Popularly known as the Queen of Hills, Darjeeling is located in the Shivalik hills of the lower range of the Himalayas. Like most other hill stations in India, the British developed Darjeeling as a respite from the summer heat in the plains. The British loved the town for the complete rejuvenation package that it offered - serene atmosphere, view of the snowline, scented pines and a golden colored brew called the Darjeeling tea. The place has since become a pilgrimage of sorts for tea connoisseurs.
Darjeeling Himalayan Railway is the town's other claim to global fame. Connecting the town with the plains, it was declared a World Heritage Site in 1999 and is one of the few steam engines still in service in India. Darjeeling also has several British-style public schools, hotels and houses that are very old and declared as heritage buildings.
Shawls woolens, curios beads, semi precious and precious stones, tankhas, Buddhist curios and artefacts are items to shop for in Darjeeling. The well known shopping centers are as follows Chowk Bazaar, Chowrata, Ladenla Road, Nehru Road, Motor Stand and Mahakal Market. Curio retailing shops such as Art Emporium and Dorjee on Ladenla Road, Eastern Arts on Chowrasta and last but not the least Nepal Curio House on Nehru Road are important for most shoppers
Indian - Restaurants serving Indian food are many in number. Fiesta, The Park, Simla restaurant and bar, Food Exchange restaurant and Stardust are some of the good multi cuisine joints. Most of these are on Chowrasta and Gandhi Road, very accessible and with food that is highly recommended.
Chinese - Taajas, Penangs, Mayaloo are great for Chinese and Thai delicacies.
European/Continental - Glenary's restaurant and bar is very famous for its bakery and Keveneter's is well known for breakfast, hot croissants and coffee with many varieties of processed meats. Hasty Tasty is a round the clock fast food counter and extremely popular.
Regional Specialty - A popular food in Darjeeling is thupka and momos, a steamed dumpling containing meat and vegetables cooked in a doughy wrapping and served with watery soup called thupka. Most of these are on Chowrasta and Gandhi Road, very accessible and with food that is highly recommended.
Located at a height of 6710 feet, Darjeeling is one of India's most popular hill stations. The best season to visit is March to mid June and October to early December. Darjeeling is very cold from late December up to February and it rains heavily between June to August. For mountain views the best time to visit is from mid September to mid November, and then from mid March to mid June, when it starts becoming hazy, because of cloud cover. The average temperature ranges from 8.5 to 15 degrees Celsius in summers and 1 to 10 degrees Celsius in winters.
Situated at an altitude of 2590 meters (null ft.) and 13 km from the town, this spot has earned international fame for the magnificent view of the sunrise over "Kanchenjunga" and the great Eastern Himalayan Mountains. Even Mount Everest, the world's highest peak, is visible from here. The snow-clad Himalayan ranges have a majestic presence in the background and Mount Kanchenjunga, the world's third highest peak, is visible on bright sunny days and is a major tourist attraction.
Surface - Regular bus services and hired vehicles connect Darjeeling to Bagdogra, Siliguri and the neighboring towns of Kurseong, Kalimpong and Gangtok in Sikkim. Being a tea belt one comes across many Land Rovers and Garden jeeps, as they can easily navigate the steep slopes in the region. Share matadors and minibuses are also available and from Siliguri the tickets vary between Rs. 100 to 150. Journey time is about 3 hours from the airport/ Siliguri.
Train - The closest major railway station is in New Jalpaiguri, NJP for short. New Jalpaiguri /Siliguri is the rail head for all trains, except the toy train running to Darjeeling. If you want to enjoy the scenery the toy train is a must. It takes six to seven hrs from Siliguri covering a distance of almost 80 km.
Air - The nearest airport is in Bagdogra, near Siliguri, 93 km (null miles) from Darjeeling. Bagdogra is connected to important cities of the country by domestic airlines.
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