Darjeeling, Sikkim and Jaldapara
A journey from the mountains Himalaya to the Jungles of Bengal
Siliguri: A city on the banks of Mahananda River and a gateway to the north east region of India. It is also a starting point of the journey towards Darjeeling and Sikkim, because no direct rail or air transport is avilable for Darjeeling or Gangtaok (capital of Sikkim).
Siliguri is the main hub where you can reach by train, road or air and get the transport for Darjeeling or Sikkim.
By Train: New Jalpaguri is the main railway station for north east region and trains come here from all over the India. It is only 5 Km from Siliguri.
By Air: Bagdogra is 15 Km from Siliguri and nearest airpost for Darjeeling and Gangtok
By Road: Siliguri’s is well connected to other cities of west Bengal and Bihar by bus.
By Road: For Darjeeling privates taxies or private vehicles are available from all the above places of Siliguri. Siliguri to Darjeeling is 70 Km distance and by road it takes near about 2.30 to 3.00 hrs considering the mountain road and traffic because of the continuous maintenance work.
There are no buses available for Darjeeling from Siliguri but there are share taxies from Siliguri bus stand, railway station and Bagdogra Airport.
By Train: Travel by Darjeeling Himalayan Railway with old British age steam engines which takes you from 300 ft to more than 7200 ft is a life time memorable journey.
This is narrow gauge train runs between New Jalpaguri to Darjeeling only once up and down trip in a day. It takes more than 7 hrs to reach Darjeeling, so if you have enough time, this is the best way to reach Darjeeling. But don’t forget to do the advance booking; it is available on Indian railway site.
A town lies on 2050 m altitude in Eastern Himalayan range established as sanatorium for British soldiers and became the summer capital of Kolkata’s British colony in mid 19th century.
Today Darjeeling is known for its world famous tea and developed as one of the famous tourist places in India. Thousands of Indian and non Indian tourists are visiting this place every year.
You can get here good transportation, all kinds of foods and hotels according to your budget. The only thing is you need to adjust according to Darjeeling’s time, all the hotels are closed at 8.00 pm and in winter may be before that, so please take care of your foods before that.
There are many places to see in Darjeeling which took 2-3 days of stay, but Darjeeling’s market is the best place to start with. You can get many things like warm clothes, tea and local foods in this market. After a long travel this is the best place to get refresh and recharge yourself for next journey.
Kanchenjunga View at sunrise from Darjeeling
Tiger Hill: Every day early in the morning near about 4 am an amazing view of Kanchenjunga seen from Tiger hill. Before the sunrise when there is complete darkness, the first Sun light comes on the Kanchenjunga and it glows with red color, every where it is dark except the peak of Kanchenjunga which glows and changes its color.
Golden Pheasant in Darjeeling Zoo
Darjeeling Zoo (Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park): This zoo is specially known for its collection of rare species from Eastern Himalayan range, like different types of Himalayan Pheasants, Tibetan wolf, Snow leopard, Cloud leopard, Red panda and many others.Also this zoo is internationally recognized for its successful captive breeding program of Snow leopard, Tibetan wolf and Red panda.
Himalayan Mountaineering Institute
Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (HMI): From the inspiration of Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary’s ascent of Mount Everest (1953), this institute was founded by Jawaharlal Nehru on 4th Nov 1954 to provide the training and support in mountaineering and help to establish it as an organized sport in India.
Today this institute’s museum is having collection of equipments used by Tenzing Norgay and Sir Edmund Hillary in their successive expedition of Mount Everest and also collection of equipments, letters and photos of many other expeditions including the first British expedition of Himalaya in 1924.
Lloyd's Botanical Garden
Lloyd's Botanical Garden: This garden is established in 1978 on 40 acres of area this land is provided by Mr. William Lloyd that is why it’s named after him. This garden preserves species like Rhododendron, oak, Pinus, Chinar, Dhupi, Devdar and medical plants from not just a Darjeeling and Sikkim region but also from China, Japan and New Zealand.
There is an old British time glass house surrounded by a Chinese plant (planted in 1978) preserves many beautiful and colorful flowers including Orchids (Orchids having two seasons October and May).
Darjeeling Tea Estates and Ropeway: Darjeeling is worldwide known for its unique flavor of tea. Today most of the Darjeeling black tea is exported to Europe and America.
You can have a visit to one of the tea factory on the way to Darjeeling Ropeway and have a beautiful view of Darjeeling Mountains and their tea estates.
