Majuli : The Largest River Island

Majuli, Assam

Majuli – 421.65 square kilometers river island is the largest river island in the world and is located in the middle of mighty river Brahmaputra. Once you visit this place you will feel like getting touched with heaven and you consider visiting again.

Majuli is known for its beauty and cultural heritage which is the great way to enjoy during your tour. Majuli has got all the charm that can attract is visitors towards it. The cultural tradition, wildlife sanctuary and the exotic island is the best view to opt for. The striking feature of Majuli is the population free environment and hospitality of the locals are just remarkable. This place is blended with beautiful art and craftsmanship of Assamese culture and tradition.

Aside from enjoying the laid-back vibe, highlights of a visit include bird watching (the island is home to nearly 100 species of birds) and learning about neo-Vaishnavite philosophy at Majuli’s 22 ancient satras significent of them areAuni Ati satra, Dakhinpat Satra, Garamurh Satra (Hindu Vaishnavite monasteries and centers for art) where monks are keen to show you their little museum of Ahom royal artifacts. The best chances of observing chanting, dances or drama recitations are around dawn and dusk or during the big Ras Mahotsav Festival, in celebration of the birth, life and feats of Krishna.

Majuli has got a good connectivity with other cities of India. Majuli island is accessible by ferries from the City of Jorhat. The island is about 200 kilometers east from the state’s largest city Guwahati located in the heart of Assam.

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Majestic Umananda Temple

Umananda Temple is a Shiva temple located at the Peacock Island in the middle of mghty river Brahmaputra in the heart of Guwahati city. It was built by the Ahom King Gadadhar Singha (1681–1696), who was a devout Shaivaite.

It is known as smallest inhabited riverine island in the world. Country boats that are available on the bank of Brahmaputra take the visitors to the island. The mountain on which the temple has been built is known as Bhasmacala.

Siva is said to have resided here in the form of Bhayananda. According to the Kalika Purana, in the beginning of the creation Siva sprinkled ashes (bhasma) at this place and imparted knowledge to Parvati (his consort). It is said that, when Siva was in meditation on this hillock, Kamadeva interrupted his yoga and was therefore burnt to ashes by the fire of Siva’s anger and hence the hillock got the name Bhasmacala.

This mountain is also called Bhasmakuta. The Kalika Purana states that Urvasikunda is situated here and here resides the goddess Urvasi who brings Amrit (nectar) for the enjoyment of Kamakhya and hence the island got the name Urvasi Island.

umananda Temple

Road leads to Umananda Temple

Peacock Island, guwahati

Peacock Island in the evening

 

Kaziranga National Park

kaziranga National Park

Morning view at kaziranga National Park

kaziragna National Park

kaziranga National Park

 

Kaziranga National Park,  a world Heritage site,  hosts two-thirds of the world’s Great One-horned Rhinoceroses. Kaziranga boasts the highest density of tigers among protected areas in the world and was declared a Tiger Reserve in 2006. The park is home to large breeding populations of elephants, wild water buffalo, and swamp deer.  Kaziranga is recognized as an Important Bird Area by Bird life International for conservation of avifaunal species.  Located on the edge of the Eastern Himalaya biodiversity hotspot, the park combines high species diversity and visibility.

Kaziranga is a vast expanse of tall elephant grass, marshland, and dense tropical moist broadleaf forests, crisscrossed by four major rivers, including the Brahmaputra, and the park includes numerous small bodies of water.

(Courtesy : Wikipedia)

Yumthang valley, Sikkim

Yumthang Valley is situated at an altitude of about 11,800 ft, is a paradise for nature lovers, surrounded by the Himalayan Mountains located in the North Sikkim district, in the state of Sikkim. The valley is bounded by the Himalayas and is located 150 km from Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim. Lachung is the nearest place to the valley, which provides a base to stay and explore the valley. The picturesque road from Lachung and Yumthang is lined with rhododendrons on both sides that bloom during the months of April and May giving the valley its name of the valley of flowers. Rhododendron and primula bloom covering the whole area in a surreal shade. It also offers view of a stunning array of peaks with Pauhunri and Shundu Tsenpa. A number of hot springs are scattered in the valley providing an unexpected opportunity to feel the warmth of the water even in freezing temperature. These springs are believed to have miraculous healing power.  In addition to a vast green meadow, lush green forest abounding in Pine and silver fir trees throngs the place. While driving towards the valley, one can see cascading waterfalls and streams.

