Tiger Hill, the summit of Ghoom, is the highest railway station on the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway. It is famous for its spectacular sunrise view over the Himalayas. Leveling out at 8,500 ft, Tiger Hill is the highest summit in the immediate surroundings. This spot has earned international fame for the magnificent view of the sunrise over "Kanchenjunga" and the great Eastern Himalayan Mountains. Even Mount Everest, the world's highest peak, is visible from here.
Depending on your itinerary, you may travel to Darjeeling via the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, or you may enjoy an excursion on the train’s Batasia Loop during your time in Darjeeling. The Toy Train, as it is affectionately known, affords breathtaking views of high waterfalls, green valleys, and at its end, the splendid panorama of the snow-capped Kanchenjunga range. The Batasia Loop is a marvelous feat of engineering. It is fascinating to watch the toy train wind its way through the loop.
Just beyond the quaint Tibetan market lies the Observatory Hill, the popular meeting place of tourists and residents. Apart from the magnificent view it commands, this hill is attached with great religious importance as a revered temple complex for both the Hindus and the Buddhists.
Padmaja Himalayan Zoological Park in Darjeeling opened up a Snow Leopard Breeding center in order to breed, in captivity, endangered Snow Leopards that would eventually be introduced back into the wild. This center also specializes in breeding programs for the Red Panda, Tibetan Wolf, and Blue Sheep. The center provides a rare opportunity for visitors to view the Snow Leopards in the large enclosures, but visitors have to observe absolute silence not to disrupt the Leopards. Children are not allowed.
Always wanted to try rock climbing? Tenzing and Gombu Rock is a preliminary course that provides amateur and beginning rock climbers an opportunity to test their mountaineering skills. The Himalayan Mountaineering Institute conducts many demonstrations on this rock, and professionals are waiting to help you discover your mountaineering potential.
Lloyd Botanical Garden is a colorful garden located in the beautiful hill station of Darjeeling. The garden was designed by Mr. W. Lloyd in 1878. It contains a vast collection of rare Himalayan plants, flowers, orchids and many more flora species. Built on 40 acres of land, Lloyd Botanical Garden is overseen by the Indian Botanical Garden Network. The garden mainly preserves various flora varieties native to the Darjeeling Himalayan region, Sikkim and other neighboring areas. The garden, one of the most prestigious gardens in the Himalayas, is divided into three sections. The upper section contains the flora of the Eastern Himalayas, the lower part has a collection of exotic species of many temperate countries, and the middle portion contains a large variety of alpine flora. The garden's orchid collection is quite impressive, containing over 2500 species. This leads to the garden’s cacti and succulent conservatory which displays nearly 150 species. The garden also houses a Victorian-era herbarium, displaying rare botanical specimens. This exotic and magnificent collection of rare plant species makes Lloyd Botanical Garden a favorite among both tourists as well as residents.
Happy Valley Tea Estate is located in Darjeeling’s picturesque hillside. Due to its high perch, the garden is able to utilize the mountain mist which has a unique effect on the pollen of the plants and lends to the unique flavor of Darjeeling tea. Aided by Darjeeling's cool, moist climate and sloping terrain, its tea estates produce a fine and delicately flavored tea that is referred to as the "Champagne of teas."
A look at the processing method used in the Happy Valley Tea Estate in Darjeeling shows how one bush can produce five different varieties of tea. The picked leaves are placed in long trays to a depth of about 20cm where air is blown from underneath to drive out moisture in a two-stage process, six hours of cold air and six hours of hot; this reduces the moisture content of the green leaves from 75% - 35%. The leaves then pass into a rolling machine where they are rolled and crushed for 45 minutes to bring out the juices from the cells, after which a sifter machine separates out any leaves that are too big.
Fermentation is next, where the leaves are left on cold metal shelves for two to three hours to ferment in their juices, turning the color from green to brown; they are then passed through the drying machine, a long conveyor through a furnace where the moisture is reduced to about 2%. Finally the leaves, now ready to brew up, are sorted into categories according to leaf size, the smaller leaves being the best quality; at the Happy Valley the teas produced are, in order of quality with the best first, Orange Pekoe, Golden Flower, Golden Supremo, and Supremo.
The Barbotey Rock Garden is an elaborate terraced garden full of walkways and stone paths perfect for snapping unforgettable pictures. The garden is surrounded by beautiful hills and is full of lush green plants and beautiful flowers. The Rock Garden also features Chunnu Summer Falls, a free flowing water fall that rushes through the garden. Relax and really take in all the views of this wonderful garden.
Located in the lush jungles of Kerala, Periyar National Park offers among the best opportunities to view elephants in the wild. A visit here includes a boat cruise in the fabled Kuttanad region, as well as a day spent in and around historic Kochi (Cochin).