Batasia Loop: This is spiral loop created for Darjeeling Himalayan Railway and a memorial to Gorkha solders of Indian Army who sacrificed their lives after Indian Independence. You can also see the panoramic view of Darjeeling with Kanchenjunga from here.
Mirik Lake: A beautiful lake is 50 km mountain road trip from Darjeeling. The lake of Mirik is surrounded by mountains and a garden at one side and Dhupi trees at other side which were connected through an arching bridge. This is famous spot for picnic, so on holidays it is quite a crowded place where people from all around the areas are coming.
Also you will find an entry gate to Nepal in the root. Through this gate you can enter to the Nepal (you have to display some ID proof like Voting card, Driving license, Passport etc.) and you can do shopping in their market.
Map Of Darjeeling
One of the India’s state in Himalayas which is sharing its boundaries in west with Nepal, in North with Tibet, in East with Bhutan. Surrounded by Himalaya Sikkim is famous tourist attraction for India.
Gangtok is the capital of Sikkim and main destination where you can get hotel to stay, good restaurants, market places and transport for further travel in Sikkim.
There is no Airport or Railway station in Gangtok the nearest Airport or Railway station is Siliguri.
By Road: From Silliguri to Gangtok is 110 km which takes at least 3-4 hrs.
From Darjeeling to Gangtok is 98 km which takes same 3-4 hrs.
There are sharing or private taxis available from both the places for Gangtok.
A beautiful city in the Himalayan Mountains and a famous tourist place known for its market. You can do lots of shopping here in places like Kanchenjunga Market and M. G. Road, which is a walking plaza with beautiful flowers and benches on the street. You can enjoy the food and coffee on the road side restaurants with beautiful cold weather of Gangtok and you will never know when a day ends.
In the North end of Sikkim, 5km from China border one of the world’s highest lake is located at the altitude of 17,100 ft. This lake never gets completely frozen in winter and it is one of the source streams of Teesta River.
It is said that Gurunanak the founder of Sikh religion has visited this lake and he broke the ice of this lake with his stick and from then this lake never gets completely frozen.
Lake Tso Lhamo is 5km from Gurudongmar Lake which is main source of Teesta River.
Thangu (altitude of 13000 ft) is the nearest village (30km) for Gurudongmar or Tso Lhamo Lake. From Gangtok to Thangu is 150km which takes complete one day (after 6 pm driving is not possible on this root) to reach here, but it is a worth day spending in travel for beautiful journey through Himalayan Mountains and with Teesta River. You can stay in Thangu and next day early morning after visiting to Gurudongmar Lake you can return to Gangtok or travel towards Yumthang.
Is a valley of Rhododendrons, Yumthang Valley is in Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary which has over twenty four species of Rododendrons. In springs an amazing view seen here when red colored Rhododendrons get flourished everywhere in this valley.
Yumthang 97km from Thangu via Chungthang and near about 150km from Gangtok, this also takes one day travel from Gangtok and 5-6 hrs from Thangu. Lachung is the nearest place to stay from Yumthang Valley.
On the 14000 ft this pass connects India to Tibet Autonomous Region of China. After the war of 1962 between India and China this pass was closed and gets re-opened in 2006. This pass is one of the important places on the ancient Silk Route to China.
Nathula Pass is 56km from Gangtok which is open on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday, Sunday. It is near about 6-8 hrs return trip from Gangtok (depending on the weather). Only Indian citizens can visit this place with valid pass. This pass can be created easily in Gangtok from any tourist agent or from Sikkim Tourist department office located on MG Road. For creating this pass valid photo ID (Driving License, Voting ID, Adhar Card, Passport etc. PAN card is not accepted) and two passport size photos are required. For details see http://thinkingparticle.com/articles/nathula-pass
Also called Tsongmo Lake is on the root of Nathula Pass 40 km from Gangtok. A beautiful view of this lake seen when it gets completely frozen in winter.
You can also refer this link for travel tips of Sikkim.
Jaldapara National Park
One of the best places in India to see Indian one horned rhinoceros. Jaldapara was declared as wildlife sanctuary in 1941 and became the National Park in 2012. It has second highest population of rhinos in India and you can see them from few meters through elephant safaris or at salt feeding center near Holong Forest Bungalow.
Jaldapara Elephant Safari
Jaldapara National Park is 150km strait road from Silliguri which takes near about 3hrs. Holong Forest Bungalow is the best place to stay here. There is salt feeding center near to Holong Bungalow and you can see animals like rhino, elephant, Indian Bison and dears from benches placed just outside this bungalow. There is Jeep safari every day at 2pm and an elephant safari at morning 6 O’clock through which you go inside the jungle and see the wildlife more closely.