Due to its proximity to the Chinese boarder the region was inaccessible to common tourists, both Indian and foreign. Tourist needs special permission to visit this place.

One of the major tourist attractions of Yumthang Valley includes Chungthang, the Sikkim countryside. Apart from that, visitors can explore nearby places like Lachung and Kangchendzonga National Park alongside the valley.

Yumthang Valley, Sikkim, India

Yumthang Valley, Sikkim, India

view of Yumthang Valley, Sikkim, India

View of Yumthang Valley, Sikkim, India

 

Best time to visit

The best season for visiting Yumthang valley starts in late February and to mid-June, when thousands of colourful flowers are in full bloom. However, to enjoy a clear sky and brilliant view of snow-capped mountains, the September – November season would be ideal. Yumthang remains closed between December and March due to heavy snowfall. Since this is a mountainous region, there can be dramatic changes in weather. So, visitors should always be prepared adequately. It is always useful to carry rain gear and clothing in layers. Comfortable, sturdy walking boots are also necessary.

Accommodation

There is no accommodation available at the valley. Visitors stay at Lachung from where the valley is about an hour’s drive. Over the last few years several hotels and resorts have come up in Lachung.

Getting There

To reach Yumthang Valley by air, the nearest airport is Bagdogra in West Bengal. It is 124 km from the valley and connected to the three major cities of Kolkata, Delhi and Guwahati. The airport is connected to Gangtok by helicopter services.

Rail service is also available from major cities in India such as Kolkata, Delhi, Guwahati to New Jalpaiguri. Gangtok is nearly 15 km from this place by road.

The road to Yumthang from Gangtok follows the Teesta River, crossing a spectacular gorge over the Rang Rang suspension bridge. The last major town is Chungthang  from where Lachung is an hour’s drive where tourists stay overnight.

Tawang – Unexplored Paradise

Tawang is a small town situated in the north-eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh located at an altitude of 3500 m above the sea level covers the area of 2085 sq km and is surrounded by Tibet in the north, Bhutan in the southwest, Kameng in the east and is separated from the west by Eastern Himalayan ranges. Tawang offer a fine blend of sightseeing and adventure which attracts and fascinates traveler.   Tawang is an adventure lover’s paradise and offers wonderful trekking opportunities. Trekking lovers may undertake short to long treks along the beautiful countryside. The landscape of Tawang assumes a new look during snowfall in the months of December and January.

Tawang is also famous for Buddhist influences and has one of the biggest monasteries of India. Tawang has countless monasteries and nunneries, picturesque landscape and hills, upstream lakes like the Sangetsar Lake, PTso Lake, Madhuri Lake which is known for its scenic surroundings as well as rare animals, flora-fauna like snow pigeon and musk deer, several waterfalls and hot water springs. The place is perfect for religious as well as adventure tourism amidst unexplored scenic beauty. Tawang is popular haunt for several adventure sports. The rivers Tawang-Chu and Namjang-Chu are ideal for river-rafting activities. There are several options for rock-climbing, paragliding, skating and other winter sport activities available.

Tawang View

Tawang View (Photo courtesy Anoop Negi)

Tawang Valley , Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh

Tawang Valley (Photo courtesy Anoop Negi)

Tourist attractions in Tawang

Tawang Monastery (Gompa):

Tawang Ganden Namgyal Lhaste, popularly known as the Tawang or Gompa Monastery, is a 400 years old Mahayana Sect Buddhist Monastery. It was built during the 17th century AD by Mera Lama, a contemporary of the 5th Lama. It is one of the largest lama series of Mahayana Buddhism and the second oldest monastery in the world after Lhasa. The monastery houses over 500 monks. It is also a centre of Buddhist Cultural Studies.

It is worth visiting place because of the collection of huge scriptures, books, gold lettered Buddhist scriptures, images and tapestries. The Parkhang Hall of the monastery has the library with the rare hand-written and block-painted thankas or manuscripts of revered books like Tangun, Kangyur and Sungbhum. The 108 gold-embossed manuscripts of the ‘Teaching of Lord Buddha’ and 225 volumes of the explanations of Buddha’s teachings covered with specially designed moth – proof silk adorned with paintings are the other rare works of Buddhist literature. The highlights of this monastery are the imposing three-storied assembly hall and the 28 ft high golden statue of Lord Buddha. The famous Buddhist gold inscribed scriptures Kangyur and Tangyur are preserved here. The festival of Torgya is held in the 11th Monpa month called the Dawa Chukchipah in the Tawang Monastery. A Craft Center here produces fine woolen carpets in various colorful designs. With the backdrop of snow-clad Himalayas and gushing waters of the rivers, Tawang is a tourist paradise and a perfect blend for adventure and religious tourism.

