Darjeeling in One Day
Darjeeling, located on in lapse of the Eastern Himalayas, is indeed the queen of all hill stations. The scenic beauty that the town offers is without a doubt beyond description. On top of that, various places of tourists’ interest have been developed over the years. Although one day is too short a time to do justice to all that the town has to offer let us go about the town and try fit in as much as we can in our itinerary.
Morning in Darjeeling
Would you like to fill in your stomach with delicious breakfast first or will you start your day by visiting a temple? Let us give you insights to both:
Keventer or Mahakal Temple:Let us start our day with a breakfast at the Keventer’s. It is located at 1, Nehru Road it and opens its door as early as 7:30 AM. It specializes in English breakfast and snacks. A visit to Darjeeling can never be complete without a breakfast at this century old outlet and a lunch/dinner at Glenary’s.
However, if you prefer to visit Mahakal Temple on Mall Road in the true Hindu tradition, you will have to skip that. In that case, we will go straight to Chowrasta Mall and take up the right end of the Mall Road. The later is a U shaped road that goes round the Observatory Hill. Vehicles are not allowed on this road.
The Mahakal temple is on top of the Observatory Hill. As you walk through the Mall Road you will find the gorgeous Kanchenjunga on your right and the hill side on your left. It is better to keep your eyes on the hill side because within a short distance you will notice a road sign indicating the trail that leads to the temple complex at the top of the hill. Apart from the main temple, the complex holds many other smaller shrines dedicated to other Gods and Goddesses as well as a Chorten holding the relics of Lama Dorje Rinzing.
St. Andrew’s Church:Next in the itinerary is the St Andrew’s Church. It is also located on the Mall Road, but nearer to the left end of the road. Although the outward appearance of the church is not that impressive, the ambience inside is truly spiritual. Tourists will be advised to look at the brass plaques and marble tablets on the walls very carefully. They tell us not only about the first generation citizens of this town, but also about some prominent personalities such as Lady Canning and Lt General Lloyd.
Bengal Natural History Museum:From there, we will have a peep at the Bengal Natural History Museum. I have deliberately used the word peep because one cannot really do justice to the museum in so short a time. The museum today houses a huge collection of cured and stuffed models of birds, insects, reptiles, fishes as well as mammals. Other than those, there are also birds’ nests as well as their eggs on display. One must understand that all these specimens are real.
Noon in Darjeeling
Wondering what to do next? Read Further:
Next we will go back to Chowrasta Mall once again. We may stop to have coffee at Café Coffee Day. Otherwise, we will take up the C. R. Road next to it and walk down to the Deshbondhu Museum. It houses personal belongings as well as furniture used by Deshbandhu Chittaranjan Das.
Deshbandhu Museum (Step Aside):
Bhutia Basti Monastery:Next in line, is the Bhutia Basti Monastery. It is located on the same road, but far down hill. One has to keep on walking until they reach the arched gateway of the monastery. In the main prayer room visitors will see a large replica of Lord Buddha as well as a photograph of His Holiness Dalai Lama. There are also beautiful images of Tara Devi and Lakshmiswari. One must also take time to study the murals on the wall. They are unique in design as well as concept.
Chowk Bazar:If we walk downhill from Bhutia Basti Monastery instead of going up the hill, we will reach Chowk Bazar, one of the important localities in Darjeeling. In effect, it is the main market place of the town. However, it also has treasure troves hidden in its lanes and by lanes. But, we will not stop for that right now because we have too little time on hand.
Next in the line should be Lloyd Botanical Garden. Located on Lebong Cart Road, it is few minutes’ walk from Chowk Bazar. Since we have little time, we will be wise to take up a jeep from the taxi stand near the Chowk Bazar. Set up in 1878, this garden houses many rare Himalayan trees and shrubs. It also has very large collection of orchids and cactuses. Prehistoric Ginko Biloba is a prized possession of this garden.
Lloyd Botanical Garden:
As we drive down the Lebong Cart Road, we will reach North Point. Darjeeling Ropeway, also known as the Rangeet Valley Passenger Cable Car starts from here. If you can spare some time, you can take a ride to Tukvar Valley and back. Otherwise it is better to proceed.
Evening Hours in Darjeeling
Let us go for some evening walks now at the Shrubbery Nightingale Park.
Shrubbery Nightingale Park:The park is located on Jawahar Road, which is an offshoot of Mall Road, but can be approached by car from Lebong Cart Road. The park offers best view of Kanchenjunga. In the evening cultural programs are arranged and hence those who are interested in the culture of Darjeeling should come here 4 0’clock in the evening.
Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Garden:
Next in the line is the Padmaja Naidu Zoological Garden. Although it is the largest high altitude zoo in the world it is acclaimed more for its conservation programs. The zoo has been hugely successful in breeding endangered species such as the Red Panda, Tibetan wolf, snow leopard and Siberian tiger in captivity. There are also many rare birds and animals to see here.
After the Padmaja Naidu Zoological Garden, it is time to hurry through the Everest Museum, which houses gears and clothing used by Tenzing Norgay and Nowang Gombu during their climb on Mount Everest. Photography is not allowed inside the museum.
Old Cemetery:As we go back, we may visit the old Cemetery, where the creators of Darjeeling are sleeping. Among others, it houses the tomb of general Lloyd and Alexander Csoma de Koros, the man who first compiled Tibetan dictionary.
Our next stop is Dhirdham temple near Darjeeling Railway Station. It has been modeled after the Poshupatinath Temple of Kathmundu. Lord Shiva is the main deity here. During Shiva Ratri a great festival is arranged here.
Night in Darjeeling
Get ready to visualize the famous Japanese Temple of Darjeeling in the night:
Last in the list is the Peace Pagoda.
Peace Pagoda And Japanese Temple:
Adjacent to it is a beautiful Japanese Temple. These are located on the Jalapahar Hills and top of that, the pagoda is the tallest structure in town. Therefore, it naturally offers a great view of the town below. The atmosphere here is one of peace and tranquility. The sculptures too are worth the visit.
With this, our day trip within Darjeeling is more or less complete. It is now time to go back to Chowrasta Mall and enjoy the gaiety there.