It’s that time of the year when classic mountain weather and a steaming mug of hot cocoa sounds dreamy. How about a road trip to the quaint Himalayan town of Darjeeling – the land of toy trains, tea gardens, and snow-capped peaks? As one of the oldest mountain settlements in the country, it’s hard not to fall for the unique Victorian charm of the Queen of Hills.
At an impressive elevation of 6709 ft., Darjeeling is nestled in the Lesser Himalayas on the Darjeeling-Jalapahar Range, originating in the south of the Ghum district. The hill station gets its name from the Tibetan words ‘dorje’ meaning thunderbolt and ‘ling’ meaning land. In the 1800s, Darjeeling was a health resort of sorts for the British troops and Europeans. On your trip here you are sure to run into Gorkhas, Bengalis, Nepalis, Lepchas and Tibetans.
Every season affords an entirely different vibe in Darjeeling. The peak tourist seasons though are March to May and October to November. Spring and summer here offer a pleasant respite from the scorching heat, the best views of Kanchenjunga and rhododendrons in full bloom.
Darjeeling in monsoon though serene can get a bit risky with landslides, road closures and poor visibility. Autumn is splendid with vibrant colours and enthralling white mountains. Darjeeling in winter is sure to open up a treasure trove of experiences and all you need is a ready mind and perfect planning.
Darjeeling will prove to be a sanctuary to break away from your daily grind. But picking the right time is key to unlocking the true magic of this place. Here are the top places to visit in Darjeeling:
Darjeeling is so much more than just a hill station with nature spots and historical structures to tick off your travel itinerary. Here are the top-rated things to do in Darjeeling:
The steep terrain here makes it difficult to have a railway station though it is quite well connected to West Bengal. The nearest station to make the trip by rail is via New Jalpaiguri. If flying is your preferred mode of transport, then the nearest airport is in Siliguri at Bagdogra. You can fly in from any major city in India. There are regular state-run and private buses to Darjeeling from Kolkata, Haldia, Asansol, Malda, Siliguri, New Jalpaiguri, Kalimpong, and Kurseong.
Taking a road trip from Siliguri to Darjeeling by car is no doubt the most scenic way to reach Darjeeling. One of the most popular and fastest routes is via Matigara – Kurseong Road and NH10. With Zoomcar, self-drive car rental services, convenience and independence will be your road trip buddies. You can opt to either rent a car in Kolkata or rent a car in Siliguri and be in the mountain town in 3 hours.
To conclude, a trip to Darjeeling is like taking a stairway to paradise with a multitude of experiences! Taste some of the country’s best teas, surrender to the allure of the majestic Himalayas, get a peek into the remnants of colonial lifestyle, explore the vibrant culture, or switch on your adventure junkie mode. Plan that long-postponed road and make the process super easy by booking self-drive cars in Kolkata. Nothing compares to lowering your car window and taking in a whiff of that pine-scented mountain air.