Khinmey Nyingma Monastery,Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh

Khinmey Nyingma Monastery,Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh

Regyaling Gompa:

Regyaling Gompa was constructed by the former Rigya Rinpoche, is located at a distance of 1 kilometre from Tawang Town. However, after his death, the charge of the Gompa was taken over by his secretary, Chang-sey. The monastery is surrounded by a lush green pine grove.

Urqelling Monastery:

Believed to have been in existence since 14th century, it is about 3 km from Tawang. Urqelling Monastery is the birthplace of the 6th Dalai Lama who is the only Indian to have risen to such a high position in Gelupka Sect of Buddhism so far. These monasteries along with several other monasteries and nunneries are visited by several tourists from all over the world.

Gyangong Ani Gompa (Buddhist Nunnery):

Gyangong Ani Gompa, perched on the top of a beautiful hillock is nunnery, is located at a distance of around 5 kilometer in the north of Tawang. Being home to about 50 Buddhist nuns, it was found by Mera Lam Lodre Gyamtso.

Taktsang Gompa (Tigers Den):

Taktsang Gompa, located at a distance of 45 kilometre from Tawang Town, is one of the most famous tourist attractions. The site of this gompa is believed to be blessed in the 8th century AD by the visit of Guru Padmasambhava. Located on the ridge of a small hill, the monastery is surrounded by dense coniferous forest, where devotees can conduct a roundabout.

Taksang Gompa, Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh

Taksang Gompa, Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh (Photo courtesy srikanth bhargava)

Gorsam Chorten:

Situated 90 km from Tawang, it is the largest stupa in the area. It is believed to have been constructed in early part of 12th century; it is founded by a Monpa monk, Lama Pradhar. On the top of the chorten is a semi-circular dome that rests up on a three-terraced plinth. In addition, on the lower most terrace of the plinth, there are four miniature stupas standing erect on the four corners.The base of this chorten is squared with each side about 170 feet in length with a niche running along its whole length. Moreover, there are around 120 manis set in the wooden frames. Encircling the stupa is a well paved path on which pilgrims go roundabout for praying, which is also known as Kora.

P T Tso (Pangang Teng Tso) Lake:

It is located 17 km away from maddening crowd of township of Tawang,  is an ideal picnic spot. The calm water, silently moving clouds, earth with its wetness, chirping of birds and warmth is all that one gets while visiting Pankang Teng Tso Lake. The lake is well maintained by the Indian Army and offers a soothing and tranquil atmosphere to its visitors. The lake remains frozen in winter and is ideal to visit only in summers. During winter, the lake provides an ideal spot for skiing. The path towards the lake is laden by bright rhododendron flowers that add to the exquisiteness of the place. One can also find colourful birds on the lake side and engage in wonderful nature photography.

P T Tso (Pangang Teng Tso) Lake, Tawang

P T Tso (Pangang Teng Tso) Lake, Tawang ( Photo courtesy SOURADIPTA)

Shonga-tser Lake (Madhuri Lake):

Shonga-tser lack is popularly known by Madhuri Lake as the Hindi film Koyla was shot here. Nestled amidst the pristine mountains and picturesque surrounding, it is located about 42 km from Tawang. It was formed in the aftermath of the 1950 earthquake. Prior to the earthquake, this piece of land used to be employed as the grazing ground for the cattle. The evidence of it can be seen in the protruding trunks of the dead trees from the middle of the lake. The lake has been under supervision of Army men, who have also arranged for a cafeteria nearby. Tourists can relish on the delicious Momos, Maggis topped with a cup of tasty coffee or tea. Tourists can also take to trekking around the lake while enjoying the gentle lashes of the pleasant breeze around.

Shungetser Tso(Madhuri Lake), Tawang

Shungetser Tso(Madhuri Lake), Tawang( Photo courtesy Mandeep Baruah)

Banga Jang Lake:

Banga Jang Lake, situated in the Banga Jang range, is one of the famous lakes located near Tawang Town.  It is a very charming lake, situated in an enchanting backdrop. This lake also has the religious significance. This place has been the favorite haunt for the number of religious minded people.

