Darjeeling

A foggy street view of Darjeeling A view of Darjeeling from its historic station A view of Darjeeling from the Happy Valley Tea Estate A waterfall in rock garden, Darjeeling Batasia Loop Darjeeling Tea Gardens Darjeeling Town Darjeeling Toy train Darjeeling Toy train Darjeeling view, 1880 Darjeeling War Memorial Darjeeling, Kanchengjunga, and the surrounding hills Flora and fauna in Darjeeling Himalayan Bird at Ghum railway station Mall Road, Darjeeling Plucking the tea leaves in the traditional fashion Saint Andrews Church Sunrise from Tiger Hill. A cloud covered scene Tea plantations in Darjeeling View of Kanchengjunga as seen from Darjeeling

Darjeeling is a town and a municipality in the Indian state of West Bengal. It is located in the Mahabharat Range or Lesser Himalaya at an elevation of 6,700 ft (2,042.2 m). It is noted for its tea industry and the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Darjeeling is the headquarters of Darjeeling district which has a partially autonomous status within the state of West Bengal.The development of the town dates back to the mid-19th century, when the colonial British administration set up a sanatorium and a military depot. Subsequently, extensive tea plantations were established in the region, and tea growers developed hybrids of black teaand created new fermentation techniques. The resultant distinctive Darjeeling tea is internationally recognised and ranks among the most popular of the black teas.The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway connects the town with the plains and has one of the few steam locomotives still in service in India. Darjeeling has several British-style public schools, which attract pupils from India and neighboring countries. The varied culture of the town reflects its diverse demographic milieu consisting of Nepalis, Bhutia, Lepcha and other mainland Indian ethno-linguistic groups. Darjeeling, with its neighbouring town of Kalimpong, was a centre of the Gorkhaland movement (Separate State demand within India) in the 1980s. The town′s fragile ecology has been threatened by a rising demand for environmental resources, stemming from growing tourist traffic and poorly planned urbanisation. The name Darjeeling comes from the Tibetan word dorje, meaning the thunderbolt sceptre of the Hindu diety Indra, and ling, a place or land. Darjeeling is the main town of the Sadar subdivision and also the headquarters of the district. It is located at an elevation of 6,700 ft (2,000 m) in theDarjeeling Himalayan hill region on the Darjeeling-Jalapahar range that originates in the south from Ghum. The range is Y-shaped with the base resting at Katapahar and Jalapahar and two arms diverging north of the Observatory Hill. The north-eastern arm dips suddenly and ends in theLebong spur, while the north-western arm passes through North Point and ends in the valley near Tukver Tea Estate The hills are nestled within higher peaks and the snow-clad Himalayan ranges tower over the town in the distance. Kanchenjunga, the world′s third-highest peak, 8,598 m (28,209 ft) high, is the most prominent mountain visible. In days clear of clouds, Range or Nepal′s Mount Everest, 29,035 ft (8,850 m) high, can be seen. The hills of Darjeeling are part of the Mahabharat Lesser Himalaya. The soil is chiefly composed of sandstone and conglomerate formations, which are the solidified and up heaved detritus of the great range of Himalaya. However, the soil is often poorly consolidated (the permeable sediments of the region do not retain water between rains) and is not considered suitable for agriculture. The area has steep slopes and loose topsoil, leading to frequent landslides during the monsoons. According to the Bureau of Indian Standards, the town falls under seismic zone-IV, (on a scale of I to V, in order of increasing proneness to earthquakes) near the convergent boundary of the Indian and the Eurasiantectonic plates and is subject to frequent earthquakes. Darjeeling is a part of the Eastern Himalayan zoo-geographic zone. Flora around Darjeeling comprises Sal, Oak, semi-evergreen, temperate and alpine forests. Dense evergreen forests of Sal and Oak lie around the town, where a wide variety of rare orchids are found. The Lloyd′s Botanical Garden preserves common and rare species of plants, while the Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park specialises in conserving and breeding endangered Himalayan species. The town of Darjeeling and surrounding region facede forestation due to increasing demand for wood fuel and timber, as well as air pollution from increasing vehicular traffic. Wildlife in the district is protected by the wildlife wing of the West Bengal Forest Department. The fauna found in Darjeeling includes several species of ducks, teals, plovers and gulls that pass Darjeeling while migrating to and from Tibet. Small mammals found in the region include civets, mongooses andbadgers. The nearby Jaldapara National Park consists of semi-evergreen and sal forests. Animals found here include the one-horned rhinoceros, elephant, tiger, leopard and hog deer, while the main bird species include the Bengal florican and herons. As of 2009, work was in progress for setting up a conservation centre for red pandas in Darjeeling. Darjeeling has a temperate climate (Köppen: Cwb, subtropical highland climate) with wet summers caused by monsoon rains.The annual mean maximum temperature is 15.98 °C (60.76 °F) while the mean minimum temperature is 8.9 °C (48.0 °F), with monthly mean temperatures range from 5 to 17 °C (41 to 63 °F).The lowest temperature recorded was −24 °C (−11 °F) on 11 February 1905. The average annual precipitation is 309.2 cm (121.7 in), with an average of 126 days of rain in a year. The highest rainfall occurs in July. The heavy and concentrated rainfall that is experienced in the region, aggravated by deforestation and haphazard planning, often causes devastating landslides, leading to loss of life and property. Darjeeling can be reached by the 88 km (55 mi) long Darjeeling Himalayan Railway from New Jalpaiguri, or by National Highway 55, from Siliguri, 77 km (48 mi) away. The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway is a 600 mm (2 ft) narrow-gauge railway that was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999 for being "an outstanding example of the influence of an innovative transportation system on the social and economic development of a multi-cultural region, which was to serve as a model for similar developments in many parts of the world", becoming only the second railway in the world to have this honour. Bus services and hired vehicles connect Darjeeling with Siliguri and Darjeeling has road connections withBagdogra, Gangtok and Kathmandu and the neighbouring towns of Kurseong and Kalimpong. However, road and railway communications often get disrupted in the monsoons because of landslides. The nearest airport is Bagdogra Airport, located 90 km (56 mi) from Darjeeling. Within the town, people usually traverse by walking. Residents also use two-wheelers and hired taxis for travelling short distances. The Darjeeling Ropeway, functional since 1968, was closed in 2003 after an accident killed four tourists. It was proposed to be reopened in 2007, and finally opened in February 2012.


