AN ELGIN EXCLUSIVE FEATURE by Kavishvi Pahwa
Darjeeling is as much a place to feel as much as it is to see.
Darjeeling provides a multitude of ways to soothe the wounded soul, from those who just want to stay gone a few days to the more adventurous ones to honeymooning couples, there is an enchanted mélange for all- culture, traditions, architecture, and food. We have selected 6 locations that truly captures the spirit of Darjeeling-
It’s difficult not to fall in love with the view of tea plantations, lush green forests in the panoramic setting of snow-clad mountains. At sunset, you can see an amalgamation of the most beautiful colors in the sky. – @travel_my_india, Instagram
Himalayan Mountaineering Institute
Glenary’s Bakery & Café
Glenary’s Bakery & Café is a jewel in the crown of the Queen of Hills. Without a visit to this British-era place of heritage, no trip to this hill station can be successful. This cake shop and café from the British period, owned by the Edward family, is situated on the ground floor of a two-story building on the Nehru lane, that prominently displays its name in front. The bakery and café are on the ground floor and in the basement is the ‘Buzz Bar’ which is a modern pub. The original fireplace, French windows, and carved columns are available at the restaurant along with the red telephone booth reminiscing of the earlier days. Plus, the smell of the freshly baked cakes and muffins will play with your olfactory senses.
Image by @glenarys, Instagram
And now there is free Wi-Fi available, so it’s a quaint place to enjoy a cup of Darjeeling tea while pretending to work on your laptop or smartphones. Whether it is sharing a picture with your friend or clearing your mailbox, you can get a marvelous view of the mountains and valley in the backdrop. For all the Darjeeling travelers, a visit to the Glenary’s is a must.
Darjeeling Himalayan Railway
The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway has acted as a conduit to one of the most untamed, glorious, and daunting regions of the world for a rising horde of explorers. As the weather in the mountains remains pleasant, the Darjeeling Himalaya Railway lines are functional throughout the year. In 1999, the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, becoming one of the shining stars of Indian Tourism.
It provides regular rides for travelers and climbs up to 7,200 feet above sea level. There are special DHR tourist trains linking Darjeeling to Ghum, the country’s highest train station. Two-hour ‘joy rides’ from Darjeeling to Ghum and back satisfy most people’s toy-train urges. The panoramic views from the train, the vintage charm of the passengers, and the old stations are once in a lifetime experience. On your ride through the mountains, the classic tea plantations set amid quintessential Himalayan beauty serve as a visual treat.
Tourists can enjoy DHR by a joy ride trip from Darjeeling, but a journey with it provides the true experience of its glory & uniqueness. For a real nature lover, this provides an opportunity to re-discover the beauty of nature at every curve of the hill, being on wheels with endeared ‘Toy Train’, a ‘World Heritage’, still living head high like ‘Kanchanjangha’, on the way to Darjeeling: The Queen of Hills. – @arka_ad, Google Reviews
Oxford Book Store
For over 60 years, this quaint little bookstore named Oxford Book and Stationery Co. has been one of Darjeeling’s Favourite landmarks. A favorite haunt for avid readers- this small bookshop also houses, in addition to the books, a section where the owners sell Darjeeling tea with pride to tourists including the famous Lopchu tea. The bookstore, situated at the Mall, is wonderfully completed in a traditional old-school fretwork and pitched roof design. Lose yourself in their book series. They also specialize in books on the Himalayas, Darjeeling, Tibet, Bhutan, Sikkim, and Nepal. Oxford Bookstore measures its success by the smiles on millions of pleased visitors it has served.
Image by Dinesh Khanna, Facebook
Far away from the well-lit shelves of today’s bookstores, Oxford Darjeeling gives you the old world charm of wooden shelves. “Humans” and not robots are home counters and the feel of finding the book you want from amongst all the books stacked all over. – Anirban Das, Google Reviews
An average day in the life of locals begins at the wee hours of the morning and wraps up by sunset, but on a certain non-average day, Joey’s Pub is the epicenter of Darjeeling’s nightlife. The interior is completely wood-paneled when you step in, including the ceiling that offers a comfortable and cozy cottage look. There is a stand right next to the entrance that has a huge selection of old magazines and newspapers. During the power cuts, there put candles in the empty soda bottles which carries one down memory lane making the ambiance even more magical. A sanctuary for music fans, this pub is a must-visit establishment for those who want to enjoy a fun, enjoyable time with friends. You will meet people from different walks of life here. Indulge in a karaoke session with strangers and make great memories.
The Peace Pagoda of Darjeeling is one of 80 similar stupas devoted to peace around the world. Also known as the Buddhist Temple of Nipponzan Myohoji, the shrine was founded in 1972 and is located on Jalapahar Hill, 10 minutes away from the center of Darjeeling town. After the bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Japanese Peace Pagoda of Darjeeling was founded by the Buddhist monk Fuiji and since then it is considered a symbol of peace and religion.