Unlike most people, I could never pick one between Mountains and Beaches. I love them both equally and plan my trips according to the current mood. Having said that, I do think that whenever I want an escape from the regular humdrum and city noise, the first things that come to mind are snow-capped mountains and chilly climate.
Most of us need a break from our daily chores and stressful responsibilities every now and then. Thus, we look for destinations that would help us unwind and relax. One of the most popular hill stations of India, Darjeeling, also known as, Queen of Hills, is one such place that would fill your heart with joy and gratitude.
Years of rapid commercialization has surely effected the raw beauty of this North Bengal hamlet, but nothing can take away its simple and mesmerizing charm that attracts thousand of tourists from all around the world.
Here is a 3-day holiday plan to the Queen of Hills:
Arrival. You can arrive at Bagdogra Airport or Siliguri railway station. After reaching any one of the two junctions, you can take a cab till Darjeeling or avail your hotel’s pick-up service. It will take approximately 3 hours to reach Darjeeling. En route, enjoy the pretty landscapes and lush green scenery.
After you have checked in and settled down at the hotel, have light snacks with a piping hot cup of coffee. Now, head straight to the Mall road. From beautiful woolen garments to a wide variety of electronic goods, Darjeeling’s Mall road is a shopping lover’s paradise. Don’t forget to pick a packet of the widely famous Darjeeling Tea. Evenings at the Mall are gorgeous and lit up. You can stroll around and soak in the soothing climate or try some of the local food items like momos, thukpas or a traditional Nepali Thali, at one of the numerous eateries and cafes there.
Leave hotel at 4 AM and start your day. The morning will be divided in two halves: pre and post breakfast. Drive to Tiger hills and Ghoom monastery. Tiger hill is the highest point of Darjeeling, therefore you would not want to miss watching the sunrise, on a clear day you can even catch a glimpse of Mt. Everest. Ghoom Monastery is a vast monastery capped by clouds. After a refreshing morning, come back to the hotel for breakfast. Freshen up, enjoy a scrumptious breakfast and a hot cup of Darjeeling tea. For the next part of the morning, drive to the Japanese Peace Pagoda, Padmaja Naidu Zoological Park and Ganga Maiya Park. On the way, stop alongside some of the rolling tea gardens.
Have lunch on the way or come back to Mall road and suit yourself. After spending some time strolling around the Mall, drive back to the hotel and rest for some time.
This is your last day at the Queen of Hills and you don’t want to miss the nightlife here. You can have dinner at one of the upscale pubs of Darjeeling like, The Park, Shangri-La Restaurant and Bar or Glenary’s Restaurant and Bar which was establish during the British Raj and still maintains the suave and ancient British aura. It is one of the upscale bars and restaurants of the city and offers a wide range of food and drinks.
Alternately, you can spend time in the Mall road picking up souvenirs for family and friends and have a hearty local dinner.
Post-breakfast, it is time to bid adieu to Darjeeling. It is advisable that you start early for Siliguri or Bagdogra.
Recommendation for a Kid-Friendly experience in Darjeeling
Darjeeling Toy Train ride: