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Tea Valleys and DHR train Darjeeling


Bagdogra - Darjeeling - Bagdogra

Darjeeling, the land of tea plantations and one of the most popular hill stations in India. It is situated at an altitude of 6710 feet {2050 meters} in the Mahabharata or lesser Himalaya range, right beside the spectacular Himalayas. Kanchenjunga, the world's third - highest mountain peak, is always in the backdrop. Mount Everest, the world's highest mountain peak, may briefly appear amid the clouds on a clear day. The word Darjeeling is a combination of two words 'dorje' meaning 'thunderbolt' and 'ling' meaning 'place' hence the word Darjeeling means 'the Land of Thunderbolt'. Some believe that the thunderbolt belongs to the Lamaist religion and some believe that it belongs to Lord Indra.
Until the early part of the eighteenth century, Darjeeling was under the king of Sikkim. Later Gorkhas invaded the region and annexed the area, which they eventually lost to British. The British used the place to escape the heat and found the strategic importance of the area. They, hence, developed the area as a hill station and tea-growing area. Darjeeling is well known for its tea industry and eco-tourism.
Timber, tea, and tourism are the economy of Darjeeling. The tea plantations were originally developed by the British. Oranges and cardamom are also available in plenty. Traditional arts and crafts of Tibet and Sikkim are the products available for shopping. Traditional Tibetan and Sikkimese Food as well as other Indian cuisines are available.
Darjeeling has always been famous as Himalayan hill station and it was historically fought over by both Nepal and Sikkim. It was the British Raj that took over the region and hence Darjeeling became a part of India. At present, Darjeeling is one of the best-known hill stations in the world, which attracts tourists from all over the planet throughout the year.
As fascinating as the natural landscape are the natives of the hills of Darjeeling, the Lepchas, the Gorkhas, the Sherpas, and the Bhutias with their distinctive Nepali and Tibetan influence. Tibetan noodle soup called Thupka and the Tibetan momo, steamed dumplings of vegetables or meat wrapped in dough and served in soup, are the most cherished foods. Tibetan thangkas (silk printings with Buddhist themes), singing bowls, and prayer wheels are as popular takeaways as Darjeeling tea.
Rain can be expected any time in a year. Summer and spring are the two seasons most popular with the visitors. Darjeeling is a famous destination for Bollywood and Bengali film shooting.
The hill station has many attractive places. Some of the chief attractions are Ghoom Monastery, Tiger Hill, the UNESCO world heritage Himalayan Railway, Observatory Hill, Himalayan Mountaineering Institute & Tibetan Refugee Centre. The hill station is quite popular for shopping as well.

Day 1 : KOLKATA - BAGDOGRA (By Air) -DARJEELING (70 kms / 1-1/2 hrs)

Morning transfer to Kolkata domestic airport to board the flight for Bagdogra. Arrive at Bagdogra, traditional welcome & then drive towards Darjeeling. Arrive & transfer to hotel.
Afternoon, Enjoy the toy train ride to see the serene and picturesque Darjeeling. The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway is a UNESCO World Heritage narrow gauge rail Network still operates with the original steam engines and the loops along the route are all remarkable feats of human endeavor and engineering. The journey from Darjeeling town to Ghoom is a "Joyride" in the true sense of the word. The toy train is a modern engineering marvel and deserves its spot in the limelight.
Overnight at Hotel.


Early morning, excursion towards Tiger hill by Jeep, which is situated at a distance of about 11 kms from Darjeeling at an altitude of 2555 meters, it is famous for its panaromic view of Mount Everest and Mt. Kanchenjunga together (If the sky is clear). The first rays of the sun shoot ahead and shed light on the twin peaks of Kanchenjunga painting it pink and then bathing it in beautiful orange color. The play of light on these beautiful snow-covered peaks of Kanchenjunga leaves the visitor enthralled. From Tiger Hill, Mount Everest (8848m) is just visible, peeping out through two other peaks standing by its side. Makalu (8481m) looks higher than Mt. Everest, owing to the curve in the horizon, as it is several miles closer than Everest.
The distance in straight line from Tiger Hill to Everest is 107 miles. On the way back, visit Ghoom Monastery is one of the major attractions in Darjeeling. The Ghoom Gompa was founded by a Mongolian astrologer/monk in the year 1875. The place is also well - known as Yogachoeling Gompa. One is greeted by a huge 'Maitreya Buddha' statue at the entrance gate of the Gompa. Visitors also find bells, ornate thanka scrolls as well as drums inside the Gompa.
Return to hotel in time for breakfast.
Later visit take short tour of Darjeeling attractions visiting the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (HMI). It is a perfect place in Darjeeling for those who love to enjoy the thrilling experience of adventure activities. It is one of the oldest mountaineering institutes in India and plays a vital role in mountaineers training. Mr. Sherpa Tenzing Norgay of Mt. Everest fame, as its first field director. His nephew, Nawang Gombu, the first man to climb Mt. Everest twice, continues in the footsteps of his illustrious uncle as field director. After that visit Darjeeling tea gardens, famously known as the champagne of teas, is generally regarded as the World's best tea, fetching the highest prices at auction.
The Darjeeling tea gardens are beautifully located, and the bungalows of the managers pretty without exception. The tea gardens are worth visiting, to observe the way tea is manufactured. Tea estate managers, "the planters" as they are called, are known for their hospitality.
Overnight at hotel

