Darjeeling is a charming hill station, located in the northern part of West Bengal, India. It takes only one day in Darjeeling to become fascinated by its immaculate beauty, and everyone who comes here are tempted to visit it time and again. Perched at an altitude of 2,050 m above sea level, Darjeeling is dotted with jaw-dropping locales, lush green meadows, mesmerizing sunrises, expansive tea estates, and picturesque landscapes. Renowned as the ‘Queen of the Himalayas’, this was once the British summer capital. So let’s explore the best things to do during your one day in Darjeeling.
What’s the best time to visit Darjeeling?
The best time to visit Darjeeling is during summer (April and May), when the temperature is max 25° Celsius. This is also the best time to enjoy many outdoor activities and admire the beauty of Mount Kanchenjunga. Also, a festive aura is all around Ram Navami, Chaita Dasai, and Buddha Jayanti festivals. However, tourists also visit the hill town during winter (October and November).
The region experiences rainfall in July and August, and heavy rainfall often leads to roadblocks. Hence, these months are not advisable to travel. September marks the end to the monsoons and offers lucrative tour deals including stays in luxurious hotels at unbelievable prices.
October to March marks the winter season, when the temperature ranges between 2° and 7° Celsius. This is the best time to visit Darjeeling if you want to marvel at its snowy pristine beauty and enjoy solitude as not many tourists flock here during this time. Teesta Tea Festival, Darjeeling Carnival, Darjeeling Orange Festival, and Losha are some of the popular festivals celebrated in Darjeeling in winter.
A few facts about Darjeeling
Boasting ethereal beauty, picture-perfect landscapes, and prolific tea vegetation; Darjeeling has many other aspects worth knowing. Let’s take a look at some of them:
- Asia’s largest ropeway: Darjeeling-Rangeet Valley ropeway is Asia’s largest ropeway that offers breathtaking views of lush green tea estates and Mount Kanchenjunga.
- Toy Train Joyride: Fondly known as ‘Toy Train’, Darjeeling Himalayan Railway became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999. The ride offers awe-inspiring views of Kanchenjunga, lush green vegetation, and flourishing tea estates.
- Majestic view of Mt. Kanchenjunga: Tiger Hill is one of the major tourist attractions in Darjeeling, offering a panoramic view of the mighty Kanchenjunga. When the sun makes its way through the thick clouds, Kanchenjunga bathes in the first morning rays! Admire the awe-inspiring view of the snow-capped mountain peaks glistening in golden sunlight.
- Tea Capital of the World: Home to 87 tea estates, Darjeeling produces some of the finest teas in the world which are highly aromatic with fruity and floral flavors.
One Day in Darjeeling Itinerary
Darjeeling one day itinerary is a great thing to have when you first visit this lovely place. Take a look and see what you should visit :
Watch the sunrise on Tiger Hill
What could be a better way to start your one-day Darjeeling sightseeing tour than admiring the scenic beauty of the mighty Kanchenjunga? Start your day with an early morning Tiger Hill trip to gaze at the enchanting beauty of the snow-capped Kanchenjunga. Perched at an altitude of 2590 m above the sea level, Tiger Hill is popular for its breathtaking sunrise when Kanchenjunga is illuminated by the first morning rays.
Maximum Time Spent: 1-2 hours
Best time to visit: 4:15 AM (summers) and 5:00 AM (winters)
Entry Fees: INR 30
Visit the Ghoom Monastery
The next point is the Ghoom Monastery – the oldest Tibetan Buddhist monastery, also known as the Yiga Choeling Monastery. The monastery complex features a 15-foot high Maitreya Buddha statue, among other things. Its walls are elaborately painted with Tibetan Buddhism art and different images of Bodhisattvas.
Maximum Time Spent: 30 minutes
Best time to visit: 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Entry Fees: Free
Explore the beauty of the Batasia Loop
After a visit to that sacred place, go and see the Batasia Loop, which is only 2 km from the monastery. One of the most picturesque routes in India, the Batasia Loop is a lush green pathway of the toy train. A war memorial is located in the middle of the loop, which is a wonderful sight to behold.
Maximum Time Spent: 1 to 2 hours
Best time to visit: 9 AM
Entry Fees: INR 15
The Himalayan Mountaineering Institute and Darjeeling Zoo
Established on November 4, 1954, the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (HMI) is among the world’s best mountaineering institutes. The main objective of the institute is to encourage and support the interest of people in mountaineering sports. It offers magnificent views of the 8586 m high peak of Kanchenjunga that serves as an enchanting scenery.
On the premises of the HMI, the Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park is situated sprawling over 68 acres of land. A paradise for nature lovers, it is also home to many endangered species of animals such as the Tibetan wolf, snow leopard, Siberian tigers, yaks, and Himalayan black bear.
