Darjeeling Tourism | Darjeeling Weather
Darjeeling with its natural beauty provides a wide variety of activities from liesurely scenic walks to more gruelling activities such as trekking and river rafting for the adventurous ones. Discover the many nuances of Darjeeling and get complete information on your travelling needs to Darjeeling and its resources online. Continue exploring the site or drop us a message if you have questions or feedback.
Religion in Darjeeling:
Hinduism, Buddhism and to a certain extent Christianity are the predominant religions practiced by people of Darjeeling. One can expect to find inter-faith places of worship like the Mahakal Temple, the Hindu temple at Dhirdham or the various Tibetan Buddhist monasteries like Bhutia Busty Monastery, Yolmowa Buddhist Monastery or Aloobari Monastery, Yiga Choling Monastery or Ghoom Monastery and the Dali Monastery. Darjeeling also counts the Japanese Peace Pagoda as one of its major tourist attractions. The town also has many churches built during the British era.
Languages used in Darjeeling:
Nepali is the main language used in Darjeeling with Hindi, English and Bengali being the other languages understood by the locals.
The People, Culture & Festivals in Darjeeling:
These diverse communities create a lively cultural environment with their sumptuous food, colorful festivals, music and dances. Explore the sub-sections below:
People of Darjeeling:
Lepchas were the original inhabitants of Darjeeling and Sikkim but they constitute a minority of the population in present Darjeeling.
Nepali Gorkhas constitute the majority of the population of Darjeeling today. They come from different castes and dialect groups like the Gurung, Tamang, Limbu, Rai, Mangar, Newar, Sherpa and Thami communities.
The Tibetan community is a relatively new addition to the population formed when thousands of Tibetan refugees settled across Darjeeling district in 1950 when China annexed Tibet.
The rest of the population is a mix of people who are from the plains of India like the Bengalis, Biharis and Marwaris.
Culture of Darjeeling:
Music plays a major role in the lives of Darjeeling residents and almost everyone can play a musical instrument or two.
Darjeeling is home to musical stalwarts from Nepali singers such as Aruna Lama, Gopal Yonzon and Amber Gurung to Louis Banks, the `Godfather of Indian jazz’ and Prashant Tamang, the winner of Indian Idol 2007.
Traditional dances in Darjeeling include the jhaure dance, chutkay dance, maruni dance and Tamang selos which find their origins in Nepal. Other forms of dance include the Tibetan Chaam performed with elaborate costumes and masks during the eve of Losar, the Tibetan new year.
Undeniably, the most popular food of Darjeeling is the momo. Momos are steamed dumplings stuffed either with pork, beef or vegetables and served with a spicy chili and tomato paste along with soup. Another popular dish is the thukpa, which is a noodle dish with meat and/or vegetables in soup. Apart from these dishes, the restaurants in Darjeeling offer a wide variety of traditional Indian, continental and Chinese cuisines to cater to different palates.
Tea obviously is the most popular beverage. However, a visit to Darjeeling wouldn’t be complete without tasting chhang, a local millet beer.
Major Festivals of Darjeeling:
January – February:
Maghe Sankrati is the Nepali New Year’s Day which is the first day of the Nepali month, Magh that falls in the mid of January. This is considered to be the coldest day of the year so people look forward to the coming of warmer weather, better health and prosperity. It is celebrated by eating yam and the elders blessing the younger ones by putting a small piece of yam on their foreheads. The next Maghe Sankrati falls on January 14, 2009.
Losar or Lhosar is the Tibetan New Year. It is celebrated for 15 days with the main celebrations happening within the first three days. Tibetans celebrate it with new clothes and good food. The eve of Losar is marked by the Chaam (Tibetan Costume and Mask Dance) in most monasteries to ward off the negativity of the Old Year. On this day, the Dali Moastery performs a special Chakrasambhara (Mandala) prayer with a colorful Mandala. The 15th day of Losar sees special religious ceremony called the Cho-Nga Cho-pa where monks create large butter sculptures and light hundreds of butter lamps to dispel darkness in the world. The next Losar falls between January 27 and 29, 2009.
March – April:
This festival is considered to be the original dasain of the Nepalis. However, this festival has lost its relevance in present times. The next Chaite Dasain falls on March 26, 2009.
This Hindu festival marks the birth of Lord Rama who was the son of King Dasharatha of Ayodhya. Rama is revered by the Hindus and is considered to be an incarnation of Vishnu. The next Ram Nawami falls on April 3, 2009.
