Observatory Hill & Mahakal Temple
Observatory Hill is a hill near Chowrasta square, or The Mall as it is popularly known, in Darjeeling, West Bengal, India. Views of snow-clad peaks, including Mount Kanchenjunga, are visible from the Observatory Hill. The Bhutia Busty monastery was originally located here. Now the hill has the temple of Mahakal. Two important arteries of the town, Nehru Road and Bhanubhakta Sarani, meet at Chowrasta. Another school of thought suggests that the presence of the megalithic core to have been a place of worship of the Rongs, representing a sacred location of the classic Long Chok (erect stones) type. The term ‘Dotsug’ was thus a literal translation of ‘Long Chok’.
Chowrasta and The Mall around Observatory Hill are among the main centres of tourist attraction in Darjeeling. They spread on hill slopes at an altitude of 2,134 metres (7,000 feet). In clear weather, one can see Mount Kanchenjungha and twelve other peaks, all above 20,000 feet.The view is clear during October to November. At other times of the year, clouds sometimes engulf the area and some portions of the view available only at opportune moments.Some people, similar to the characters in Satyajit Ray’s Kanchenjungha, wait for long periods of time for the mist to clear so that they may have a view of third highest peak in the world.
How to Reach:
Bagdogra, 90 K.M. (via NH 110) away from Darjeeling, is the nearest airport connected by flights from major cities like Kolkata, Delhi and Guwahati.
Apart from Darjeeling Himalayan Railway Station (88 K.M. from New Jalpaiguri Railway Station) the two closest railway stations are Siliguri and New Jalpaiguri. These railway stations have direct railway connections with Kolkata, Delhi, Guwahati, and other major cities of India.
The major access to Darjeeling by road is via Siliguri, 77 K.M. (via NH 55), which is connected to all the major cities of India. Bus service is available from Tenzing Norgay Bus Stand, Siliguri. Smaller vehicles are also available on seat-sharing/ hire from airport, railway station, motor syndicates / police motor stand. Facility of Pre-paid taxi stand from NJP Railway station & Bagdogra airport can also be availed. The four routes that one can opt from Siliguri to reach Darjeeling are: i) Tindharia – Kurseong route ii) Dudhiya – Mirik route iii) Rohini route iv) Pankhabari