This Buddhist stupa (Peace Pagoda) was designed by Dr. M. Okha, who also designed the Japanese Temple nearby. Under the guidance of Nichidatsu Fujii founder of the Nipponzan-Myôhôji Buddhist Order, it took 3 years to construct. The Peace Pagoda is all white and is 94 feet high and 75 feet in diameter. There are sculptures all around the Pagoda that portray the four incarnations of the life of Buddha.
There are 70 Peace Pagodas around the world - built with the intention of uniting people of all races and religions in their search for world peace.
Both the Peace Pagoda and Japanese Temple are very calm places. Spend some time visiting both and enjoying the wonderful views.
See my Darjeeling travelogues for additional photos of the Peace Pagoda.
The Darjeeling Toy Train, officially known as the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR), is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and even if you take a short trip, it's a must do in Darjeeling.
The engines run on coal and the tiny tracks are only 2 feet wide. The full journey from Darjeeling to New Japaiguri takes about nine hours but you can take the shorter trip (only an hour) to Ghoom, which is what we did. At 7,410 feet Ghoom is one of the highest railway stations in the world.
Our 2 car train chugged along spewing smoke and steam. It travels so slowly that you can jump on and off easily while it's moving (we did that too!). To give you an idea how slow - that 9 hour Darjeeling to New Japaiguri trip covers only 50 miles!
The train makes a 10 minute stop at Batasia Loop where it makes a figure eight. At Batasia Loop you can get out and visit the war memorial and take some photos of of the surrounding garden and Mt. Kanchenjunga.
Check the schedule because timings and frequencies change depending on the season. If it is high tourist season, it's a good idea to buy your tickets in advance as the train fills up quickly. Sit on the right side of the train up to Ghoom for the best views. Your ticket also covers entry into the railway museum at Ghoom.
World-famous tea is Darjeeling's most famous export. Over 40,000 people work at the 100+ tea plantations ("gardens") in the area. Although this area produces 1/4 of India's tea (and that's alot of tea), still 80% is exported. Darjeeling tea is considered "mild" but tea from some of the estates is very high quality tea, with one estate getting paid $220 per kg. It is said that another estate, Margaret's Hope, supplies tea to Buckingham Palace. Darjeeling's black tea in considered one of the world's most prized varieties.
Happy Valley Tea Estate is the most convenient to Darjeeling. Between April to November, plucking and processing is in progress and the factory is open for tours. It is by no means a "high tech" place, it's actually quite dilapidated.
While we were there, the factory was closed because the season was over but our driver managed to find someone with a set of keys to give us a personal tour. It was interesting to see the place and learn about the working environment – how the leaves are separated and dried, etc.
That particular place employed a couple of hundred people most working in the fields picking tea. They were required to pick 8 kilograms (17.6 pounds) of tea per day for Rupees 45 (about $1). If they picked less they were paid less. Over 1,000 kgs. were processed daily. The tea plants look like “bushes” and you have to pick only the “bottom” leaves. Mostly what was left on the plants at the time we visited were the unusable top leaves.
If you go during the season, you can visit between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. An employee will give you a tour. There's no charge, but a tip is expected.
On the drive to/from the estate, there are stands selling cups of different varieties of tea. Be sure to stop and try some!
U must have to take a big round around the city and take a sip of fresh and great taste tea on road side small hut shops ,the shops are run by the young girls .they welcome u with nice smile. U can see that small roadside shops are really catching the atractions of school going children.
This was one of my 2 favorite experiences in Darjeeling.
This huge, colorful Buddhist monastery sits high on a hill about 4 kms. outside of Darjeeling. It was inaugurated by the Dalai Lama and is the seat of H.H. Gyalwan Druken Rinpoche, the supreme head of the Kargyupa sect.
After taking a couple of photos outside, we removed our shoes and were welcomed inside. Unbelievably there was a service going on. There were hundreds of monks on benches in two sections facing each other. They were chanting to the rhythmic drums. We made our way to the back of one of the sections and sat down on the hard floor. I was absolutely entranced.
