Roads To Darjeeling

You need to reach one of the following places before you start the uphill road journey to Darjeeling: 
  • New Jalpaiguri or NJP which is the largest railway junction in the area. If you are coming by long distance train, this is where you will likely get off. 
  • Bagdogra, which is the nearest airport for Darjeeling. 
  • Siliguri, which is the second largest city in West Bengal and located only 5kms from NJP. You will likely be here if you are coming by long distance bus or personal car. 
    If you are looking for road route from Kolkata to Siliguri, then refer to this section.  
    In the infograph below I have shown all the roads that lead to Darjeeling from New Jalpaiguri and Bagdogra Airport. From New Jalpaiguri (NJP) the Hill Cart Road (NH-100) is the main route and the shortest. From Bagdogra, the Rohini route that eventually meets with NH-100 in Kurseong area is the usual route. Click the picture to view in full size. 
    Roads to Darjeeling 
    Road Routes To Darjeeling 
    Click the picture to view in full size 
    It takes about 2.5 hours (depending on traffic) to cover the 81kms distance from NJP to Darjeeling. NH-100 (Hill Cart Road) offers magnificent views of the mountains, valleys and village life. The toy train railway track runs side-by-side the road for most part. Check out Toy Train Route to know about this wonderful scenic route and all the villages and towns on the way to Darjeeling. 
    From Bagdogra Airport, the distance to Darjeeling is 72kms (by Rohini Route). You will travel for 10kms up to Matigara (a small town in Siliguri area) by the main road that connects Siliguri and then take a left turn towards Simulbari. At Simulbari the road bifurcates. There is a Police Check Post at the crossing at Simulbari. 
    One road from Simulbari goes via a village called Rohini. This road is known as Rohini road (now renamed to Subash Ghising Marg). This is the usual route taken by taxis from Bagdogra airport and although the road has a few steep sharp turns, it is usually maintained very well. It's a two-way road. 
    Another road goes through Pankhabari village and known as the Pankhabari Road. This is a narrow and sharply winding road. Two vehicles can barely pass each other. Taxis and commercial vehicles are not allowed to take this road to approach Darjeeling. Only Government Officials, VIPs, Journalists or those going for a short distance to a local village are allowed to take this route. Otherwise this is a one-way road only for downward vehicles. 
    However the local drivers sometimes trick the guards at the check post. They convince the guards saying the car is going for a short distance to a nearby destination such as Makaibari Tea Estate, then get on to Pankhabari road, but go all the way up to Darjeeling. Strangely there is no further checking on the way. But unless you are used to hill driving, you may not feel comfortable on this road due its many sharp bends. This road is however quite scenic and also in a fairly good condition. There is a point on the way from where you can see both Teesta and Balasun rivers flowing far below. 
    Both the roads (i.e. Rohini and Pankhabari) meet the main Hill Cart road (i.e. NH-100) at Kurseong. And from Kurseong, there is only one road (the Hill Cart Road) that goes all the way up to Darjeeling. 
    There is another road known as Mirik Road that branches off from a place called Dudhia shortly ahead of the point where the Pankhabari road starts. This scenic road goes via Mirik and Sukhiapokhri (Sukhia in short) as shown in the picture. Although it's a longer route and takes about 4.5 hours to reach Darjeeling from NJP or Bagdogra, on the way you will pass by some lovely tea gardens and view points. 
    Mirik is famous for its beautiful lake. This road also goes by Pasupati Nath Market located on India Nepal border and well known for foreign goods. Shortly thereafter you will get stunning views of mountains & valleys, and that of a road going all the way up to Sandakphu which is a trekkers paradise. Visit Route to Darjeeling via Mirik for more information and pictures of this route. 
    Finally all routes meet at Ghum Area which is the highest altitude point on the route. From here, there is only one road (the Hill Cart Road) that continues up to Darjeeling. The final stretch between Ghum and Darjeeling town is 7kms and takes about 25 minutes by car. 
    If you like to know more about the routes that lead to Darjeeling from Bagdogra, transportation and find out the experience on the way, then check out Bagdogra to Darjeeling

    Related Articles

    1) Check out How to Reach Darjeeling for the various options to reach Darjeeling from different parts of India and neighboring countries. 

    Visitors' Reviews/Comments

    Sushit Roy (September 2021) 
    I am planning drive up to Darjeeling from Siliguri. I am not a regular driver on hilly roads though I drove to Ooty and less hilly roads such as Coorg in Karnataka. Just want to know how safe to drive up to Darjeeling in October 13, 2021. I will driving a Baleno from Siliguri. Which is the best road to Darjeeling? 
