Darjeeling : Places to Visit

Tiger Hill
If one does not wake up to see the Sunrise at Tiger hill the tour remains incomplete. Tiger Hill, 2590 meter and 8482 feet is 13 kilometer away from the Darjeeling town, and commands one of the most spectacular views. It is here where one encounters nature at its magnificent. Four of the world’s highest mountains towering over us at an incredibly close distance present a sight one can never forget. The contrast between Mt. Everest and Mt. Kanchenjunga is very much marked.
Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park
The zoological park is about 2 km from Darjeeling town , this zoo is a  home to some of the rare Himalayan birds and some endangered species notable today including the snow leopard and the red panda along with golden monkeys, Himalayan bear, Tibetan wolves, Siberian tigers and others, it is considered one of the best zoos in the country. The Zoo and Himalayan Mountaineering Institute are in the same complex. The Darjeeling zoo is famous for its success in the snow leopard breeding program.
Himalayan Mountaineering Institute
Tenzing Norgay’s ascent of the Everest (8848m) along with Sir Edmund Hillary in 1953, provided an impetus to mountaineering as an organized sport in India, and it was to commemorate this single success that the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute was founded in Darjeeling on November the 4th 1954.

This Institute, which is housed in buildings, perched on the western spur of what came to be known as Jawaharlal Parvat has become an important centre of tourist attraction. It commands a magnificent panoramic view of the snow covered massif of Kanchenjunga, the third highest peak in the world.  Beside a well-stocked library, the Jayal hall and a powerful Veb Carl Zeiss Jena Telescope, the hall has a very interesting museum as well. The main museum has a relief model of the Himalayas showing the principal peak. It also displays a collection of dresses of the hill -folk, flags and pennants planted on peaks climbed by Indian expeditions and some of the personal cloths used by Tenzing during his ascent of the Everest. Visitors can get a good idea about mountain climbing from the exhibits displayed in the museum.

Observatory Hill and Mahakal Temple
Rising steeply from the heart of Darjeeling town is the observatory hill, and it is well worth climbing to the top to experience the magnificent view from the summit. You can see all the way to Sikkim and beyond as you look towards the sacred peak of Kanchenjunga. The hill is rich in flora and fauna offers great opportunities for ornithologists and photographers. The Mahakal temple straddles the summit where the Dorjeling Buddhist monastery once stood. A communal place of worship for all of Darjeeling’s faith, the central temple which beholds a Shiva Linga is said to have self manifested in 1782. The gilded icons represent Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh.
Darjeeling Museum
Established in 1903, this natural history museum packs in its folds a rich collection of fauna found in the Himalayas and in Bengal. Among the attractions are included the estuarine crocodiles. This unique museum also has a good collection of butterflies. The mineral forms of various stones are displayed in a very attractive manner in the museum.
Botanical Garden
The botanical garden, located below the Darjeeling bus stand, is worth visiting. Unique collection of Himalayan plants, flowers and orchids will charm everybody. The hilly garden environment and landscape with silence of nature will surely make you all stay for one more day. The garden also has a beautiful green house where many species of fauna are bred.
Tibetan Refugee Self Help Centre
In 1959 was established a center for the refuges who had fled Tibet with the Dalai Lama after the Chinese invasion. This self-help center has been developed as a workshop for the manufactures of handicrafts. The fine and superb carpets, woodcarvings and leather works form this center has been very popular among the tourists. The money collected after the sale of the products goes to the Tibetans who work here. The Tibetan Curios on sale are also attractive. This center has established itself in the International scenario as a place of hard work, self esteem and truth.
Batasia Loop
Batasia is a war memorial commemorating the Gorkha soldiers who served the country from this region. It is also in this ‘Loop’ that the toy train takes a 360 degree round around the memorial along its journey.
Yiga Choling Monastery – Ghoom Monastery
Located at an elevation of 800feet, 8km from Darjeeling at Ghoom is the Yiga Choling Monastery. This monastery is an important seat of the Gelugpa School of Buddhism. It houses a rare collection of Buddhist scrolls in Tibetan and Sanskrit. This monastery is especially famous for its 15 feet tall statue of the Maitreya Buddha.
Kalu Rimpuche Monastery
The late Kalu Rimpoche was born in the Trehor region of Kham, Eastern Tibet, in 1905. His father was a noted doctor, writer and Buddhist practitioner. In the 1940s he began visiting monasteries of many schools and lineages, all over Tibet. In 1955, he visited Karmapa at Tsurphu, who asked him to leave Tibet in order to prepare the ground in India and for the probable impending exile. He first went to Bhutan, where he established two retreat centers and ordained 300 monks. In 1965 he established his own monastery at Sonada, Samdrub Dhargye Ling, and established a three-year retreat facility there. Kalu Rimpoche died on 10th May 1989 at his Monastery in Sonada. His reincarnation (b. 1990) was recognized by Tai Situpa at Sonada in 1992.
Druk Thupten Sangay Choling Monastery
This monastery is 4 km away from Darjeeling town. This is one of the most famous monasteries belonging to the Kargyukpa sect, the pioneer of this monastery was Thuksay Rimpoche who expired in 1983 and his incarnate is reported to have been born in 1986 at Ladakh, India.
Bhutia Busty Buddhist Monastery
The monastery was founded 1879, and has link to both the Kagyupa-Pa and Ningma-pa sects’ orders of Tibetan Buddhism. Built in a traditional Tibetan style with a notable Sikkimese influence, the monastery is a prime example of Darjeeling’s vibrant Buddhist tradition.
Japanese Peace Pagoda
The Japanese peace pagoda was established by followers of the Nipponzan Myohoji Japanese Buddhist order. The pagoda is highest free-standing structure in town, and showcases the four avatars of Buddha. Situated on the slopes of Jalapahar Hill, near the pagoda is the Nipponzan Myohoji Temple, which is built in traditional Japanese style and offers visitors a place for introspection.
Tea Plantation
In the year 1840 the British laid the foundation of the green carpet (tea) – the now world famous Darjeeling tea – on the slopes on the hills of Darjeeling. Visits to the tea plantations and factories allow a wonderful insight into the current and past history of this famous export.
Darjeeling Himalayan Railway – Toy Train
Darjeeling Himalayan Railway was declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1999, only the second railway to have this honor bestowed upon it, the first one being Semmering Railway of Austria in 1998. This steam engine or the toy train as we call it takes you for a short ride from Darjeeling to Ghoom or for a longer one from the Queen of Hills to New Jalpaiguri. The experience of every traveller in the toy train is different. However, experiencing the thrill of this ride drives home the point even more emphatically.
The Mall
An evening stroll around the Mall will acquaint you with the colloquial life of Darjeeling. Beside a good evening stroll you can discover Curios, Darjeeling Tea, Pashmina Shawls and Books too here, in the mall itself.