Dubbed as the queen of hills, Darjeeling is a Himalayan city located at the heart of West Bengal, India. The incredible fusion of the pristine beauty of hills, the rustic charms of the past and the delightfully welcoming locals make it an ideal vacation spot for the young and old alike. You could be planning a romantic getaway or an escape from the city blues, rest assured, Darjeeling has space for all. Owing to the soothing cool climate due to its location at 2500 meters above sea level, Darjeeling is a solace for everyone from the excruciating hot Indian summers.
The lush greens of large tea plantations with over 100 women plucking tea leaves is a captivating view without a doubt. It almost reminds you of a green pastry with dotted icing. A view to be cherished in every way possible. Standing at the hilltop, sipping the hot famous Darjeeling tea with mild glacial winds for a company and the ”cotton clouds” in the background is an experience which will be engraved eternally in your mind. Its least surprising that Darjeeling is the tea capital of the country.
The grandeur of the majestic mountains, the panoramic view of the tea plantations, the toy trains and the hair raising ropeway rides are all a part of Darjeeling’s pure pristine splendor. So here is the list of Darjeeling’s finest that you should experience if you ever visit this iconic spot.
1. DARJEELING TOY TRAIN
Darjeeling Himalayan train more commonly called the ‘toy train’ has always been a prestige since its inception in 1881. If you ever make it to Darjeeling, a ride in the toy train is an experience to be never missed. The local children waving madly and running along as the train moves are enough to light up your day. The mesmerizing view of the Kanchenjunga peak, the third largest of its kind in the world will leave you spellbound. You almost feel like the thick white clouds is a crown for Kanchenjunga. Yes, it’s a truly humbling experience. The beautiful greenery of Darjeeling is undoubtedly the icing on the cake. The lush greens of the valleys that pass by almost as if following you, plunges you in utmost tranquillity. You feel there is no better therapist than mother nature herself. The colonial architectures on the way forward will transport you back to the times when the Britishers were barking orders to the locals. A slightly historic irony, isn’t it?
The toy train running on the steam engine and connecting lower plains with various parts of Darjeeling through the treacherous bends and turns is a sheer engineering genius. This was the reason why it was declared a world heritage site by the UN in 1999. It’s quite evident that a toy train journey is an experience that should never be passed upon.
2. NIGHTINGALE PARK
Nightingale Park is a must-visit if nothing else. The public park gives a spellbinding view of the majestic Kanchenjunga peak. However, that is not the most striking feature of the nightingale park. As you walk along the pebbled path leading to a beautiful archway covered with a blanket of moss, you see the gigantic statue of Lord Shiva. The intricate sculpt work will certainly leave you awestruck. It’s fitting in retrospect. The lord of destruction, at the hilltop, looking at infinite greens and beyond, almost understanding the very pulse of every being on the horizon.
The musical fountain against the backdrop of beautiful greenery is another enthralling aspect of the nightingale park. The splashing water dancing to the rhythm of the symphony takes you to a state of trance without fail. Nightingale Park is unquestionably a feast that shouldn’t be missed.
Darjeeling ropeway is doubtlessly the primary attraction of Darjeeling. The world’s best picturesque locations and panoramic views circumvent this tiny vehicle hung on to a rope. Yes, exhilaration doesn’t even cover it. Looking down, Darjeeling looks like a never-ending green carpet. The snow-capped mountains around, standing tall makes you wonder if God was a little boy and the mountains were his corn ice creams. Whatever it may be, there is something supremely supernatural in hanging in mid-air with the sky above and Darjeeling below. The experience is heavenly, to say the least as you milk through the divine panoramic views. Suspended at 7000 feet, the ropeway provides you with ample opportunities to etch the beauty of Darjeeling in memory and into frames. Cascading waterfalls and Kanchenjunga looks particularly beautiful from this perspective.
There are 16 cable cars, each accommodating 6. The ropeway starts from North Point in Singamari to the Singla Bazaar. You’ll also get opportunities to explore at the end as it halts for an hour at the bottom stretch. All in all, ropeway provides you with Darjeeling’s best with a single ride.
Apart from this, the mesmerizing sun at the tiger hills rises painting the entire sky canvas in orange and sipping the exotic Darjeeling chai to go with it elevates your Darjeeling experience to a different level. With its panoramic charms and rich history, Darjeeling is the pride of this country. The Britishers might have left, but Darjeeling is still the queen of hills. Grab your gear, get your love and have some quality ‘Darjeeling time’.