Observatory Hill & Mahakal Temple
Nature | 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 the temple in 1880s. While climbing down from the hill, there is a cave called as Mahakal Cave after the first bend. There are idols of Durga, Saat Kanya Bhagavati Devi and others along with a Shiva Linga in the cave. One can see hundreds of prayer flags hung all over the shrine and on trees.
The place is excellent for relaxation along with scenic surroundings. Offering stunning views of the Kanchenjunga, the Observatory Hill is the ultimate place for photography.
Timings: 6 AM to 6 PM