    Raj ( September 2021 
    Hill Cart Road (NH-110) is the best road to drive, but check it out if it is open when you go... a landslide washed away a large section of the road near Tindharia (about 20kms below Kurseong). Otherwise, take the Rohini road (via Sukna or Matigara) which eventually meets with Hill Cart Road near Kurseong. If you are not confident to drive on steep hills, don't load your car much... that's the key to driving on such steep terrains. 
    Sushit Roy (September 2021) 
    Thanks Raj, much apreciated. One last confirmation is required, how about road through Mirik to Darjeeling. Is that road as steep as the Rohini one.  I think that will also give me an option of viewing Mirik too. 
    Raj ( September 2021 
    That's a nice route too although a longer one, but quite scenic at places. It will eventually meet the Hill Cart Road at Ghum. Being a longer route, that road is relatively less steep and you can visit Mirik as well. But, note that being a national highway, Hill Cart Road is broader and is safer at the sharp turns. 
    Devrath Banerjee (August 2021) 
    Hello, Can you let me know what road I should take for Siliguri to Taj Chia Kutir. Taj Chia Kutir to Mayfair Darjeeling, Mayfair back to Siliguri.  
    Raj ( August 2021 
    Hi, from Siliguri, take NH-10 towards Bagdogra and at Matigara crossing, take a right turn, go past Khaprail (there is an army camp here), then drive up to Simulbari crossing. Here you will find a police check post and the road here bifurcates. The one to the right is Rohini Road (now renamed as Subash Ghising Marg), but you need to go straight and get on to Pankhabari Road. But Pankhabari road is usually a one-way road for coming down from Kurseong. So ask the security guards at the check post and tell them that you want to go to Taj Chia Kutir and they should let you go (show your bookings if necessary). If they don't for some reason, you need to take the Rohini Road, reach Kurseong and then get on to Pankhabari road from the other end. 
    If you go straight instead, then shortly ahead the road again bifurcates... the one to the left goes to Mirik, the one straight ahead is the Pankhabari Road. From here, Taj Chia Kutir will be a 30-minute drive. 
    From Taj Chia Kutir, proceed uphill along Pankhabari road... it eventually meets Hill Cart Road (NH-110) at Kurseong. Continue along the Hill Cart Road and you will reach Darjeeling via Ghum. Once you reach Darjeeling lower town, get on to Laden La road... ask for the directions to Mayfair. While returning, take the Hill Cart Road, after going past Kurseong town, take Rohini Road down to Simulbari and then the earlier route back to Siliguri. Note... do not take Pankhabari road while coming down... it's a narrow and steep winding road. 
    Kaushik (August 2021) 
    Hello Raj, Is going via Mirik the only option from Bagdogra airport if I want to visit Margaret's Deck on the way? In such a scenario, I think it would be imperative to come out of the airport and negotiate with cabbies. Pre-paid counters won't have the option for such customised trips, I believe. Your suggestion on this, please. Thanks. 
    Raj ( August 2021 
    Hello, Margaret's Deck is 8kms ahead of Kurseong on Hill Cart Road and it's on the pre-paid cab route. Mirik route is different and you can't do both at the same time. 
    Kaushik (August 2021) 
    Okay, thank you. In that case, I would drop in at Margaret's Deck on my way to the hills and take the Mirik route on my return.  How many hours should I keep at hand — my flight is at 2.30pm — to reach Bagdogra well in time via Mirik? I plan to leave at 8am. Alternatively, I can also do a day trip to Mirik and other areas in its vicinity. 
    Raj ( August 2021 
    It takes about 4 hours to get to Bagdogra from Darjeeling via Mirik with a tea break in-between... so, if you start at 8 am, it's not quite feasible to cover Mirik on your return... you need to schedule a separate day trip. You can google "Day trip to Mirik" and find my article for details. For other day trip ideas, google "Day trips from Darjeeling" and find my article. 
    Santanu Rakshit (May 2021) 
    Hello, I have never driven on hills before. I wish to take my own car to reach kurseong. Will it be best for me to drive through hillcart road from Siliguri ? Thanks. 
    Raj ( May 2021 
    Yes, that will be the easiest route... it's a highway (NH-100). 
    Sourav (April 2021) 
    Hello Raj, Your blog is very good and informative. I am planning to travel to Darjeeling in October'21. I am having driving experiences but first time in hilly area. I am planning to take my Creta for this trip. Can you please suggest which road should I take from Siliguri. Please advise the roads with less steep and less turns. Time is not a factor for me and we can take the longer route if required. Mention the road conditions as well. 
    Raj ( April 2021 
    Hi, You can take NH-100 (Hill Cart Road). The road is overall okay, there are little rough patches along the way (particularly after Kurseong). 
