Where to go, what to do in Darjeeling
Are you visiting the ‘Queen of the Hills’, ‘The Land of the Thuderbolt’ – Darjeeling? The beauty of this Hill Station is unparalleled. As you cool down, unwind and relax, you may want to get a little more familiar with Dorje Ling. Of course, there are some traditional activities that you probably will enjoy – Breakfast at Glenary’s, a softy Ice-cream from Kevinter’s while walking up and down the Mall Road.
However, if you are looking for some hidden gems that people normally don’t go to, try these.
Tibetan Refugee Self Help Centre
This centre was established on October 2nd, 1959, for rehabilitation of Tibetans who followed Dalai Lama and escaped their homeland during the period of mayhem. In order to sustain living, they adopted the principle of self-help. The centre is located on a hilltop that can be approached from Lebong Cart Road. You can see Tibetan men and women making exquisite hand-crafted items like woollen carpets, shawls, carved wooden crafts, leather items and more. There is an outlet at the centre from where you can buy these items.
Darjeeling Old Cemetery
One may not consider Darjeeling Old Cemetery as a tourist place, but it is declared as a site of ‘National Importance’. The Darjeeling Old Cemetery houses two historical graves and several other graves belonging to people from the colonial era. There are graves of those British settlers who turned the dense forests of Darjeeling into beautiful Tea estates which are now visited by nature lovers and solace seekers. It will give you a glimpse of the colonial days of Darjeeling.
The upper section of the cemetery offers breath-taking vistas of tea gardens and mesmerizing landscapes of Darjeeling. The graves dating back to 1840’s will give you spooky vibes. There used to be more than 100 graves in the cemetery but now most of them are destroyed by the ravages of time and it is very difficult to point exactly how many graves are here.
Bara Ging Bazaar
Located in a scenic and peaceful environment, the Bara Ging Bazaar is more of a culmination of several shops in a settlement, than a traditional mall. One of the reasons that many tourists decide to visit the market is that they could purchase souvenirs from the Bra Ging bazaar at cost-effective prices.
For those who want to visit, the address is E Lebong Rd, Bara Ging, Darjeeling.
If you are looking for books for the body, mind or soul, this charming old bookstore is your cup of tea. It is situated in Darjeeling’s popular Chowrasta Mall area. For over 60 years, Oxford Book and Stationery Co. has been a popular meeting point for book and tea lovers. This place, built in a typical hill house style, is a treasure trove for the ardent book lover.
Incidentally, they have a back room full of books for which belong to yester years and are absolute gems. Ask to visit this secret room and walk away with books at throw-away prices.
The Park Restaurant
The Park is located on Laden- La Road, right opposite to State bank of India building. It’s a short distance from the base of Nehru Road and a few yards from the Clock tower. The restaurant is located on the upper floor of a two storied building. Established in the year 1993, the Park restaurant has created its own name for its great Thai Cuisine as well as Indian and Chinese dishes.
Don’t forget to get a sneak peek into the Gymkhana Club and get romantic at the yester year’s skating rink, take a walk on Lover’s lane and renew your chemistry. Your Darjeeling visit would be incomplete without visiting at least some of these - The Mahakal Temple, St. Andrew’s Kirk, Peace Pagoda and the Dali Monastery.