Nestling among rolling mountains, for centuries the hill station at Darjeeling has provided respite from Calcutta’s fierce summer heat. Fondly called the ‘Queen of the Hills’ it also provides the ideal climate for tea planters to cultivate the ‘Champagne of the East’. You can explore colonial mansions and churches, Buddhist and Hindu temples, botanical gardens and a zoo for Himalayan fauna and the steep narrow streets are crowded with colourful shops. There are also superb treks which trace ancient trade routes and provide magnificent viewpoints.
Our sample tour ideas in Darjeeling
A world heritage century-old miniature steam engine that chugs up the hill at a sedate pace. The train links the town of New Jalpaiguri in the plains to Darjeeling. The 86-km long Darjeeling line has no tunnels, allowing an uninterrupted view of the breath-taking scenery of the Himalayas.
The tea plantations are worth visiting when the plucking and processing are in progress. March to May is the busiest time, but occasional plucking also occurs from June to November.
Kanchenjunga is the third highest mountain peak in the world, with an elevation of 8,586 m. An early visit to Tiger Hill for sunrise reveals magnificent views of the peak.