Best Places to Visit in Darjeeling

Darjeeling Tourism :

What is there not to love about Darjeeling? High above the clouds, this stunning hill station is a peaceful getaway for tourists from around the world. Beyond producing some of the best tea in the world (unofficially known as ‘the champagne of teas’), Darjeeling is a natural and cultural wonder. Discover its vibrant green hills, distant mountain peaks, and unique culture!

Tea Garden

You cannot leave Darjeeling without visiting one of its famous tea gardens. After strolling through the expansive, lush fields of tea, sip some of the world’s greatest tea with a scenic view of the plantation where it came from. For tea enthusiasts, Darjeeling is almost a pilgrimage site. Straight from the garden to your cup, choose between Darjeeling white tea, Darjeeling organic green tea, and/or Darjeeling oolong. Smell the pungent floral aroma while you sip your steamy hot cup of Darjeeling tea and experience some health benefits while doing so! There is no better place to try the delicious Darjeeling tea than the source itself. Some of the tea gardens in and around Darjeeling are: Happy Valley Tea Garden, Singtom Tea Estate and Resort, Glenburn Tea Estate, Margarets Hope Tea Garden, and more! Book a tour with Ashmita Trek & Tours to one or more of these tea gardens!

Japanese Peace Pagoda

Find an inner sense of peace at Darjeeling’s Japanese Peace Pagoda, part of a family of NipponzanMyohoji Buddhist Temples found all over the world. The one is Darjeeling is located along Jalapahar Hill, with a most scenic view of the Kanchenjunga range, which includes the 3rd highest peak in the world. Follow the rhythmic drumming and chanting to the upstairs, where a Japanese nun and fellow Nepali devotees invite you in while reciting “NamuMyohoRengeKyo” in honor of the Lotus Sutra. Don’t be shy, have a seat and join them in the chanting. After a few minutes, you will feel a sense of calmness come over you. As you leave, you are offered sweet candy that represents the blessings of Buddha. Then, head to the actual pagoda, an immaculate white building that is encompassed by verdant vegetation. Come experience the radiating peaceful energy of the Japanese Peace Pagoda!

Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park & Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (Everest Museum)

Right next to each other lie two of Darjeeling’s most popular tour destinations. Hit bothat once on your trip to Darjeeling! The Himalayan Zoological Park is ranked among the top zoos in India and in fact won the Special Mention Earth Heroes award in 2014. India’s largest high altitude zoo is world-renowned for its amazing conservation efforts. The zoo houses some of the world’s rarest animals, including the Red Panda and Snow Leopard. Also check out the Himalayan black bear, Royal Bengal tiger, Tibetan wolf, and many more magnificent mountain animal species.

Founded soon after the famous Everest Expedition, The Himalayan Mountain Institute (Everest Museum) celebrates the success of Tenzing Norgay. Along with Sir Edmund Hillary, Norgay was the first person to ascend Mount Everest. The institute celebrates the success of Norgay, who spent the later years of his life in Darjeeling. Check out the awesome museum, stocked with equipment used during the legendary expedition of 1953. HMI doubles as a mountaineering school offering classes for young people dreaming of being a mountain guide as well as veterans looking to sharpen their skills.

Darjeeling Ropeway

Hop in the gondola, glide through the air, and enjoy one of the best mountain views in all of Darjeeling. The Darjeeling Ropeway, India’s first cable car system (built in 1968!) provides a stunning panorama of tea gardens, houses, and the always amazing Himalayas.In the distance, see the majestic peak of Kanchenjunga (8586 meters/28,169 feet) and the range of towering peaks beside it. Board the cable car at Singamari, about 3 kilometers (1.8 miles) from Chowk Bazaar. The ticket costs about 150 INR ($2.19 USD) – a small price to pay for such priceless views. Starting at about 7,000 feet high, the ropeway takes a dramatic drop to about 6,000 feet while cruising over the radiant green tea estates. Enjoy breathtaking views of waterfalls, rivers, forests, and small settlements during the 45-minute ride. At the end, you are dropped off at Singla Tea Estate, where you can chill out and sip some of the local tea. Take the laid-back, yet captivating Darjeeling Ropeway on your next visit to Darjeeling!

Tiger Hill

Tiger Hill (2590 meters/8482 feet) is another must-see place in Darjeeling. The hilltop viewpoint exposes you to sensational mountain views, including two of the three highest peaks in the world: Mount Everest (8848 meters/29,029 feet) and Kanchenjunga (8586 meters/28,169 feet). Feel your eyes widen and your jaw drop the moment you set foot at the top. The road to Tiger Hill is almost as alluring as the view itself. The continuouslywinding road leads through dense forests and sublime open meadows.The best time to visit Tiger Hill is during the sunrise, when the sun illuminates the snow-capped peaks with a fiery red glow. Though, the majesty of the mountains can be appreciated throughout the day. Tiger Hill can be reached by car, or by foot and bicycle for the extra adventurous visitors. Check out our Tiger Hill Sunrise Day Hike or Darjeeling Tiger Hill Mountain Biking day trip for an unforgettable Tiger Hill visit!