Day 3 : DARJEELING - BAGDOGRA (By Air) -KOLKATA (70 kms / 1-1/2 hrs)

Breakfast at the hotel then transfer to Bagdogra airport to board flight for Kolkata. On arrival internal transfer to onward destination with sweet memories of Darjeeling tour.

Best time to visit Darjeeling:-

People often dub it as the Queen of Hill Stations and often people visit its vicinity for its rich tea estate, unique culture and charming and spectacular view of the Kanchenjunga range. Over the years Darjeeling has a gaining number of tourists and often it is seen that even during the heavy monsoon month's tourists or some weekenders often prefer to travel to the mystic mountains.
1. Summer season in Darjeeling - The summer season here usually lasts from April to June. The summer remains on the mild side and maximum temperature can move up to 25 degrees Celsius. Cool winds in the hill station make the evenings quite pleasurable.
2. Monsoon season in Darjeeling - The monsoon season is through the months of July and August in Darjeeling. Heavy rainfall occurs during this season therefore it is not seen as a perfect time to pay a visit. Some travelers still love to visit to enjoy a good downpour.
3. Winter season in Darjeeling - Winter season is another ideal time for the tourists to come and enjoy the serene beauty of this glorious hill station. The season is starts from September and carries on through March. December and January are quite cold and freezing and minimum temperature can dip to -2 'C in this region.


Suitable from:-
1. Darjeeling by Air - The nearest airport to Darjeeling is Bagdogra which is approximately 95 km away from the city. There are some direct flights from the cities like Kolkata, Delhi and Guwahati to Darjeeling. From the airport, one can reach the city by hiring taxis. It will take almost 3 hours to reach Darjeeling from the airport. Flights are available from all major cities.
2. Darjeeling by railways - The nearest railway station to Darjeeling is New Jalpaiguri which connects the city with all the major parts of the country. There are a number of trains from cities like Kolkata, Delhi, Guwahati, Chennai, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Bhubaneshwar and Kochi.
3. One who is planning to travel Darjeeling by train may opt to reserve his ticket on the Darjeeling Himalayan narrow gauge that connects Darjeeling from New Jalpaiguri. It is one of the most prestigious as well as heritage journey in India. Well, the new Jalpaiguri Railway Station is the closest broad gauge railway station from Darjeeling that connects to all other major cities in India.
4. Darjeeling by road -
Bagdogra to Darjeeling :- 2 hrs 13 mins / 70 kms
Kalimpong to Darjeeling :- 1 hrs 21 mins / 50 kms
Kurseong to Darjeeling :- 41 mins / 30 kms
Gangtok to Darjeeling :- 2 hrs 13 mins / 100 kms


What to carry:-
1. Passport - Some treks cross over to Nepal and require a passport; foreign nationals also require a passport to sign the rafting agreement
2. Trekking shoes
3. Warm wear, rain wear (for dewy higher altitudes)


Events / Festivals in Darjeeling:-
1. Loshar: The Tibetans and the Sherpas most notably celebrate this festival by organizing folk songs and dances. Tibetans mark their new year on this day and Buddhist monks offer prayer in monasteries.
2. Buddha Jayanti: Buddha Jayanti is celebrated with much enthusiasm in Darjeeling. Hindus regard Buddha as the incarnation of lord Vishnu. Both Hindus and Buddhists gather for special prayers at Buddhist monasteries on this day.
3. Dasain: It is the biggest festival in Darjeeling that marks the victory of good over evil. The main festival runs for 10 days during which all official work is closed. On the 10th day of the festival, Hindus and Buddhists visit their relatives and elders for their blessings.

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