Pedong

Agricultural fields, Pedong On the way to Pedong Pedong Pedong Pedong Rishi River, Pedong View around Pedong View of River Teesta, on the way to Pedong

Pedong is a town in Darjeeling district in the Indian state of West Bengal. Pedong lies 20 km east of Kalimpong on the way to Lava at an altitude of 1,240 metres (4.071 feet). The town, which is located on a ridge, commands a panoramic view of the Kanchenjunga and the Himalayan mountains. The town is divided into two parts, Upper Pedong and Lower Pedong. Pedong lies on the historic Silk Road that connects India to Lhasa via the Jelepla Pass. Near Pedong are the ruins of Damsang Gadi, a historical fort built in 1690 by the Lepchas. It was at the centre of the long-standing feud with the Dukpas ofBhutan. Later, it was used to ward off the forces of the British East India Company. After the Anglo-Bhutan War of 1864, the fort fell into decay. Another highlight of the town is the Cross Hill, placed by priest Auguste Desgodins in 1882 on his way to Tibet. It is considered to have miraculous powers and is a pilgrimage site for the local Christians. St. George′s School is one of the famous boarding schools in the region. There are also many nursery schools in this town. The villages near Pedong include Sakyong, Kasyong, Dalep, Kagey, Upper Menchu and Lower Menchu. Pedong monastery, established in 1837, is another place for tourists to visit. Several short treks originate from Pedong leading to Damsang Gadi and to Tinchuley, a fabulous viewpoint offering the closest view of the Himalayas obtainable from the area. Pedong is an upcoming tourist hub. A number of tourist lodges and restaurants are being established to meet the demand of the tourists who visit this place twice in the year, once during spring and again during autumn. Pedong can be reached from Siliguri via Kalimpong with a 3-hour drive covering 100 km.