 Sela Pass:

Located at 13, 714 ft above mean sea level, Sela Pass is of high strategic importance. It is the world’s highest motorable high-altitude mountain pass. It connects Tawang to Tezpur and Guwahati and is the main road connecting Tawang with the rest of India. Tawang is situated at a distance of 78 km from Sela Pass while Guwahati is at a distance of 340 km. The pass has hardly any vegetation and is usually snow covered to some extent all through the year. During winter temperature in the pass can go down to 0 to -10 degrees.  The visitors can also see another attraction before reaching this pass, known as the Paradise Lake.

Sela Pass, Tawang , Arunachal Pradesh

Sela Pass, Tawang , Arunachal Pradesh (Photo courtesy rob.)

Jaswant Garh:

Jaswant Garh, other important tourist destination of Tawang which is located at a distance of 21 Kms from Sela Pass is broadly recognized for a home of a warrior named as Jaswant Singh, who sacrificed his life during the battle fought against Chinese soldiers in the year 1962. The place has its own importance and attracts many tourists every year to give respect to this heroic warrior.

Jaswant Garh, Tawang

Jaswant Garh, Tawang (Photo courtesy gsurya)

Tawang War Memorial:

Dedicated to Indian soldiers who lost their lives during the 1962 Indo-China war.  It is also known as Namgyal Chorten, it is a 12 m high multicoloured memorial whose structure resembles the design of a large stupa. The memorial is situated among beautiful peaks which overlooks the Tawang-Chu valley.

Tawang War Memorial, Tawang,  Arunachal Pradesh

Tawang War Memorial (Photo courtesy foto_morgana)

Bong Bong (Nuranang) waterfall:

One of the most beautiful waterfalls close to Jang, the micro hydel project is Nuranang Waterfalls. It is situated on the Tawang Sela main highway, just 40 km from the city of Tawang.

BTK (Bap Teng Kang) Waterfall:

Bap Teng Kang, known popularly as BTK Waterfall is one of the most striking and beautiful waterfalls in Tawang, attracting countless tourists every year. Bap Teng Kang is situated in a picturesque paradise of lush green vegetation, falling from a height of over 100ft. This waterfall is located in Yumkhang, 85 km on route from Tawang towards Zemithang.

Gorichen Peak:

Gorichen Peak, highest peak of Arunachal Pradesh, is located between Tawang and West Kameng districts. Bordering with China, this peak has a height of 22,500 feet. Located at a distance of 164 kilometre from Tawang Town, this peak is also known as Sa-Nga Phu, which literally means the Kingdom of Deity. According to Monpa tribe, this peak is considered to be one of the sacred peaks protecting them from all the evils.

The peak is one of the ideal bases for trekking and mountaineering in the entire region. Months of April, May, September and October are considered to be best months to explore the Gorichen Peak

Ghesila range:

Ghesila Range is located at a distance of 25 kilometre from Tawang Township. This range is also believed to be a protection wall for Tawang. The entire range runs along the north-eastern side of Tawang Township.

Tawang Library:

The library is a repository of thousands of block-printed commentaries and treasures on the subject of Mahayana Buddhism. This is a valuable resource for Buddhist scholars in the region. Even the paper used in this library is produced by the Monpas locally, from the bark of the Hong Seng tree.

Best time to visit:

Summer season starts in Tawang from March and ends in June. Temperature ranges from 5- 22 degrees Celsius. Hottest month of the year is usually June. Tawang gets rainfall between July to October. Temperatures are much lower during winter period and visiting Tawang during this time is not a good idea. December, January and February constitute winter season. Temperatures range from a minimum of -2 degrees Celsius and can go up to a maximum of around 5 degrees Celsius during this time. April to October is the best time to visit.

How to reach Tawang:

Indians require special inner line permits to visit Tawang while foreign tourists intending to visit Arunachal Pradesh require restricted area permit. The inner line permit can be obtained from any of the following places: Residence Commissioner, Govt of Arunachal Pradesh, Arunachal Bhawan, Kautilya Marg, Chanakyaputi, New Delhi, Deputy Residence Commissioner, Govt. of Arunachal Pradesh, Kolkata, CE-109, Sector-1, Salt Lake City, Kolkata, Deputy Residence Commissioner, Govt. of Arunachal Pradesh, R G Baruah Road, Guwahati and Deputy Residence Commissioner, Govt. of Arunachal Pradesh, Parvati Nagar, Tezpur.

