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The district is unique to India and to travelers from all over the universe. View of Mount Kanchendzonga and Mount Everest are particularly inspiring from all the highest points particularly Darjeeling town and Sandakphu. The name Darjeeling is thought to be a derived from 'Dorjee-ling' means the land of Lightning or the land of thunderbolt. Just the opposite is the plains of Darjeeling district with Sanctuary and National parks,plain forest with diversified flora and fauna and the backdrop of the snow summit Himalayas. Singalila national park, Neora valley and the Mahananda wildlife sanctuary are some of the most inspiring wildlife center.

Internationally famous for many reasons, one is tea the only major industry continues to regulate the economy of the area and the country as well secondly the hotspot of tourism known as the Queen of Hill Station thirdly the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, fourthly the origin of the famous expedition of tensing Norgay and Sir Edmund Hillary and the list goes on.Darjeeling can be reached by the 80-km long Darjeeling Himalayan Railway popularly known as the Toy Train.

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1.Darjeeling Himalayan Railway

imageThe most famous attraction in Darjeeling, the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR) is also known as the ‘Toy Train’. It is a narrow gauge rail that is 2ft in width and runs between Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri and was built in the years between 1879 and 1881. In 1999, the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, making DHR, the Second railway in the world to have such an honor after Semmering Railway, Austria.

2. Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park

imageKnown for its famous Red Panda and Snow Leopard breeding program, the Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park is spread in an area of 67.56 acres. The zoo is located at an average elevation of 2,134 meters above sea level and is the largest high altitude zoos in India. Some of the rare and endangered species in the zoo are snow leopards, red pandas, Himalayan Salamanders, Tibetan wolf, Himalayan mountain goat and Siberian tigers.

3.Tiger Hill

imageOne of the most famous peaks in Darjeeling can be reached either by jeep or by foot which transverses through some of the oldest tea plantations in Darjeeling. The place is best known as a trekking destination and its peaks offer some of the most marvelous views of the Kanchendzonga and the monolithic Mt. Everest.

4.Batasia Loop

imageBatasia Loop can be visited when the famous ‘Toy Train’ makes its way across a looped track that transverses through some beautiful parks. The place is famous for housing a Gorkha war memorial and while in the toy train you can witness a 360 degrees view of Darjeeling. The loop covers an area of 50,000 square feet and transverses spirally into tunnels, landscaped parks and hillocks in this 1,000 feet high descent. The local crafts market located nearby is a must visit.

5.Neora Valley National Park

imageSpread across a massive 88 square kilometers, the Neora Valley National Park is one of the richest biological zones in the north-east. The Neora Valley National Park is famous for housing one of the largest populations of Red Panda in India. The park was established in 1986 and is a home to several endangered and rare species of flora and fauna.

The history of Darjeeling is intertwined with that of Nepal, Sikkim British India, and Bhutan. Until the early 19th century, the hilly area around Darjeeling was controlled by the Kingdom of Sikkim with the settlement consisting of a few villages of the Lepcha and Kirati people. The Chogyal of Sikkim had been engaged in unsuccessful warfare against the Gorkhas of Nepal. From 1780, the Gorkhas made several attempts to capture the entire region of Darjeeling.

The culture of Darjeeling is diverse and includes a variety of indigenous practices and festivals as mentioned above. Many of the Nepali Hindus, as well as the various Buddhist and other ethnic groups such as the Lepchas, Bhutias, Kiranti Limbus, Tibetans, Yolmos, Gurungs and Tamangs, have their own distinct languages and cultures and yet share a largely harmonious co-existence.

Airport

Sikkim has its own helipad at Gangtok, Pelling and Rangpo. Chopper service is regular from Bagdogra to Gangtok. Bagdogra Airport (IXB) is approximately 125 kilometers away and is served by regular Indian, Air Deccan, Spice Jet and Jet Airways flights from Kolkata, Guwahati, Chennai and Delhi. Helicopter service can be availed from Bagdogra airport (IXB).

Railway

New Jalpaiguri railway station (NJP) is approximately 128 kilometers away i.e. 3 -4 hours drive from Gangtok and is the nearest major rail head. New Jalpaiguri is well connected to the rest of India. There are regular train services to all the major railway station like Chennai, Jaipur, Delhi, Kolkata, Patna, Mumbai, Bangalore, etc.

Roadway

It is well connected with NH 31 A and is 117 kilometers away from Siliguri. Darjeeling is 125 Kilometers, 4 hours drive. Kalimpong is approximately 95 Kilometers i.e. 3 hours. The road is beautiful and is maintained by the Border Road Organization and is along the river Teesta. Sikkim is well connected with rest of India and with China via the Nathu La pass.

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