Most of the hill stations in West Bengal are found in the Darjeeling Himalayan hill region, which belongs to the Eastern Himalayan range. This region constitutes the entire Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts, besides the two ranges: Sandakfu and Phalut. In fact, it is only from these ranges that Mt. Everest is visible.
Darjeeling is the most famous of these. Snuggled in the lap of the Himalayas at an elevation of 2,050 metres above sea level, it’s blessed by snow capped hills, evergreen forests and magnificent colonial architecture. It is also famous for its sprawling tea gardens and the flourishing tea industry established by the British in the 19th century. The famed Darjeeling Tea needs no introduction and finds its name amongst the most premier teas in the world. Besides, the place is a treasure trove of tourist attractions and activities. Tiger Hill, Japanese Peace Pagoda, Nightingale Park and the Padmaja Naidu National Park, are some of the most recommended places to visit in this beautiful hill destination. Any introduction to Darjeeling is incomplete without the mention of its celebrated ‘Toy Train’. An initiative by the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway in 1881, it is today, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an attraction on top of every tourist itinerary.
Sitting just next to Darjeeling, is yet another popular hill station of West Bengal – Kalimpong. The little hill town enjoys an elevation of 1,065 metres above sea level. One of the best holiday destinations around Kolkata, it offers plenty of activities. Visitors can try paragliding, angling and fishing. Water rafting in the famous Teesta River is another popular water sport. It is also a trekker’s paradise. The forests of the ‘Neora Valley National Park’ attracts an impressive number of hikers. As you walk past the trails, keep an eye out for the red pandas and leopard cats, which are often sighted around the dense thickets.
Besides, an amazing sightseeing experience awaits you at Deolo Hill, Durpin Dara Hill, Crockety Colonial Bungalow, Zang Dhok Palri Phodang Monastery and the Lepcha Museum. Kurseong, known as the ‘Land of White Orchids’, is another famous hill station of India. On a trip here, one must visit the famous ‘Ambotia Shiva Temple’, which is not only a revered shrine but also a nature retreat offering panoramic views of the township and surrounding scenic tea gardens. You can also explore the orange orchards. Dow Hill Deer Park, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Museum and Eagle’ Craig Viewpoint are other wonderful sightseeing places.