Darjeeling: A photo feature

Darjeeling: A photo feature

January 27, 2016

Nestled among rolling mountains with the Mt Kanchenjunga towering over the horizon, Darjeeling is internationally renowned for its tea and the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (UNESCO World Heritage Site). It is also the only place in India from where one can see both Mt Everest and Kanchenjunga.

This region was controlled by the kingdoms of Bhutan and Sikkim until the mid-19th century, when the East India Company found the place to be apt to set up a sanatorium for its soldiers. The Company ended up leasing the region from the Chogyals of Sikkim in 1835.

St Andrew’s Church


Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park

Also known as the Darjeeling Zoo, this 68-acre park is the largest high altitude zoo in India. It was opened in 1958 and specialises in captive breeding programmes for snow leopard, the endangered Himalayan wolf and red panda.

The snow leopard is a moderately large cat native to the rocky mountains of south and central Asia.

Snow leopard


The Indian leopard, one of the five big cats found in India, is a leopard subspecies which is widely distributed on the Indian subcontinent.

(From left) Indian leopard; Siberian tiger


The Himalayan blue sheep, locally known as bharal, is found in the higher Himalayan ranges.

Himalayan blue sheep


The Himalayan wolf, a critically endangered species, is one of the three wolf subspecies found in India, the other two being the grey wolf and the Indian wolf. There are only about 350 left in the wild (trans-Himalayan region of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir).

Himalayan wolf


The red panda is a small mammal native to the eastern Himalayas and south-western China. It has now been classified as ‘vulnerable’ due to excessive habitat loss, poaching and inbreeding. The captive breeding programme at the zoo has been quite successful in the last couple of years.

Red panda


The Asian black bear, also known as the moon bear or white-chested bear, is a medium-sized species of bear, which has been classified by the IUCN as a ‘vulnerable’ species. Their numbers in the wild are dwindling mainly due to deforestation and active hunting for its body parts.

Asian black bear


Tiger Hill

Tiger Hill is famous for its spectacular sunrises against the Kanchenjunga massif. The hill is about a 30-minute ride from Darjeeling. There are jeeps available on a shared basis at the Upper Taxi Stand.

Sunrise on Tiger Hill (flickr/Anjan05)


The Kanchenjunga massif


Gurkha War Memorial

This war memorial, located at Batasia Loop, was installed as a tribute to the brave soldiers from Darjeeling who died in action.

Gurkha War Memorial


Yogachoeling (Ghoom) Gompa

This is the most famous monastery in the Darjeeling region and has some very rare handwritten Buddhist manuscripts.

Yogachoeling (Ghoom) Gompa; main idol of the gompa


Toy Train

The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, lovingly called the ‘Toy Train,’ is a 2 ft (narrow-gauge) railway running between Siliguri and Darjeeling. It was built in 1881 and is still powered by steam locomotives. The train was listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999.

The Toy Train (Wikipedia)


Nippozan Myohoji Buddhist Temple

The Nippozan Myohoji Buddhist Temple is designed in traditional Japanese architectural style.

Nippozan Myohoji Buddhist Temple


Japanese Peace Pagoda

The Japanese Peace Pagoda was initiated by Fujii Guruji (founder of Nipponzan Myohoji, a Buddhist order for world peace). Designed by Dr M Ohka of Japan, the structure is 28.5 m tall and 23 m in diameter.

Japanese Peace Pagoda





Text and images (except where stated otherwise) courtesy the travel portal, 10 Year Itch

Lead image: feelindia.org



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