The Peace Pagoda -The Japanese Peace Pagoda on the slopes of Jalaphar Hill is a short distance from the town and showcases the four avatars of Buddha, including the Maitreya Buddha. It is open to people of all races and creeds and is purposely made to propagate peace and prosperity in the world. The Japanese Peace Pagoda was made under the supervision of a devout Japanese monk called Nichidatsu Fujii (1885-1985), who is also revered as the founder of the Nipponzan-Myohoji Buddhist Order. The pagoda took about 20 years to build; i.e. from 1972 to 1992.
Ghoom Monastery - The Ghoom Monastery, built in 1875 by a lama called Sherab Gyatso, is the largest in Ghoom (8 kilometres from the city of Darjeeling) and holds the statue of the Maitreya Buddha, believed to be ‘The Buddha to Come’. The statue is a whopping 15 feet in height. Also known as the Yiga Choeling Monastery, Ghoom Monastery preserves some rare, handwritten Buddhist manuscripts. The monks of Ghoom Monastery follow the Gelugpa order of Buddhism
Himalayan Mountaineering Institute and Zoo -The Himalayan Mountaineering Institute was established by Tenzing Norgay, the sherpa who, along with Sir Edmund Hillary, reached the summit of Mount Everest. The campus has a memorial for him, and it also houses a museum that showcases mountaineering equipment. These include the ones that Tenzing Norgay used. The Mountaineering Institute also has a small zoological park that houses various species of Himalayan animals.The wildlife at the zoo keeps the excitement levels high for kids. Spot the rare Red Panda, Snow Leopard, Himalayan Deer and Black Bear. Among the birds, the majestic macaw is the biggest attraction.
Famous Sunrise point - Tiger Hill, the highest point, a short drive away from the town is ideal for hiking and trekking through the day. Besides amazing views of the Kanchenjunga Range, the Tiger Hill renders perfect views of the sunrise. During peak tourist season, you'll see hundreds of tourists get up as early as four in the morning to view the beautiful sunrise from the observatory on top of the hill. The wind is so strong here; it will make you shiver with cold in a matter of minutes.
Darjeeling heritage Toy train -The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, also known as the Darjeeling Toy Train, is a prominent crowd-puller in the beautiful hill station of West Bengal. It is an outstanding engineering marvel, noted for being the best example of a hill passenger railway. This narrow (2 feet) train, listed as a World Heritage by UNESCO, takes you on 83 km long rail journey from Darjeeling to the railhead in Siliguri. This journey is an amazing way to ascent hilly terrains and to behold stunning views of the majestic Himalayas. Movie Connect - Bollywood directors have long been using the Darjeeling Toy Train in their movies, mainly in song sequences. The popular Sharmila Tagore-Rajesh Khanna song - Mere Sapnon Ki Rani Kab Ayegi Tu in the film Aradhana was shot in this train. Other notable Hindi movies featuring the train are Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman (1992), Parineeta (2005) and the recent, Barfi (2012).
Chowrasta is a popular street in Darjeeling, where both tourists and locals gather to bask in the sun and hang around. Set atop a ridge, this boulevard is lined with an array of shops and restaurants. It is situated at the locus of the Mall Road, which is considered as the town's social as well as commercial centre. Notably, the architecture of this place is symbolic of the Victorian era in the region. The word ‘Chow’ stands for ‘four' and ‘rasta' means ‘road’, which collectively means four roads. First is the Nehru Road where all the prominent tourist shops and Bhutia stalls are present. Second is the Dr. Zakir Hussain Road that adjoins the Nehru Road through a bustling local market area. Lastly, it is the Mall Road that is counted twice - as the road heads towards the Observatory Hill, circles it, and returns from the other side. The main highlights of this place are the Brabourne Park, Temple of Mahakal, food stalls, book stores, curio shops and numerous vendors selling artefacts and other collectibles along the street. At the Brabourne Park, you can enjoy marvellous views of the mountains or catch a glimpse of the beautiful musical fountain. At Chowrasta, you can either laze around while sitting on the benches set up on the roadside or go for a pony ride, for a fun-filled experience.
Tibetan Refugee Self Help Center -Tibetan Refugee Self Help Centre, one of the prominent landmarks of Darjeeling, was established on 2nd October 1959. It serves as a residence of several Tibetan refugees who fled from their homeland following the footsteps of their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama. A visit to this self-help centre allows you to gain insight into the living of these refugees, who earn their livelihood by selling their art. Visitors can see Tibetan craftsmen at work in these shops, making exquisite handicraft items. They can purchase a variety of items like carpets, woollen coats and blankets, which is also exported to over 36 countries across the world. Apart from shops, the centre has a small nursery school for kids, X-Ray clinic, pathology laboratory and dental clinic. Besides, a host of welfare, religious and educational activities along with medical programmes are also organised at this centre from time to time.Opening Closing Time -Sunrise – Sunset (Daily except Sunday)
Happy Valley Tea Estate -This is one of the famous tea estates in Darjeeling that was established by British planters in 1854 and located only 3kms away from the lower town. Due to its proximity, a visit to this tea estate is quite common in the local package tours offered by tour operators or taxi drivers. Many tea bushes here are over 100 years old and it's a treat to the eyes to watch the vast expanses of lush tea gardens on the slopes of the hills. During season (April to October) you can watch tea plucking by local Nepali women. The estate workers also volunteer for a tea factory tour (expecting a good tip though). You can get inside the factory and watch the various stages of tea processing. The best quality tea here is known as Super Fine Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe. The estate produces black, green and white tea.
Dhirdham and Mahakal Temples - Dhirdham Temple is a Hindu temple deeply inspired by Tibetan and Buddhist architectural styles. It was built by Rai Saheb Purna Bahadur Pradhan in 1939 and is believed to be a reflection of the Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu, Nepal. There is a statue of Lord Shiva here that represents the five different expressions of Lord Shiva in five situations and the third eye. Aartis are held at 8 am and 6 pm here every day. It is located close to the Darjeeling Railway Station. Situated atop the Observatory Hill, the Mahakal temple offers one of most beautiful and curious religious observations. You will find a Hindu priest and a Buddhist monk sharing a common altar in perfect religious harmony here. Three shiva-lingas representing Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwar are believed to have been manifested here. Devotees walk around the shrine barefoot while ringing the bells placed around it. Hundreds of prayer flags tied to the shrine and trees that flutter in the breeze add to the peace and quiet here.These holy sites are popular with the followers of both Buddhism and Hinduism.
Mirik Lake -Drive through beautiful green meadows and picturesque valleys to reach Mirik, the serene tourist spot in the hills of Darjeeling. Soak in the beautiful vistas and relax by the charming Sumendu Lake. Boating and canoeing are popular activities here. If you like trekking you’re in for a treat with plenty of trails that give you an enchanting insight into Darjeeling's exotic forests.
Batasia Loop- Located 5km from Darjeeling Town and just below Ghoom, Batasia Loop as the name suggests, is a loop or a spiral of a narrow gauge railway track where the Toy Train negotiates a sudden sharp descent from Ghoom. It's a wonderful viewing place with manicured gardens, streams and falls, from where you can get a wide range view of the Darjeeling's landscape, Kanchenjunga snow peaks and the other Eastern Himalayan peaks.
Darjeeling Ropeway-This is one way you can be part of special diverse offerings from the nature and all in one place. From the ropeway of Darjeeling which is also known as the Rangeet Valley Passenger Cable Car, you can have mind blowing view of the valley below, see the spread of lush tea gardens, dense forests, mountain streams in their full flow, waterfalls, and the awesome snow peaks at the background. Get off at a lower station and enjoy the tea estates, walk through the tea gardens, or just relax and enjoy the view around. It's hard to find all these together in one place.
Rock Garden & Ganga Maya Park These two are scenic parks in wonderful settings located a few miles away from the Darjeeling town. Rock garden is about 10km and Ganga Maya is another 3km from there. Rock Garden is all about terraced gardens at different levels that have been cut through the rocks having a waterfalls with nice seating arrangements. Ganga Maya is more spread out and has a beautiful stream flowing through it on a valley, has flower gardens, fountains and more.