Rishyap

Rishyap - Clouds coming back Rishyap - Clouds coming back Rishyap Rishyap View of Himalayas from Rishyap

Rishop or also spelt as Rishyap is a Himalayan hamlet in West Bengal. 2591 m above sea-level, it′s a nice quaint village away from city crowds, with picturesque views of snow-capped mountains. The sun plays vermillion through the day. At night the big sky seems to come closer. Beneath the sky the twinkling lights of Gangtok & Pedong are similar to the twinkling stars above. Tourists are attracted by the natural beauty of Neora Valley National Park (Sikkim) & Tiffindara. Both are enjoyed through trekking route which is a deep silent forest of pine, birch, fir & orchids with some soothing path following the chirps. The nearest jeep/ bus stand is Lava. Rishop is just 4 kms uphill from Lava. The road however is rough and not paved, so trekking is the better option. Lava is 2.5 hours from Siliguri (nearest major city) by road. Buses to Lava ply from the Tenzing Norgay Bus terminus and Sikkim National Transport station in Hill Cart Road. Bagdogra is the nearest airport with daily 3-4 flights (mostly in the afternoon) from New Delhi/ Kolkata/ Guwahati. New Jalpaiguri is the nearest major rail head, and is connected with rest of the country, more frequently with Kolkata. New Mal Junction is the nearest railway station from Lava. Distance 58 km & 70 km from Rishop. The road from Siliguri is scenic with Dooars tea gardens on both sides. The most recommended way to reach Lava is by a rented cab,although buses are available. Also try to avail the route through Damdim as the road passes through beautiful tea gardens & step farming. Combine your Stay at Rishyap with Lava, Loleygaon, Reshi Khola, Pedong as well as Aritar or Zuluk depending upon the number of days you have in hand. You can also opt for package tours conducted by India Beacons Sojourn who can customize your stay and arrange for the transportation. If you plan to trek to Rishop from Lava, the driver will take care of parking it at Lava, which you can avail on return.


Pankhabari

Kurseong TV tower from Pankhabari View around Pankhabari View around Pankhabari View of plains from Pankhabari

Pankhabari is situated in Darjeeling district of West Bengal. It is actually on NH 55 at a distance of 24.5 Kms on the way to Darjeeling from Siliguri. The altitude of Pankhabari is just only 1656 feet above sea level. The green picturesque mountains along with tea gardens and narrow roads is really a enjoyable journey to Darjeeling through Pankhabari. Here you can find small dhabas with good hot foods to eat. This place is mostly cloudy, foggy and moist.


Loleygaon

Admist Nature at Loleygaon Himalayan view from Loleygaon Landscape view of Loleygaon Loleygaon Loleygaon Loleygaon Loleygaon Mount Kanchenjunga from Loleygaon Night view of Kalimpong, seen from Loleygaon

Loleygaon (also spelt Lolaegaon or Lolegaon) is a small Lepcha village with a population of about 5000. It is situated in an extreme end of a Himalayan Ridge & located at a distance of 24 km from Lava lying at an altitude of 1,675 meters. It comes under the Kalimpong I block in the Darjeeling District of West Bengal. Kafer, about 1 kilometers from Loleygaon, offers a panoramic view of the Kanchenjunga. A spectacular sunrise can be viewed from Jhandi Dara. Loleygaon can be reached from Siliguri with a 4-hour drive covering 124 km via Kalimpong and Lava. Kalimpong, the nearest town, is 55 km from Loleygaon. Notable sites include Canopy Walk, Jhandi Dhara Sunrise Point, and Lolegaon View Point.


Lava

Buddhist Monastery in Lava Changey Waterfalls Changey Waterfalls Lava is like a heaven Lava Monastery Lava Town Lava Lava Serene Himalayas from Lava Monastery View from the town of Lava

Lava is a small hamlet situated 34 kilometres (21 mi) east of the town of Kalimpong via Algarah in Darjeeling district of the state of West Bengal, India. Lava is situated at an altitude of 7,016 feet (2,138 m). It is one of the few places in West Bengal to receive snow in winter. It is the entry point to the Neora Valley National Park from Kalimpong. The route to Lava is scenic with the change in vegetation from tropicaldeciduous to the wet alpine trees of fir, pine and birch. The verdant forests are a popular spot for picnicking, trekking and bird-watching. Lava has now become a favorite tourist destination for people living on the coast of West Bengal, and tourism has become the source of living for the inhabitants. Many small guest houses and lodges has been built including log houses or small huts built in the midst of the forest which a tourist can rent to experience the wildlife and a famous spot to view the sunrise. Another tourist destination near Lava is Rishyap ust 4 km walking pathway with a view of Himalayan peaks. Wild animals such as the Himalayan Black Bear and barking deer are found in these parts. A Buddhist monastery is present on one of the hills of Lava. Notable sites include Changey Waterfalls and Lava Jamgyong Kongtrul Monastery.


