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Darjeeling - Places of Interest


KALIMPONG(pop.45,500) is a sleepy little town situated at an altitude of 1,200 m, some 50 km to the east of Darjeeling. It once used to be the hub of the trans-Himalayan trade between India and Tibet when merchants used to ferry commerce by mule caravan over the Jelepla pass on the Sikkim-Tibet border.

The places to visit are Kalimpong Arts and Craft Center for handicraft goods; Tharpa Choling Monastery, a repository of old scriptures, and documents; Thongsa (Bhutan) Monastery, the oldest in the area; Dharmodaya Vihar, a Nepalese Bhuddhist temple; Parnami Mandir and Mangal Dham; Durpin Danda from where the mountain ranges of Sikkim, including Jelepla, Tiger Hill and the confluence of the Relli, Riang and Tista rivers can be views; Zong Dog Palri Fo Brang Monastery at Durpin Danda; Delo View Point for magnificent views: and Kalimpong famous flower nurseries.

Lava is situated at a height of 7200 ft. and is 101 kms from Siliguri via Kalimpong. The beauty of this quiet and romantic place lies in its dense forests of Berch, Pine and Juniper and the variety of orchids. While at Lave, enjoys a day's outing to the fascinating Chhangey Ralls (12 kms from Lava) with 2 Sunrise points viz. Ghanti Dara and Tiffin Dara, Lava Monastery, Nature Interpretation Centre. If you are a little adventurous you can take a 12 km trek to Jelepa and Rachela pass situated on the Trijuntion of Sikkim,Bengal and Bhutan. Just 24 km from Lava, at 7012 ft, Lolengaon offers wondrous views of the peaks of Khangchendzonga, Pandim, Kabru, Jana Siniolchu, Kang, Talung, Kaumbhakarna, Dome, Jupuno, Narsing and Simvo.

Rishap at 8500 ft. is a small hamlet at tri-junction of Sikkim, West Bengal and Bhutan and it reached by a 9 km jeep able road from Lava. You can also reach there by a 3 km trek from Lava. Over viewing Neora Valley National Park and with spectacular 360 degree views of snow clad peaks & passes (Mt. Khangchendzonga, Nathula, Jelepa), Rishap is a real treat for tired eyes and souls.

KURSEONG (elevation 1,458 m) is a quaint little town about 30km to the south of Darjeeling on the way to Siliguri.
The market consists of rows of shops lining the main road which is crisscrossed at several points by the railway tracks of the toy train. The places to visit are Eagle's Crag which has a park from where glorious views of Khangchendzonga on one side and the southern plains on the other can be taken in; Dow Hill which has the forest museum, Deer Park a water reservoir, all set amidst moss-laden conifers; and Chimney, a serene, open meadow.

MIRIK (elevation 1,767 m) is another tiny hill resort easily accessible from Siliguri, Kurseong or Darjeeling. The center-piece of the town is the Sumendu Lake where boating under the serene gaze of Khangchendzonga makes for a most relaxing pastime. Rameetay Dara and Deosi Dara are two elevated points near the lake from where the view is terrific. Apple orchards and tea gardens are other attractions.

Himalayan Mountaineering Institute & Museums:

The Himalayan Mountaineering Institute is on the West Jawahar road. The institute runs courses for training mountaineers as well as has the very good collection of mountaineering equipments which have been used in various mountaineering expeditions and other wise. Specimens of Himalayan flora and fauna are also kept here. The record of attempts made to conquer Mt. Everest has been kept in the Mt.Everest Museum. The institute also screens short films on mountaineering. You can also view the Himalayan peaks through the Zeiss Telescope given to the Nepalese Maharaja by Hitler. Sherpa Tenzing Norgay was the Director of this institute for many years and he was cremated near the institute after his death in 1986. Near the institute is Srabri which gives a very good view of the Single valley and the Khangchedzonga range. One can sit at Srabri and feel the cool breeze from the valley.

Tibetan Refugees Self-Help Centre:
Our way may be hard and long one, but I believe that the truth and faith must ultimately prevail". -- His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The Tibetan Refugee Self-Help Centre was started on October 1, 1959. At that time, following the dramatic escape of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, thousands of Tibetans leaving hearth and home, fled into the neighbouring countries to live as free human beings. "It is no exaggeration, in fact, to say that without self-help there can be no rehabilitation, be it economic, social, psychological, cultural or spiritual. Therefore, a ten-member committee was formed in Darjeeling to organize a rehabilitation centre to be known as "Tibetan Refugees Self-Help Center".

Yigachoeling Gompa
This is probably the most famous monastery in Darjeeling and is about 8 kms south of town, just below Hill Cart road and the train station near Ghoom. It enshrines an image of the Maitreya Buddha. Foreigners are allowed to enter the shrine and take photographs. As Ghoom is frequently swathed in mists.

After breakfast visit Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Padmaja Naidu Zoological Park & Tibetan Refugee Self Help Centre.


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