Darjeeling - the name is derived from the Tibetian word 'Dorje' which means the precious stone or ecclesiastical sceptre, which is emblematic of the thunderbolt of Indra, and 'ling' - a place, hence the land of the thunderbolt. The sceptre of Indra is believed to have fallen at a place where now stands the Observatory Hill.
Darjeeling is one of the most beautiful Hill Stations in India coming under the state of West Bengal. It is a famous hill resort offering a breath taking sight of the numerous peaks of the majestic Himalayas. The clouds seem to whisper to one another here and from horizon to horizon stretches the Kanchanjunga, covered with snow from the head to foot all round the year. The views of Kanchanjunga and Mount Everest are particularly inspiring. And viewing Sun rise is wonderful from the famous Tiger hill. The Himalayan physiography of lofty mountainous terrain and cascading rivers, offers adventure sports trekking, mountaineering and river rafting.
Places to see in Darjeeling:
Tiger HillSituated at an altitude of 2590 metres (8482 ft.) and 13 kms from the town, this spot has earned international fame for the magnificent view of the sunrise over "Kanchenjunga" and the great Eastern Himalayan Mountains. Even Mount Everest, the world's highest peak, is visible from here.
The MallThe Mall is Darjeeling's popular commercial street. It is lined with Tibetans selling hand-knitted sweaters and souvenir shops chock-full of Himalayan artifacts and both real and imitation antiques. Photo shops carry turn-of-the-century photos as well as specialising in hand-painted black and white prints with glowing oil colours. The Mall leads to Chaurasta, a square, which doubles as a bandstand, a pony riding arena for children and a haven for lovers.
Batasia Loop About 5 kms from Darjeeling, this Railway Loop is a marvellous feat of engineering. It is fascinating to watch the toy train wind its way round the loop. The War Memorial constructed in the memory of brave sons of Darjeeling who died in different action since 1947, is worth a visit. A glorious view of snowy peak and town can be seen from this place.
ChowrastaThe Chowrasta, meaning crossroad, is a hive of commercial activity. The Mall Road originates and culminates at the Chowrasta. This is the heart of Victorian Darjeeling. Here hotels, restaurants and shops brush against each other. The shops and stalls are a veritable paradise for souvenir collectors. The Bhutanese sellers display their wares. Woollen garments, tribal ornaments, Thankas, rosaries, brass statuettes and Gorkha daggers are kept on display for sale. Foreign goods are also available in some shops. Local handicrafts are much in demand.
Kanchenjunga ViewKanchenjunga View from Darjeeling one can have the best, uninterrupted view of the worlds third highest peak. Bhan Bhakta Sarani provides one of the enthralling views of these snow capped peaks. The Chowrasta also gives you a good sight to the Kanchenjunga peak.
Fair and Festivals in Darjeeling:The festivals which are celebrated in Darjeeling are:-
• Lepcha/Bhutia New Year's Day It is celebrated in the 1st week of January during Makar Sankranti when the colorful fairs are held along the Teest River.
• Losar Tibetan New Year's Day It is celebrated in February. Colorful Tibetan folk-dances are staged in monasteries on this day.
• Durga Puja/Dussehra Goddess Durga is worshipped and beautiful images of her are immersed in the water after taking them in colorful processions.
Best Time to Visit:The best time to visit this hill station is between April and June and September and December. The summer temperature hovers between 14° C and 8° Celsius and the winter temperatures fall to a freezing 6°C to 1° Celsius. So be sure carry woollens when you visit. How to get There:
By AirThe nearest airport is at Bagdogra, 90 km away from Darjeeling. Bagdogra is connected to important cities of the country by domestic airlines.
By taxiSiliguri is the nearest town. Ample transport is available to Darjeeling from here. The most popular modes of transport are taxi (usually shared by 3-4 passengers), share jeep (10 passengers).
By busThere is a regular bus service from Silguri to Darjeeling.
By trainNew Jalpaiguri (NJP) in Siliguri is the nearest station on the main inter-city line. From there, a 'toy train' completes the journey to Darjeeling. This route is very popular with tourists as in passes through some very picturesque mountain scenery and has been the subject of many romantic articles. Trains depart at 9AM and arrive in Darjeeling at 7pm.
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