Glenburn Tea Estate

Asia India
Glenburn Tea Estate
Glenburn Tea Estate
Glenburn Tea Estate
Glenburn Tea Estate
Glenburn Tea Estate
Glenburn Tea Estate
Glenburn Tea Estate
Glenburn Tea Estate
Glenburn Tea Estate
Glenburn Tea Estate
9 March 2021

Glenburn is a heavenly little plantation retreat that lies on a hillock above the banks of the River Rungeet, high in the Himalayas, overlooked by the mighty Kanchenjunga mountain range.

Started by a Scottish tea company in 1859, Glenburn then passed into the hands of one of India’s pioneering tea planting families – The Prakashes, One of India’s pioneering tea-planting families, we have, over the years, come to be known as the “Chaiwala family“ – which literally means “tea planters“.

The story of the Chaiwala family began over a hundred years ago, and is closely entwined with that of tea plantations in India. Today, the third and fourth generation Prakash family carry almost a century of tea knowledge in their inheritance, and we invite you to experience this legacy at Glenburn.

The “tea estate” experience was inspired by the vineyards of Europe and other parts of the world, where visitors observe the wine-making process, taste the wine and shop for wine, local crafts and produce.

We found the whole experience educational and very interesting, and were inspired to open our own tea estate for tourists who may be interested in knowing about how a tea leaf makes it to their tea cup.

On her very first visit to Glenburn, Husna-Tara Prakash decided this was the spot for such an experience. It was simply the most heavenly place. In addition to the “tea experience” we could also offer the guests a “walking” experience, and Glenburn remains one of the few destinations in India where you can walk all day and return to luxury at night.

We grow our own fresh herbs, spices and many fruit and vegetables, making the experience a “foodie” one as well, with an emphasis on using local ingredients to create mouth watering, unique menus.

The initial idea took about a year to materialise. On a chance encounter, Bronwyn Latif – an interior designer based in Delhi – found herself at Glenburn and fell in love with the place, too. Before we knew it, we had fallen right into a complete restoration of the main bungalow of the estate.

Our aim was to restore it to its original grandeur. Layers and layers of paint and plywood covered the beauty of the house, as if each manager’s wife wanted to contribute in some way to its splendour.

We would not have got very far without Bronwyn’s amazing energy and passion as far as restoration and innovative ideas go. In 2002 The Burra Bungalow was lovingly restored, whilst retaining the style of a colonial planters’ bungalow.

With 1000 acres of private forest, and two rivers running through the estate, is a wonderfully peaceful place to stay and offers a unique holiday experience. In 2008 we added 4 more rooms at Glenburn as part of The Water Lily Bungalow.

Perched on the edge of the hill in front of The Burra Bungalow, all rooms have stunning views, including Darjeeling Town up on one hill and, of course the Kanchenjunga Range straight ahead. We have sourced antique furniture for all the rooms, as well as some old Burma teak for the flooring.

Restored old cast iron window frames with arched skylights shape the 9 foot high windows in each room. The small balconies just outside each of these large windows are perfect for enjoying the magnificent views all around.

This project would never have been possible without the hard work and resourcefulness of our Glenburn Tea Estate Manager and his team of local workers who transported everything to this very remote site with amazing results.

Central to your visit to Glenburn will be our versatile hosts, Bertie and Audrey, who are at Glenburn simply to pamper and spoil you. We hope you enjoy their company during your stay.

Although they will join you at most meals, and accompany you on some of the walks and activities, do feel free to request time on your own as well. They will not take offence! From time to time, interns will also be working at Glenburn, and we hope you enjoy their company as well.

At some point during your stay you will also meet our Tea Estate Manager, Parveez Hussain who has spent over two decades in tea. He, of course, has expert knowledge on anything to do with tea, but please bear with us if he is unavailable at any time.