Kurseong

Ambotia Shiva Mandir Kurseong Darjeeling Himalayan Railways- III - Kurseong Dow Hill of Kurseong Dow Hill of Kurseong Kurseong Railway Station Kurseong Tea Gardens of Kurseong

Kurseong is a hill station and sub-divisional town in the Darjeeling district of the Indian state of West Bengal. Located at an altitude of 1,458 metres (4,783 ft),  Kurseong is 32 kilometres (20 mi) from Darjeeling and has a pleasant climate throughout the year. Kurseong is 47 kilometres (29 mi) from Siliguri and is connected to the city by road and the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway. The nearest airport is at Bagdogra and the nearest major railway station is New Jalpaiguri [NJP], which is about 53 kilometres (33 mi) from the town. The economy is based primarily on education and tourism. Kurseong is surrounded by a myriad of tea gardens. These include Castleton, Makaibarie, Ambotia and Goomtee, all of which can be visited.The toy train station is the nucleus of the town. The train tracks run through the length of the town and are used for a sight seeing tour. Bagdogra Airport, Siliguri, is 60 km (37 miles) away. Taxis/buses are available at the airport for transit to Kurseong. Siliguri, 50 km (31 miles) and New Jalpaiguri, 57 km (35 miles) are the nearest main stations. Siliguri to Kurseong current share for taxi rental is maximum of Rs. 100 per person. It is an important station on the Toy Train route from New Jalpaiguri to Darjeeling. The Toy Train takes a little over 5 hours from New Jalpaiguri to reach Kurseong. Kurseong is also well connected by roads. There are three roads from Siliguri to Kurseong. The shortest one is called Pankabari Road. Taxis are available and it takes 45 minutes to reach Kurseong from Siliguri.


Kalimpong

View from Deolo resort View from Deolo resort Durpin hill also known as Deolo hill stands at a height of 1372 m on a ridge of the Himalayas on which the town of Kalimpong stands . Kalimpong Kalimpong View of the Himalayas from Kalimpong

Kalimpong is a hill station in the Indian state of West Bengal. It is located at an average elevation of 1,250 metres (4,101 ft). The town is the headquarters of the Kalimpong subdivision, a part of the district of Darjeeling. The Indian Army′s 27 Mountain Division is located on the outskirts of the town. Kalimpong is known for its educational institutions, many of which were established during the British colonial period. It used to be a gateway in the trade between Tibet and India before China′s annexation of Tibet and the Sino-Indian War. Kalimpong and neighboring Darjeeling were major centres calling for a separate Gorkhaland state in the 1980s, and more recently in 2010. The municipality sits on a ridge overlooking the Teesta River and is a tourist destination owing to its temperate climate, magnificent Himalayan beauty and proximity to popular tourist locations in the region. Horticulture is important to Kalimpong: It has a flower market notable for its wide array of orchids; nurseries, which export Himalayan grown flower bulbs, tubers and rhizomes, contribute to the economy of Kalimpong. Home to ethnic Nepalis, indigenous Lepchas, other ethnic groups and non-native migrants from other parts of India, the town is a religious centre of Buddhism. The Buddhist monastery Zang Dhok Palri Phodang holds a number of rare Tibetan Buddhist scriptures. The Kalimpong Science Centre, established under the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC) in 2008 is a recent addition to its many tourist attractions. The Science Centre, which provides for scientific awareness among the students of the town and the locals sits atop the Deolo Hill. The town centre is on a ridge connecting two hills, Deolo Hill and Durpin Hill, at an elevation of 1,247 m (4,091 ft). Deolo, the highest point in Kalimpong, has an altitude of 1,704 m (5,591 ft) and Durpin Hill is at an elevation of 1,372 m (4,501 ft). The River Teesta flows in the valley below and separates Kalimpong from the state of Sikkim. The soil in the Kalimpong area is typically reddish in color. Occasional dark soils are found due to extensive existence of phyllite and schists. The Shiwalik Hills, like most of the Himalayan foothills, have steep slopes and soft, loose topsoil, leading to frequent landslides in the monsoon season. The hills are nestled within higher peaks and the snow-clad Himalayan ranges tower over the town in the distance.

