Unknown to many, India is a major destination for mountaineering activities bringing adventure enthusiasts from all over the world. The best example would be Darjeeling in India which is one of the most popular places for trekking and mountain climbing, not just in India but in the entire world. As a matter of fact, Darjeeling is a hub of such mountaineering activities where professional trekkers and future mountaineers train. The Darjeeling tour will let you get a glimpse of what true passion for mountaineering is about and, of course, allow you to indulge in various such adventure activities.
Located in the foothills of the mighty Himalayas, Darjeeling has endless scope for a range of mountaineering activities. Hilly terrain, world-famous high peaks, and densely forested conical trees make for some of the best trekking and mountaineering spots in India. (Darjeeling is also widely known for its famous ‘Darjeeling tea’ derived from the tea gardens.) So, if you want to truly experience the joy of exploring the best of nature, then you should go trekking in Darjeeling, and if you want to further heighten your adventure spirits, then try mountaineering there.
The joy of summiting the snow-clad mountains in the midst of the ferocity of nature is nothing less than a life-changing experience. If you echo Helen Keller’s thought: “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all,” you cannot wait any further and head to Darjeeling right this moment! The town’s old colonial vibes leading up to the surrounding majesty of nature will be a unique experience unlike any other. The moments that you’ll experience here will truly be life-changing, to say the least!
Best Time for Trekking & Rock Climbing In Darjeeling
For trekking, November to February is the best time to visit Darjeeling. However, April-May and October-November are the peak tourist months in Darjeeling. Also, if you go trekking in summer, you can experience the unique red hue of blooming rhododendrons on several trekking trails.
In the case of mountaineering, besides the monsoon season when the rock becomes slippery, all other seasons are preferable for rock climbing.
Best Places for Trekking & Mountaineering in Darjeeling For Trekking
Situated at an altitude of 11,930 feet, Sandakphu is the highest peak in West Bengal and is the dream hike of every trekker. The popular trekking points in the region are Tonglu trek, Sandakphu and Singalila trek, and Phalut trek. You can choose either of them for an unforgettable trekking experience.
How to reach Darjeeling:
All these famous trekking points are very close to Darjeeling (not more than 60 km), and you can easily reach there by shared jeep or private cab.
Top 5 Routes For Trekking In Darjeeling
1. Trek To Tonglu
Situated in the Singalila Ridge, Tonglu is among the higher peaks and a small falling within the Singalila National Park. From here, the magnificent view of the third-highest mountain in the world, Kanchenjunga, and the highest peak in the world, Mount Everest will leave you spellbound.
- Why Visit: spot the landscapes of two countries, India and Nepal.
- Duration: 2 days
2. Trek To Gorkhey
Located in the Darjeeling District, Gorkhey is a small and picturesque village in West Bengal. This is one of the best Darjeeling trekking spots set in a valley between Sikkim and Darjeeling.
- Why Visit: for those seeking a North East cultural experience
- Duration: 4 days
3. Trek To Sandakphu
Starting from the town of Manebhanjan, Darjeeling Sandakphu, or Sandakpur, is the highest point of the Singalila Ridge in the Darjeeling districts. On Sandakphu Darjeeling trekking, you will be walking along the famous Singalila Ridge, which lies between Nepal and India.
- Why Visit: witness the world’s 4 highest peaks: Mount Everest (8,848 m), Kanchenjunga (8,586 m), Lhotse (8,516 m), and Makalu (8,481 m).
- Duration: 4 days
4. Trek To Chatakpur
This one-day trek in Darjeeling is a short hike to enjoy nature. The trek starts in the morning from Darjeeling’s Aluabari Road to Jorbangla, the main junction. From here, we would take the main road towards the 3rd mile that goes to Chatakpur, a small village in the district of Darjeeling.
- Why Visit: splendid view of Kanchenjunga & trail through Senchal Wildlife Sanctuary
- Duration: 1 day
5. Trek To Singalila Ridge
Darjeeling Singalila Ridge Trek is a popular mountain ridge in the Himalayas that runs from West Bengal passing through Sikkim. It is a connection between the Himalayas of Nepal to India and offers some of the most breathtaking views of the Himalayas and the valleys.
- Why Visit: spot magnificent Mount Everest (8,848 m), Kanchenjunga (8,586 m), Lhotse (8,516 m), and Makalu (8,481 m).
- Duration: 7 days
For immediate booking: Darjeeling tour packages
Mountaineering in Darjeeling
To indulge in mountaineering, two major sites you have to visit in Darjeeling: Gombu rocks and Tenzing rocks. Both these two rocks are situated on Lebong Cart Road and face opposite to each other.