He has a huge responsibility running the entire estate with its 1,000 workers! The Tea Tour will be conducted by Parveez, his assistant manager Raju, or our able guide, Ranjan, who also does an excellent job.

Another familiar face around the property is Sabin, who is a third-generation Glenburn resident and a general “Mr Fix-it”, with in-depth knowledge of the region, the local communities, and the local birds, flora and fauna.

His grandfather laid out the foundation of the gardens around the Burra Bungalow and his father Bhim, recently retired as our estate head clerk, now manages our accounts. Sabin’s cousin Luna runs The Glenburn Shop. The Glenburn staff are available round the clock, to help make your stay a comfortable one.

Guests are accommodated in one of our two bungalows, each comprising four suites and common areas, gardens, verandahs and terraces accessible to all our guests.

The Burra Bungalow -home to generations of planters, remains the focal point of Glenburn hospitality, with its sweeping Main Verandah, cozy Living Room (with fireplace and library) and grand Dining Room where our candle-lit sit-down dinners are held.

The four bedrooms have been charmingly decorated, each following a different theme, and are comfortable and spacious, yet cosy. Each of the suites, as their names suggest, offer a unique experience for our guests.

Some have single rooms attached to the main suite allowing comfortable accommodation for a third (or fourth) sharing the suite, and each of them open on to the main verandah, with private entrances to the gardens behind the main bungalow.

Two of the suites have fireplaces and three of the bathrooms have free standing bathtubs while all four bathrooms have a lovely walk-in rain shower. There are views of the mountains from the Front Verandah, but not directly from any of the rooms.

The Water Lily Bungalow, with four more suites and a stunning location on the edge of the Glenburn spur comprises a Living Room, smaller Dining Room, two verandahs and garden areas laid out on two levels, and connected to The Burra Bungalow by a stone staircase.

It also houses a large recreation and meeting room, as well as our Massage and Steam Room. All four bedrooms have direct views of the mountains, with antique furniture, private balconies, bay windows/or sitouts.

The bathrooms have antique free-standing bathtubs, each with a view, walk-in rain showers and old fashioned washstands with Venetian mirrors.

The Singalila Suite is dominated by the majestic views of the entire Singalila range, with Mount Kanchenjunga towering above it. From your antique four poster bed, you can watch the sun rise on to the mountains.

Water lilies float across the furnishings, and two little private balconies allow you to step out and look up to the town of Darjeeling. There are also views of the tea fields all around, in particular the Kimble Division.

The Singalia Suite is in the Water Lily Bungalow. All the bedrooms in this bungalow have bay windows or sit out areas with great views of the mountains, private balconies and antique furniture.

The rooms have Burma teak flooring and old cast iron window frames. The bathrooms have old style bathtubs with great views and walk-in rain showers. There are two verandas, garden areas laid out in different levels, living and dining rooms, a recreation cum meeting room, and a massage room.

All the suites feature hand-embroidered bed linens, fresh flowers from the gardens, basket of fresh fruits, bathrooms with running hot & cold water with complimentary Darjeeling Green Tea toiletries, overhead fans in the rooms and hair dryers.

The beds are fitted with electrical bed warmers. There are no TVs in the rooms to break the tranquility.

All meals, snacks and refreshments are included in the tariff, and we plan all the menus according to the select preferences of each guest.

The menus comprise a range of cuisine – from interesting local fare and traditional Indian dishes, to exotic South-East Asian delicacies, and a variety of European dishes making full use of the fresh Italian herbs, and salad leaves we grow in our well-stocked kitchen garden.

We try to source as much fruit, vegetables, herbs and spices as we can from our own garden, so feel free to plan your own menu based on what’s in season! Family recipes including Tea-Leaf Pakoras, Chocolate Brownies, Tibetan Momos and Burmese Khow Suey – all served to you with a discrete but attentive Glenburn touch.

Please ask if you would like to eat anything in particular and we will plan the menus accordingly. If the fresh herbs in the garden inspire you to conjure up a favorite recipe, do leave it behind and we shall name it after you and serve it to future guests!