By Air: Tezpur Airport, located 385 km away, is the nearest airport. It is connected by flights from Kolkata and Guwahati. Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport, 547 km away at Guwahati is the nearest international airport.

By Helicopter: Pawan Hans operates helicopter services daily from Guwahati airport except Sunday. It costs around Rs 4000 for adults and Rs 2500 for children one way.

By Rail: Tezpur and Guwahati is the major rail head closest to Tawang. You can avail Buses and private taxis to reach Tawang from Tezpur or Guwahati. From Guwahati you can take a bus or tavera to reach Tezpur. A taxi from Tezpur to Tawang will cost you around INR 4000 to 5000. You can contact Himalayan Holidays (Himalayan Holidays, Kabar Khana Road, and Tezpur. Ph: 03712-223580 (O), 221646(R), 9957178796) to get a taxi and a driver. It is advised that you take a Sumo or Safari.

By Bus: Buses and Taxi ply regularly between Tezpur (Assam) and Bomdila. It takes about 12 hours to reach Tawang from Tezpur. In addition to private taxis, shared taxis are also available. The journey to Tawang by road is an arduous one. A major part of the road is loose tarmac and gravel giving way to mud in many places. However, it is a scenic journey and makes up for the strain one has to endure.

Arunachal State Transport runs buses to Bomdila are available from Tezpur on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday and the journey time is 8hrs. Private buses also run daily and frequently via Bomdila to and from Tezpur, depart Tezpur at noontime and arrive Tawang early in the morning of the following day.

Darjeeling – the Queen of Hils

Darjeeling is paradise on earth. The city has been a major place for tea plantations since the last 150 years. Its scenic landscape, enthralling mountain ranges and vast tea gardens entice scores of tourists each year.  Located in the cozy and inviting lap of the Kanchan Junga, Darjeeling is thought to be derived from Dorjeeling, which literally means ‘the place of Dorjee’ the majestic thunderbolt. Some believe that the thunderbolt belongs to the Lamaist religion and some believe that it belongs to Lord Indra. Darjeeling is 3000 meters above sea level and plays an important role in the economy of the area due its tea gardens and cash crops like orange, potato, cardamom, ginger, etc.
Travelling in Darjeeling is like walking along the memory lanes during the time of the British Raj. Ever since the colonial days of the British empire, the hill station is designed on a scale of modern architecture and formal planning. Darjeeling is retreat for trekkers, every year thousands of people come here to enjoy the trekking challanges. Sandakphu / Phalut trek are the famous trekking routes.

Darjeeling the dramatic land is amazingly blessed with the superb beauty of the nature, fantastic sightseeing places, ornamental monasteries, mystic hill, alluring tea gardens, refreshing and healthy climatic condition and warm hospitality. Darjeeling is truly a gem in the crown of the Himalayas that invites the foot falls of thousands and thousands of tourists from across the globe.

Darjeeling in true sense is a paradise on earth as the showers of blessing from the heaven in poured in Darjeeling in the form of the natural beauty, blissful ambiance and the cool weather conditions that keeps this scenic hill town pure and pristine all the year round. So due to the copious natural beauty, cool climatic condition, tempting culture and friendly hospitality, tourist throngs the year round to for holidays in Darjeeling.

Moonset from Tiger Hill

Moonset from Tiger Hill

View of kanchanjanga from Darjeeling

View of kanchanjanga from Darjeeling

The most popular and ubiquitous mode of transport is a four-wheel drive. Land rovers, especially, are the choice of tourists. They can easily serpentine through the steep and sometimes narrow roads of the hill.
Come and Experience the marvelous beauty of Darjeeling tourism and make your vacation an ultimate experience of lifetime.

What to See

Chowrasta and Mall

Chowrasta, a wide promenade atop a ridge lined with shops and restaurants is taken to be the heart of the town. Here people gather to chat, spend time basking in the sun or just to snatch a moment of peace. The Brabourne Park is attached to the Chowrasta and now features a musical fountain. This place is an open place and free from vehicular movements from where one can watch the scenic beauty of the mountain range and take charm of walking at the Darjeeling Mall. It features Tibetan hand-knitted sweaters and souvenir shops, Himalayan artifacts, antiques.

