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West Bengal Darjeeling Sightseeing

Sightseeing

 Tiger Hill:-

Tiger Hill, DarjeelingThe highest spot in the area at 2590m, Tiger Hill is near Ghoom, about 11km from Darjeeling. The hill is famous for its magnificent dawn views over Kanchenjunga and other eastern Himalayan peaks. On a clear day even Mount Everest is visible.
    Every day a large convoy of battered Land Rovers leaves  Darjeeling at 4.30am, which means that in the smaller lodges you get woken up at this time every day, whether you like it or not. It can be very cold and very crowded at the top but coffee is available. There is a view tower. Halfway down the hill a temple priest causes a massive traffic jam by anointing the steering wheel of each vehicle for the return trip. Many take the jeep one way and then walk back - a very pleasant two hour trip.
 

Senchal Lake :-

Close to Tiger Hill is Senchal Lake, which supplies Darjeeling with its domestic water. It's a particularly scenic area and popular as a picnic spot with Indian holiday-makers.
 

Kanchenjunga Views:-Darjeeling Sightseeing, West Bengal

At 8598m, this is the world's third highest mountain. From Darjeeling, the best uninterrupted views of it are from Bhan Bhakta Sarani. The name Kanchenjunga is derived from the Tibetan Khang (snow), chen (big), dzong (fortress or treasury) nga (five) - big five peaked snow fortress, or big five peaked treasury of the snow.


Bhutia Busty Gompa:-Bhutia Busty Gompa, Darjeeling

Not far from Chowrasta is this colourful monastery, with Kanchenjunga providing a spectacular backdrop. Originally a branch of the Nyingmapa sect's Phodang Monastery in Sikkim, it was transferred to Darjeeling in 1879. The shrine here originally stood on Observatory Hill. There's library of Buddhist texts upstairs which houses the original copy of the Tibetan Book of the Dead.


Ghoom Gompa:-

More correctly known as Yogachoeling Gompa, this is probably the most famous monastery in Darjeeling and is about 8 km south of town, just below Hill Cart road and the train station near Ghoom. It enshrines an image of the Maitreya Buddha. Foreigners are allowed to enter the shrine and take photographs. As Ghoom is frequently swathed in mists, and the monastery is old and dark, it is often affectionately called Gloom monastery
 

Other Gompas:-

There are three other gompas in Ghoom: the very large but relatively uninteresting Samdenchoeling, the nearby and smaller  Sakyachoeling, and the Phin Sotholing.
    Nearer Darjeeling, on Tenzing Norgay Rd, Aloobari Monastery welcomes visitors. The monks often sell Tibetan and Sikkimese handicrafts and religious objects (usually hand bells). If the monastery is closed ask at the cottage next door and they'll let you in.
    Halfway between Ghoom and Darjeeling is the Thupten Sangachoeling Gompa at Dali. Westerners interested in Tibetan Buddhism often study here. A little closer to Darjeeling on the same road is the opulent Sonada Gompa.
 

Observatory Hill:-

Situated above the Windamere  Hotel, this viewpoint is sacred to both Hindus and Buddhists. There is a Kali shrine here and the multicoloured prayer flags double as trapezes for he monkeys. Watch out for them as they can be aggressive.
 

Dhirdham Temple :-

The most conspicuous Hindu temple in Darjeeling, this is just below the railway station and is modelled on the famous Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu.
 

Bengal Natural History Museum:-

Established in 1903, a comprehensive but dusty collection of Himalayan and Bengali fauna is packed into this interesting museum. Among the 4300 specimens is the estuarine crocodile, the animal responsible for the greatest loss of human life in Asia. The museum is open daily except Thursday, from 10am to 4pm.
 

Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park

This zoo was established in 1958 with the objectives of study, conservation and preservation of Himalayan fauna. The animals are well cared for by dedicated keepers. To protect and breed the dwindling stocks of wild animals, to educate the public and instill in them a sense of the worth of these wonderful creatures, it is necessary to keep them in pseudo-natural habitats. The zoo houses India's only collection of Siberian tigers and some rare species, such as the red panda and the Tibetan wolf.

Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (HMI) & Museums :-

Entered through the zoo, on Jawahar Rd West about two km from the town, the HMI runs courses to train mountaineers, and maintains a couple of interesting museums. The Mountaineering Museum contains a collection of historic mountaineering equipment, specimens of Himalayan flora and fauna and a relief model of the Himalaya. The Everest Museum next door traces the history of attempts on the great peak.
Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, who conquered Everest with Edmund Hillary in 1953, lived  in Darjeeling and was the director of the institute for many years. He died in 1986 and his statue now stands beside cremation spot just above the institute
 

Tibetan Refugee Centre

A 20 to 30 minutes walk from Chowrasta through leafy glades and tea plantations, brings you down to the Tibetan Refugee Centre. Established in 1959, the centre comprises a home for the aged, and orphanage, school, hospital and craft workshops that produce carpets of pure ladakhi wool, woodcarving, leather work and wool items. The weaving and dyeing shops and the wood carving shop are particularly interesting.


Gymkhana Club

The word gymkhana is actually derived from the Hindi gendkhana (ball house). Games on offer include tennis, squash, badminton, roller-skating, table tennis and billiards.


Passenger Ropeway

At north point, about 3 km north of the town, is India's oldest passenger ropeway. It is 5 km long and connects Darjeeling with Singla bazaar on the little Ranjeet river at the bottom of the valley.
 

Lloyd Botanical Gardens

Below the bus and taxi stand near the market, these gardens contain a representative collection of Himalayan plants, flowers and orchids. The hothouses are well worth a visit.

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