We bake our own bread, make our own marmalade, and a whole collection of signature cakes and cookies. Glenburn tea, iced tea, South Indian filter coffee, a range of herbal teas (using fresh herbs from the garden), nimboo pani (fresh homemade lemonade), freshly-squeezed juice, and cold drinks are available at any time.

There are also freshly baked cakes and cookies available whenever you feel like a snack. With a bit of notice, we can also make you some ice cream. In the summer months a few different ice cream varieties made from whatever fruit is in season, are available at any time.

Sit down to Breakfast and Lunch either in the bright and sunny Morning Room at one end of The Front Verandah, under the Pomello Tree outside the Water Lily Bungalow or on a terrace overlooking the mountains.

Breakfast will be served at your convenience, anytime between 7am and 11 am. Please let the staff know what time you would like to be served “Bed Tea” in your room, and what time you would like to sit down for breakfast. Depending on your plans for the day, we can also organise a picnic-style meal.

Picnics can either be served as a “sit down” meal, at certain pre-planned venues such as The Glenburn Campsite, at No. 10 Bamboo Grove by the River Rung Dung, Coffee Bari, Ramitay Daara or at any of the “weighment sheds” scattered around the tea fields – some of which offer spectacular views.

Equally, sandwiches and fruit can be packed into boxes to be carried by your guide, for you to eat at any time during a hike. Barbeques can also be organised down by the river or at The Simbong Garden Terrace of the Burra Bungalow.

Our hiking guides and drivers are experts at whipping out a tray to serve a glass of freshly-squeezed lemonade (nimboo pani) garnished with a fresh mint leaf, or a cup of Darjeeling tea served in a porcelain tea cup, in the middle of a field surrounded by tea bushes, along a forest trail or on the edge of the river – all part of The Glenburn Experience.

Dinner is usually served as a sit-down meal in the candle-lit intimacy of The Dining Room, along with your hosts and any other guests in residence.

Dinners at Glenburn are famous for the camaraderie and congeniality around the table, as well as the stimulating, amusing and often unusual conversations that take place among the guests.

You are likely to meet people from all around the world, and strike up life-long friendships; we often have a group of guests planning a reunion at Glenburn in future years. In the warmer months, dinner can also be served outdoors on the patio or in one of our gardens.

Dinner is normally served anytime between 7.30pm and 9.30pm. Kindly let us know if you would like to dine separately and this can be organized too. Please let us know if you have any specific dietary preferences before you visit us. We can modify the dishes, and menus, to cope with any allergies or dislikes.

We would also like to know if you are celebrating a birthday, anniversary or any other special occasion while you are with us so we can plan some festivities to grace the occasion.

We would be delighted to offer you cookery classes when you are at Glenburn. We have an “open” kitchen policy where guests are invited to watch our staff cook and prepare dishes. Guests often leave us their own family recipes which end up on our menus, named after the guest of course!

By air: There are daily Jet Airways, Indigo, Go Air, Air India and Spice Jet flights from Kolkata (45 mins), Guwahati (30 mins) and New Delhi (2 hours) to Bagdogra. Glenburn is a three hour drive from the airport.

The flight from Delhi stops at Guwahati on alternate days and guests are advised to take the direct connection (Delhi-Bagdogra-Delhi) which considerably shortens the flying time.

Most of the journey follows the course of the River Teesta, and just before you reach the bridge that takes you across the river to Sikkim, you begin the climb up towards Darjeeling, and then drive down into the Glenburn valley. The last 15 minutes of the drive, over about 3 kms, is very bumpy, but our careful drivers try to make it as smooth as possible.

Depending on road conditions we may also take an alternative route that takes you through the lush tea estates of the Dooars, before you climb up into the hills through the town of Kurseong, driving along the Toy Train railway tracks, past quaint little stations and villages, right up to the outskirts of Darjeeling Town before we veer off towards Glenburn.