Alongside me about 8-10 feet away was a small group of young boys (monks) fidgeting through the service. A short while into our stay one of the elder monks went and brought us 2 mats. At one point several monks came in carrying pots and started pouring hot tea for the monks on the benches. The chanting and drums continued. It was so easy to get lost in it. We stayed a little longer before (unfortunately) making our way back outside.
This was such an amazing experience. If you are lucky enough to go at a similar time, remove your shoes, be respectful (and quiet) and no photos inside!
From the Mall in the centre we descend a little to the Tenzing Norgay road along the south side of the ridge. The views are fantastic, if it is not too hazy.
At the first part of the road are a lot of small budget hotels.
The houses on this steep slope are built on stilts. During our walk we saw a lot of houses under construction and it was very informative to see the different stages of the building process under these difficult circumstances.
Also the road was under construction, we saw a lot of people breaking stones with the hand.
From Darjeeling you can take the toy-train for a short 7 KM ride to Ghoom. It takes one hour, costs 6 eurocent and brings a lot of fun. Spectacular on the track is the Bastasia Loop. The train makes here a whole circle for bridging the height. All passengers have to go out.
The toy-train is like a mascot for Darjeeling, In 1882 was the 90 KM extension of the Northern Bengal State Railway to Darjeeling completed. This 90 KM track climbs 2000 M in 9 hours. So if you like, you can make the whole track.Nowadays most people choose the fast way and go by car.
Chowrasta in nepali means four roads,this place is the heart of darjeeling where you can see lots of people whole day thru,its a lively place mostly you'll see youngesters hanging out,lots of eatries aroundyou can drop in for coffee and paneer pakora in Stardust and get a view of few villages on the right will be Manpari busty(village),Toong Soong(my village )and down below Pandam Busty where you can see the tea garden.On the left will be Bhutia busty and below that will be Lebong helipad and public ground.If you have enough time you can hike to lebong thru this way or you can take a cab from the bazar which will take another route thru north point.
You can visit Fiesta which was earlier known as Golden Platter,this was the only place which served ice cream when we were young and candy floss.
Amegoes is another fast food corner where you can fill in if you are hungry.Mostly people just sit on the sides and enjoy looking people passing by.You can also try horse riding ther are small ponies avaliable.Long time ther used to be a race course in Lebong but now its no longer there and most of the youngesters might not know people enjoyed this type of entertainment in Darjeeling.The buildings which houses most of these stores line National store,Oxford book house ect are there from the time of british Raj.
The Bhanu Bhakta Statue is right there towards the mall,he was the great poet who is the founder of nepali language also known as Adhi Kavi Bhanu Bahkta,earlier it was Sanskrit which was taught to the priviledged high caste as the hindu scriptures were in Sanskrit,he gave this language to all the nepalies.
You can experience the toy train once in a lifetime experience coz you'll not get to take this joyride else where......as per darjnet.com
"The journey to Darjeeling is regarded as among the most spectacular in the world. Travellers are awed by both the scenery as well as the railway line which is truly an engineering masterpiece and without doubt one of the wonders of the world. The history of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway is equally fascinating."
I get to see the sunrise from my house daily.......however people flock to see the sunrise from atiger hill which is very famous in darjeeling.........it depends on your luck as all depends on the weather....sunny or cloudy..........
The altitude of Senchel (water reservoir for the supply of water to Darjeeling town) and Tiger Hill are 8,163 and 8,515 feet respectively. The first rays of the sun shoot ahead and shed light upon the twin peaks of Kanchenjunga and gradually paint the whole of its snow body with a beautiful orange colour. From Tiger Hill, just the top of Mount Everest (29,002') is visible, peeping out through two other peaks standing by its side. The peak that looks highest is that of Makalu (27,799'). These three peaks are seen to the north-west a little left of Phalut. Everest looks smaller than any of its two sisters, although Everest is not only higher than either of them, but the highest peak in the world, the distance in straight line of Everest from Tiger Hill being 107 miles. This phenomenon arises from the fact that Everest is several miles beyond them.