The park is situated around an artificial lake. Boat cruises around the lake offer great opportunities to view wildlife. Guided treks are available for the more adventurous. You can also observe from a few strategically placed watchtowers. Like Corbett National Park, Periyar is very scenic country, and could easily pass for a resort area just on the merits of it's lush jungles, big lake, and surrounding hills.
The celebrated Saiva temple at Thanjavur, appropriately called Brihadisvara and Daksinameru, is the grandest creation of the Chola emperor Rajaraja (AD 985-1012). It was inaugurated by the king himself in his 19th regnal year (AD 1009-10) and named it after himself as Rajesvara Peruvudaiyar. Architecturally, it is the most ambitious structural temple built of granite. It has been regarded as a ‘landmark in the evolution of building art in south India’ and its vimana as a ‘touchstone of Indian architecture as a whole’. The temple is within a spacious inner prakara of 240.9 m long (east-west) and 122 m broad (north-south), with a gopura at the east and three other ordinary torana entrances one at each lateral sides and the third at rear. The prakara is surrounded by a double-storeyed malika with parivaralayas. The temple with its massive proportions and simplicity of design provided inspiration for future designs in constructions not only in south India but also in south-east Asia.
The sikhara, a cupolic dome, is octagonal and rests on a single block of granite, a square of 7.8 m weighing 80 tons. The majestic upapitha and adhishthana are common to all the axially placed entities like the ardha-maha and mukha-mandapas and linked to the main sanctum but approached through a north-south transept across the ardha-mandapa which is marked by lofty sopanas. The moulded plinth is extensively engraved with inscriptions by its royal builder who refers to his many endowments, pious acts and organisational events connected to the temple.
The brihad-linga within the sanctum is 8.7 m high. Life-size iconographic representations on the wall niches and inner passages include Durga, Lakshmi, Sarasvati and Bhikshatana, Virabhadra, Kalantaka, Natesa, Ardhanarisvara and Alingana forms of Siva. The mural paintings on the walls of the lower ambulatory inside are finest examples of Chola and later periods which depict the contemporaneous scenes with legendary ones.
Sarfoji, a local Maratha ruler, rebuilt the Ganapati shrine. The celebrated Thanjavur School of paintings of the Nayakas is largely superimposed over the Chola murals. The temple is rich in iconography as well as inscriptions which provide an account of events showing achievements, financial arrangements, donations and bearing an impression of contemporary society.
Two great Chola Temples of the 11th and 12th centuries have been added to the 11th century Brihadisvara temple of Thanjavur, inscribed in 1987. The Great Living Chola Temples were built by kings of the Chola Empire, which stretched over all of South India and the neighbouring islands. The site now includes the three great 11th and 12th century Chola Temples: the Brihadisvara temple of Thanjavur, the Temple of Gangaikondacholapuram and the Airavatesvara temple at Darasuram.
The Temple of Gangaikondacholapuram, built by Rajendra I, was completed in 1035. Its 53-m vimana (sanctum tower) has recessed corners and a graceful upward curving movement, contrasting with the straight and severe tower at Thanjavur. It has six pairs of massive, monolithic dvarapalas statues guarding the entrances and bronzes of remarkable beauty inside. The Airavatesvara temple complex at Darasuram, built by Rajaraja II, features a 24-m vimana and a stone image of Shiva. The temples testify to the Cholas brilliant achievements in architecture, sculpture, painting, and bronze casting.
Since 1918 the Saraswathi Mahal Library has been a possession of the state of Tamil Nadu. Its official name of the Library was changed to "The Thanjavur Maharaja Serfoji's Sarasvati Mahal Library" in honour of the great royal Marathan patron.
In Thanjavur District, Papanasam is one of the historical cities. There are two Temples, one Pallavanatha swamy Temple constructed by Chola King another one 108 Sivalayam Temple. There are also a granary (Store House of paddy) Breath 86 feet height 36 feet capacity of 3,000 Kalam (measure) constructed by Nayaks in 1600 - 1634. State Archaeological Department declared it as a monument. There is also a famous Mullaivananathaswamy Temple at Thirukarukkavoor. One can see the 108 Sivalingam in one temple in Papanasam Town only.
This place is about 8 kms from Kumbakonam and 48 km away from Thanjavur. It is spelt in ancient books as Thiruvidaimaruthur. The village is also called Madhyarjunam. The presiding deity is Mahalingar and goddess is known as Brikatkunchautsa. People suffering from mental affliction visit the place for relief.
This place is 6 km, from Kumbakonam and 46 km away from Thanjavur. Lord Venkatesaperumal dedicated like Tirupathi Balaji "Oppil Upper" is the other name. It is connected by bus route from Kumbakonam to Nachiarkoil.
The Poondi village is about 35 km from Thanjavur nearest Railway Station is Budalur. It is also one of the Roman Catholic Pilgrim centre another like Velankanni. It attracts more Pilgrims all over India. Accommodation provided to the Pilgrims by Church Authorities.