Mount Kanchenjunga at 8,586 m (28,169 ft) the world′s third tallest peak, is clearly visible from Kalimpong. Kalimpong has five distinct seasons: spring, summer, autumn, winter and the monsoons. The annual temperature ranges from a high of 30 °C (86 °F) to a low of 9 °C (48 °F). Summers are mild, with an average maximum temperature of 30 °C (86 °F) in August. Summers are followed by the monsoon rains which lash the town between June and September. The monsoons are severe, often causing landslides which sequester the town from the rest of India. Winter lasts from December to February, with the maximum temperature being around 15 °C (59 °F). During the monsoon and winter seasons, Kalimpong is often enveloped by fog. Kalimpong is located off the National Highway 31A (NH31A), which links Sevok to Gangtok. The NH31A is an offshoot of the NH 31, which connects Sevok to Siliguri. These two National Highways together, via Sevok, links Kalimpong to the plains. Regular bus services and hired vehicles connect Kalimpong with Siliguri and the neighbouring towns of Kurseong, Darjeeling and Gangtok. Four wheel drives are popular means of transport, as they can easily navigate the steep slopes in the region. However, road communication often get disrupted in the monsoons due to landslides. In the town, people usually travel by foot. Residents also use bicycle, two-wheelers and hired taxis for short distances. The nearest airport is in Bagdogra near Siliguri, about 80 kilometres (50 mi) from Kalimpong. Air India, Jet Airways and Druk Air (Bhutan) are the four major carriers that connect the airport to Delhi, Calcutta, Paro (Bhutan), Guwahati and Bangkok (Thailand). The closest major railway station is New Jalpaiguri, on the outskirts of Siliguri, which is connected with almost all major cities of the country.

 


Sukhiapokhri

Drenched in Clouds - Sukhiapokhri Kanchenjungha from Sukhiapokhri On the way to Sukhiapokhri Sukhiapokhri Sukhiapokhri

Sukhiapokhri is a small hilly locality in the Darjeeling district of West Bengal, India. It is located 11 km from Ghum on the way to Mirik. Sukhiapokhri is near Nepal′s eastern border with India at Ilam District, Mechi Zone. There is a crossing to Pashupatinagar town with a Nepal customs checkpoint. Indian and Nepalese nationals cross without restriction. Gurashey Forest Resort, near Sukhia Pokhri, is one of the new attractions on the misty heights of the Eastern Himalayas. The entire Kanchenjunga range can be viewed from the resort. At dawn and dusk, the mountains bathed in gold present an unforgettable sight. Surrounded by slopes of silver fir, hemlock and magnolia, Gurashey stands brooding. A pall of gloom seems to hang over the township for most of the year, like the veil of clouds that obscures the Kanchenjunga and other snow-capped titans in the distance. In spring, though, the sparkle of rhododendrons lights up the region. The route to Sukhia Pokhri is via Mirik. Buses ply between Mirik and Darjeeling via Ghoom. It also allows the journey through the green tea estates to be savoured.Sukhiapokhri is on the road to Manebhanjan from Ghoom. Gurashey Forest Resort, an eco-tourism project, is a three-minute walk from the main market of Sukhiapokhri. The trail ends on the bank of the Rangit. At 6800ft, Gurashey is a tapestry of nature and people, done up with ferns and orchids. The cottages rest comfortably on the lap of nature, with windows overlooking the mountains. The balconies provide a captivating view of Mim Tea Estate. Those who intends to visit Sandakphu by car, may choose Gurashey instead Mane Bhanjang for better stay. One road from Sukhiapokhri leads to Mane Bhanjang and then on to the trekking tracks to Sandakfu and Phalut along the Singalila Ridge.From Sukhiapokhri one can go to different tea gardens and other small towns or villages in the area. Jorepokhri is the home of the Himalayan salamander (Tylototriton verrucosus), now extinct in most parts of the world. There are several towns/villages on the India-Nepal border – Manebhanjang, Simana, etc. Sukhiapokhri has a police station. Sandakfu is considered a trekkers′ paradise. The road up to Manebhanjang is jeepable. Trekking into Sandakfu starts from an altitude of 1,524 metres (5,000 feet) and gradually climbs up Phalut (meaning peeled summit or denuded peak) at a height of 3,638 metres (11,936 ft) at the trijunction of West Bengal, Sikkim and Nepal. This is normally the end of the trekking route, after passing through forests of rhododendrons, giant magnolias, spruce, other trees of subalpine region and more than 600 varieties of orchids. For those who are interested in flora, the best period to visit is April–May, but for the mountain gazers, the best period is October–November. One has in a single stretch – Everest, Makalu, Lhotse, Kumbhakarna, Kanchenjanga, Jomolhari and other peaks.