Siliguri, a city in West Bengal, is one of India’s most strategically important geographical locations due to its proximity to four international countries: China, Bhutan, Bangladesh, and Nepal. Spread across the districts of Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri in the Indian state of West Bengal, Siliguri is known as the “Gateway of Northeast India” because of its three Ts: tea, timber, and tourism. It is situated near the foothills of the Himalayas, on the banks of the Mahananda and Teesta rivers.
Darjeeling, on the other hand is referred to be the “Queen of the Hills.” Spread just over 3,149 Square Kms and a population of approximately 1,84,6823 residents, it is one of the most famous places not just in India but globally. This is the home of the muscatel-flavored Darjeeling tea, India’s first product that received a GI (geographical indication) tag. This is the place that is home to the Darjeeling Himalayan Railways where the century old miniature steam engine toy train still ascends the mountain top.
You might be interested in: 10 Best places to visit in Darjeeling
How to reach Siliguri?
Considering Siliguri is the gateway to Assam and other north eastern states, before reading on how to travel from Siliguri to Darjeeling let’s see how we can get to Siliguri first?
New Jalpaiguri Railway Station (NJP) is the nearest railway station to Siliguri that connects mostly to all major places in India. To say the least, it takes a 10 hour over night journey from Kolkata to reach New Jalpaiguri Station (NJP) if you’re boarding the famous Darjeeling Mail (Train No. 12343) from Sealdah Station or if you’re a day traveller you can board the ‘Shatabdi Express’ from howrah Jn.
Bagdogra Airport (IXB) the nearest Airport which is approximately 18 Kms away from Siliguri main town is the gateway that connects to the rest of India. It is now an International Airport. You can fly in directly from most major cities in India like Kolkata, Delhi
Siliguri has several Bus terminals like the PC Mittal Bus Stand, Tenzing Norgay Bus Stand to name a few. You can check with your local bus provider if they have any connecting buses to Siliguri, West Bengal
How to go to Darjeeling?
Unless you’re flying with a private helicopter, you will in all probability have to take the route from Siliguri. There are various means of travel between Siliguri to Darjeeling. We can reach Darjeeling from Siliguri by road, by train or by flight. Which means we can choose any mode of transport from Siliguri to Darjeeling on the basis of our choice depending upon the costs and time & comfort.
Let’s get into details of these:
Siliguri to Darjeeling by Road
The Hill Cart Road (NH55), which is the primary road to Darjeeling, takes roughly 3 hours to reach Darjeeling from Siliguri. Due to a traffic jam on the main road, taxis must take a detour through secondary roads. It may take a longer period of time. The road via Rohini, for example, takes around an hour and a half. 3.5 hours via Mirik and Sukhiapokhri, 4.5 hours through Mirik and Sukhiapokhri. Darjeeling is within grasp.
You can either take a bus from Siliguri to Darjeeling or a shared or private cab.
Siliguri to Darjeeling by Bus
There are several buses that runs from Siliguri to Darjeeling and different cities and towns of India. The main road connection to Darjeeling is via Siliguri (by NH 55), which is connected to all of India’s major towns. Bus from Siliguri to Darjeeling by road distance is approximately 62.7 kms via Matigara. Siliguri’s Tenzing Norgay Bus Stand provides NBSTC bus service from Siliguri at reasonable rates.
Siliguri to Darjeeling by Cab
You can take a shared taxi. Here’s the list of pick up points from where you can get the shared taxis:
- Airport More (Bagdogra)
- Bihar More
- Shiv Mandir
- Uttarayon Exit Gate, City center
- Darjeeling More (In Siliguri)
Alternatively, you can hire a private taxi or cab from any prominent corner of the town.
Siliguri to Darjeeling by Train
Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (part of Indian Railway) runs the vintage Toy Trains, which date back to the British era and have been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The British built these small trains and the twisting narrow gauge rails around Darjeeling’s highlands to allow for movement in the hills. Locals and tourists alike still use them as effective human transportation.
It’s worth noting that the Darjeeling hills only have one long toy train track. The road begins in NJP and connects Siliguri before ascending the hills to Sukna, Tindharia, Kurseong, Sonada, Ghoom, and finally to Darjeeling. The route has a number of zig-zags and loops along the way to help it navigate high grades. It is regarded as one of the most scenic train routes in the world. One disadvantage would be that a train from siliguri to darjeeling necessarily means a a toy train, and it runs like a snail.
From Siliguri to Darjeeling by helicopter
The simple answer would be a NO. there’s no helicopter service from Siliguri to Darjeeling. However, a helicopter service is available from Bagdogra to Gangtok and then it’s approximately a 97 KM by road distance from Gangtok to Darjeeling. So, flying is no way in or out of Darjeeling via Siliguri.
How much it cost from Siliguri to Darjeeling?
Depending on the medium of commutation you choose the fare will vary. For example travelling via bus should cost you around Rs. 100-110 per person. A private taxi or cab should cost you Rs. 2500-3500 depending on the vehicle you select. And if you’re sharing a caab or a tax, one seat should cost you around Rs. 300-330
Is it safe to drive from Siliguri to Darjeeling?
It is absolutely safe to drive to Darjeeling from Siliguri when you have a driver who is experienced in driving at the hills. It would be risky to let someone drive at the hills who has never driven at the hills. Nonmatter how good a driver he is at the plains. If you’re taking a local cab or taxi, be rest assured that your driver knows his way around.
All these trouble? Where have we reached?
To the Majestic Queen of the Hills.
Other Questions you may have in mind
The distance between Siliguri to Darjeeling is approx 67 Kilometers by road.
Unless the train schedule is halted the toy train No. 52541/52540 (NJP-DJ-NJP Passenger Train) departs at 10 AM from NJP and reaches Darjeeling around 5:20 Pm
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