Rock Garden & Gangamaya Park
The Rock Garden (also known as Barbotey Rock Garden) at Chunnu Summer Falls and Ganga Maya Park are recently added tourist attractions in the hilly town of Darjeeling in the state of West Bengal, India. It is a showpiece meant to lure people to Darjeeling after political agitations disrupted tourism in the 1980s. There is another rock garden in Darjeeling known as Sir John Anderson Rock Garden, which is part of Lloyd’s Botanical Garden.
The garden is about 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) from Darjeeling. While proceeding from the town along Hill Cart Road, one has to turn right, well before reaching Ghum. The road descends rapidly into the valley. With sharp bends all the way, there are scenic views at many points. Tea gardens dot the hill slopes.
Constructed by the Gorkha Hill Council Tourism Department, it was inaugurated by Subhash Ghising, the GNLF supremo. The Rock Garden is not one in the conventional sense. A multi-level picnic ground terraced around a natural waterfall, its attraction is in it “being a sort of road-side facility but with a little too much concrete.” The garden offers a beautiful view of a hill stream cascading over rocks along the slope, done up with flower gardens and sitting spaces at different levels. There also is a small lake. With tourists pouring in large numbers, tea shops and snack kiosks have come up.
Ganga Maya Park
Tourists enjoying Gorkha folk dances at Ganga Maya Park
Ganga Maya Park is further down the road, about 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) from the Rock Garden. Named after an innocent victim of police firing during the GNLF agitation, “it meanders down the course of a chortling mountain stream, past gazebos, clumps of flowering shrubs and trees, over humped backed bridges under which koi-carp coruscate, and into a circular lake with paddle boats and a waterfall.” It has a small lake where boating facilities are available. Gorkha folk dances are performed to entertain the tourists.
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