Places to Visit
Over 2,500 metres above sea level, the hill provides spectacular views over Mount Kanchenjunga and the Himalayas.
Location of the Dorje Ling monastery (from which Darjeeling gets its name) until it was destroyed by the Nepalese in the nineteenth century, and now home to the temple of Mahakala. Magnificent views of the surrounding mountains can be found here.
Sampten Choling Monastery (aka Ghum Monastery):
A Tibetan Buddhist monastery built in 1875, it lies just under 5 miles from Darjeeling in Ghum – the highest station in India. It holds the Kangyur, a Buddhist canon containing over 100 volumes.
Chowrasta: The place to head for souvenirs:
A plethora handicrafts and ornaments in this hub of market stalls and shops.
Tibetan Refugee Self Help Centre:
An institution set up to provide support to the many displaced Tibetans that live in India, there are lots of original arts and crafts for sale.
The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway:
Departing from Siliguri, this 50 mile long UNESCO World Heritage Site railway winds all the way to Darjeeling and onto Ghum. Affectionately referred to as ‘The Toy Train’ it makes an excellent way to see the surrounding area and take in some spectacular mountain views.
What visit to Darjeeling would be complete without a potter around one of the dozens of tea valleys? The nearest, Happy Valley Tea Estate, is open to visitors and only a little over a mile away from the town.
Darjeeling Main Festivals
Maghe Sankrati: A Nepalese celebration of the first day of the Nepalese month of Magh.
Losar (Tibetan New Year): Celebrated with dancing and food. Sarswati Puja: Sarswati, Hindu goddess of knowledge, is celebrated.
Buddha Jayanti: Tibetan monks join in a musical procession to mark the birth of Buddha.
Guru Purne (Full Moon of the Gurus): Nepalese Shaman witch doctors dance in full dress to mark the return of the gods from their sleep.
Tihar: A festival that stretches over many days as Hindus show respect to various gods. A couple of days is devoted to Yama, the Lord of Death, by the feeding of crows (his messengers) and dogs (his guardians). A day of gambling follows as Laxmi, the Goddess of Wealth, is worshipped. In the evenings there are fireworks and singing.