Nestled among the rolling mountains with the glistening Mt Kanchenjunga towering over the azure sky, Darjeeling provides a perfect gateway for those seeking to be in harmony with nature. It is located in the Mahabharat Range or Lesser Himalaya at an average elevation of 6,710 ft. This is the land of the world heritage Darjeeling Himalayan Railway where the century old miniature steam engine still chugs uphill. Darjeeling is also famous for its tea and is a paradise for trekkers from round the world.
Nearest rail head is New Jalpaiguri from where Darjeeling is a three hour drive. Nearest airport is Bagdogra, close to Siliguri, from where Darjeeling can again be reached in three hours. Popular places to visit in Darjeeling include Tiger Hill, Batasia Loop and the War Memorial, and the Himalayan Zoological Park and Snow Leopard Breeding Center.
Darjeeling has three subdivisions – Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong.
Kalimpong, located on a ridge overlooking the Teesta River, is a tourist destination owing to its temperate climate and proximity to popular tourist locations in the region. It is known for its educational institutions many of which were established during the British colonial period. Horticulture assumes significance in Kalimpong and is known for its wide varieties of orchids. There are several nurseries which export Himalayan grown flower bulbs, tubers and rhizomes.
Kurseong, located at an altitude of 1458 metres (4864 ft), is just 32 km from Darjeeling. It has a pleasant climate throughout the year and the winters are not as severe as Darjeeling.
There are several remote places within Darjeeling district offering magnificent views of the lofty Himalayan ranges. Some of such places which tourists have started visiting include Lava, Lolegaon, and Rishyap. All these can be reached within a few hours from Darjeeling town.
Rishyap or Rishop perched within Pine, Dhupi and Rhododendron trees is covered with mysterious mists, wild flowers and plants. Rishop is one of the closest points offering the full view of the complete range of the snow capped Mt. Kanchenjungha. Lava is just 9km from Rishop and Lolegaon (referred to as Kaffer by the locals) is also nearby. The whole area is good for sighting exotic bird varieties.
Some new areas have started seeing the flow of tourists. Kolakham is one such area. This is located within the Neora Valley Forest with majestic views of Mt. Kanchenjungha. Neora Valley National Park, situated in Kalimpong sub-division, is well known for elegant Red panda and is one of the richest natural hotspots in entire North east. This is a paradise for trekkers and its elevation reaches highest point of 10,600 feet at Rechela Dan.