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Nature & Scenic | Pilgrimage
At a distance of 2 km from Darjeeling Himalayan Railway Station, Observatory Hill is a hill top located near Chowrasta Square in the dreamy hill town of Darjeeling. It is one of the great places to visit in Darjeeling and among the popular viewpoints in Darjeeling. The hill is encircled at the bottom of the Mall Road.
The Observatory Hill is one of the oldest sites of attraction in Darjeeling and also has historical and religious significance. Built in 1765 CE by Lama Dorje-Rinzing, the Bhutia Busty Monastery, the oldest monastery in Darjeeling, was first located on Observatory Hill. The monastery was sacked by a Gorkha invasion in 1815 and it was rebuilt and shifted to its present location at Bhutia Busty in 1879.
The hill is famous for its magnificent views of Kanchendzonga and the ancient temple dedicated to Mahakal or Lord Shiva. There is a white chorten or a Tibetan memorial shrine next to the Mahakal Temple, which has the relics of Dorje Lama who was the caretaker of .....
At a distance of 1 km from Darjeeling Himalayan Railway Station, Darjeeling Mall or Chowrasta is located at the heart of Darjeeling town. It is considered as the hub for all type of activities in Darjeeling and also among the best places to visit in Darjeeling.
The word 'Chow' means four and 'Rasta' stands for roads, essentially means that the Mall is where four roads meet. Located on top of Nehru Road, This flat piece of circular land is the major shopping area and center for commercial activities. In olden days, this was the place where the Europeans came for their evening walks. Today, the locals as well as the tourists come here to lounge and relax. In a clear day, one can also have a magnificent view of the Kanchenjunga from here.
There are benches all along the Mall Road for people to sit and enjoy the views over a cup of Darjeeling tea. Also, there are some of the old and heritage stores lined up and countless vendors selling artifacts, woollens and various figurines .....
Nature & Scenic
At a distance of 11 km from Darjeeling Himalayan Railway Station, Tiger Hill is a sunrise viewpoint in Darjeeling. It is the highest point in Darjeeling and among the most picturesque places to visit in Darjeeling.
Tiger Hill stands at an altitude of 2,590 m overlooking the spur of the snow-capped mountain ranges of the Eastern Himalayas. It is one of the two points in India from where you can capture the entire panorama between Mount Everest and Kanchenjunga on a sunny morning. The first rays of the sun shoot ahead and shed light upon the twin peaks of Kanchenjunga painting it pink, and then bathing it in a beautiful orange colour, which is an amazing thing to experience.
An observation deck is built on top of the Tiger Hill to cater to hundreds of tourists who visit every day. On a clear day the summit of Tiger Hill commands the view of Kurseong Town to its south-west along with plains of North Bengal and number of major rivers like Teesta, Mahanadi, Balasun and Mechi meanders .....
At a distance of 1 km from Ghoom Railway Station and 6 km from Darjeeling, Old Ghoom Monastery, also known as Yiga Choeling Monastery, is a Buddhist monastery situated at Ghoom near the beautiful hill town of Darjeeling. It is one of the oldest and most popular Tibetan Buddhist monasteries in the region of Darjeeling and also one of the must visit places in Darjeeling.
Yiga Choeling Monastery was established in 1850 CE by the Mongolian astrologer and monk Sokpo Sherab Gyatso, who was the head of the monastery until 1905 CE. The Monastery belongs to Gelugpa or the Yellow Hat sect. This is the first ever Tibetan Buddhist monastery to be built in the Darjeeling region. During the Chinese occupation of 1959 in Tibet many high ranking monks fled to India and took refuge in this monastery.
The monastery is known for its 15 feet high statue of Maitreya Buddha or Gyalwa Shampa, which means the Buddha of the future or the Coming Buddha. This statue was created during the tenure of .....
At a distance of 4 km from Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, Batasia Loop is a railway loop in Darjeeling of West Bengal. Situated below the Ghoom station, it is one of the mesmerizing places to visit in Darjeeling.
Batasia Loop was built in 1919 as an engineering requirement to lower the gradient of ascent of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway. At this point, the track spirals around over itself through a tunnel and over a hilltop. After Ghoom (the highest railway station), there is a sharp fall as the toy train moves towards Darjeeling. There was no way a narrow gauge toy train could navigate the drastic fall of about 100 feet to the gradient of the slope. So, a large circular area was built for the loop to make the slope gentle.
Batasia means airy space. The Loop serves a vital purpose for the toy train but is also an attraction in itself. The loop goes around a garden. The mountain garden is beautified with fresh green grass, seasonal and perennial flowers and shrubs. There .....
At a distance of 3 km from Darjeeling Railway Station, Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park is a zoo situated in the beautiful hill town of Darjeeling, West Bengal. Popularly called as Darjeeling Zoo, it is one of the best zoo parks in India and among the must visit Darjeeling Tourist Places.
The zoo was formerly known as Himalayan Zoological Park and was established in 1958 as a joint venture of Government of India and Government of West Bengal. The park was renamed in 1975 when Indira Gandhi, the Prime Minister of India, visited the park and dedicated it to the memory of Padmaja Naidu, who was also a poet and daughter of the famous freedom fighter Sarojini Naidu. Situated at an altitude of 7,000 feet, this is the largest high altitude zoo in India.
Spread over an area of 67.56 acre, Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park is the only specialized Zoo in the country and is the first recipient of the International award of 'The Earth Heroes 2014'. This zoo park is internationally .....
Museum & Gallery
At a distance of 3 km from Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, Bengal Natural History Museum is a museum situated in Darjeeling town of West Bengal. Located inside Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park complex, it is one of the best places to visit in Darjeeling.
The Bengal Natural History Museum was established in 1903 at the behest of the then Governor General of India Mr. George Nathaniel Curzon. Established as a small museum within the premises of the Lloyd Botanical Garden, it provides visitors with a wonderful view of rich flora and fauna of Darjeeling and its surrounding areas. However, due to the growing visitors and increasing collection, the museum was shifted to its current location in the year 1915, and the Bengal Natural History Museum was officially formed in the year 1923. Initially the museum was run by Bengal Natural Museum Society from 1923 to 1976 and later it was handed over to the Forest Department of West Bengal.
The Bengal Natural History Museum is a visual .....
At a distance of 5 km from Darjeeling Himalayan Railway Station, Tibetan Refugee Self Help Centre is a rehabilitation center for the Tibetan refugees in the beautiful hill town of Darjeeling, West Bengal. It is one of the prominent landmarks of Darjeeling and also one of the best places to visit in Darjeeling.
The center was setup by Tibetan refugees on 2nd October 1959 AD. It serves as a residence of several Tibetan refugees who fled from their homeland following the footsteps of their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama. Located on the picturesque hilltop, it is spread over an area of 4 acres of land. A committee was formed with 10 members that were responsible for the development and management of the center. Ms Gaylo Thondup was the first President of the center. Initially, they started raising funds through donations, subscriptions, charity shows and even through exhibition soccer match. Later, they received funds from domestic and international voluntary organizations as well. .....
At a distance of 2 km from Darjeeling Railway Station, Bhutia Busty Monastery or Karmaa Dorjee Cheoling Monastery is a Buddhist monastery located in Bhutia Busty area of Darjeeling, West Bengal. It is one of the popular and oldest Buddhist monasteries in Darjeeling and among the top places to visit in Darjeeling.
This monastery was earlier located in Observatory Hill where the Mahakal Temple stands today. It was originally built there by the Lama Dorje Rinzing in 1761 CE. According to history, the monastery was completely ravaged during Gorkha invasion in 1851 CE and was rebuilt in 1861 CE. But due to many disturbances, it had to be shifted to its present location in the year 1879. However, the monastery in the new location was also destroyed by an earthquake in 1934 CE, after which it was restored and reconstructed by the King of Sikkim.
The present structure is stunning and has been built in a traditional Tibetan style with Sikkimese influence. The monastery belongs to .....
At a distance of 2.5 km from Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, Darjeeling Peace Pagoda is a Buddhist stupa situated on the slopes of the Jalapahar hill in Darjeeling. It is one of more than 70 pagodas built around the world by the Japanese Buddhist Nipponzan Myohoji organization and among the most popular attractions in Darjeeling.
The foundation stone of the pagoda was laid in 1972 by Nichidatsu Fuji, a Buddhist monk from Japan and founder of the Nipponzan-Myohoji Buddhist Order. Inaugurated in 1992, the pagoda was designed by M. Ohka. Being the tallest structure in Darjeeling with a height of 28.5 meters, it is open to people of all faith and is purposely made to propagate peace and prosperity in the world.
Peace Pagoda houses four shining and gold-polished statues of Buddha. Also, the walls of the temple have eight sandstone carvings which depict different stories from the different stages of Gautama Buddha's life. Known for its tranquility, Peace Pagoda offers breathtaking .....
At a distance of 2.5 km from Darjeeling Railway Station, Dali Monastery is a Buddhist monastery located in Dali area of Darjeeling. Also known as Druk Sangag Choling Monastery, it is one of the biggest monasteries in West Bengal and also among the famous places to visit in Darjeeling.
Dali Monastery is one of the most prominent monasteries of the Kargyupa sect, built by Kyabje Thuksey Rinpoche in 1971. The gompa was inaugurated by His Holiness Dalai Lama in 1993, where he gave 3 days of religious teachings. The monastery is known for preserving the age old culture and tradition of the Tibetan monks. It serves as the headquarters and the residence for Drukchen Rinpoche the XII, who is the supreme leader of the Kargyupa sect.