May – June:
It literally means ‘fourth month’ and on the 15th day of this Tibetan calendar month, the Tibetans celebrate Buddha’s birth and the day when he died and attained Nirvana. The next Sagadawa falls on May 27, 2009.
Asar ko Pandra:
This is the 15th day of the Nepali calendar month, Ashar. Nepalis eat curd and chewra (beaten rice) because they believe that Goddess Parbati gave Lord Shiva curd and chewra on this day and if you eat the same on this very day you will get salvation.
Farmers usually plant paddy on this day with much festivities as this date also marks the beginning of Monsoon. The next Asar Pandra falls on June 29, 2009.
July – August:
Birthday of His Holiness the Dalai Lama: The birthday of His Holiness is celebrated on July 6. The year 2008 marks the 73rd birthday of the Dalai Lama.
This is the first day of the Nepali month Sawan or Shrawan. People pray to the ‘devi’ (young goddess) to eradicate scabies and other skin diseases. The next Shrawan Sankranti falls on July 16, 2009.
This festival commemorates the Buddha’s first sermon and the teaching of the Four Noble Truths. The next Chokhor Duchen falls on August 5, 2008.
The literal translation is Naag meaning ’serpent’ and ‘Panchami’ can be traced to the word ‘paanch’ meaning ‘five’. It falls on the 5th day after the full moon. On this day, priests visit Hindu households offering a special prayer and sticking a picture of snakes with Lord Vishnu at the door as a symbol of protection. The next Naag Panchami falls on August 6, 2008.
This festival is celebrated by the Lepchas and it marks the rising of the Tendong Hill in Sikkim to save the Lepcha people from a great flood. The next Tendong Lho Rumfaat falls on August 8, 2008.
On this Nepali Hindu festival, priests go door-to-door giving out Kush grass which signifies the presence of Lord Vishnu. The next Kushe Aaushi falls on August 31, 2008.
September – October:
Teez or Teej:
The festival of Teez or Teej is celebrated by Chettri and Brahmin castes of Nepali women. The married women fast to honor of Lord Shiva for health and vitality of their husbands. Unmarried women fast to get a good husband in the future. The next Teez or Teej falls on September 2, 2008.
Biswakarma or Viswakarma Puja:
Lord Viswakarma is the Hindu God of machines and trade tools. On this day workers and professionals worship their tools of trade and they generally do not operate these tools on that day in respect of Lord Biswakarma. The next Viswakarma Puja falls on September 17, 2008.
Dasain or Dashain:
This is the biggest festival of Nepali Hindus and is celebrated with great enthusiasm in Darjeeling. This festival usually falls in late September or early to mid October. The next Dasain or Dashain falls on October 9, 2008.
November – December:
Tihar or Teohar:
This is another important festival of Nepali Hindus which starts with the Kag (Crow) Tihar when crows are fed because they are considered to be the messengers of the Lord of Death, Yama. The second day is the Kukur (Dog) Tihar when dogs are fed because they are believed to be the guardian of Yama. The third day is Laxmi (Goddess of wealth) puja also known as the Gai (Cow) Tihar when the cow which symbolises wealth is fed and worshipped. In the evening, houses are decorated with garlands and oil lamps are placed on doors and windows and often people indulge in gambling. Also in the evening, groups of girls visit homes to sing the praises of the Goddess (Bhaileni) and they are given gifts of money and sweets. The fourth day of Teohar is celebrated differently depending on people’s specific community. On the last day of Tihar, Bhai Tika is celebrated when the sisters pray for their brother’s long life and protection from from Yama Raj, God of the underworld. The next Tihar or Teohar falls between October 26 and 30, 2008.
This is a Buddhist festival celebrated by the Tibetans to observe the descent of Buddha from heaven back to earth. The next Dasain or Dashain falls on November 19, 2008.
Adventure Sports in Darjeeling:
Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary:
The sambar conceals itself in a good shrubby undergrowth. The cheetal is confined to the edge - areas between treelands and grasslands. Gaurs - Indian bison - can be found roaming over grasslands and forest. A tiger or leopard may be found on the sandy banks of a stream. Ride on elephants gives an exhilirating experience at Jaldapara.
