Darjeeling (The Place of Thunderbolt)
Darjeeling, formerly known as Darjeeling is also known as the place of thunderbolt or Dorja the mystical. Darjeeling is situated at an altitude of 2134 m above sea level in North Bengal. Darjeeling is the famous hill station in West Bengal and has spectacular scenery and offers views of the Himalayas. The scenic beauty of Mount Everest and Kanchenjunga, the two highest peaks of the Himalayas, is something never to be forgotten. Darjeeling is built on spur on the Ghoom Sanchal Ridge and faces the Himalayas and the surrounding hills. These hills are thickly covered with coniferous forests or terraced tea gardens. The upper reaches of the popular hill station were originally occupied by the Europeans who built houses with commanding views. Nepali, Lepcha, tibetan, Bhutia and Bengali are the various people that lives in Darjeeling. The best season to visit Darjeeling is from October to December and April to June.
Festivals of Darjeeling
Buddha Jayanti, the birth anniversary of Lord Buddha is celebrated at various Buddhist monasteries in Darjeeling. This festival is celebrated in the month of May.
Tourist Attractions in Darjeeling
The famous tourist attractions in Darjeeling are the Tiger Hill, Ghoom Monastery, Observatory hill, Tibetan Refugee Self-Help Centre, Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park, Mirik, Lloyd Botanical Garden and Kurseong.
Tiger Hill Tiger Hill is situated about 11 km from Darjeeling. It is about 2555 meters high and approachable through Gheem Rock, a fine picnic spot. It is famous for the spectacular view it offers of sunrise over the Kanchenjunga mountain flanked by Kabru and Pandim. Mount Everest and the other two peaks of the Makalun and Lhotse are visible on a clear day. April and October are the best seasons to enjoy this view. Sanchal Lake and Forest are an attractive picnic spot, situated near Tiger Hill. It is the source of water for the city. Permission has to be obtained from the Municipal officer, Darjeeling, to visit the place.
Ghoom Monastery Ghoom Monastery is situated about 8 km from Darjeeling. Accorsing to some people, the railway climbs to a height of 8000 feet at Ghoom Monastery, making it the highest railway station in the world. This monastery, also known as the Yiga-Choling Gompa is the Yellow hat Tibetan-Buddhist monastery and the most famous monastery in the area. This monastery was built in 1875 and has a five metre high gilded statue of Maitreya or the future Buddha.
Observatory hill The Observatory Hill offers a grand view of the twin peaks of the Kanchenjunga range. This place is sacred to Lord Shiva and believed to be the site of the Mahakala cave. The Cave temple of Mahakal is situated on the top of the observatory. A Red Hat Buddhist monastery is also situated here which was destroyed in the 19th century, but gave its name to this hill station.
Tibetan Refugee Self-Help Centre The Tibetan Refugee Self-Help Centre is situated in the main area in Darjeeling. After the Chinese invasion, thousands of Tibetan refugees settled in Darjeeling and the rehabilitation centre was established in 1959 to enable them to continue to practice their skills and provide an outlet for their goods. This worskshop produces woollen carpets, textiles, curios, jewellery and a variety of items in wood and leather in traditional Tibetan craftsmanship.
Himalayan Mountaineering Institute The Himalayan Mountaineering Institute was previously headed by late Tenzing Norgay, who jointly conquered Everest in 1953. This institute imparts the art of climbing hills to aspiring mountaineers and holds demonstrations during the season. This place also has a museum which has old mountaineering equipments, including those used on that historic climb, a model of the Himalayas and a display of Himalayan flora and fauna. There is also a telescope that belonged to Adolf Hitler.
Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park is located near the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute and is a high-altitude wildlife park. This Zoological Park is the home of the Siberian tiger, Himalayan black bear, deer, panda, panther, snow leopard, llama and many colourful birds.
Mirik Mirik is a charming place that has been recently opened to the tourists. Mirik is a famous hill station, about 1800 metres high with a beautiful lake in the centre.
Lloyd Botanical Garden The Lloyd Botanical Garden has an interesting collection of Himalayan alpine flora including banks of azaleas, ferns, rhododendrons, magnolias, orchids and multitudes of trees and plants.
Kurseong Kuseong, the charming hill station is situated about 32 km. from Darjeeling on the highway to Siliguri. Kurseong is situated at a height of 1482.5 meters above sea level and offers a magnificent southward view of the plains spreading to the distant horizon more than 150 km. away. Daw hill and Eagle's Crag are the two vantage points. There is a sericulture station here. The place is connected by railway with Kolkata and other cities via New Jalpaiguri.
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