    Bharathi (March 2021) 
    Hi Raj, Thanks for all your insights. I would be arriving at the Bagdogra airport and planning to hire a car for self driving. Kindly suggest me a route to Darjeeling, that is easy on the driver and scenic at the same time. TIA!! 
    Raj ( March 2021 
    Bharathi, it's all about the eyes of the beholder :) 
    Turn left on Matigara (just after the flyover), keep going, go past the army cantonment area, once you reach Simulbari (shortly after Long View Tea Estate), turn right into Rohini road. Stop and ask if you are confused. Thereafter, it's only one route to Darjeeling... quite scenic. Rohini road eventually meets Kurseong on the main highway (NH-100), turn left. Good luck! 
    Rahul Mukherjee (February 2021) 
    Hi Raj, Requesting your help here. I plan to drive by my self on my Honda City from Kolkata thru to Gangtok with a stop over at Siliguri. Could you kindly outline the route I should take from Siliguri to Gangtok. 
    Do note that I have a 4 yr old with me as well and though I have huge experiences of driving all over India and in some of the hills down South India I havent eve driven in Sikkim or Darjeeling. Hence requesting you to provide with the safest of routes. Also which would be a safe route from Gangtok to Darjeeling. 
    Similarly do advise on the route from Darjeeling to Siliguri which would be less taxing. Hopefully road conditions would be good now. I intend to travel from 6th March onwards.... Looking forward to your inputs please... 
    Raj ( February 2021 
    Hi, take Sevoke Road (NH-10) from Siliguri... NH-10 crosses over Teesta near Teesta Bazaar and goes all the way to Gangtok. From Gangtok take NH-10 to come down and take Peshoke Road near Teesta Bazaar area which goes up and meets NH-100 (Hill Cart Road) at Jore Bungalow/Ghum area. Continue on NH-100 to Darjeeling. On your return, take the Hill Cart Road (NH-100) all the way down to Siliguri. 
    Nigel Vincent (June 2018) 
    Dear Raj, Thanks for all the details and information that you have provided. Very very helpful. I'll be visiting Darjeeling in October 2018 with my parents (aged 64+), sister, wife and daughter (age 2 at that time). Wanted your opinion and advice on traveling to Darj from NJP station. Taking ages into consideration should we go via hill cart or via Mirik? 
    Raj ( June 2018 
    Hello, hill cart road is shorter but steeper. Mirik route is a much longer route but the gradient is easier although there are sharp turnings on that route too. If you reach in the morning, like to take breaks in between and enjoy views, then Mirik route is good. 
    Gunjan (January 2017) 
    Dear Mr Raj, I have back issue.. had minor slip disc.. I just want to know how are roads currently. roads are bad? roads are having lots of curves (hair pin bends)? Roads in month of june? any new rail connectivity? It's very impressive.. your blog.. thanks and regards. 
    Raj ( January 2017 
    Roads to Darjeeling and Gangtok have pot holes in patches but generally okay. Monsoon takes its tolls and road repair takes place in the winter. Yes, there are many sharp bends. 
    Dr. Maulik Varu (May 2016) 
    Hi Raj... Very informative guidelines by you indeed. I just want to know if I return from Darjeeling to NJP by a car and want to visit Rangtong (Rongtong), which route should I take? 
    Raj ( May 2016 
    Hi, Hill Cart Road (i.e. NH-100) is not accessible shortly after Kurseong (on the way to NJP). So at Kurseong take Rohini road, go down to Sukna via Simulbari, and then drive up along Hill Cart road for 7kms. You will reach Rangtong. 
    S Ravi (February 2016) 
    Hi Raj, This is Ravi here. I am going thru your website and its really helpful with all the tips and info. I am planning a trip from Mumbai to WB and Darjeeling this Apr-May and thinking of driving all the way. It will be really helpful if you could give me some tip on the following points. Driving around in this area, road conditions and if there are any restrictions on private vehicles. Waiting for you reply. Thanks and kind regards. 
    Raj ( February 2016 
    Roads are generally okay. Take the route from Siliguri to Darjeeling via Mirik - great views of tea gardens, Mirik lake and drive along the Nepal border without restrictions. There will be security guards though at several places along the way, but won't bother you unless there is anything suspicious. No permits are required in Darjeeling, but you can't take cars to pedestrian only zones like the Chowrasta (Mall) area. Select a hotel which has parking. Roadside parking of private vehicles are not allowed. Roads are steep, narrow and winding. You should have experience in hill driving. Avoid driving at nights. 
    Kuldeep Kumar (February 2015) 
    Hi Raj, I want to know about the road condition, between NJP to Darjeeling and Darjeeling to Gangtok. 
