Darjeeling and Gangtok are a wonderful combination of tranquility, verdant hills, panoramic views and above all the mesmerizing beauty of the mighty Kanchanjunga. These hill stations are famous for ambience of desolation and they offer magnificent view of the vast plains lying below. Both Darjeeling and Gangtok are famous for beautiful serene monasteries, tea plantations and orchard.
One of the attractions of Darjeeling is its toy train. Built in the late 19th century, the world heritage Darjeeling Himalayan railway is a technological marvel. Its tracks rise from sea level to an altitude of over 7,500 ft in just about 70 km. Zigzag, reverses and loops were devised to overcome these gradients, the most famous being the Batasia Loop, where the train does a complete figure of eight. It covers about 83 km in six or seven hours, so sit back and enjoy the mountains and the fresh air.
Darjeeling derives its name from the Tibetan word ‘Dorje’which means a precious stone or the thunderbolt and ‘ling’ meaning place; hence Darjeeling is the land of thunderbolt. The Ghoom Monastery and tiger hills in Darjeeling must be visited at least once.
Gangtok is the capital of the state of Sikkim. The beautiful Enchey Monastery and Rumtek monastery in Gangtok are very popular among tourists. A journey by the ropeway or cable car in Gangtok should be made mandatory in your itinerary. This 20 minute journey will enable you to view the spectacular valley of Gangtok.
Abundant growth of flowers with more than 500 variety of orchid makes this place exotic. Gangtok is an ideal place to buy shawls, blankets, carpets, hand-made paper, painted masks etc. Gangtok is haven for adventure sports. This hill-station has numerous interesting treks to offer tourists.
The beauty of both these hill stations is marked by azure skies, brilliant sunshine, scarlet rhododendrons and the white fragrant magnolias which bloom in profusion, the sloping tea gardens, forests of silver fir and more. Darjeeling and Gangtok boasts a number of charming spots.
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The nearest airport is Bagdogra near Siliguri, which is at a distance of 93 km from Darjeeling. The taxi fare from the airport to Darjeeling is about Rs 1200. This airport is connected to Kolkata, Delhi and Guwahati. International travelers can get connecting flights from Kolkata or Delhi. Both are well connected with many cities in India and abroad.
The nearest rail is New Jalpaiguri. This is well connected to most of the major cities in India. The town of Darjeeling is approachable from Siliguri, nearly 80 km away, by Darjeeling Himalayan Railway also known as Toy Train.
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