Batasia Loop

The Batasia Loop is a 100-year-oldcircular train track surrounded by a spectacular mountain vista. Without a doubt, this is the most scenic stretch of the toy train route. Located on Hill Cart Road (NH 55), the Batasia Loop lies about 5 kilometers outside of Darjeeling and is well worth the walk or drive. The loop is noted for its unique design allows the train to circle around itself, exposing riders to a 360-degree view of the rippling hills and towering peaks, including the marvelous peak of Kanchenjunga (8586 meters). In the middle of the loop is a lush garden of lovely blooming flowers and shrubs. The views are best seen during the autumn and spring, but you should definitely check out the Batasia Loop regardless of the time of year that you visit! Take our Darjeeling City Day Tour or any of our longer tours that include a sightseeing trip in Darjeeling to visit the Batasia Loop! Don’t miss this marvelous train during your Darjeeling visit!

Darjeeling Toy Train Joyride

Perhaps Darjeeling’s most beloved place to visit is the Darjeeling Toy Train – an UNESCO World Heritage site and world-renowned engineering feat. The steam-powered locomotive huffs and puffs its way up steep gradients and around sharp curves, exposing riders to breathtaking Himalayan views. The cultural heritage site, well over 100 years old, was constructed to link the cool, high hills of Darjeeling and the rest of northeast India to the steamy plains down below. The roundtrip journey from Darjeeling to Ghum takes about two hours and briefly stops partway so you can enjoy the unmatched beauty of Batasia Loop. Arriving in Ghum (India’s highest railway station), the train stops for 30 minutes so you can browse the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway Museum. Again, any of our packages that include a sightseeing tour of Darjeeling give you an amazing joyride experience on the wonderful Toy Train.

Yiga Choeling (Old Ghum) Monastery in Darjeeling

The Old Ghum Monastery (interchangeable with Yiga Choeling Monastery) is one of the oldest and largest monasteries in the Darjeeling area. It is architecturally a masterpiece, designed with rich symbolism and remarkable symmetry. The monastery, constructed in 1850, belongs to the Gelukpa or yellow hat sect. Starting in 1959, the Chinese occupation forced a number of high ranking lamas to flee Tibet and reside in India. Many of them took refuge in the YigaChoeling Monastery. It is a very special place for this reason. One main attraction is a massive 15-foot model statue of Lord Buddha, known as the Maitreya Buddha (‘The Coming Buddha’). Tourists typically skip the Old Ghum Monastery and opt for the Ghum Monastery instead. Because of this, you will likely have a more intimate experience with the place and even have a conversation with one of the monks there. Learn about their story and daily routine as you have a nice talk with 

Bhutia Busty Monastery in Darjeeling

Considering the history of all Darjeeling’s monasteries, Bhutia Busty (meaning Bhutia colony) has perhaps the most tumultuous.  Spanning about 250 years, the various buildings and locations of Bhutia Busty have faced numerous difficulties, though continues to persevere until this day. The original location of BhutiaBusti rested on Observatory Hill, where the Mahakal Temple is located today. It was built in 1761 by Lama DorjeRinzing. If you consider its origin on Observatory Hill, Bhutia Busty is the oldest monastery in Darjeeling. Unfortunately, the monastery was completely destroyed during the 1815 Gorkha Invasion. It was rebuilt in 1861 but due to troubles it was moved to its present location 18 years later in 1879. Again, the monastery was demolished in 1934 due to a powerful earthquake. It was rebuilt shortly thereafter and has fortunately maintained its structure since then. Today, very few permanent monks live there, so if you visit you may get a chance to talk one on one with the head monk!

Dali Monastery in Darjeeling 

Dali Monastery is a massive monastic community that sits about 5 kilometers from Darjeeling. Perched atop a hill with a sprawling view, Dali Monastery (also known as DrukSangagCholing Monastery, houses some 200 monks and monks-to-be. It is one of my personal favorite spots in all of Darjeeling for a number of reasons. After stepping through the gate and climbing up the stairs, you immediately feel a sense of peace come over you. You must experience this for yourself.  Become enchanted by the elaborate Tibetan architecture, characterized by rich symbolism and natural pigments of red, green, blue and green. Have a bite to eat at the Dali Monastery Coffee Shop where they serve delicious momo’s, potato chips, coffee, tea, etc. It’s a great place to hang out and read a book, and maybe make friends with a lama. At 4:30, head inside the temple for prayer time, when the monks hit drums (damaru), play the horns, and sing beautiful incantations. Meanwhile, younger monks deliver hot pots of tea for you to sip on. If you come to Dali Monastery, arriving during prayer time is a must!

Ghum Monastery in Darjeeling

The picturesque Ghum Monastery is a charming little place with superb views on all sides. The monastery was built in 1850 by the Mongolian astrologer and monk SokpoSherabGyatso, who was head of the monastery until 1905. Ghum, not to be confused with Old Ghum Monastery, is located roughly 7 kilometers outside of Darjeeling on the way to/from Tiger Hill. Make it to the monastery early in the morning to receive blessings before you make the ascent to Tiger Hill and see one of the most majestic views of your lifetime. Also, there is a small café on the premises that opens early in the morning for coffee, tea, biscuits, and light vegetarian snacks. After listening to the monks pray, climb up some stairs to an open roof of a single storey building and be amazed at the view. See the awe-inspiring Kanchenjunga ahead of you and the expansive valleys below. If you’re going to Tiger Hill, do not miss this wonderful side trip!