The Mall Road originates and culminates at the Chowrasta. This is the heart of Victorian Darjeeling.

Darjeeling Rangeet Valley Passenger Ropeway

At North Point about 3-km from the town, this is the first passenger ropeway in India. Regular share taxi service is available from Market Motor and Taxi Stand is to the Ropeway Station.

Tiger Hill

Tiger Hill (2,555 m), the highest point in this area, is about 14 km from Darjeeling, near the Ghoom Monastery. It is famous for its magnificent dawn views over the Khangchendzonga and other eastern Himalayan peaks. On a clear day, Mount Everest is watchable from here.

Batasia Loop and the War Memorial

The Batasia loop situated almost 5 km away from the town is a gigantic railway loop where the Toy Train makes a 360 Degree turn. It was basically built to make it possible for the Toy Train to cut the deep ascend. Strategically located the Batasia Loop offers a panoramic view of the Kanchanjunga Range. A War Memorial constructed in the memory of the brave sons of the soil who laid down their lives in the different wars since the independence of the nation adds to its attraction. There is also a well furbished market where visitors can buy locally made purses, bags and other decorative items.

Ava Art Gallery

Situated about 4 km from the Market Square and on the National Highway, Ava.Art Gallery was established in 1965 by the Late. Bhopal Rao Sett and Ava Devi. A collection of 60 pieces of art work in water, oil and thread paintings are displayed in the Gallery.

Rock Garden and Ganga Maya Park

Situated 10 km from town, Rock Garden and Ganga Maya Park is a attractive picnic spot. It is a multi-level picnic ground terraced around a natural waterfall, its attraction is in it being a sort of road-side facility but with a little too much concrete. The garden offers a beautiful view of a hill stream cascading over rocks along the slope, done up with flower gardens and sitting spaces at different levels.

There also is a small lake. Which offer  boating facilities and is endowed with great scenic beauty. Ample eateries are available for visitors to indulge in local delicacies and one can even buy souvenirs. Visitors are however, required to make arrangements for transportation.

Peace Pagoda

The Japanese Peace Pagoda was established by Nipponzan Myohoji, a Japanese Buddhist order. Situated on the slopes of the Jalapahar Hill the pagoda can be reached by foot or on taxi. It also showcases the four avatars of the Buddha.

Peace Pagoda

Peace Pagoda

Botanical Garden

Lloyd Botanical Garden is a colorful garden  Situated just below the market motor stand, this garden is laid out by Mr. W. Lloyd in 1878. It contains a vast collection of rare Himalayan plants, flowers, orchids and many more flora species. The Orchid collection of this botanical garden is very fascinating. Darjeeling Lloyd Botanical Garden opens every day except Sunday. The garden opens at 6.00 in the morning to 5.00pm in the evening.

If you want to see more magic of nature then Victoria Falls, lying at a distance of half an hour walk from the garden, is waiting to greet you by its exotic beauty.

 Darjeeling-Rangit Valley Passenger Cable Car

At North Point, about 3 km from town, this is India’s first passenger ropeway. The 5-km long ropeway connects Darjeeling with Singla Bazaar on the Ranjit River at the bottom of the valley.

Observatory Hill & Mahakal Temple

Also known to the locals as the “Holy Hill”, it is just a few minutes walk from the Chowrasta and is situated on the highest ridge of the town. The Mahakal temple atop the hill is a revered place for the locals . Visitors will be surprised to find a Hindu priest and a Buddhist monk sharing a common altar.

Dhirdham Temple

Dhirdham temple is modelled on the lines of the famous Pashupatinath temple of Kathmandu and was built in 1939. It is a minute’s walk from the Darjeeling Railway Station.

Dhirdham Temple

Dhirdham Temple

Happy Valley Tea Garden

Happy Valley tea garden is located just a kilometer away from the main town and is situated along 18 Lebong Cart Road (very near to the District Magistrate’s Office) and offers tourist a refreshing ambience far from the otherwise noisy town. One can soak in the ambience of the tea garden and take a walk through the carpeted garden. You can take a pony from the Chowrasta or merely walk down the hill to reach the factory.

Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park

Established on the 14th of August, 1958, the zoo was dedicated to the memory of Padmaja Naidu, former Governor of West Bengal on the 21st November, 1975. It is the only centre that breeds the tibetan wolf in captivity. Breeding programmes for the endangered red panda, snow leopard and the siberian tiger are also carried out here. The zoo is open on all days except on Thursdays and other national holidays.

