14 BEST Things to Do in Darjeeling, India

Welcome to Darjeeling, a beautiful hill town situated at an altitude of 6,700 feet in West Bengal, in the lower Himalayan range. Darjeeling is famous all around the world for its amazing tea. Very truly, its the tea paradise of India. The famous tea estates of authentic Darjeeling tea has made the tea suppliers flourishing day and night.

Gracing the lesser Himalayan region of West Bengal on an elevation of around 2,000 metres above sea level, Darjeeling showcases the lush scenic beauty of the hills at its best. Popular for its lavish, expansive, and gently rolling tea estates, impeccable crispy clear environment, and colorfully vibrant culture, this charming hill town defines everything that is serene and makes for a vacation well spent especially if it is with your loved ones.

A destination which successfully represents the wonderful mosaic of spirituality, peace, and unmatched wonderment. So what are you waiting for, grab your favorite cup of tea and head on to the hills where dreams are made into reality. Darjeeling is one of the most popular hill stations in North India. Darjeeling is famous for so many reasons like Himalayan peaks, valleys, treks, monastery, momos, toy train, tea plantation and more.

Here the air is pure, the clouds wind between the peaks and the deep red robes of the monks remind you that Tibet is not far. Darjeeling is located in the border with Nepal, which in your Lonely Planet guide appears as West Bengal.

From temples to museums, to waterfalls to stunning views of the mountain, there are a lot of places to visit in Darjeeling. The normal thing is that tourists (travelers, nomads or whatever you want to define) arrive in Darjeeling from Kolkata, Varanasi or Nepal.

best things to do in Darjeeling

If you are the one who wants to visit Darjeeling and looking for the best places to visit then find here. Here are some places to visit that you must include in your travel plans to Darjeeling:

1. Watching Tiger Hill sunrise

Even if you may not have heard about the glories of Darjeeling you may have definitely heard about the splendid sunrises reflecting on the Kanchenjunga and panoramic views of the stunning valley below from Tiger Hill. Located at a distance of 13 km from the main city center of Darjeeling people can leave at 3 am to catch one of the most soul stirring beautiful sunrises in India.

The Tiger Hill trek starts early morning around 3:30–4 am. The view of the sunrise is just breathtaking along with the view of the snow-capped mountains.

The snow capped peak surrounds the point on all sides and makes sure that you get the best sight of the slowly color-changing peaks. The magnificent view may seem like an understatement as it is one place where you will feel like being on top of the world. Watching Tiger Hill sunrise is one of those activities which must definitely be done during your visit.

2. Darjeeling Himalayan Railway

In the hill station of Darjeeling, there is a famous toy train ride which is declared as a heritage by UNESCO. The journey starts from Siliguri with a seven and a half hours uphill ride to India's highest railway station at Ghoom followed by Darjeeling. The toy train ride is as beautiful as it can get, the landscapes that you see during the journey is beautiful and naturally, there is a huge demand for this toy train ride even though it is more expensive than a private cab.

Everyone knows about the famous Toy Train of Darjeeling. This slowly moving train moves through a 2 feet narrow gauge between Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling while offering some of the most spectacular views en route. Named as a UNESCO world heritage site in 1999, this train has been in function ever since 1881. One can expect amazing views of the town and the mountain beauty during the ride. It takes around 2–3 hours for the whole experience.

Taking a ride on this wonderful little train is a must-do activity in Darjeeling and especially a treat for kids. This has to be one of the most popular heritages of this charming hill station that can still be explored today. This ride ensures passengers to gain a sense of relaxation and rejuvenation.

If you wish to get the most spectacular views of the hill station of Darjeeling then go for the scenic Batasia Loop train ride. Famous for its sweeping and panoramic views of the green covered hills on all sides, the experience is especially enchanting due to the design of the tracks which wraps itself around a hilltop tunnel.

This lush green railway pathway displays some unmatched natural beauty and makes for a great day out with the family. This loop is situated in the Ghoom region of Darjeeling that is 5 kms away from the main city centre. Initially developed to make Darjeeling more connected, it has evolved into one of the main tourist attractions.

3. Visit Happy Valley Tea Estate

There are over 78 different tea estates in Darjeeling and your exploration remains incomplete if you don’t happen to visit one of these organic tea gardens on the hills. The entire region is lined with lush green tea estates with bushes of tea thriving away to glory. One of the most popular tea estates here is the Happy Valley Tea Estate. But why should you invest your time and energy into exploring an estate?

The special thing about Darjeeling tea is the fact that it is the only production that has found its mention under the GI protection which means that tea that you can find in Darjeeling cannot be found or grown anywhere else in the world. Maybe this should be reason enough for you to head out.

4. Visit Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park

The Padmaja Naidu Zoological Park which is also known as the Darjeeling Zoo and is a popular center of attraction for nature and animal lovers alike. Even if you are not one, a visit here will definitely turn you into one with its plethora of collection of varied species of animals, plants, and birds.

The collection here ranges from Himalayan wolves, Eastern Pangolin, Sambar Deer, Royal Bengal Tiger, Lady Amherst and Red Panda to Himalayan Monal, Asiatic black bear, leopards and many more. This zoo is internationally known for being the breeding center of snow leopard and boasts of unparalleled natural beauty and greenery on all sides.

Best part? All the climatic conditions here mimic the actual habitat of all the animals making it truly a haven for every creature here.

5. Spend some quality time in Rock Garden

Located at a distance of 10 km from the main city centre of Darjeeling this is one of the most exquisite picnic spots in this charming hill station. Barbotey Rock Garden is a lush green garden with a beautiful waterfall, amazingly carved rocks, and a flower garden. Home to the adorable little waterfall called Chunnu Summer Falls the lush greenery surrounds this beautiful place.

An ideal place to spend some quality time with your family in Darjeeling a visit here will remain priceless. There are several colorful flower gardens and other attractions that will prove to be a treat for all of your senses. There are also several eating and sitting options available for the convenience of the visitors making it all the more a peaceful experience.

6. Fill your senses in Ghoom Monastery

Darjeeling is famous for its monasteries and it is a fact that a visit to the Ghoom monastery will fill your senses with an ultimate sense of peace. Standing on a whopping elevation of 8,000 feet above sea level and also known as Yiga Choeling, this holy place of peace is the oldest Tibetan Buddhist monastery of Darjeeling, making it one of the most famous monasteries in India.

Established in 1850 and home to a 15 feet high statue of Buddha this place also consists of numerous Buddhist manuscripts and elaborate Tibetan paintings. A visit here will freshen you up from within and leave you feeling rejuvenated to the core.

7. Take the Mall Road

Chowrasta area is the upper part of the city since Darjeeling is on a hillside. This is where are all the movies are shot, backpackers, shops, cafes in the British colonial style and everything you need. As you take the Mall road from the right side of Chowrasta Mall, about 100 yards away you will find flights of stairs that lead towards the Observatory Hill and the Mahakal Temple.

8. Walk to Mahakal Temple

Mahakal Temple is on a hill top is one of the best spots in Darjeeling to observe the panoramic views of the mountains. However, it's not too high. It takes about 15 minutes of uphill walk to reach to the top. While the walk may be tiring, the rewards are awesome. A great place for prayer and meditation.

9. Observatory Hill

The Observatory Hill is located at the Mall area and is encircled at its bottom by the Mall Road. As you walk along the Mall road, you will see this steep hill rising on one side. And Mahakal market is just beside.

10. Experience beautiful views from Darjeeling Rangeet Valley Passenger Ropeway

Darjeeling Ropeway is India’s first cable car, carrying people at an altitude of 7000 feet. One can experience beautiful views of the big tea estates, waterfall, and Kanchenjunga.

11. Trekking to Tinchuley

The scenic hamlet of Tinchuley is situated at a distance of just 32 km from the city of Darjeeling right on the West Bengal - Sikkim border. This hill town is a combination of 3 different hill stations all of which are equally awe-inspiring. Located right on top of the confluence of river Teesta and Rangeet, needless to say, that the natural beauty of this place goes beyond imagination making it a must-visit.

It is a hub for trekking lovers, rock climbing enthusiasts, and people who just generally love being in close touch with nature. It is definitely one of the best places in India for honeymoon couples, groups of friends, and family vacation.

12. Teesta River Rafting

Adventure lover or not, rafting on the crashing waves of the Teesta river should be on your travel goals. The river originates from the eastern Himalayan trek and the white foamy crashing river water makes for one of the best stretches for rafting in the world. It is an ideal option for both beginners as well as seasoned rafters where you whirl around and have a thrilling time.

Remember to follow all the rules carefully to avoid any unfortunate incident. This lifeline of Sikkim offers scenic views for the rafters that add on to their whole sense of adventure.

13. Paragliding in Kalimpong

Kalimpong is located in West Bengal and is one of the best places to visit in India. It is situated at an altitude of 1250 meters. It is renowned for its lush green, scenic views, monasteries, churches and the Tibetan handicrafts. If you ever visit Darjeeling, you must spare some time for Kalimpong. It is just at a one-hour distance from Darjeeling.

This place is famous for adventure activities, fishing in Teesta River, paragliding, parasailing, rafting, and tubing, for instance.

Abundant in natural beauty, this hill station in the state of West Bengal has everything to be your next summer holiday destination. You can visit the beautiful Deolo Hill, Pine View Nursery, Mangal Dham, Hanuman Temple, Thongsha Gumpha, Kalimpong Science Centre, and Zong Dhog Pairi Fo Brang Monastery.

14. Head on to Lepchajagat

Tourists go to Darjeeling, whereas travelers go ahead and visit this village named Lepchajagat, near Darjeeling. The name comes from the Lepcha tribes who used to reside in this locality. From Lepchajagat, you can see some of the most mind-blowing views of the Kanchenjunga peaks.

Done with your sightseeing in Darjeeling? Gone monastery hopping? Make your way to Lepchajagat which is a fairytale like hamlet situated at a distance of 19 km from the main centre of Darjeeling. Amidst the peaceful pine forests and foliage of rhododendrons and oak trees one can guarantee a magical time here. Being a part of the forest reserve the environment here is rich, clean, and thriving.

A heaven for nature lovers and people looking for a getaway or just spend some days in peace among natural surroundings then waste no time and head on to Lepchajagat right away.
Kalyan Panja