No. 272 Mountaineer narrow gauge steam locomotive in engine shed at Darjeeling Railway Station.

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Darjeeling Himalayan Railway

Top choice in Darjeeling

The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, known affectionately as the toy train, made its first journey along its precipice-topping, 2ft-wide tracks in 1881 and is one of the few hill railways still operating in India. It has had Unesco World Heritage listing since 1999. Two-hour 'joy rides' from Darjeeling to Ghum and back satisfy most people's toy-train urges. There are normally around six of these pulled by antique steam locomotives daily, and three or so with diesel engines.

Just one (diesel-powered) train in each direction daily makes the whole 88km (seven-hour!) trip between New Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling; another runs just from Kurseong to Darjeeling and back.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Darjeeling attractions

1. Dhirdham Mandir

0.07 MILES

Darjeeling's most conspicuous Hindu temple is a replica of the famous Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu. It’s easy to find – just below Darjeeling train…

2. Himalayan Tibet Museum

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This well-thought-out museum (one large room) is a good, colourful introduction to Tibet and its culture. The attractive displays introduce the Dalai Lama…

4. Lloyd Botanic Garden

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These half-hidden gardens contain an impressive collection of Himalayan plants, most famously orchids and rhododendrons. Follow the signs down Loch Nagar…

5. Observatory Hill

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The hill rising above Chowrasta is home to several much-visited temples, approached through a flurry of colourful prayer flags and hanging bells. The main…

6. Japanese Peace Pagoda

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Perched on a hillside 2km south of the town centre, the gleaming white, 28m-high Peace Pagoda is one of more than 70 pagodas built around the world by the…

7. Mak Dhog Gompa

0.92 MILES

This century-old Nyingma-school monastery is run by people from Yolmo in Langtang, Nepal, who emigrated here 150 years ago. The atmospheric upper-floor…

8. Happy Valley Tea Estate

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This 1854 estate on the northwest edge of town is a good place to learn about tea, especially when plucking and processing are in progress (March to…