Darjeeling conjures visions of snow peaks, serenity of vibrant green hills steeped in splendour, a land of breathtaking beauty crowned by the majestic Himalayas. Darjeeling is one of the most magnificent hill resorts in the world. This heavenly retreat is bathed in hues of every shade. Flaming red rhododendrons, sparkling white magnolias, miles of undulating hillsides covered with emerald green tea bushes, the exotic forests of silver fir – all under the blanket of a brilliant azure sky dappled with specks of clouds, compellingly confounds Darjeeling as the QUEEN OF HILL STATIONS. The crest of Kanchenjunga shining in the first dawn light truly supports the title. Darjeeling beckons thousands today for a leisurely respite from the bustle of the madding crowd. The traveller – whether a tourist or a trekker, an ornithologist or a photographer, a botanist or an artist – will find in Darjeeling an experience which will remain etched in the memory – forever.
Toy Train (DHR)
Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR), popularly known as the ‘Toy Train’ is one of the main attractions of the region. The track on which the train runs is only 600 millimeters wide. The size of the train is commensurate giving it the name `Toy Train`. Narrow Gauge trains are used in parts of India to travel to hill stations. The total area of the Narrow Gauge in India is about 4500 kilometers. Arguably, the most magnificent train journeys through the narrow gauge are the 88 kilometers through the gorgeous terrain to Darjeeling from Siliguri. UNESCO has declared the DHR as a World Heritage Site.
Trekking in the Darjeeling Hills began almost a century ago. In fact, the first organised trekking route in India was setup here along the Sangalila range. The trek begins in Darjeeling and proceeds through Maneybhanjyang, Tonglu, Sandakphu and ends in Phalut. There are trekker huts under the management of Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council Tourism Department all along the route to Sandakphu. For further information contact, Tourist Bureau, Darjeeling.
The White Water Rafting on the river Teesta & Rangeet (Triveni), the scenic beauty of the banks, surrounding hills, its flora & fauna and sighting of several varieties of fishes is simply enchanting. A river trip is often an adventure. An amateur with a little sense of adventure can equally enjoy it.
Eastern India is home to more than 850 species of birds and is considered as being the richest birding area in the country. The abrupt juxtaposition of many different biotopes or life zones – ranging from almost plains level to over 6000m, and from tropical heat to arctic cold, has given to the Eastern Himalayas a flora and fauna that for richness and variety is perhaps unequalled in the world. Sheltered in the rain-shadow lie dry practically rainless valleys adds to the ecological complexities of the jumbled habitats and make the area rich in birds, plant and insect life.
Anybody who wants to start birding in the north-eastern India, could find birds such as the Eurasian Cuckoo, Oriental Cuckoo, Himalayan Griffon, Common Kestrel, Yellow-billed Blue Magpie, Greychinned Minivet, Yellow-bellied Fantail, Plain-backed Thrush, White-collared Blackbird, Eurasian Blackbird, Asian Brown Flycatcher, Rufous-gorgeted Flycatcher, Little Pied Flycatcher, Orangeflanked Bush Robin, Golden Bush Robin, Aberrant Bush Warbler, Yellowish-bellied Bush Warbler, Buff-barred Warbler, Greyhooded Warbler, White-throated Laughingthrush, Scaly Laughingthrush, Scaly-breasted Wren Babbler, Rufouscapped Babbler, Red-billed Leiothrix, Bluewinged Minla, Gould’s Shortwing, Goldenbreasted Fulvetta, Rufous-winged Fulvetta, Stripe-throated Yuhina, Black-throated Parrotbill, Green-tailed Sunbird, Firetailed Sunbird, Rufous-breasted Accentor, Maroon-backed Accentor, Dark-rumped Rosefinch, Gold-naped Finch. Tours are offered covering the best birding areas in Lava, Neora Valley National Park, Darjeeling, Tiger Hill, Sandakphu, Singalila National Park, etc.
Eastern India is home to more than 1200 species of butterflies and is considered as being the richest butterflying area, not only in our country but in the entire oriental region. Butterflying Tours are offered covering the best possible areas to: Lava, Neora Valley National Park, Darjeeling, Tiger Hill, Sandakphu, Singalila National Park.
How to Reach
Darjeeling is well connected to Rest of India & Kolkata by air, road and train. AIR SERVICE: The nearest airport to Darjeeling is Bagdogra about 94-96 kms away from Darjeeling. There are direct flight connections with Delhi, Calcutta and Guwahati. Tourists heading for Darjeeling can get direct taxis/cabs to Darjeeling from Bagdogra or one can head towards Siliguri first and get a transport there. There are a number of transport facilities available from Siliguri – one can reserve a taxi or choose to go by paying per head (Rs. 80 – this varies from time to time) from the Bus Junction area. TRAIN SERVICE: Apart from Darjeeling Railway Station the two closest railway stations are Siliguri (80 kms) and New Jalpaiguri (88 kms) from Darjeeling. These railway stations have direct railway connections with Kolkata, Delhi, Guwahati, Varanasi and other major cities of India. ROAD SERVICE: The major access to Darjeeling by road is via Siliguri, which is connected to all the major cities. Darjeeling is also very well connected to Sikkim, Nepal, Bhutan and its surrounding hills. LOCAL TRANSPORT: Taxis of different models are available for sightseeing in and around Darjeeling at fixed rates. Ponies can also be availed at Chowrasta for local sightseeing.