Day 2: Darjeeling local sightseeing
Start your day as early as 3:45 AM, by heading towards Tiger Hill, which is around 11 km from the main town of Darjeeling. Tiger Hill is one of the main attractions in Darjeeling and can be reached on foot easily, all along the splendid tea plantations. The top of the hill overlooks the highest peak in Sikkim, Mt. Kanchenjunga, and if the weather is clear, Mt. Everest also. Its claim to fame has been its view of the sunrise. When rays of the morning sun fall on Mt. Kanchenjunga it illuminates the mountain, giving it a golden orange reflection and thus offering a breathtaking sight.
On your way back, make a visit to the some of the most popular attractions in Darjeeling. Starting from Ghoom monastery, then War Memorial and finally, Batasia Loop.
Just 8 km short of Darjeeling, you will come across Ghoom Monastery, which lies at an elevation of around 7400 feet. Ghoom Monastery was supposed to be built in the year 1850 by Lama Sherab Gyatso. The renowned monastery belongs to the Yellow Hat Sect, known as Gelupka. Once inside the monastery, you will come across a 15 foot model of Lord Buddha, which is also called as Maitreya Buddha. In Buddhism, Maiteya Buddha means Buddha of the future or the coming Buddha. Interesting fact about the statue of Maitreya Buddha is that it is all made up of clay, all imported from Tibet. Besides the statue of Buddha, the monastery is also famous for housing a huge collection of Buddhist manuscripts.
Post the monastery, hop on to the vintage Toy train as it makes its way through the exotic landscapes in Darjeeling. The toy train also whistles away through the magnificent Batasia Loop, which makes its curve at the Hill Cart road. The loop has a colorful garden of exotic flowers built in the inner circle of the loop. From the Batasia Loop, you can have a wholesome view of the enchanting Darjeeling valley along with the snow capped peaks of Kanchenjunga.
Right in the middle of the Batasia Loop, lies the War Memorial. As evident from its name, the structure was built in honor of numerous Gorkha soldiers, who lost their lives in military operations since India’s independence. Truly an amazing attraction, the War Memorial is amongst the prominent ones in Darjeeling.
After these visits, return back to your hotel for breakfast. Nearly half an hour later, you would be embarking on a sightseeing trip to attractions in the main town of Darjeeling. This includes visits to Himalayan Montaineering Institute, Tensing Gumpo Rock, Padmaju Naidu Zoological Park, Tibetan Refugee Self Help Cente and Natural History Museum.
Finish your day on a peaceful note by visiting the heritage of world peace, Japanese Peace Pagoda, which is located in the vicinity of other attractions. The Peace Pagoda showcases four avatars or forms of Lord Buddha and focuses on uniting people of all communities for world peace. Pay your visits there and return back to your hotel for an overnight stay. Evenings are meant to explore the local surroundings or shopping in the nearby markets, although you can even choose to stay indoors and rest.