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Sightseeing in Darjeeling

Sightseeing tour in Darjeeling will allow you to experience rarefied mountain air and a lofty beauty, amplified by the world's highest mountains looming in the distance. Visit the highest vantage point in Darjeeling, Tiger Hills. Staggering above the clouds, the majestic Kanchenjunga and her entourage of lesser peaks are clearly visible from the Tiger Hill. Even the elusive Everest puts in an appearance when the skies are clear. On cloudy days, the mist-shrouded peaks make an awe-inspiring backdrop to Darjeeling's own beauty.

Make pre-dawn trip to Tiger Hill which is the highest point in Darjeeling to see the sun rise amidst the majestic Kanchenjunga and her entourage of lesser peaks. If you are lucky, on a clear day you may even see the mighty Everest.

Close by, at a height of 2448 m is the Senchal Lake , which is a popular picnic spot. The Observatory Hill is sacred to both Hindus and Buddhists for there is a Kali temple here and a multitude of prayer flags.

The majestic Kanchenjunga serves as a backdrop for the Bhutia Busty Gompa, a branch of Nyingmapa sect from Sikkim. Its library holds the original copy of the Tibetan Book of the Dead. The Yogachoeling Gompa popularly called Ghoom is usually shrouded under a cloud of mist and enshrines an image of the Maitreya Buddha. This is probably one of the best known monastries in Darjeeling and is only 8 kms away from the town.

The other monasteries are the Samdenchoeling, Sakyachoeling, Phin Sotholing, Aloobari, Thupten Sangachoeling and Sonada Gompas. The Dhirdham Temple is the most prominent Hindu temple here. The Bengal Natural History Museum has a large collection of Himalayan flora and fauna.

The Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park established in 1958 houses rare species like Siberian tigers, red pandas and the Tibetan wolf. It also has a Snow Leopard breeding programme. The world famous Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (HMI) is based in Darjeeling. The "Samadhi" (memorial) of Tenzing Norgay, who conquered Mt. Everest with Sir Edmund Hillary, lies in the grounds of the HMI. The HMI is definitely worth a visit, if only to view the mementos from all the Everest expeditions of the past, successful and unsuccessful.

About 3 kms north of Darjeeling is India’s oldest passenger ropeway, 5 km in length over the Rangeet River. There is Lloyd Botanical Gardens with an impressive collection of plants, flowers and orchids near the market. One can always take pony rides in Chowrasta.

Tea has for long been Darjeeling's major claim to fame. The steep slopes are intricately patterned with a maze of tea plantations. The fragrance of tea blossoms wafts through the town and the markets are flooded with uniquely packaged pouches of tea - pleasing gifts to take back home. While you are in Darjeeling, visit a tea plantation and savour some of the local brew at any of the wayside cafés.

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