Bliss in the Himalayas
The mighty Himalayas are a haven for the adventurers from around the world. But from up-close when the piercing cold is all you can feel, it’s resilient beauty is indistinct. And Darjeeling- the city of hill stations gives you a glance at the serene sides of Himalayas. Located in the Lesser Himalayas at an elevation of 6,700 ft in West Bengal, India is this lovely town. Darjeeling has a lot to offer from adventures, breathtaking sceneries, local delicacies and a dynamic culture.
WHEN TO VISIT
Darjeeling being a high range destination has a distinct seasonal variation around the year, and each season comes with its own ups and downs. But summer is the most preferred season since the climate is moderate and the hill ranges are covered with greenery and flowers.
April to June: summer is a pleasant season here and lets you enjoy Darjeeling in its full fledge. Temperature goes only up to around 25 degree Celsius. Basking in the sun while enjoying a cool breeze on hilltops makes for a great vacation in Darjeeling with the scenic settings.
July to September: Monsoon starts here by the month of July and is not a high-time to visit. Roadblocks and landslides are common in this hilly terrain and can spoil your fun. However, if you love rains, and enjoy the lush-green environ drenched in the water this is your time.
October to March: October marks the end of the monsoon season. From mid-November to January; the average temperature ranges between 7 and 5 degree Celsius with the onset of winter. The lack of snowfall reduces the charm of Darjeeling as compared to other tourist destinations around in winter.
How to reach
This beautiful hill station could be accessed by air, by rail or by road, it's all up to you to choose. The Bagdogra airport about 100 km from the city is the most prefered option as it is the only airport that connects other major cities to Darjeeling. If you are to take the heritage path then the Himalayan Railway is the best pick. The city can also be accessed by road from Gangtok which is about 100 km ride, from Kalimpong around 50 km or from Kolkatta itself covering about 650 km.
How to Reach by Flight
Bagdogra is the nearest airport to Darjeeling which is about 3 hrs from the city and can be reached by cabs. Bagdogra has direct flights to cities like Kolkatta, Delhi and Guwahati. Other major cities can also be accessed through connection flights.
How to Reach by Train
The Himalayan Railways are a heritage path and a famous tourist route. The narrow gauges y are an experience to enjoy. The Jalpaiguri Station is the nearest station to Darjeeling and is well connected to the major cities of India. There are trains to and from Kolkatta, Mumbai, Delhi, Kochi and other major destinations. Cabs can be arranged to reach Darjeeling from the station.
How to Reach by Bus
Public bus services are available to Darjeeling from the nearby cities like Gangtok, Kolkatta and Kalimpong. And buses can be hired from other parts of the country to Darjeeling through these routes.
How to Reach by Road
Darjeeling has a well connected and managed road network, it can be accessed from Gangtok (100 km) and Kalimpong (50 km) and Kolkatta (650 km). It can also be accessed from Kathmandu, Nepal by road covering a distance of around 310 km.
How to travel within
To get around Darjeeling one can hire a cab or rent out two-wheelers or even bicycles. There are some public buses that take you around connecting major tourist destinations. The Himalayan Railway is another option one should definitely try as it is a part of the heritage tourism in Darjeeling.
DRINK & DINE
Darjeeling has a vibrant culture and lifestyle which is reflected in its cuisine as well. The food and drinks here have a history and a lineage leading back to the neighbouring states or nations and are equally mouth-watering. If you have set foot on this part of India, do not return without tasting these delicacies.
MOMOS: A type of dumplings that are either steamed or fried, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian Momos are available.
THUKPA: A Tibetan noodle soup
NEPALI TALI: A complete meal consisting of boiled rice, daal, vegetable curries, curd and a sweet
DALLI: A traditional pickle
CHURPEE: A snack0 made of milk
ALU DUM: A Nepali snack made of boiled potatoes and gravy
DARJEELING TEA: The famous and authentic tea made from the tea plantations in Darjeeling, known for its special flavour and colour.
TIBETAN TEA: A salty tea
TONGBA: A locally brewed beer
DARJEELING ORANGE: The orange grown in the local orchards known for their sweetness.
Day 1: Get acclimatized, Chowrashtra mall, Observatory Hill, Mahakal Temple, Nehru Road Shopping.
Day 2: Darjeeling Zoo, Ropeway, Happy Valley Tea Estate, Rock Garden.
Day 3: Tiger Hill, Ghoom Monastery, Batasia Loop, Himalayan Train Ride.
Day 4: Trip to Mirik, Sandakphu.