One of the most popular and attractive tourist destinations in West Bengal is Darjeeling. Also known as the ‘Queen of the hills’, the town of Darjeeling is nestled in the Lesser Himalaya and attracts tourists from all over India because of its picturesque beauty and quaint charm. Set at 6,700 ft, the little town is the perfect weekend getaway because of its cold weather and gorgeous locations. While there are several famous places to visit in Darjeeling like Tiger Hill, and the Darjeeling Mall, there are some offbeat and equally splendid destinations that you shouldn’t miss. Here is a list of some of those places.
1. Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park – A wildlife lover’s paradise
Rated as the best zoo in India by the Central Zoo Authority of India, the Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park is an enchanting experience for any wildlife lover. Set at an altitude of 2133.5 meters, the zoo offers a wide variety of unique animals in its confines; especially those which are found only in alpine conditions. The zoo is known to have bred the Snow leopard, the severely endangered Himalayan wolf and Red Panda in captivity. Sprawling over 44 hectares, the zoo also has the Siberian Tiger, the Tibetan Wolf, the mountain goat and even the Llama. The zoo is spacious, has wide enclosures and keeps its animals safe and healthy. A must-visit place.
2. Japanese Peace Pagoda – For those looking for tranquility
Situated close to the Nipponzan Myohoji Buddhist Temple, the Peace Pagoda is a Buddhist stupa and is meant to stimulate peace and tranquility in the visitors. The place reflects four avatars of Lord Buddha and one can spend time here just for some peace and gaping at the beautiful and charming architecture. The Peace Pagoda remains open from 4PM to 7PM and offers a breathtaking bird’s eye view of Darjeeling and the spectacular Kanchenjunga mountains. It is one of the lesser known places in the hills but worth the visit.
3. Batashiya Loop – One of the most unconventional places to visit in Darjeeling:
Located on Hill Cart Road, the Batashiya Loop is a heaven for vintage train lovers and photography enthusiasts. A giant circular track that was created by the British to tackle a glitch in the Darjeeling Toy Train, the Batashiya Loop is primarily a spiral railway track where the toy train takes a complete 360-degree turn. The unusual design of this place allows the train track to enfold itself around a hilltop tunnel, thus offering an entrancing experience. The Batashiya Loop also has a picturesque garden and a war memorial, in memory of the brave Gorka soldiers who sacrificed their lives for the country. The garden offers a scenic view of Darjeeling and one can spend hours here gazing at the view and looking at the Toy Train chugging by from time to time.
4. Rock Garden Park – A man-made marvel
Perfect for botanists and nature lovers, the Rock Garden is about 10 kilometers from Darjeeling. This man-made garden is replete with beautiful flora, waterfalls and bridges to enthrall you. There are numerous types of rocks and cliffs inside the park as well and one can spend a good afternoon clicking pictures of the various attractions in the park. The Chunnu Summer Falls, as the name suggests, is a waterfall located inside the park. It is beautiful and ideal for those looking to relax by the water for a lazy day.
5. Happy Valley Tea Gardens – the beauty tea making and the pleasure of sightseeing
The tea gardens are one of the most famous parts of Darjeeling. In fact, the place is now identified by these tea gardens as well because of how famous the Darjeeling Tea has become. However, you will only get to understand how significant and fascinating this place is only once you visit it. The best way to spend time at the Darjeeling tea gardens is to rent a tiny shack there and soak in the environment. The Happy Valley tea garden is a great place to be if you are looking for the perfect Darjeeling tea amidst natural beauty, the sight of the majestic mountains around you and the feel of the fresh morning air. Apart from the sightseeing you will, of course, also get to witness the natural procedure of tea making – from picking to manufacturing. It is an alluring experience and one that you will remember for a lifetime.
Also Read: National Parks in West Bengal
So this was our list of some of the offbeat places to visit in Darjeeling. What would you like to add to this list? Comment below.