Helicopter charters are available on request.

Days generally remain sunny through most of the year, even when the temperatures drop. Temperatures are a couple of degrees higher down at The Glenburn Camp (800 feet).

Views of the mountains are clearest from October to March. Elevations range from 3,230 feet at the Bungalows down to 800 feet down at The Camp near the rivers. Guests are advised to carry sun block, sunglasses and insect repellant (for the camp site/river areas).

Due to its mountain location, mosquitoes are not a problem here. However, there can be mosquitoes and midges down by the river. Regular spraying takes place to combat any possible ‘pest’ problem that arises and mosquito coils are plentiful.

Guests will require warm woolens during the winter months and a light sweater/wrap in the summer/monsoon months when temperatures could drop after rain. Electric blankets are provided on all beds to keep you extra warm when required

Relaxing at The Burra Bungalow, and enjoying the breathtaking scenery and serenity that Glenburn is so famous for, has given inspiration to artists, writers and photographers. The diverse landscape, birds, butterflies and local populace provide many a subject to capture in words or paint.

Glenburn is also an ideal getaway for anyone seeking refuge from their busy city lives; the stillness provides the perfect ambiance for yoga and meditation. It is also one of the few places in India where you can hike all day and return to relaxing comfort and night.

Although we have many activities on offer, don’t forget to just sit back on the verandah with a book in hand and a cup of tea, and enjoy some peace and solitude.

Our Glenburn Masseurs and Masseuses offer a gentle full body massage, using Darjeeling Green Tea Oil. This can be followed by a Green Tea bath soak or a steam treatment. We also offer Reflexology treatments, with an invigorating fresh mint and chamomile foot soak, the perfect end to a long day of hiking.

Massages are priced between Rs 1500 and Rs 2500. Pedicures and Manicures are priced between Rs 1000 and Rs 1200

Our special “mini spa” room is situated on the lower floor of The Water Lily Bungalow where you can enjoy your full body massage in a calm ambience of candles and soft Tibetan chanting.

Foot massages and head or shoulder massages, as well as manicures and pedicures can be had on any of our terraces, verandahs or gardens so you can soak in the atmosphere of a mountain view or sunset.

This can be adjusted to suit each guest. Most of the walking is down hill, and the duration of the walk can range from 1.5 hours to 3 hours, with the level of difficulty from moderate to tough, depending on the route one takes.

Guests may also drive the entire route, stopping along the way for short walks at various points of interest. The tour begins with an audio-visual presentation on the history of Glenburn, and a brief overview of how tea is grown, manufactured and tasted

We then move to the Tea Factory where you will be taken for a guided tour on how the leaf is brought in from the fields, weighed, and then taken through the processes of withering, rolling, fermenting, drying and sorting.

The factory tour ends with a tea tasting session with our range of black, green, oolong and white teas, where one can discover the differences in aroma, flavour and appearance of tea manufactured in different ways and at during different times of the year.

Walk or drive through the tea fields with one of our guides, who will give you an insight into how the tea bush is grown and looked after. Interact with the Glenburn tea picker ladies and learn how to pluck the “two leaves and a bud” that is later manufactured into the tea that ends up in your teacup.

During the winter season, learn about the different types of pruning that is undertaken to increase the yield of the coming season. Interact with the estate workers as you move from one part of the estate to another.

Enjoy the variety of bird life, butterflies and flora that add to the diverse landscape that makes up a tea estate. Catch a crab, or pick some watercress from the numerous springs that filter through the fields. Refreshments will be provided at a suitable mid-way point.

Break for lunch at No. 10 Bamboo Grove, on the sandy banks of the River Rung Dung, which is accessed through a thick bamboo forest. Relax on the riverfront and paddle in the rock pools, while you enjoy your meal.