Next time when you would be travelling to Darjeeling, you can try the less expensive hotels in Dr. Zakir Hussain Rd. or Gandhi Rd. These hotels are cheap but clean. As vehicles are prohibited on The Mall Road (Chowrasta), you have to take a different route to reach there. There are star hotels too. If you stay in these places, a small hike can easily take you to The Mall in no time. You can check other options too, if you have a tight budget. C.R. Das Rd., Tenzing Norgey Rd. and Tungsung Road also have budget hotels and The Mall is not so far from this places.
we have the himalayan mountaineering institute.........
The Tenzing Norgay Himalayan Mountaineering Institute trains mountaineers. It has a small museum as well.
After the successful ascent of Mount Everest on 29th May 1953 , by Late Tenzing Norgay and Sir Edmund Hillary , the mountaineeringin India got impetus.Consequently the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute was established on 4th November 1954 by personal initiative of Late Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru the first Prime Minister of India and Dr.B.C.Roy the then Chief Minister of West Bengal, which was then the hub center of all mountaineering activities in India.
Late Maj N.D. Jayal was the first Principal whereas Late Tenzing Norgay was the Director of Field Training of the institute.
The institute is located at an altitude of 6,800 feet above sea level.
adventure courses are also provided........
Adventure Course (15 Days)
Duration of Course is 15 days. The object of the course is to stimulate a spirit a spirit of adventure or reveal and develop the sturdier qualities of character, both physical and mental, to instil a sense of comradeship, discipline, selflessness, service to the community, self-reliance, physical fitness and the ability to think and live adventurously. The course includes :
a) Rock Climbing
b) Trekking and Camping
c) Survival in jungle
d) Solo Camping
e) Canoeing and Watermanship
f) Obstacle Course
g) Cross Country Running
h) Map Reading
There are separate courses for boys, girls, adults and Visually Handicapped Persons (VHP).
The trainees are taken of treks to a number of places of tourist interests which include Tiger Hill, Sandakphu, Phalut, Mirik, Singla etc.
Altitude: 1767 msl
Climate: cool and temperate
Summer: max 29oC
Winter: max 13oC
Rainfall: 279.4 cm annually
Mirik is being developed into a hill resort,it is famous for the Sumendu lake we call it mirik jheel(jheel means lake),you can go for boating,there used to be lots of fishes in this lake i remember it from my visits when i was a child.
On the way back you can take a detour and visit Pashupati baazar market which is on the border od india and nepal.Lots of goodies avaliable but difficult to get thru coz of customs check post.
By Road: Mirik is connected by road with Siliguri, Kurseong and Darjeeling with the routes passing through stretches of great scenic beauty. Mountains of Mirik are covered by Tea Estates
At North Point about 3-km from the town, this is the first passenger ropeway in India. For reservation of ropeway seats please contact - Officer in-charge, Darjeeling Rangeet Valley Ropeway Station, North Point, Darjeeling.
You can have the awesome view of the Tukvar valley tea garden.
Regular share taxi service is available from Market Motor and Taxi Stand is to the Ropeway Station.
In north point you get to see the St Joseph school also known as north point school estb in 1888.
Once you come out of the ‘Step Aside’ bungalow, don’t return to the Chaurastha. Instead continue your meanderings downwards on the cemented walkway towards the Bhutia Busty Monastery, the monastery that was uprooted from the Observatory Hill years ago and the monastery from which Darjeeling got its name.
The Bhutia Bustee (Karma Dorjee Chyoling Monastery), built by Lama Dorje-Rinzing in 1765 atop Observatory Hill, near the Chaurastha, belongs to the Red Sect of Buddhist monks and is a branch of Nygmapa Sect’s Phodang Monastery located in Sikkim. After it’s ransacking by the Nepali populace in the 19th century, it was re-located at Bhutia Bustee. Here, it was again destroyed in 1934 during an earthquake but was rebuilt with ample funds from the Chogyal (Ruler) of Sikkim.
Set against the backdrop of the mighty Kanchanjunga, this monastery has rare books and manuscripts on Buddhism and Tibetan culture on its first floor which acts as its library. It is the oldest monastery in Darjeeling.
Photography is not allowed inside the monastery.
First Written: May 17, 2012