Darjeeling which used to be a small settlement during the British rule is now bustling modern city with all amenities and facilities. There are hundreds of accommodations dotting all across the town. From Star category heritage hotels, budget hotels and even home stays is available for stay. Darjeeling boasts of some iconic places of tourist interest like the Padmaja Naidu Zoological Garden, Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Mahakal Mandir and the famous Ropeway. Chowrasta (referred to as the mall) is the most famous hangout destination for both locals as well as tourists, the Glenaries Cafeteria, the Keventers, Planters Club, the tea garden and Tenzing rock are places worth visiting in a Darjeeling package tour. Also in Darjeeling tour packages you should not miss the tour to Tiger Hill, Batasia Loop, Ghoom monastery. Unfortunately guests complain bout the tidiness and the congestion of unplanned development of the town. Hotel accommodations of a decent category cost you approximately 1500 rupees and above, but there are hotels at lesser prices but you have to compromise on the quality of rooms and the view.
Darjeeling Himalayan Railways
If you are on a tour to Darjeeling you cannot miss a ride on The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, also known as Darjeeling Toy Train, is a small gauge railway that runs between New Jalpaiguri Station and Darjeeling Town. Built around 1881, it is about 88 km long. It climbs from about 100 m (328 ft) above sea level at New Jalpaiguri to about 2,200 m (7,218 ft) at Darjeeling, using six zig zags and loops to gain altitude. In 1999, UNESCO declared the Darjeeling Himalayan Railways as a World Heritage Site. Steam-enthusiast specials are hauled by vintage British-built B-Class steam locomotives. The railway's headquarters are at Kurseong. The line follows Hill Cart Road, which is part of National Highway 110. The track is on the roadside for long stretches, and both track and road might be blocked by a rockslide. Since a length of the road is flanked with buildings, the railway line often resembles urban tramway tracks. To warn pedestrians and drivers of an approaching train, engines are equipped with very loud horns which train drivers sound almost constantly. The journey starts through the tea gardens, then travels through the Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary and then starts the gentle climb along the hills. The journey provides an experience which is extremely beautiful and scenic. Six diesel locomotives handle most of the scheduled service, with daily tourist trains from Darjeeling to Ghoom – India's highest railway station – and the steam-hauled Red Panda service from Darjeeling to Kurseong. The Batasia loop is 5 km (3.1 mi) from Darjeeling, below Ghoom Station. There is a memorial to the Gorkha soldiers of the Indian Army who sacrificed their lives after Indian independence in 1947. The loop has a panoramic view of Darjeeling, with Kangchenjunga and other snow-capped mountains in the background. Though the journey between NJP to Darjeeling takes about than 7 to 8 hours to cover. You can also take a journey from Darjeeling To Ghoom Station by Darjeeling Joy Ride which runs 4 times daily and takes about 40 minutes from Darjeeling to Ghoom and the return takes 30 minutes. So if you are planning a Darjeeling trip keep half day for that.
Another attraction while planning Darjeeling tour packages you can not afford to miss is a visit to Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park or Darjeeling Zoo is a specialized for its conservation breeding program of Red Panda, Snow Leopards, Tibetan Wolf and other highly endangered animal species of Eastern Himalaya. Established in 1958 in Darjeeling for conservation and captive breeding of endangered Himalayan animal species and educating and create awareness among the local people and visitors on the importance of conservation of high altitude Himalayan Eco-system. INDIAN TIGER, SNOW LEOPARDS, BLACK LEOPARDS, COMMON LEOPARDS, CLOUDED LEOPARDS, TIBETAN WOLF, ASIATIC BLACK BEAR, LEOPARD CAT, RED PANDA, GORAL They are small ungulates with a goat-like or antelope –like appearance, BLUE SHEEP, YAK, HIMALAYAN PALM CIVET, BARKING DEER, The Himalayan Salamander are some of the animals on display here.
Himalayan Mountaineering Institute
The Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (HMI) was founded in 1954. In a short time HMI became the centre of excellence in the field of mountaineering. Darjeeling is the home town of Tenzing Norgay and was a very prominent hill station then, in the entire Himalayas, was chosen as the location of HMI. Tenzing Norgay’s and Edmund Hillarys ascent of Mount Everest (8848m /29,028Ft), in 1953, generated huge interest among the youth of India regarding the challenges and aventure of mountaineering. The Institute was started at Roy Villa at Lebong Cart Road initially. The HMI was later shifted to its present location in 1958. Besides being a mountaineering institute of repute, HMI is an important centre of tourist interest for people who come to visit Darjeeling. It also offers a magnificent view of the 8586 Meter high Kanchenjunga Peak, third highest in the world. In its 66 years of existence, the institute has trained huge number Indian and International students. HMI is considered as one of the most elite institution of mountaineering in the world.