Rain Forests of Dooars:
Jungle Safari in the District of Darjeeling - Rain Forests of Dooars Dooars is self explanatory meaning the 'gateway'.Specifically meant to be the gateway to Bhutan, it is now the gateway to the Indian states & districts of Assam, Sikkim and Darjeeling. Here the streams mature into rivers, rhinos and elephants have their say and its a place where the Himalayas meet the plains.
A never ending stretch of virgin forests is crisscrossed by the river Teesta and her tributaries with motorable roads cut through deep forests, rich with fauna and flora. Mauve hills stand at the end of velvet green plains. The forests echo with the melody of birds. There are various wildlife sanctuaries, national parks, trival settlements and valleys carpeted with tea gardens.
The Indian bison or Gaur can be said to be omni present. A prominent glance of the endangered species, one horned rhino, is possible at Jaldapara and Gorumara. The Royal Bengal Tiger can be seen at Mahananda and Buxa with other numbers of the cat-family. Small tribes like Rava, Mech, Kora, Munda etc. are found in between. Toto, the smallest surviving tribe also exists.
Mountain Biking in Darjeeling:
Bike and Trek tour ( Singalila Tour)
Darjeeling bike tours
Day 01 - Arrival from IXB to Darjeeling
Day 02 - Darjeeling
Day 03 - Darjeeling to Maneybhanjyang - can be done by bike
Day 04 - Maneybhanjyang drive (using a landrover to Megma 11kms) - and then use a bike to drive to Gairribas.
Day 05 - Gairibas to Sandakpu ( driving and using bike at certain places.)
Day 06 - Sandakpu drive to Phalut ( bike can be used and with the help of porters at some place)
Day 07 - Phalut trek to Samanden
Day 08 - Samanden trek to Shrikohla
Day 09 - Shrikhola use a bike to travel to Rimbick
Day 10 - Rimbick (either take a vehicle and drive straight to Darjeeling or continue the tour) use a bike to Lhodoma and to Jhepi
Day 11 - Jhepi use a bike to Bijanbari valley
Day 12 - Bijanbari use a bike or drive to Darjeeling (some place"s gradient is little steep)
Day 13 - Darjeeling drive to Bagdogra airport.
On this route the highest point reached is Sandakphu (12000 ft), porters and camping staff has to be used, plus use of landrovers (4 wheel vehicles) are necessary, good moutain bikes are needed, a professional guide is needed.
Bike Tour ( Darjeeling region)
Day 01 - Arr from IXB and drive to Siliguri
Day 02 - Siliguri drive to Dudi and then use a bike to travel towards Mirik. 24 kms metalled road, gradient ok - Hotel
Day 03 - Mirik use a bike to travel to Jore Pokhari ( Above Sukhia Pokhari) 23 kms metalled road, gradient ok - Forest Lodge
Day 04 - Jore Pokhari use a bike to travel to Darjeeling 19kms metalled road, gradient ok - Hotel
Day 05 - Darjeeling sightseeing ( can be done in bike) Hotel
Day 06 - Darjeeling use a bike to travel to Tiger hill and camp over there. 11kms slightly uphill from Ghum - highest darj ridge. - camp
Day 07 - Darjeeling use a bike to travel to Mangmaya camp ( 27kms ) metalled road and slightly down hill - Camp
Day 08 - Mangmaya to Teesta bazar (14kms to Teesta) by bike or trek for hour and half down hill. and raft on river teesta (camp in the Dovan meeting place of river teesta and rangit) Down hill to Teesta - Camp
Day 09 - Teesta Bazar use a bike to Kalimpong or drive to Kalimpong. 16kms metalled road. uphill - Hotel
Day 10 - Kalimpong use a bike to drive to Lava ( 37 kms) mostly level road - Camp & use forest bungalow
Day 11 - use a bike to drive to 30 kms from Lava to Gorubathan (down hill metalled road) - Camp & use forest bungalow
Day 12 - Drive from Gorubathan to IXB airport - 76 kms ( 4 to 5 hours drive)
Kindly note that the above regions are in Darjeeling District. The whole route provides visit to Tea Gardens, Jungle, country side, village, small towns, lakes, moutain view, etc. We have mentioned hotels or camps at respective places. Most of the places are camps and food is cooked by our own staff. They will travel on one jeep. As per the number we will have a backup vehicle. The highest point reached in this journey is at an altitude of 8500 feet. (Tiger hill). This tour would be a great tour if tried.