Sight Seeings on Darjeeling
Bhutia Busty monastery or Karmaa Dorjee Chyoling monastery is a Buddhist monastery located in Bhutia Busty, Darjeeling district, India. It belongs to the Red Sect of Buddhist Lamas. Originally a branch of the Nyingma sect's Phodang Monastery in Sikkim, it was transferred to Darjeeling in 1879. The original location was on the Observatory Hill. The monastic practice was violently interrupted around 1788, when Nepali troops overran the land, destroyed the monastery and converted Dotsug into a place of worship dedicated to Mahakala.
The Darjeeling Rangeet Valley Passenger Ropeway is a famous tourist attraction in Darjeeling. Consisting of strong cable cars, it lies between the North Point in Darjeeling and Singla, the Ramman River bank. This rope journey is quite amazing as it provides heavenly views of beautiful mountains and their peaks nearby. After it originated in 1968, the ropeway encountered many accidents as well. In 1988, four tourists died when the cable snapped off suddenly. It is under the Forest Development Department comprising of only a single cable.
The Monastery belongs to the Yellow Hat sect also known as the Gelupka. One of the key attractions inside the monastery is the 15-foot model of the Lord Buddha which is known as The Maitreya Buddha or the Gyalwa Shampa which means the Buddha of the future or the Coming Buddha. This is one of the biggest and oldest statues of Buddha in Darjeeling area.
If you are taking a toy train ride from Darjeeling, you will pass by this magnificent loop. Otherwise, take a cab from Darjeeling town and visit the Batasia Loop. It's located on Hill Cart Road (i.e. National Highway 55) and takes 20 minutes by taxi from Darjeeling town. There is no better place to get a 360 degree view of Darjeeling's landscape including the hill town and the snow covered peaks of the Eastern Himalayas with the majestic Kanchenjunga on one side. And all this from the middle of a lovely flowering garden around which the toy train track is laid.
Tiger Hill is at an elevation of 2600 m and is the highest peak in the neighboring region. It is a popular spot for watching the sunrise and the kanchendzonga. The horizon was getting brighter and pinker with each minute as I looked out through the windshield. Most of the passengers were anxious that we would miss that magic moment when the sun kissed the mountains. The vehicle came to a halt, a good 500 m from the peak. Our vehicle was one of the last to arrive and all the parking slots had been taken. I ran up the hill, panting and not wanting to let that moment slip away.
Japanese Peace Pagoda is one of the most popular attractions in the Darjeeling city of West Bengal. It is one of those Peace Pagodas (Buddhist stupas) in the world that have been established with the aim of creating a special niche for enlightening people from all religions, creeds and origins, to come together and work for world peace. It was build under the supervision of a Buddhist Monk, Nichidatsu Fujii, who was also the founder and preceptor of Nipponzan Myohoji, a Buddhist order for word peace.
Located in Dali which is about 5km away from Darjeeling Town, although this monastery is popularly known as the Dali Monastery, it's actual name is Druk Sangag Choling Monastery. This is the name which is prominently written on its outside wall as you approach it from the road and walk through its arch gate. When you look at the monastery from a little distance standing on the Hill Cart Road, it looks awesome. Its one of the largest monasteries with white buildings built in typical Tibetan style and perched on a steep hill.
About 10 minutes walk from the Mall, the Shrubbery Nightingale Park in Darjeeling is a beautiful public park area. It's ideal for relaxing and enjoying the superb views of the Kanchenjunga and the other snow peaks of Eastern Himalayas. During the tourist season, Nepali cultural programs like local dances are held here everyday in the evening. During the British days in early 1900s, this place was known as The Shrubbery. It used to be the private courtyard of Sir Thomas Tartan's Bungalow. In 1934 it was completely destroyed by an earthquake. Following its destruction, there have been several developments that took place on this area. Initially it became a place where the British women resident in Darjeeling would come here to have a cup of tea and chat with each other. So it was more like a women's meeting place.
Sightseeing Near Darjeeling
If you are planning a vacation in Darjeeling area, it can be a great idea to spend a couple of days in Mirik and then make an onward journey to Darjeeling or other places. You can also do the reverse. In fact Mirik lies almost halfway between Siliguri/NJP and Darjeeling on the alternative route that goes to Darjeeling through scenic tea estates. Mirik is a small hill town and part of Kurseong subdivision and within Darjeeling district.
So why should you spend a couple of days in Mirik? Reasons are plenty. As I said, since it is about halfway to Darjeeling (52kms from Siliguri, Darjeeling is another 49 kms), it makes sense to break the journey and make it more relaxing as you ascend along the winding roads of the mountains.
Suntalekhola or Suntaley Khola (also Suntaleykhola) is a small village and a tourist spot in the Kalimpong District of West Bengal. The altitude of the place ranges from 650 to 950 m. It gets it name from a small stream: Suntaley Khola. In Nepali language, Suntaley means orange and khola means stream. This place is nearly 5 km from Samsing, which is also a small picturesque serene village. The green patch on the left side of the way to Suntalekhola is amazing and holds many varieties of birds and butterflies.