Localities in Darjeeling
The Layout of DarjeelingDarjeeling, located at an average elevation of 6,710 ft (roughly 2,045.2 m), has been laid out into three distinct levels, each of which is connected by steep and winding roads. The Chowrasta Mall, which has been designed as the focal point of the town, is located in the top level. Laden La Road along with places such as HD Lama Road, Robertson Road forms the second layer while places such as the Chowk Bazar, Railway Station etc form the lowest level.
For the people of Darjeeling, Chowrasta Mall is the heart of the town. Although it has many heritage shops lined up on one side, it is not at all a shopping mall, as we understand today. It is instead, a flat piece of open land on top of the Nehru Road. It offers a magnificent view of the Kanchenjunga and people come here to lounge in the sun and enjoy the environment. One can also see children riding ponies and having fun. The Mall Road, which is actually a circular road, beginning and ending at the Mall, offers a picturesque view to those who care to watch. Moreover, some landmark hotels as well as the Temple of Mahakal are located here.
Chowrasta Mall in Darjeeling
The Nehru Road is an important road that culminates into the Chowrasta Mall. One finds many popular tourist shops lined on this road. Among them, Glenary’s and Kaventer’s are two heritage restaurants and Das Studio is an age old shop selling photos and art work. Today of course, we also find many modern shops selling woolen clothing as well as knick-knacks for the tourists. The Planter’s Club too is a landmark of this area.
Nehru Road in Darjeeling
Gandhi Road and Laden La Road of DarjeelingThe lower part of the Nehru Road is known as Gandhi Road. This area houses the PDW bunglow, the Circuit House etc. Hotel Sinclairs is also located here. The Laden La Road, which houses many important government buildings as well as banks, is an offshoot of the Nehru Road.
Parallel to the Nehru Road runs the Dr. Zakir Hussain Road. It starts from the Jalaphar and culminates into the Mall. While walking down the street, one can see a busy market with people buying and selling not only mementos for the tourists, but essential day to day commodities as well. One can also find many middle level hotels and restaurants here and therefore, it is a favorite of not only the middle class gentry, those who travel on a budget also prefer this area. At the same time, Lal Kuthi, the house of the erstwhile Maharaja of Kochbehar, is located on this road. Incidentally, the building has now become the Head Quarters of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration.
Dr. Zakir Hussain Road in Darjeeling
C R Road and Bhutia Basti of Darjeeling
However, if anybody is truly interested in experiencing the real flavor of the town, one has to go further down to Chowk Bazar. This is the place where the local people come not only to shop, but also to socialize. Indeed, the place is always jam packed with sellers and buyers. Moreover, the bus-jeep- taxi stand is located here and this too adds to the milieu. Indeed, trying to negotiate through its busy alleys may seem confusing to the strangers, but if they can, they may find a treasure trove hidden in the narrow lanes.
Chowk Bazar in Darjeeling
There are quite a few other localities that also merit mention. Some of these lie within the periphery of the town while some are located just outside it. Lebong, for instance, lies outside the town; but for all practical purposes, it is considered as a part of it. The place is famous for its high altitude race course.
Lebong and Ghoom near Darjeeling
A helipad and military cantonment are also located here. The same is applicable to Ghoom. Although it is a separate town, Darjeeling tourist itinerary remains incomplete without it. Tiger Hill, Senchal Lake, Ghoom Monastery, DHR Museum are few of the landmark of this place.