An alternative picnic venue is the Coffee Bari, half way down the hillside, which has great views of the two Glenburn valleys on all sides. Or return to the bungalow for lunch.

The tour of the tea fields can also be incorporated into other walks, for example the walk to The Glenburn Campsite, which goes through the Simbong Tea Division.

The Tea Factory and tasting tour is normally done in the morning when the factory processes are taking place, but the tea fields can be visited at any time on the same day or another day depending on each guest’s itinerary.

This can be adjusted to suit each guest. All the walking is downhill. The duration of the walk can range from 1.5 hours to 4 hours, and the level of difficulty can range from moderate to tough, depending on the route one takes.

Guests may also drive the entire route, stopping along the way for short walks at various points of interest. Our experienced guide-cum-naturalist will lead you through the Bora Gaon Village and into the Simbong Tea Division, past the Sim Jhora (stream and waterfall), and finally into the Simbong Forest area.

You can follow the main forest track, or break off at various points to take shortcuts through the forest. Enjoy the spectacular views of Sikkim (including Namchi Baazar and Manjitar Village), the hill station of Kalimpong, and the River Rungeet, which flows through the valley below.

You will gradually descend from a height of around 3000 feet, down to the river, which lies at around 800 feet. Our forests contain a rich diversity of birds, butterflies, flora and plant life, as well as animals typical to this habitat.

Refreshments will be provided along the way, and a jeep is never far away, should you feel tired and wish to drive down the rest of the way. Once down at The Glenburn Campsite, on the banks of the River Rungeet, guests have a choice of the following activities:

  • Paddling in rock pools
  • Fishing
  • Bird watching
  • Beach activities (croquet, beach cricket and other games)
  • Relaxing on the sandy beaches and rocks by the river
  • Short walks along the river (including to the suspension bridge to Manjitar Village)

Lunch is served according to each guest’s preference, either as a sit-down meal by the cabin, or picnic-style on the river’s beaches and rocks. A barbeque is a popular option too.

In the afternoon, guests have a choice of further river/beach activities before we drive back up to the bungalow. They may also try the hike to the Manjitar suspension Bridge after lunch.

There is also a barbeque/bonfire option in the evening, and then guests have the option to spend the night at The Glenburn Lodge, our log cabin at the Campsite.

A four-wheel drive jeep will take you down through the Simbong Forest to the River Rung Dung. Cross the river over a small suspension bridge, that takes you into the Badamtam Forest. Walk along the forest path, following the River Rungeet.

On the way, our naturalist will help you identify the birds, butterflies, occasional animals, and the rich plant life to be found in the forest. You will also walk through a forest village, and have the option to walk down to the sandy banks of the river.

After about an hour’s walk, you will reach the Manjitar Suspension Footbridge, leading the way across the River Rungeet into the old royal kingdom of Sikkim.

This spectacular structure was built by the British in 1902, after the original cane bridge was washed away by the floods of 1899. About 200 feet across, and at least 100 feet above the river, crossing this footbridge is an adventure in itself!

A black and white photograph of the original cane bridge, which was taken some time during the last century by Robert Phillips, can be seen on the Glenburn front verandah.

International Visitors need permits to enter Sikkim from designated entry points, and this little village is not important enough to have that status, but you can place a foot or two into Sikkim quietly before you come back across the bridge into West Bengal!

Indian guests are allowed to enter Sikkim and water around the village or visit the local Shiv Temple. Lunch will be served picnic-style, somewhere along the way.

The return journey follows the same route back, although one can also take the alternative “river beach” route, which is slightly tougher, and depends on the season and whether the river water level permits it.

Refreshments are served back at the Glenburn-Badamtam Bridge, where guests have a choice of walking to the Glenburn Campsite for the evening/night or driving back up to The Burra Bungalow. The Campsite is another 20-minute walk away.

See Excursion to The Glenburn Campsite for evening/night options at The Glenburn Lodge.