Himalayan Mountaineering Institute

The Himalayan Mountaineering Institute was set up following the successful ascent of the Mount Everest-the highest peak in the world by the local hero Tenzing Norgay Sherpa and Sir EdEdumund Hillary on 28 May 1953. The oldest mountaineering institute in the country carries out various mountaineering courses every year. Apart from Tenzing, legendary mountaineers like Nawang Gombu(the first man to climb Everest twice) and Lattoo Dorjee Sherpa have helped build the reputation of this pioneering institute. The institute is presently under the purview of the Minstry of Defence, Government of India and its museum is worth a visit.

Raj Bhawan

Raj Bhawan is the summer residence of the Governor of West Bengal. The fantastically developed mansion with perfect manicured lawns, lush gardens, surrounding forests and British Bungalows overlooks the Darjeeling Lebong spur and commands a magnificent close-up view of the snow capped Kanchanjunga Range. A walk around it through the dense forest is , most charming.

Step Aside

On the way down to Bhutia Busty, via the C.R. Das Road, and a few minutes walk from the Chowrasta is Step Aside, the house in which the great Indian patriot Deshbandhu Chittranjan Das passed away on June the 16th, 1925. On the first floor are preserved a few articles of his personal use. The ground floor is a maternity clinic named after him, for the poor of the town.

Tibetan Refugee Self-Help Centre

After His Holiness escaped from Tibet, thousands of Tibetan refugees came to reside in India. Darjeeling too became a home away from home for the Tibetans in exile. The centre was established on October 1, 1959 and the residents of the centre are today known for their handicrafts. The centre makes excellent carpets, woolen goods, woodwork, etc, which are famous across the globe.

Monasteries of Darjeeling 

The Mag-Dhog Yolmowa Buddhist Monastery(Aloobari Monastery)

Situated on the Old Military Road commonly known as the Aloobari road, the Mag-Dhog Yolmowa Buddhist Monastery was founded by its, Ven. Sangay Lama. The construction of the monastery, coincided with the beginning of the First World War in 1914. The statues of Lord Buddha depicting different forms and the statue of Padma Sambhave at this religious place are stunning. The painting on the wall are said to be done with the help of herbs and are an amazing work of art. Other interesting features of the monastery are the valuaable ancient scriptures lying inside the monastery .

Druk Thupten Sangag Choling Monastery(Dali Monastery)

This monastery is situated at Dali, about 4 kms  from Darjeeling town. This is one of the most famous monasteries belonging to the Kargyupa sect. The pioneer of this monastery was Thuksay Rimpoche, who died in 1983 and his incarnate is reported to have been born in 1986 at Ladakh.

The Yigacholing Monastery at Ghum, Darjeeling

The Yigacholing Monastery at Ghum, Darjeeling

Ghoom Monastery

Built in 1875 by Lama Sherab Gyatso, this ancient monastery is said to have been blessed by the renowned Tomo Geshe Rimpoche of Tibet. The specialty of this monastery is that it contains the statue of the ‘Future Coming Buddha’ known as Maitreye Buddha. The Monastery has also preserved some of the rare handwritten Buddhist manuscripts. You could visit the monastery on your return journey to Darjeeling from Tiger Hill.

Tashi Dargyalingh Monastery or the Tamang Ghumba

The Tamangs are a sub community of the Gorkha/Nepali and mostly belongs to the Nyingmapa sect. Established in 1926 this is one of the oldest monasteries of the community

Ghoom Monastery

Ghoom is about 6 km south of the city centre. The 4.57-m high statue of a seated Maitreya Buddha is the main attraction here.

When to Visit

Best time to visit Darjeeling is mid September to mid December and resumes from mid March to mid June.

How to reach

By Air – Bagdorga is the nearest airport i.e. 100 kms from Darjeeling. It is well connected to the other major cities.

By Rail – The toy train is best way to see the real beauty of Darjeeling, it runs to Siliguri and New Jalpaiguri. weather and landslides permitting, but takes an angst inducing nine hours. Railway reservations for selected mainline trains out of NJP can be made at Darjeeling’s station a couple of days before departure. They have tourist quotas for trains to Delhi, Kolkataa, Bangalore, Cochin and Thiruvananthapuram.

By Road – There are frequent buses to Siliguri in every half an hour. Buses leave for Mirik every thirty minutes.