Perched on a steep hill, the monastery was built in the traditional Tibetan style. The colors used in the walls are bright and bold which depicts the life and teachings of Lord Buddha. It is home to around 210 monks who came to live here from the Himalayan .....
At a distance of 2.5 km from Darjeeling Railway Station, Happy Valley Tea Estate is a vast tea garden located in Darjeeling town of West Bengal. This is the second oldest tea estate in Darjeeling after Steinthal Tea Estate and also one of the popular places to experience Darjeeling Tourism.
Spread over an area of 177 hectares, Happy Valley Tea Garden was established by Mr. David Wilson in the year 1854, which was then known as Wilson Tea Estate. In 1903, the estate was taken over by an Indian, Tarapada Banerjee, an aristocrat from Hooghly. Later Banerjee bought the Windsor Tea Estate nearby in 1929 and merged the two estates under the name of Happy Valley Tea Estate. Since 2008, the tea estate has been under the ownership of Sanjay Bansal. Today, over 1500 people worked in the tea estate.
Located in the vicinity of Darjeeling town, it is one of the major tourist attractions in Darjeeling. It also has a museum and has a factory. Situated at an altitude of 2,100 m, Happy Valley .....
At a distance of 4 km from Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, Darjeeling Rangeet Valley Passenger Ropeway is a passenger ropeway located in Darjeeling town of West Bengal. Also known as Darjeeling Ropeway, it is one of Asia's longest Passenger Ropeways and also the first Passenger Ropeway in India.
Darjeeling Ropeway was started in 1968 by the Forest Development Corporation of West Bengal. It was initially set up to cater to the tea gardens at the valleys below which did not otherwise have an easy access. Starting with just one cable car, now it was upgraded to 16 cable cars each having a capacity of six persons. It was closed in 2003 after four tourists died when the cable broken causing two cars to fell down the hill. Later it was re-opened with many safety measures in 2012.
Darjeeling Ropeway operates between the North Point in the town of Darjeeling and Singla on the banks of the Ramman River. From an elevation of 7000 feet in Darjeeling's North Point, this ropeway descends .....
At a distance of 1 km from Darjeeling Himalayan Railway Station, Lloyd's Botanical Garden or Darjeeling Botanical Garden is a beautiful garden located in the beautiful hill town of Darjeeling. The garden is among the oldest botanical gardens in Darjeeling and also one of the popular tourist places in Darjeeling.
Established in 1878 CE, the garden was named after William Lloyd, who provided the required land for it. The garden was built in reference to the Calcutta Botanical Garden. The basic motive of Lloyd's Botanical Garden is to preserve the native floral species of Darjeeling Himalayan hill region, Sikkim and its neighboring regions. Located at an altitude of almost 1800 meters, the garden has terraced lands, rolling slopes, tall trees and lush green bushes mixed with grass.
Sprawling over an area of 40 acres, the Lloyd Botanical Garden preserves some of the most exotic and endangered species of plants. It has several species of bamboo, oak, magnolia, arisaema, cotoneaster, .....
At a distance of 22 km from Gangtok SNT Bus Station, Rumtek Monastery is a beautiful Buddhist gompa situated near Gangtok, the capital city of Sikkim. Also called as Dharma Chakra Centre, it is one of the largest monasteries in Sikkim and among the best places to visit in Gangtok.
The Monastery was originally built in mid-17th century under the supervision of Changchub Dorje, the 12th Karmapa Lama. Perched on a hill overlooking Gangtok, Rumtek Monastery is the seat of the Karmapa Lama, the third highest monk in Tibetan Buddhism. The monastery belongs to the Kargyu sect of Buddhism originated during the 12th century CE in Tibet. With the generosity and help of the Sikkim royal family and the local folks of Sikkim, the monastery was rebuilt by the 16th Karmapa Rangjung Rigpe Dorje and named as Rumtek Dharma Chakra Center in 1966.
The shrine was established with a reason to spread the teachings of the Buddha throughout the world. The architecture of the monastery is one of the .....
At a distance of 500 m from Rumtek Monastery and 21 km from Gangtok SNT Bus Station, Jawaharlal Nehru Botanical Garden is a public garden located in Gangtok. Situated close to Rumtek Monastery, it is one of the most famous tourist places to visit in Gangtok.
Established in the year 1987, Jawaharlal Nehru Botanical Garden is a well maintained lush green expanse of land with astounding beauty. The garden is maintained and managed by the Parks and Garden Units of the Forest Department of the Government of Sikkim. The garden houses rare flowers, plants and trees including Orchids of Himalayan region. It also has dense temperate forests of Oak and a beautiful lake.
