Escape to Darjeeling
Distance from Kolkata to Darjeeling: 615.1km approx. via NH12
Best time to Visit: October to March
Best suited Car: Mahindra XUV and Mahindra Scorpio. Though you can choose one according to your convenience.
"It is not the mountains we conquer but ourselves." - Edmund Hillary
We won't be getting into the argument about what is a better option for a vacation. The mysteries of the deep blue ocean or the echo of the mountains whispering into your ears. The idea of a vacation will always be different for each individual along with the sense of relaxation and peace.
For the people living in Kolkata, it has been always about living life on their own terms. Such vibrant, cheerful people. Kolkata has always been a concoction of cultures and traditions that provides the city a whiff of happy vibe. Altogether Calcatians love their food and travelling. There are numerous places in and around Kolkata that will evoke your romanticism for nature. Look around and you would find the bounties of nature. One such place that gets you closer to your free and wild soul is Darjeeling.
Darjeeling, a town that is 615.1 km from the City of Joy and known for its tea and the spectacular view of Kangchenjunga i.e. the world's third-highest mountain. People who want to reach Darjeeling from Kolkata, may take a train up to New Jalpaiguri (nearest station to Darjeeling) and then take a cab to Darjeeling that would probably be a 3hrs. journey. But the best way is to take a car and reach the town by road. Driving along the mountains, taking in the fresh air and humming to the tunes of your favourite playlist. Amazing right? You may rent a self-drive car from Volercars and begin this expedition. Away from the city life, the mountain calls.
It would take you around 16hrs. by road to reach Darjeeling from Kolkata. The route that you would be taking is: - Krishnagar- Malda- Islampur- New Jalpaiguri- Siliguri- Kurseong- Ghoom- Darjeeling. Well it might be a long journey and you can divide the drive in 2 days. From Kolkata up to Malda in Day 1 and start the journey from Malda to Darjeeling in Day 2. You would find fairly good hotels and lodges in Malda for the night stay. Reach Darjeeling the nest day.
You could find many hotels in Darjeeling that fits your budget and according the season you visit. Though you may want to spend some extra bucks for a room with spectacular view and wooden flooring to give you the warm feeling surrounding the mountains. You may stay at HOTEL SHANGRI-LA REGENCY.
Check your to-do list.
There are a few places that you need to visit certainly. Plan the day accordingly and you wouldn't miss any of it. Though commercialised, the places still haven't lost its charm and would always be in ever travellers check list.
Tiger Hill - Remember when the elders asked you not to believe everything that you see, well this is one such scene which is unbelievably breath-taking. The breaking Dawn from behind the Kangchenjunga and the peak turning and glittering into molten gold at sunrise.
Japanese Temple & Peace Pagoda - Just 10 min away from the main town of Darjeeling, this two storied white building is also known as the Nipponzan Myohoji Buddhist Temple. Build in 1972, portraying the architecture of traditional Japanese Style.
Rock Garden - The Rock Garden of Darjeeling, popularly known as the Barbotey Garden is in about 10km from the town. The Garden is blooming with varieties of flowers during the monsoons and its sweet perfume will captivate any passer-by. It is a multi-level garden, terraced around a natural fall called Chunnu Summer Falls. Pretty sight.
Nightingale Park - This place was known as The Shrubbery during the British era and was destroyed by a sudden earthquake in 1934. But it opened its gates for the tourist later after renovation and maintenance. There is a giant statue of lord Shiva and a musical mountain. The best part is that during the tourist season Nepali cultural programs like local dances are held here every day in the evening.
Adventure Sports - How about some adventure sports to end your vacation. Rishikesh is the hub for getting your heart right on track. It caters to the electrifying adventure sports like Bungee Jumping, Flying fox, parasailing and Paragliding, Hot air Ballooning etc. Though white river rafting is recently been closed by the government due to environmental issues. A camping and bonfire is not something to be missed. Evening, under the stars and the gorgeous river flowing beside you.
Glenary's - The most iconic bakery in town. Glenary's has the most delicious cafe food and an Instagram worthy atmosphere. The menu is fabulous, pick anything and it would be worth every penny.
There are a number of markets that attracts every tourists attention like the Nehru Road Market, Batasia Loop Market, Ghoom Monastery Market, Pashupati Nagar Market.