One of the most popular hill stations in India, Darjeeling in West Bengal, India, is a famous tourist destination. Home to rolling hills, tea plantation, amazing mountain views and perfect all-year weather, Darjeeling features on every Indian tourist’s travel list. And perched on the slopes of Jalpahar hills here is the Japanese Peace Pagoda. It is the tallest structure in town and attracts quite a lot of visitors each year. A peace pagoda is essentially a Buddhist stupa (mound-like structure) that is meant to inspire feelings of peace and harmony amongst people of all religions and races. Inaugurated on November 1, 1992, this peace pagoda is built in the style of a Japanese Buddhist order. Majestic white exteriors with beautiful sandstone carvings, golden statues of the four avatars of Buddha, etc. adorn the pagoda. From the top, visitors can feast their eyes on breathtaking views of the Kanchenjunga mountain range. To know more about this amazing place of tranquillity and beauty, take a look at our guide to Japanese Peace Pagoda, Darjeeling.
Things to do / highlights
Marvel at the artwork of the pagoda
Standing 28.5 metres (94 feet) tall with a diameter of 23 metres (75 feet), the Japanese Peace Pagoda is a majestic sight from afar. But up close, there are beautiful artworks to look at. On either side of the staircase leading up to the pagoda are magnificent statues of lions. On the pagoda itself, see beautiful carvings like the ‘Great departure of Siddhartha’ or 'Gift of Mango Grove by Amrapali at Vaishali’, relating to the Buddha’s life. Take a walk around the pagoda and admire the life of Buddha depicted in the artistic sandstone etchings that resemble wood carvings. The four avatars of Buddha, including Maitreya Buddha, in various postures like meditating, sleeping, standing and sitting can be seen during this walk.
Admire mountain views from the top
Another popular thing to do at the Japanese Peace Pagoda is to go right to the top of the pagoda to admire the magnificent views. Since it is the tallest free-standing structure in Darjeeling and perched on the slopes of Jalpahar hills, it has a significant advantage of height. Thus, visitors flock to it to take in the beautiful mountain vistas. From the top, you can feast your eyes on the snow-clad peaks of the Himalayan Kanchenjunga range. Though fog and rain might obstruct your views at times, on clear days, various Himalayan peaks are clearly visible from here. Looking straight down from the pagoda, you will see a thick foliage of pine trees. Further away, you will get a birds-eye-view of the town of Darjeeling. The Japanese Peace Pagoda is a perfect place for nature lovers and photographers in Darjeeling.
Enjoy the peace, calm and tranquillity
As a monument to world peace, the Japanese Peace Pagoda in Darjeeling is a place where you can come to experience some peace and tranquillity, away from the stress of daily life. Its idealistic location on the Jalpahar hill slopes surrounded by rows of pine trees makes it a perfect place to sit in peace and just relax. Away from the sounds of the city, you can spend some quality time here reflecting on the message of peace that the pagoda stands for. Most peace pagodas, including the one in Darjeeling, were created under the guidance of the Buddhist monk, Nichidatsu Fujii, founder of the Nipponzan-Myōhōji Buddhist Order in Japan.
Time your visit
Since the pagoda is located on a hill, it is advisable to check weather updates for foggy conditions or rains which might obstruct your views of the Kanchenjunga mountain range from the top of the pagoda. In the rainy season, there might be extensive cloud cover around the pagoda and winter may often bring in fog in the morning.
Dress for the weather
Due to its location and height, visitors are advised to dress in layers while visiting the pagoda. A cool breeze may suddenly pick up, so carry extra jackets or shawls. If you are visiting in the monsoon, carry waterproof jackets or umbrellas in case you get caught in a sudden downpour.
How to get there
Combination of public and private transport
Darjeeling station on the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway is the closest railhead to the Japanese Peace Pagoda, located about 2.5 km (1.5 miles) away. From there you can hire a taxi or shared jeep to take you to the pagoda.
Taxi or jeep
Taxis and shared jeep services known as ‘jeep taxi’ are easily available in Darjeeling and will easily take you to the pagoda. If you choose to travel by jeep taxi, you may have to wait until the entire jeep fills up before the driver will start the vehicle.
Located on the slopes of Jalpahar hills, the Japanese Peace Pagoda is easily accessible by your own car or a rental one. The pagoda is located just 15 minutes away from the town centre of Darjeeling and directions are easily available.
Free but limited parking is available at a short distance from the pagoda.
Japanese Peace Pagoda information
Japanese Peace Pagoda
Address: West Point, Darjeeling, West Bengal 734102, India
Opening hours: 4am - 7pm (daily)
Department of tourism: Visit Darjeeling
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