Maximum Time Spent: 3- 4 hours
Best time to visit: 9:00 AM
Entry Fees for Himalayan Mountaineering Institute: INR 30
Entry Fees for Darjeeling Zoo: INR 40 (Indian) and INR 100 (Foreigner)
Toy Ride in Darjeeling Himalayan Train
Darjeeling Himalayan Railway or Toy Train is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This toy train ride is considered to be ‘the most outstanding example of a hill passenger railway’.
A journey in the toy train offers amazing sights of lush green landscapes. This heritage transport is pretty much an obligatory experience during the North-East India tour.
Maximum Time Spent: 2- 4 hours
Best time to visit: 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Entry Fees: INR 600 (Diesel Engine train) and INR 1000 (Steam Engine train)
The Japanese Peace Pagoda
Perched on the slopes of Jalapahar hills in Darjeeling, the Japanese Peace Pagoda was designed to establish peace, unity, and harmony among people belonging to different sects of the society. The pagoda complex has four avatars of Buddha and offers a majestic view of Kanchenjunga’s peak. A true paradise for peace lovers.
Maximum Time Spent: 1- 2 hours
Best time to visit: 4:00 AM to 7:00 PM
Entry Fees: Free
Happy Valley Tea Estate
Spread over 440 acres of land, the Happy Valley Tea Estate is among the oldest tea estates in Darjeeling. Perched 6300 feet above the sea level, it’s another great stop on your visit as you enjoy Darjeeling tour packages. Famous for its aromatic and high-quality tea, Happy Valley is a perfect place to learn about the tea production process.
Maximum Time Spent: 1- 2 hours
Best time to visit: 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Entry Fees: Free
Situated above Chowrasta Square, Observatory Hill offers panoramic views of the surroundings. The walk is adorned with colourful flags and shrines, and several Hindu and Buddhist temples are located here.
Maximum Time Spent: – 2 hours
Best time to visit: 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM
Entry Fees: Free
How to Reach Darjeeling
- By Rail: The nearest railway station is New Jalpaiguri, situated 62 km away from Darjeeling. It is well connected to the major cities of the country.
- By Air: Bagdogra Airport is the nearest airport, located 38 km from Darjeeling. The airport has direct flights from Delhi, Guwahati, Kolkata, and other major cities of India.
- By Road: Regular bus service is available from Siliguri, Kurseong, Kalimpong, and other nearby towns. Road connectivity is good and people can drive from nearby cities.
Where to stay in Darjeeling?
An accommodation that provides great value for your money, Villa Everest will provide you will all the basic amenities, including a private bathroom with a shower. You can also enjoy a wonderful view of the mountains from your room.
Jalapahar Road, Below St. Paul’s School, 734101 Darjeeling
Very close to the center of Darjeeling, Cedar Inn is a high-quality stay with absolutely stunning views which can be enjoy from the hotel’s cafe. Guests can also get a massage and enjoy some excellent local dishes in the restaurant.
Day trips from Darjeeling
Setting up a day trip from Darjeeling can add so much to your visit here. There are many fantastic places you can visit and see plenty of amazing sights along the way. So, if you’re staying more than one day in Darjeeling, consider some of the following trips.
Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary
If you love animals, this is a place you can’t afford to skip. Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary is home to the Bengal tiger, Himalayan black bears, even elephants! Not to mention that a visit to this place is a visit to a lush green forest. Come and enjoy the nature!
Anothjer great day trip from Darjeelings is a visit to Namchi. This is a place you want to go to if you want to learn a whole lot about the local culture. A giant statue of Shiva, incredible temples, including Char Dham, an immense temple complex, loads of monasteries and incredible cultural artifacts, all of this is just two and a half hours away.
For a more modern take on tourism, head to Jamuni. It is a wonderfully crafted tourist complex surrounded by lovely nature, ideal for a picnic. The river Rangeet flows right through it, and there are some amazing gardens you can enjoy here. Furthermore, there is also a lake here, where you can rent a boat and enjoy the soothing effect of the waters.
How does a quaint little mountain village sound? Mongpu is surrounded by tea plantations, beautiful hills and valleys and chincona fields, so you will have greenery surrounding you wherever you look. The stress will simply melt away, and you will get a chance to gain a unique insight into village life around here.
Extra tips for visiting Darjeeling:
- Carry light woolens in summers and heavy woolens in winters.
- Always carry sufficient cash and coins, instead of depending on withdrawing money from ATMs.
- Customize your package carefully. Demand add-ons such as extra blankets, heaters, etc., if required.
- Research the rules and regulations of religious places.
- Be mindful of protected and restricted areas.
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- Rekha Bisht is an avid bookworm, a passionate travel writer, who loves to explore different
places. She is always curious to know about travel spots that offer her picturesque sights
and lip-smacking food. Go through her penned down travel experiences and collected
intelligence in her write-ups.