This hike can only be completed between mid-November and May, when the water level in the river is low enough to allow the hike. Guests are driven down to the head of the river at Section Number 10, and then picked up again in the evening from The Glenburn Campsite.

The river meanders along the northern boundary of the Estate, and the landscape varies from bamboo groves and tea fields, to thickly forested areas. You will find a huge variety of birds, butterflies and plant life along the way, as well as pug marks (if not sightings!) of animals which visit the river for a drink!

Feel free to stop and catch some fish along the way, or for a paddle in one of the rock pools. Enjoy a picnic lunch along the way, and end up at The Glenburn Campsite by teatime.

Refreshments are served at the Glenburn-Badamtam Bridge, where guests have a choice of walking to The Glenburn Campsite for the evening/night or driving back up to The Burra Bungalow.

The campsite is another 20-minute walk away, along a flat forest track, or another hour’s walk along the river, eventually joining up with the River Rungeet, which leads to the campsite.

This hike is best done in the afternoon, when the Shikari Dura Village comes alive after the day’s work in the field. Set out from The Burra Bungalow, past the factory and some tea fields, before descending into the village.

Stop to browse in the village shop and taste some of the locally made pickles and preserves. Watch a game of carom, or whatever else the villagers are doing for their evening entertainment.

From hens and baby chicks to billy goats, cows and pigs and all their babies, there is plenty to see and play with. Interact with the villagers and the local children for as long as you like, and then walk back up to the bungalow, through yet more tea fields.

On they way up you will pass the Shikari Dura Government School, which is part of our Welfare Program. Our guests have contributed funds to increase the compound area and renovate the classrooms and we fund the salaries of extra teachers during school hours in addition to running a reading library for the village children after school hours.

If you do not fancy the walk back, which is entirely uphill, a vehicle can wait for you at the bottom of the village, and drive you back to the bungalow.

The first section of the journey can be done by jeep, with half an hour of uphill walking; alternatively, walk the entire way up or down, which would take about two hours

A short 15-minute drive, followed by a gentle uphill walk for 30 minutes, leads to our charming local church and convent school, which is run by the Irish Cluny Sisters. Mass takes place every Sunday, and the Sisters are happy to meet any of our guests over a cup of tea or coffee.

Have a wander around their school, meet the children that board with them, and play with the baby animals that they look after (chicks, puppies, kittens, kid goats – depending on what they have at the time).

As part of our Scholarship Programme, many of our guests sponsor children from Glenburn for their primary education at the Cluny School. The sisters will gladly invite you to watch school assembly or peep into the classrooms if you visit during school hours.

This is also the site of our Glenburn Lamahatta Orange Orchard, where we grow the oranges we use for our Fine Cut Orange Marmalade. From here you can enjoy spectacular views of the surrounding hillside and Darjeeling Town on the opposite hilltop.

See what other fruit and vegetables are being grown at the time, pick a bundle of fresh flowers to take back to your room, or have a cup of tea with our resident caretaker.

From here, head further uphill for about 10 minutes to reach the Gorkhay Daara viewpoint, which has jaw-dropping views of Glenburn peacefully resting below, set against the green peaks of Sikkim and the snowy majesty of Mount Kanchenjunga.

Then start your descent back to the main track where your jeep awaits you to take you back to The Burra Bungalow. Stop off on your way back at the Glenburn Hospital, to see what welfare activities take place on a tea estate. Visits to Buddhist and Sai Baba centres within the Estate can also be arranged.

Guests have an option of 2 routes:

Via Tukdah and Mineral Springs (Dawai Pani) Tea Estates:
This route, though slightly shorter than the other, is probably the tougher of the two, since for much of the way you will be following tiny village tracks and forest paths, and travelling off the beaten track.

From Glenburn, you walk through Tukdah Tea Estate, and then through a few villages into the abandoned but historical Dawai Pani (Mineral Springs) Tea Estate, which was one of the first Tea Estates in the area.

