Darjeeling is also called 'Queen of the hills'. This famous hill station in the state of West Bengal in India is one of the highlights of Indian tourism and West Bengal tourism benefits significantly from the vast number of Indian and international tourists that visits Darjeeling every year. The town is also the capital of the Darjeeling district which is the northernmost district of West Bengal bordering Nepal. The town offers fantastic vacations in summer as well as winter. The view of the Himalayas, particularly the magnificent view of the Kanchenjungha is one of the major attractions of Darjeeling. The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, popularly known as the toy train, has become the symbol of Darjeelingtour and travels

Major tourist attractions in Darjeeling
Every nook and corner of Darjeeling fascinates the tourist. The mall, the sloping streets, the beautiful colonial buildings, the pines, temples, monasteries and even the whistling toy train combine to make Darjeeling one of the best hill stations in India. The major tourist spots in Darjeeling are-

Darjeeling Mall
The mall is one of the most popular places in Darjeeling. It is the center of tourist activities in the town and most of the hotels are clustered around the mall. The mall is also the location of the taxi stands from where tourists can hire taxis to the sites in and around Darjeeling. Many shops including old bookshops and curio stores are a major draw in the mall. The first site to welcome tourists at the mall is the local people offering pony rides and photographers clicking pictures of people as they ride the ponies. People tired from walking can take a break and sit on the many benches placed in the mall and sip the excellent tea sold by local tea vendors. There are many restaurants, cafes, and ice cream parlors around the mall. Early morning and evenings are the best time to stroll in the mall.

Ghoom Monastery
Ghoom is the last destination of the famous Darjeeling toy train. Located six kilomerters from Darjeeling, Ghoom is home to the famous Ghoom monastery at an altitude of 2407 meters. The main attraction of the monastery is the 4.5 meter statue of Maitreya Buddha.

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Himalayan Mountaineering Institute
This institute is an interesting tourist spot offering information about mountain climbing and the history of mountaineering in the region. Mountaineering gears are on display here along with rare pictures related to Mt Everest and other important mountain expeditions. The institute was established in1954 after the successful conquest of Mt Everest, and offers training in mountaineering and rock climbing.

Bhutia Busti
This beautiful monastery situated on CR Das road was transferred in 1879 from its original location on the observatory hill. The monastery has an interesting library that contains many old Buddhist texts and scrolls.

Observatory Hill
This place is a popular point from where tourists can get a magnificent view of the entire region and Mt Kanchenjunga on a clear, sunny day.

There are many other tourist attractions in Darjeeling. These include the famous tiger hill, Dhirdham temple, Lebong race course, and the handicrafts museum. Kalimpong, Takdah, Mirik, Lava, Lolegaon and Sandakphu are some of the important tourist spots near Darjeeling. A tour of Darjeeling offers wonderful opportunities for shopping and many adventure activities.

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