Darjeeling India

A Trip to Darjeeling India Brings Back the Bygone Era

The Hill Station of Darjeeling India

Darjeeling is a beautiful hill station in West Bengal set on a mountain surrounded by tea plantations and views of the Himalayas. It was once one of the main hill stations of the British and they left their imprint on much around Darjeeling and my visit there evoked images of this bygone era.

Darjeeling India

A view of the hill station that was once favoured by the British

My trip there was a memorable one from the time the plane landed in Bagdogra to when I left in a jeep to the hills of Sikkim. The 4 hour jeep ride from Bagdogra airport up the beautifully steep and sloping hills created lots of anticipation and I was definitely not disappointed on my arrival to Darjeeling. My 4 days there was spent strolling around, trekking and exploring, site seeing and just soaking up the friendly atmosphere. What stood out for me most about Darjeeling was the British imprint on the place from the Raj era and the sites and hotels that were built and still maintained lovingly and for me some of the best of Darjeeling.

Altitude: 2134m

Season: March – mid June, October – December

Nearest Airport: Bagdogra

There’s much to see and do in Darjeeling but here is my pick of some of the best spots of this bygone era:

The Mayfair Hotel

It was once the exotic summerhouse of Maharaja of Nazargunj and this beautifully maintained hotel is definitely a wonderful place to stay in Darjeeling. This old mansion sits

The Mayfair Hotel in Darjeeling

The Mayfair Hotel in Darjeeling

on a hilltop overlooking stunningly beautiful mountain views, manicured gardens and old interiors that are in keeping with the age of the building. Staying here takes you back in time. There is an old library full of books, a snooker table and walls lined with hundred year old pictures of Darjeeling. The room I stayed in was very comfy and even had a fire place, typically English fabrics, wooden floors and antique furniture. What I loved most about my stay was the freshly picked Darjeeling tea that was served at breakfast, the old English style cutlery and crockery and the beautiful view as I ate. It was definitely a great way to start my days in this wonderful hill station.

Train ride on the Himalayan Railway

Darjeeling India

Taking a short stop in the middle of its journey. It is a great time to get out and take in the views and breathe the fresh air

When I think of Darjeeling I think of tea and the Himalayan steam train that was built by the British. So I knew that I must have a ride on the train even if I wasn’t intending to arrive anywhere in particular. The train drove slowly through the hills of Darjeeling blowing out steam and I loved that it’s slow pace let me take in all the amazing views and low lying clouds. The train ride definitely suited the slower lifestyle up in the hills and the holiday atmosphere.

Afternoon Tea at the Elgin Hotel

Tea, cakes and sandwiches

Enjoy afternoon tea at the Elgin Hotel in Darjeeling. Image Elgin Hotel

If you are looking to have a tasty and authentic afternoon tea in Darjeeling a visit to the Elgin Hotel is a must.  The hotel setting is perfect and the whole experience takes you back to the colonial history of Darjeeling. The afternoon tea I had was set in the lobby area and I indulged in a lovely selection of infused, herbal and leaf teas as well as an array of local Darjeeling tea which I thoroughly enjoyed. A mix of both English sandwiches, cakes and light Indian snacks was a great accompaniment to the tea and atmosphere and definitely a relaxing way to spend the afternoon.

The Lloyd Botanical Gardens

I loved my visit to the Botanical Gardens. It definitely isn’t the most well maintained garden that I have visited but as I walked around it really felt old world and reminded me of my childhood playing in my grandma’s garden. So it was really a nostalgic experience for me.  It still has a glass house, old statues and benches, rock garden and even a stone building in Elizabethan style.

Gardens in Darjeeling

The old British Lloyd Botanical Gardens in Darjeeling

Mall Road and St Andrews Church

This is the main pedestrian road in Darjeeling and it is lined with lovely souvenirs stores, places to eat local Indian food, tea places and lots of old British buildings which makes for a great mix. There are some great views that you can see from the square and some short walks that I took plus lots of fresh mountain air. At the end of the Mall Road there is a church called St Andrews. It is an Anglican Church and one of the main British style buildings of Darjeeling.

St Andrews Church

St Andrews Church in Darjeeling is located at the end of Mall Street

So if you are looking to sip some tea, ride an old toy train, breath some fresh mountain air, enjoy some stunning views and this is just to begin with then a trip to Darjeeling India in West Bengal is a must

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1 reply
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