Cross the beautiful waterfall and spring from where the river Rung Dung, which meanders through Glenburn, begins. The bridge, built by Col. HC James in August 1858, still remains (a photograph taken by the colonel in 1858 can be seen on the Glenburn front verandah).

Once across the river, you begin the steep climb up to Darjeeling Town, through little villages and patches of tea estate. The town can be approached from various points, the popular one being at The Lebong Cantonment Stadium.

From here you may either drive into the town (another 5 kms) or take a pedestrian shortcut through the outskirts of the town up to the Mall and Chowrasta area (only 2 km).

From Lebong, you can also walk down to The Glenburn Campsite on a completely different route. This one takes you through the Badamtam Tea Estate via The Buddha of Badamtam and The Manjitar Suspension Footbridge (details given below).

Via Badamtam Tea Estate, The Buddha of Badamtam and The Manjitar Suspension Footbridge:
This second route between Darjeeling Town and Glenburn is completely accessible by a four-wheel drive jeep, so you can either hike the whole way or divide the journey into a hike cum drive.

Guests may begin either at Lebong Stadium, or at The Glenburn Campsite, depending on whether they would like to walk uphill or downhill.

Walking downhill out of Lebong, you first cross Ging and Bannockburn Tea Estates. En-route you will be able to stop at some fabulous viewpoints where you can look down at Jore Thang Town on the border of West Bengal and Sikkim, and across the mountains to other parts of Western Sikkim.

Once you enter Badamtam Tea Estate, our jeep will be waiting with refreshments, before you begin the climb up to The Buddha of Badamtam, an impressive 14-foot high statue of Lord Buddha, made of metal basta work.

It sits atop the highest hill in the area and has a backdrop of white snow-capped mountains. Most images of Lord Buddha have his eyes closed in meditation, however here the artist has kept his eyes open, as she felt that since he had attained enlightenment in such a beautiful place, he must surely have opened his eyes to look up to the gods above.

The tale of how such a mammoth statue made its way to such a remote place is another story, and is one which our guide will be happy to share with you. From Badamtam, one begins the descent out of the tea fields and into the forest.

To one’s left one can see the Sikkim hills and the River Rungeet below, and to one’s right is the entire Glenburn Estate, with the River Rung Dung below, separating the two hills.

The road forks and one can chose to walk down via The Manjitar Suspension Footbridge (see details on Hike along River Rungeet to Manjitar Village in Sikkim), or straight down to The Glenburn Campsite.

Steeped in British colonial history, the hill station of Darjeeling stands at a height of 6,000 feet, with the magnificent Mount Kanchenjunga as a backdrop.

Take a ride on the famous Darjeeling Hill Railway (now a World Heritage Site) from Darjeeling Town, through the picturesque Batasia Loop and then to the neighboring towns of Ghoom and Kurseong.

Wander through the Mall, shop for local crafts and antiques along the way, drop in to the famous Das Studios for a peek at their collection of old black and white photographs of the area, and stop for a cup of tea or coffee at Keventers or Glenary’s, two famous old cafeterias on the Mall.

Visit the grand old Planters’ Club, once the Palace of a local Maharaja, and enjoy the views of the surrounding hillside (Glenburn included!) from Chowrasta, where the bandstand still conjures up old colonial memories of days gone by.

Toy Train tickets can be booked in advance and you can work the schedule of the train into the rest of your day and specific interests. There are morning trains that leave from Ghoom and head to Darjeeling Station, where our car will meet you, and afternoon trains that connect from Darjeeling to Ghoom on the way home.

We are happy to pack you a picnic lunch or you can try some local restaurants – Glenary’s has a nice cafeteria as well as a multi-cuisine restaurant, but you could also try a more typical local restaurant, for a traditional “momo and thugpa” meal. Whatever you feel like doing, our experienced guide will lead you to the right place!

