|Darjeeling : Darjeeling is a town and a municipality in the Indian state of West Bengal. It is located in the Mahabharat Range or Lesser Himalaya . It is noted for its tea industry, the spectacular views of Kangchenjunga, the world’s third-highest mountain, and the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Darjeeling is the headquarters of Darjeeling district which has a partially autonomous status within the state of West Bengal.|
|#P.N. Zoological Park
Known for its famous Red Panda and Snow Leopard breeding program, the Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park is spread in an area of 67.56 acres. The zoo is located at an average elevation of 2,134 meters above sea level and is the largest high altitude zoos in India. Some of the rare and endangered species in the zoo are snow leopards, red pandas, Himalayan Salamanders, Tibetan wolf, Himalayan mountain goat and Siberian tigers.
Spread across a massive area of 437-acres, and situated at an elevation of 2,100 meters above sea level, the Tea Garden is one of the major tourist attractions in Darjeeling. The place is located amidst some of the most breath taking surroundings in India. It also houses one of the highest tea factory in the world and was established in 1854 by an Englishman and was later taken over by an Indian aristocracy from Hoogly.
|#Ghoom Monastery & Batasia Loop
Nestled at a distance of approximately 8 km from the heart of Darjeeling, Ghoom Monastery is one of the major attractions in Darjeeling. The Ghoom Gompa was founded by a Mongolian astrologer/monk in the year 1875. The place is also well-known as Yogachoeling Gompa. One is greeted by a huge ‘Maitreya Buddha’ statue at the entrance gate of the Gompa. Visitors also find bells, ornate thanka scrolls as well as drums inside the Gompa.
Batasia Loop as the name suggests, is a loop or a spiral of a narrow gauge railway track where the Toy Train negotiates a sudden sharp descent from Ghoom. It’s a wonderful viewing place with manicured gardens, streams and falls, from where you can get a wide range view of the Darjeeling’s landscape, Kanchenjunga and the other Eastern Himalayan peaks.
|#Himalayan Mountaineering Institute
HMI is a destination by itself and a said to be a pilgrimage for all climbing enthusiasts of the world. It was established in honor of Tenzing Norgay after he and Sir Edmund Hillary climbed the Everest in 1953. It has a well stocked museum with mountaineering displays and many expedition artifacts, a boarding school for mountaineering students, houses for the trainers, a restaurant, a souvenir shop and more. HMI is located on Jawahar Road or the Birch Hill that can be accessed from the Mall Road and Lebong Cart Road. One can actually walk down Mall road & then Jawahar road to reach HMI.
|#Tibetan Refugee Self Health Centre
This center was established on October 2nd, 1959 for rehabilitation of Tibetans who followed Dalai Lama and escaped their homeland during the period of mayhem. In order to sustain living, they adopted the principle of self help. The center is located on a hill top that can be approached from the Lebong Cart Road. You can see Tibetan men and women making exquisite hand crafted items like woolen carpets, shawls, carved wooden crafts, leather items and more. There is an outlet at the center from where you can buy these items.
|#Ropeway & Japanese Temple
This is one way you can be part of special diverse offerings from the nature and all in one place. From the ropeway of Darjeeling which is also known as the Rangeet Valley Passenger Cable Car, you can have mind blowing view of the valley below, see the spread of lush tea gardens, dense forests, mountain streams in their full flow, waterfalls, and the awesome snow peaks at the background. Get off at a lower station and enjoy the tea estates, walk through the tea gardens, or just relax and enjoy the view around. It’s hard to find all these together in one place.
The Japanese Temple is built in traditional Japanese style where you can join the prayers and feel the spiritual peace amongst humming and chants. Close to it is the Peace Pagoda where there are four large avatars of Lord Buddha. The view from the top is magnificent. You can see the snow peak range from here including the Kanchenjunga.