Darjeeling

Darjeeling! Here I come

If you are looking for a proper tourist destination this summer and you haven’t been to Darjeeling, then you should try it out. Even if you have been there already, after checking out all the scenic beauties out there, you will not hesitate to go there once again.

Darjeeling is one of the most scenic and hugely popular hill resorts in India. It is situated 2,134 meters above mean sea level, making it one of the best summer destinations in India. With Kolkata being only 686 km away, it has garnered much attention. With the mighty Himalayan peaks among the backdrop, it has been a place of choice for tourists in summer to escape the blazing heat at the sea level. Its beauty and pleasant climate also serve as a boost for its tourism.

On a sunny day, you can get a clear view of the infamous Kanchenjunga, the world’s third highest peak, from the town. It is also home to the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR), a World Heritage Site. Tourists can enjoy relaxed walks through the town’s picturesque streets, watching the cool life of the natives.

Darjeeling offers a wide assortment of choices for those seeking an adventurous activity or an adrenaline rush. Skiing, mountain biking, outdoor camping, trekking, river rafting, canoeing, and kayaking are some such activities one can indulge in. But, if these activities do not hold your interests, then loosen your shoelaces and just enjoy the natural beauty of the city with the wind on your face.

The Singalila National Park not only lets you have a peek at the red panda and the rare rhododendron blooms, it is also an ideal place for some high altitude trekking. The park is a camper’s delight as it is mostly free of vicious animals and snakes, making it the most popular family camping destination in the eastern Himalaya.

Everyone, especially the mountain lovers, must have the visit to the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute in their to-do list. The Happy Valley Tea Garden is also one of the most visited places, where people find the green plants a reprieve from the black and grey of the world. Shopping at the flea market (Bhutiya market) should be on your itinerary too.

Did you know that Darjeeling and the DHR have featured in several movies? Sharmila Tagore-Rajesh Khanna song sequence Mere Sapnon Ki Rani Kab Ayegi Tu from the film Aradhana continues to be high in popularity. Shah Rukh Khan-starrer Raju Bangaya Gentleman and Saif Ali Khan-starrer Parineeta are some of the movies shot in Darjeeling.

Mahatma Gandhi visited Darjeeling in 1925. He covered the 80 km stretch from Siliguri to Darjeeling on foot. So captivated by the scenery was the Mahatma, that he announced that traveling through any other means through this wonderful masterpiece of nature doesn’t do justice to it.

Looking for a place to stay in Darjeeling?

Accommodation in Darjeeling is quite easily available, owing to the fact that it is a famous tourist destination. There are several hotels that span the landscape. Resorts and hostels are also quite comfortable. No matter what your budget is, you are bound to find a proper accommodation that suits your need. Forest guest houses are also available, if you are up for it, though you should get a special permit from the West Bengal Forest Department to stay in one of these.

What cuisine do you prefer?

Though all sorts of cuisines can be found here, the popular delicacies here are the momos and thupkas. Momos basically are steamed dumpling containing meat and vegetables cooked in a doughy wrapping, served with a watery soup called thupka. Spicy foods are quite common here. Though many popular restaurants that serve excellent Chinese and Continental food can be found, nothing can match the work of art hawked by the vendors of eateries found at each and every bend of the street.

What is the best time to visit?

The best time of visit is obviously the summers, i.e., during the months of March, April and May. You might not want to go there during the monsoon months of June, July, and August as they tend to be messy and spoil your vacation. The months of October, November and, December can also be considered a suitable choice if you do not mind the extreme temperatures. January and February usually face sub-zero temperatures and are generally avoided.

If you haven’t visited Darjeeling even once, I assure you, you are missing a whole load of fun and it doesn’t do justice to the epitome of natural beauty. People who have already been there once, are probably on their toes for another trip there and sometimes many feel that the second trip was better than the first. But anyways, a second trip is also completely worth it.

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