This is one of the only natural rock climbing sites in Darjeeling named after the mountaineer Tenzing Norgay, who climbed Mt. Everest with Edmund Hillary in 1953 and even has his name inscribed on it. The place is a paradise for adventure enthusiasts, particularly the right side, which is perfect for rock climbing skills. You will get to witness the beautiful surroundings with lush greenery and fresh air that will provide you with a breathtaking experience unlike any other.
Not as popular as Tenzing Rock, but unmatched in the beautiful sights that it provides if you do mountain climbing at Gombu rocks. The rocks are named after Nawang Gombu, who was Tenzing’s nephew and had climbed Everest twice and became the first person to do so. Surrounded by lush green forests and mountainous valleys, the place is a kernel for exciting outdoor adventure activities.
How to Reach Gombu & Tenzing Rocks
By Air – If you are taking a flight, you have to arrive at Bagdogra, which is 90 km away from Darjeeling and is the nearest airport connected by flight with major cities Delhi, Kolkata, and Guwahati.
By Train – If you are coming to visit Gombu & Tenzing rocks by rail, then you can drop by Darjeeling Himalayan Railway Station (88 km from New Jalpaiguri Railway Station) or the other two closest railway stations are Siliguri and New Jalpaiguri. The stations are well connected with major cities Kolkata, Delhi, Guwahati, etc.
By Road – Situated in North Bengal, Darjeeling can be accessed by road via Siliguri (77 km via NH 55), which is then further connected to other major cities of India. You can avail of bus service from Tenzing Norgay Bus Stand, Siliguri. Options to book smaller vehicles are also available on a sharing basis, or you can book a cab.
Role of Himalayan Mountaineering Institute
You cannot talk about Mountaineering in Darjeeling without mentioning The Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (HMI) and its contributions. So much so that HMI is referred to as the Mecca of Indian Mountaineering. Like the famous rock formations attracting mountaineers from afar, this institute, founded by India’s first PM Jawaharlal Nehru, also has an international reputation and has trained thousands of people from across the globe in mountaineering and allied adventure activities.
In fact, Tenzing Norgay was the director of this institute for many years. The institute also has a unique Mountaineering Museum open to tourists, which has interesting displays and records of several major expeditions. You can visit the same as well if you want some dose of inspiration for your mountaineering voyage. Being an institute, it organizes mountaineering courses, and you can verily take some rock climbing sessions at the site.
How to reach the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute:
Once you’ve arrived at Darjeeling, you have to head to Jawajar Parbat, earlier known as Birch Hill Park. a) Either you take the Jawahar Road from Mall Road, originating from Chowrasta Mall, and arrive there. Or, reserve a cab from Chowk Bazaar in the lower town. HMI is located 3 km from Chowk Bazaar along Lebong Cart Road.
- Opening hours: Daily 9 am to 5 pm (closed to tourists on Thursdays)
- Prices: INR 110 per person (subject to change at the time of booking)
Tips for Trekking & Mountaineering in Darjeeling:
If you are headed to Darjeeling for mountaineering, then you probably are aware of the important instructions necessary to engage in the activity. The following tips will be useful if you rehearse them before you head for your expedition.
- Before you head for mountain climbing, you need to train to prepare yourself by running every morning for half an hour on the ground or uphill.
- You can do breathing exercises like pranayama, which will prepare you for a better mountain climbing experience.
- You should always do a full health check-up, say for hemoglobin levels and your BP, and see a doctor if needed, before heading to your mountaineering expedition.
- Always pick your target summit and go by the plan. Using physical maps for charting routes is recommended.
- Make sure you always have the right gear. If you are a beginner, consulting an advanced mountaineer is a must.
- If you have more time on your trip, then definitely take a very short-term course (1-2 days) to gear yourself up with the knowledge and tools for the best mountaineering experience.
- Getting the right type of shoes to maintain grip while trekking is a must.
- Keep all the essentials needed for your trek, such as a water bottle, torch, extra clothing, band-aid, etc.
- Make sure you are physically fit and healthy before heading out.
- Do not litter during the trek. Keep nature clean.
- In places like Darjeeling, as you go higher, the temperature becomes extremely cold. So, keeping woolen clothes with yourself is recommended.
- If the trek is long, keep a sleeping bag with you which you’ll need at the camping site.
If the thought of mountains and summiting them fills your heart with unending excitement, then Darjeeling should be on the top of your travel bucket list. Reach out to Indian Holiday for Darjeeling tour details and to book exciting Darjeeling tour packages now!