There are more than 50 different varieties of tree species located inside this garden. Owing to the variance in altitude ranging between 1,800 m and 2,200 m, the park has a wide assortment of plants and animals. The garden also has a greenhouse, where different types of orchids are grown. With the intention of merriment .....
Wildlife | Waterfall
At a distance of 31 km of Gangtok, Kyongnosla Alpine Sanctuary is a wildlife sanctuary situated around the area adjoining the Tsomgo Lake in Gangtok. Along the Nathula Road, it is one of the best places to experience Gangtok Tourism.
Established in 1977, the sanctuary covers an area of 31 sq. km. The sanctuary extends from the 15 mile police check post up to the ridges bordering the famous Rong Chu and Tsomgo Lakes. Situated at an altitude ranging from 3,292 m to 4,116 m, the sanctuary boasts a wide variety of flora and fauna. The sanctuary is also the perfect place for trekking tours. The views of Khangchendzonga peak are awesome from the sanctuary. Since it is situated close to India-China border at Nathu La, the place is well conserved by the Indian Army.
The sanctuary is very rich in natural vegetation which comprises of various rare species of plants and trees that are hard to find somewhere else. Some of the common species of vegetation seen here are tall juniper, rhododendron, .....
Lake & Backwaters | Pilgrimage
At a distance of 17 km from Nathula Pass and 38 km from Gangtok, Tsomgo Lake or Tsongmo Lake is a glacial lake located in the East Sikkim district of Sikkim. Also known as Changu Lake, it is one of the top places to visit in Gangtok and among the beautiful lakes in Himalayas.
Located at an altitude of 3,753 m, Tsongmo Lake is one of the few and awesome high altitude lakes in India. In Bhutia language Tsomgo means 'Source of the Lake'. The lake gets its water from the melting snow on the surrounding mountains. The lake is formed in an oval shape and has a surface area of 60 acres. The maximum length of the lake is 1 km and an average depth of the lake is 15 m. The River Lungtze Chu originates from this lake and further falls into Rangpo-chu.
Highly revered by the Buddhists and Hindus, the lake surface reflects different colors with change of seasons. According to the history, the colour of water of this lake was studied by Lamas so as to forecast about the future. They believed, .....
Historical & Heritage
At a distance of 17 km from Tsomgo Lake and 54 km from Gangtok, Nathula is a snow-shrouded mountain pass located in the northeastern state of Sikkim along the Indo-China border. Situated at an altitude of 14450 feet in the Himalayas, it is one of the most exotic places to visit in Gangtok and among the top places to experience Sikkim Tourism.
Located on the Old Silk Route, Nathula is one of the three open trading border posts between India and China. The other two are Shipkila in Himachal Pradesh and Lipulekh at the trisection point of Uttarakhand, Nepal and China. Also, it is one of the five officially agreed Border Personnel Meeting points between the Indian Army and the People's Liberation Army of China.
Deriving its name from two Tibetan words - Nathu meaning listening ears and La meaning pass,
Nathula Pass was the place through which the famous Silk Route between India and Tibet used to operate until 1962. Lines of mules used to carry silk, gold and many other items .....
At a distance of 16 km from Tsongmo Lake and 54 km from Gangtok, Baba Harbhajan Singh Temple is a holy shrine located in Gangtok, Sikkim. Situated on the way to Nathula Pass, it is one of the old shrines in Sikkim and among the best places to visit in Gangtok.
At an altitude of 13,123 feet, the temple is dedicated to Harbhajan Singh, a hard-working soldier in the Indian Army. Popularly called as Baba Mandir, the temple is situated between Nathula Pass and Jelepla Pass. Visitors usually cover this temple along with a visit to Tsongmo Lake or Nathula Pass.
There is a touching story associated with this temple. Harbhajan Singh was a soldier with the Indian army who slipped and fell into a nullah and was washed away while transporting mules. His body could not be found for so many days and later, he appeared in the dream of his colleague and informed about the spot where his body could be found and further asked for his Samadhi to be built there. His body was found exactly where .....
At a distance of 8 km from Banjhakri Falls and 16 km from Gangtok, Ranka Monastery is a Buddhist monastery situated at Ranka near Gangtok, the capital city of Sikkim. Also known as Lingdum Monastery, it is one of the most popular monasteries in Sikkim and among the must visit places in Gangtok.
Built in 1998 CE, the Ranka Monastery is the seat of Zurmang Charwang Rinpoche. The present Rinpoche is the 12th successive incarnation of this lineage. It is interesting to note that the monastery is mainly run by young monks. Since it is relatively quite a new monastery and does not provide a lot of historical or strategic significance such as Rumtek Monastery. However, the beauty of the monastery has attracted a lot of film makers.
Built in the typical form of Tibetan architecture, the monastery is spread out in a vast area with great scenic views. A huge gold plated Buddha statue sits in the lotus position inside the sanctum. There are low tables lying in rows inside the sanctum .....