Darjeeling - standing high in the Himalayas at an altitude of 2134m, ‘Dorje Ling’, or place of the Thunderbolt, offers breathtaking views of snow-capped mountain peaks, with the Kanchendzonga rising higher than all the others. Often referred to as the "Queen of the Hills", it remains just as alluring with its tiny waterfalls, little villages and a narrow gauge railway track. Surrounded by World Famous Tea Gardens and snow capped mountains, Darjeeling remains one of the most exotic destinations. Graeme Westlake in his book 'An introduction to hill stations on India' refers to Darjeeling as having "A view Scarcely Unrivalled on Earth".

Happy Valley Tea Estate Darjeeling

Walking through a tea garden on the gentle hill slopes of Darjeeling and seeing the tea processing is always a special experience. And a great way to experience this is by visiting the Happy Valley Tea Estate which is located about 3km (1.8 miles) away from Chowk Bazaar area.

The approach is through a narrow winding downhill road which is quite steep. So if you are walking, the walk on your way back is likely to be quite cumbersome. But the rewards on the way are enormous.

Happy Valley tea estate is located at the end of a narrow downhill road Road. You can see the beautiful tea garden on the hill slope as you come near the end of the road. From a distance, you can see the large white colored building with slanted tinned roof which is the tea production factory.

There are guides who will offer to take you inside and show you the entire tea production process. They are usually employees of the factory acting as guides during their off time and charge small fees. While the fees may vary depending on the demand, it usually varies between Rs. 50/- to Rs. 75/- if you are alone. For groups, the per person charge can be lesser.

You will first enter into a huge hall where plucked teas are kept on elevated wooden beds for a processing known as Withering where the moisture content in the leaves are reduced. There are different qualities of tea. The number 1 or the best quality comes with a single bud with two leaves, the next quality has one bud and three leaves and so on.

The best quality tea at Happy Valley Tea Estate is known as SFTGFOP (Super Fine Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe) which is normally produced during the first flush or sometimes as Supremo (second flush). Within this there are variations like White tea, Green tea and Black tea.

The regular quality tea at the estate is known as Family Mixture. Most of the tea bushes in this estate are nearly 100 years old, some even older The tea produced at the Happy Valley Tea Estate are all exported. Harrods in London is the main distributor of the tea. So if you want to buy the Happy Valley tea in India, you can do so at the factory outlet in the estate here in Darjeeling. Looks like there is no other way. One of the qualities sold at the outlet here costs some Rs. 225/- per 100gms. You can also buy pack of tea bags.

But if you want to just taste a cup of best quality Happy Valley Tea, then there is another way. There is a small tea shop right next to the factory, Happy Golden Cafe which is run by a local lady. She has samples of the estate tea which she collects from the employees quota. This is where you can have a cup of excellent black tea for Rs. 25/-. The lady will make it for you from leaves plucked at the gardens here.

Open Hours

The estate and the factory is open from 8am to 4pm from Tuesday to Saturday. While there is no entree fee, you will need to take a guide for which there is a small fee. The factory usually remains closed from November to February because tea plucking does not take place during winter. You can however see the tea gardens from outside.

Toy Train

Intro - Darjeeling is mainly known for two reasons 1. The world famous Darjeeling tea 2. The Darjeeling Himalayan railway (DHR) or famously known as The Toy Train. The DHR or the Toy Train has been accorded the UNESCO World Heritage status. The railway track is just 2ft narrow, built between1879 and 1881 and runs between New Jailpaiguri and Darjeeling passing through Ghoom, India's highest railway station.

Experience - Enjoy the breathtaking landscapes and jaw-dropping view of Kanchenjunga by taking a short ride from Ghoom to Darjeeling and vice versa. The Train stops for 10mins at the Batasia loop - a beautiful garden. There is also a memorial to the Gorkha soldiers of the Indian Army who sacrificed their lives after the Indian Independence in 1947. Award winning movie 'Main Hoo Na' starring Shah Rukh Khan and Sushmita Sen was shot in Darjeeling railway station with the DHR in the background another award winning movie 'Barfee' starring Ranbir Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra was also shot in Darjeeling , Darjeeling railway station and Ghoom railway station, to name a few.

Chowrasta

Chowrasta Chowrasta is the center point and the heart of Darjeeling. This place is full of local food and tea stalls. It’s a great place to meet and interact with the locals. You can just sit back relax enjoy your tea and snacks enjoy the ambience and experience the real vibe of Darjeeling or take a stroll to some of the old and heritage stores lined up on one side of the Chowrasta or take a short ride on a pony or simply enjoy the pleasure of doing nothing .It also has free wifi.

