Top 10 things to do in Darjeeling
Darjeeling has always been, well, the ‘darling’ among India’s locals and tourists alike – for a very good reason. Its beautiful hills, situated amid a collection of majestic snowy mountains, certainly entice people to spend their summer vacation in this culturally and historically abundant town of Darjeeling. But Darjeeling is certainly not just a beautiful place – it is jam-packed with fun activities and adventures as well! Here’s a list of top 10 things that you simply have to do to fully appreciate Darjeeling.
1. Take a tour to tea estates
The town of Darjeeling is certainly known for its many rural tea plantations and if you are planning to visit the town, you certainly must visit at least one plantation, such as The Happy Valley Tea Estate. Here, especially during summer, you can get a closer look on how the delicious teas of India are made – from planting to processing up to shipping.
2. Explore the Sandakphu trek
Surrounded from all sides by four of the world’s highest peak (Everest, Makalu, Lhotse, and Kanchenjunga), the Sandakphu trek is simply a trekker’s paradise. Outdoor persons and nature lovers will certainly love this trek, which is full of picturesque views and dotted with sparsely populated villages.
3. Pay a visit to the Japanese Peace Pagoda
Take a closer look at the religious landscape of Darjeeling through a visit on the Peace Pagoda, located at the Jalapajar Road. The calm, peaceful, and mystical atmosphere will surely grant you an inner sense of peace while the grand architecture of the temple itself can fill you with a sense of breathless wonder.
4. Tour the Museum of Natural History
If you’re out for a fun yet educational time with your friends, the Museum of Natural History located at the centermost part of Darjeeling is a good place to start. Here you can browse a comprehensive collection of the animal and insect life in Bengal. Bengali stones and minerals are also set up as display here.
5. Take a ride on the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway
A trip to Darjeeling couldn’t get any better than this! The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway is a fully-functional ancient steam train (yes, it’s still working!) that is considered by UNESCO as a world heritage site. Here you can sit back and admire the sights as the train takes you to a half-a-day journey around the Himalayan ridge.
6. Ignite your curiosity with the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (HMI) Museum
Whether or not you’re a mountaineering enthusiast, you will surely enjoy this museum hosted by the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute. Their collection is composed of relics from past mountaineering exhibitions to the Himalaya such as handwritten journals, gears, and even interactive displays of the Himalayan mountain range.
7. Observe snow leopards in captivity
Snow leopards are now considered by the World Wide Fund as endangered species and one of the few centers that are successful in breeding snow leopards while in captivity is the Snow Leopard Breeding Centre in Darjeeling. Here you can take a closer look at these majestic creatures as they laze around their enclosures.
8. Take a trip down the historical memory lane in Windamere Hotel
This hotel was originally built in Darjeeling during the 19th century in order to house some of the British plantation owners. Nowadays, the rooms themselves are filled various memorabilia, art, and elaborate furniture. You can definitely see the world of the privileged here in Windamere Hotel.
9. Find serenity and peace in the Observatory Hill
Darjeeling’s mall road leads to a steep hill often called the Observatory Hill. Here you can take a rest from the road and partake of some quite time of reflection amid the sound of bells and waving prayer flags. This hill has also become a symbol of harmony between Buddhists and Hindus, the two leading religions in India
10. Lloyd Botanical Garden
During summers, the flowers of Darjeeling blooms their most beautiful – where else can you find the most beautiful summer blooms than in the famous Lloyd Botanical Garden? This beautiful garden houses a great collection of rare and exotic flowers as well as some notable species of birds as well. You will surely find the place fun yet relaxing.
If you know of any more places to visit in Darjeeling, be sure to leave them in the comments section below.
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