by Toy Train ( Darjeeling Himalayan Railway) at 9.00 a.m. This is the best away to see the Flora and Fauna of Darjeeling Himalayan Region and of course the Toy Train Journey is always memorable. Reach Darjeeling. Reach Darjeeling at 5 p.m.
DAY 03: Darjeeling - Sightseeing. Morning Tiger Hill-Ghoom Monastery-Batasia Loop. Local sight seeing. Himalayan Mountaineering Institute-Padmaja Naidu Zoological Park-Tibetan Self Help Centre - Ropeway
DAY 04: Darjeeling -Leave for Lava - Loley Gaon - Half day sight seeing
DAY 05: Leave for Kalimpong after Lunch - Half day sight seeing
DAY 06: Kalimpong full day sight seeing
DAY 07: Departure - Sikkim/Bagdogra

OR

 

Duration: 6 Days
Months: March to mid June - October to January

DAY 01:  Arrive Bagdogra - drive to Siliguri Half-day sight seeing of Siliguri
DAY 02:  Siliguri - Drive to Darjeeling
DAY 03:  Early morning Tiger Hill - Ghoom Monastery - Batasia loop.
After breakfast - Full day sight seeing
DAY 04: Leave for Lava - Lolay Gaon - Half-day sight seeing
DAY 05: Leave for Kalimpong - Half day sight seeing
DAY 06: Departure - Sikkim/ Bagdogra

 

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MARCOPOLO WORLD TRAVELS, Palzor Stadium Road, Opp. SNT Bus Terminus, Gangtok -737101, Sikkim, India.
Phone : 91-3592-204116/ 229407/ 221723 ; Fax : 91 - 3592 - 205078 ; Email :sikkiminfo@yahoo.com