    Raj ( February 2015 
    Hi, The normal route from NJP to Darjeeling is via Siliguri, Sukna, Simulbari, then by Rohini road up to Kurseong and then Hill Cart Road (NH55) to Darjeeling. Up to Kurseong the road condition is good. The Hill Cart Road from Kurseong onwards is quite patchy with potholes along the way, but overall bearable. From Darjeeling, the route to Gangtok is via Ghoom/Jorebunglow all way downhill to Teesta bazaar, and then uphill along NH-31A. Up to Teesta the road is okay. After that it gets patchy - road repair work going on along the way. 
    Joydeep Chatterjee (November 2014) 
    Dear Sir, I will be a first time driver on the hills, which road will be most suitable with wide passage and minimal curves to reach Darjeeling from Siliguri ? Is the Hill Cart road fully operational now, as I have learnt that it is wider with minimal curves than other roads. Will a normal front wheel drive hatchback able to climb the heights? Thanks in advance. 
    Raj ( November 2014 
    From Siliguri your route will be Hill Cart Road - Sukna - Simulbari - Rohini Road - Kursoeong - back on Hill Cart Road - Ghoom - Darjeeling. 
    Hill Cart road is still damaged and closed beyond Tindharia and therefore the diversion through Simulbari and Rohini road. Rohini road is a toll road and in very good condition. Driving is not difficult along this route if you are a seasoned good driver, even if it is for the first time. Normal cars can make it. Few tips since you will drive first time in Darjeeling hills (I am a veteran on this) 
    1)  Drive slow and on low gears. 
    2) Honk while taking turns and when you can't see cars coming from the other side. Most accidents in Darjeeling hills take place at the blind turns because you need to take a wider circular curve to go uphill and thus veering into the wrong side. And when a car coming down from the other side doesn't see you or you don't see it, there is a big risk. So keep honking at the turns. 
    3) If you need to stop on a slope, use handbrakes. 
    4) Do not overload your car, in fact keep it as light as possible... you should be able to easily move up on first gear after you have halted on a steep gradient or while taking a sharp uphill turn. Your car must not go backwards downhill. This is usually the biggest problems for first timers on such hills. 
    Good luck! 
    Deeksha (November 2014) 
    Hi Raj, I m travelling to Darjeeling this month and need to know if the route from Bagdogra airport to Darjeeling full of steep hills or is it combination of plains and hills. As per pictures and your description I believe the hills are not very steep but still need your advice. 
    Raj ( November 2014 
    Hi, The initial stretch up to Simulbari (about 40 minutes from Bagdogra) is on flat terrain. After that the roads are winding and steep for most part, but you will get relatively flat stretches at times. 
    Tanmoy Mitra (September 2014) 
    Dear Mr. Raj, I am planning to go Darjeeling very soon. I want to know what will be the smartest way to reach Darjeeling from Bagdogra Airport. I know there are so many options by road. But one of my partners has vomiting problem in car. So I am very much worried about that. So please suggest me in this matter. 
    Raj ( September 2014 
    You can take the Rohini road which is the shortest. Mirik road is longer by 1 hour but not as steep and winding as the other. 
    Rahul Biswas (May 2014) 
    Dear Mr. Raj, May I please know if there is any one way traffic restriction on Pankhabari Road? I shall like to reach Darjeeling from Siliguri side, climbing by Pankhabari Road. But someone from one automotive forum had said that Pankhabari Road is completely made one way for traffic in recent times and upward climb is not permitted by the authorities. Is it true? Please understand that I have over thirty years of experience in hill driving. And I think you must admit that the steepness of Peshok Road, Pankhabari Road and the Darjeeling-Jorethang Road is very rarely found elsewhere. It is also a joy for the drivers to drive on those roads. Here I do not wish to mention anything about Sandakphu and Pkalut, as those places need a 4WD/AWD vehicle. 
    Raj ( May 2014 
    Pankhabari road is now one way for coming down. It's too narrow to allow both way traffic. But the guards make exceptions for VIPs, Journalists etc. For reaching Darjeeling, you need to use the Rohini Road. It has been done up recently and is in excellent condition. It has been made a toll road (Rs. 10 for small cars, Rs 30 for larger vehicles like Tavera, Innova etc). 
    Divya (May 2014) 
    Hi! we are planning for Darjeeling in June 14, but 10 years son has nausea in hilly roads, can you advise us the road condition from NJP to Darjeeling. 
    Raj ( May 2014 
    From Rohini onwards the road is quite steep and winding (for about 2.5 hours). Otherwise road is okay. You can go via Mirik. Will take longer (4.5 hours), but the gradient is comparatively more gentle.