The Mall Road or Bhanubhakta Sarani

If you stroll along the Mall Road in the morning or in the evenings, you will find many locals doing their exercise and jogging around. It is also one of the best places to witness the sunrise. The view is spectacular. The loop starts at chowrasta goes around the Observatory hill and Mahakal mandir and returns to the Mall. The Mall road is full of pine trees, so take a seat on one of the many iron benches there, and enjoy the greenery and the entire range of the astonishingly beautiful Kanchenjunga range.

As you walk along you will find flights of stairs that lead towards the Observatory Hill and the Mahakal Mandir one of the famous temples in Darjeeling district. As for the observatory hill the view from up there is magical with the birds chirping in the background.

Tiger Hill Walk

Lying at an altitude of 2590 meters and a distance of 13 kilometres away from the Darjeeling, Tiger Hill is most famous for its splendid sights of the morning sunrise from where you can see the peaks of Kanchenjunga illuminate before the sun is seen at lower elevations. The magnificent view of snow - capped mountains sitting amidst cotton clouds attracts tourists to Tiger Hill from all over the country. Interestingly, this is also the summit of Ghoom, which is the highest railway station in the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

One can see the horizon changing colors just before sunrise and then the entire Himalayan range turn golden. It is truly a majestic sight. Hike back to the Darjeeling via Alubari Monastery and enjoy Picnic breakfast on the way back 13 kms 4 hours approx. Afternoon walk to Bhutia Basti Monastery and Observatory Hill.

City Sightseeing

Early morning visit Tiger Hill ,Ghoom Monastery and Batasia Loop. After breakfast visit to Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (Closed on Thursday), Zoological Park (Closed on Thursday), Tibetan Refugee Centre (Closed on Sunday), Tenzing Rock, Gombu Rock, Tea Estate (From outside).

The Mall Road or Bhanubhakta Sarani

Mall Road If you stroll along the Mall Road in the morning or in the evenings, you will find many locals doing their exercise and jogging around. It is also one of the best places to witness the sunrise. The view is spectacular. The loop starts at chowrasta goes around the Observatory hill and Mahakal mandir and returns to the Mall. The Mall road is full of pine trees, so take a seat on one of the many iron benches there, and enjoy the greenery and the entire range of the astonishingly beautiful Kanchenjunga range.

As you walk along you will find flights of stairs that lead towards the Observatory Hill and the Mahakal Mandir one of the famous temples in Darjeeling district. As for the observatory hill the view from up there is magical with the birds chirping in the background.

Shrubbery Park

Shrubbery Park About 10 minutes walk either from the mall or Zoo/HMI, the Shrubbery Nightingale park in Darjeeling is a beautiful public area. It's ideal for relaxing and enjoying the superb views of the Kanchenjunga. During the tourist season Nepali cultural programs like local dances are held here everday 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. The park is slightly at an elevated level and so you need to climb a few marble stairs at the entry. Shrubbery Nightingale Park is open from morning until 8 pm.

Glenary's Bakery & Cafe

Glenary's Bakery & café, also known as the Gleneray's Cake Shop is located at the ground floor of a two storied white colonial building that prominently displays its name in front. This is a prominent landmark of Darjeeling and existing since the British colonial days. It's run by Edwards family. One of the most famous food lover’s point in Darjeeling is the Glenary’s. They have lived up to their reputation for good food. The staffs are very attentive even when the restaurants fills up. Gleneray’s Bakery and café is well known as for the breakfast it serves. GlenerayGleneray's has remained as the best bakery in Darjeeling District. They have an outlet at the lower town of Darjeeling at Chowk Bazaar a much smaller one, but you will get most of the bakery items here which comes from the main shop. They also have a branch at Bagdogra near the airport.

Opening Hours

Gleneray's Bakery, cake shop & café: 7am-8:30 pm. You get breakfast , snacks, cakes & pastries and even they have a Bar which is known as Buzz with a live band. They accept credit cards.

Location and Contacts

Gleneray's is located on Nehru Road that leads to the chowrasta Mall. As you walk along Nehru Road, you won’t miss this two storied white building on the left. Mall is less than 02 mins walk from the Glenery's.

Phone : 0354/2254122, 2254315

Secrets of Momos

Learn the technique from the locals to make the favorite Nepalese food the Momo. You have seen them , you have eaten them, but have you tried making them? Momos Momos are a type of steamed dumplings, usually filled with meat and vegetables and widely believed to have originated in Tibet, but are now a staple food in Nepal, Darjeeling, Sikkim and Bhutan.

Making momos together before big festivals and celebrations is one of the most beloved things to do in Darjeeling and now you can try your hand at it too. From kneading dough, preparing ingredients, folding the momos to finally cooking them. Your entire cooking class will be held at the kitchen of our host where you will get to learn the entire process. Everything is fully included in the price so just get ready to have some fun, some good food and make some good friends. It’s not just about cooking but learning the culture. If you love to cook, this activity should definitely be on your to do list and receive the secret Nepali recipe to take home.

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