In the afternoon, drive a little out of the main town to the Lebong Contonment area, where the original Lebong Race Course remains. Although not in use today, Glenburn horses once walked across the valley every Sunday to take part in the weekly races held here.

Visit the Zoo – famous for its snow leopards and red pandas, the renowned Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, the Tibetan Self-Help Center, the Lloyds Botanical Gardens, and the Ghoom Monastry, and then drive (or hike) back to Glenburn in time for dinner.

Our Glenburn guides and drivers can introduce you to the basic layout and sights of the town but should you wish for some more expert knowledge we can arrange for an expert guide to meet you in the town.

This can be organised for you at an extra cost and will depend on the availability of the guides we normally use, but the sooner you let us know, the sooner we can book the better ones.

Situated on a ridge between two hills, Deolo and Durpin, towering over the River Teesta, this picturesque hill town is quiet and peaceful compared to Darjeeling and caters to more local residents than tourists.

With great views of the Kanchenjunga mountain range, the town is an interesting blend of Buddhist, Christian and Hindu influences with its monasteries, gompas, temples and missionary activities.

The local bazaar (Wednesdays and Saturdays) is a delightful place to shop and interact with the local ethnic mix of Lepcha, Bhutia and Nepali communities, often dressed in their colourful traditional costume, selling local farm produce.

Our drivers would be happy to share some of our secret shopping addresses with you – Nepali and Chinese brocade fabrics, silks, Tibetan curios and Buddhist paraphernalia, and, of course, the famous Kalimpong lollipops and Kalimpong cheese.

For orchid lovers, the town is a real treat with its many nurseries and rich flora. The snow-capped mountains provide panoramic views of the surrounding countryside, and at an altitude of 5,500 feet (1250m), the air is crisp and cool.

A visit to the nearby Samthar Plateau, the Lava Valley or Neora National Park – all areas of incredible beauty with a rich diversity of birds and flora – can also be arranged, but best done as an overnight stay.

The Zong Dog Palri Fo-Brang Monastery is situated in a very picturesque area on Durpin Dara Hill, near the army cantonment. It has impressive wall paintings, and houses some rare Buddhist scriptures that were brought to India after the invasion of Tibet in 1959.

The monastery was consecrated in 1976 by his Holiness, The Dalai Lama. The compound has amazing views of the surrounding countryside on all sides.

Across the other side of the town on Deolo Hill, Dr Graham’s Homes is a unique educational institution started in 1900 by Dr John Anderson Graham, a Scottish missionary, with six orphans.

Today the school has a strength of 1,500 boys and girls from impoverished and deprived backgrounds from the North East of India. The 500 acres of hillside house a self sufficient “children’s city” with extensive educational facilities, cottages for their accommodation, a magnificent church, hospital, children’s nursery, bakery and farm.

More than half the 800 boarders are supported through the fundraising efforts of a number of overseas committees and through a worldwide sponsorship network.

The school choir performs a series of winter concerts at venues such as St Paul’s Cathedral in Calcutta – an event that has become a highlight of the Christmas season.

We can pack a picnic lunch for you to be enjoyed along the way, or recommend a local restaurant. Our previous manager Neena Pradhan also runs a lovely homestay just outside the town and we can organise lunch at her house (depending on her availability and at an extra cost).

She is an excellent host with a lot of knowledge on the local region. Cooking classes can also be arranged on request. For more information please check

A typical day of fishing at Glenburn will include a hike, picnic and transport as per our usual package. However, there is a supplement of Rs 1000 per person to cover fishing equipment and Ghillie.

The fishing season at Glenburn starts in early October and runs through until about March. If you are a keen fisherman, we would recommend that you carry your own equipment, especially flies, plugs and spinners. We do keep some basic tackle, but can’t promise it will match your own.

Rooms: 8
Price: from 401 EUR per night


Subscribe to Hotel Boutique
Get updates on the latest hotels and offers added from us to your inbox
Recent Comments