|Until the early part of the eighteenth century, Darjeeling was under the king of Sikkim. Later Gorkhas invaded the region and annexed the area, which they eventually lost to British. The British used the place to escape the heat and found the strategic importance of the area. They, hence, developed the area as a hill station and tea-growing area. Darjeeling is well known for its tea industry and eco-tourism.
Darjeeling is thought to be derived from the word Darjeeling, which literally means the place of Dorjee the majestic thunderbolt. Some believe that the thunderbolt belongs to the Lamaist religion and some believe that it belongs to Lord Indra.
Timber, tea, and tourism underpin the economy of Darjeeling. The tea plantations were originally developed by the British. Oranges and cardamom are also available in plenty. Traditional arts and crafts of Tibet and Sikkim are the products available for shopping. Traditional Tibetan and Sikkimese food as well as other Indian cuisines are available.
Rain can be expected any time in a year. Summer and spring are the two seasons most popular with the visitors. Darjeeling is a famous destination for Bollywood and Bengali film shooting.
Apart from the pleasant weather and scenic beauty, there is a lot to see and do in Darjeeling.
Happy Valley Tea Garden
Situated 1 km away from the town of Darjeeling, the Happy Valley Tea Garden is located on the Lebong Carter Road and provides a peaceful and relaxing getaway from the hustle and bustle of tourist-y Darjeeling.
The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway
Also known as the "Toy Train", the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway plies between New Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling and is a narrow gauge railway. This railway is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and offers beautiful views of the scenic mountains on its way to Darjeeling.
Situated at an altitude of 2590 meters, Tiger Hill is located 11 km from Darjeeling and presents a spectacular view of Mount Everest and Kanchanjunga. It is advised to go to Tiger Hill early in the morning and watch the sun rise over the mountain peaks.
Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park
Established in 1958, this zoo is dedicated to the memory of Padmaja Naidu, the former governor of West Bengal. Among one of the best zoos in the country, this is one of the only zoo which raises wild wolf in captivity. The zoo is also home to endangered species like the Red Panda, Siberian Tiger and the Snow Leopard.
This place has a religious significance to both Hindus and Buddhists. The Mahakal Temple which stands on this hill, is supposed to be a personification of Lord Shiva. The Bhutia Busty Gompa was earlier located here, before it was relocated. Hence the Observatory Hill is frequented by both Hindus and Buddhists.
St. Andrews Church
St Andrews is an old Anglican church, built in 1843 and is named after the patron saint of Scotland, St. Andrew. Early worshippers at this church were Scottish soldiers and tea planters. The church was seriously damaged in an earthquake and had to be re constructed in 1873.
HOW TO REACH US
The nearest airport to Darjeeling is Bagdogra which is approximately 95 km away from the city. There are some direct flights from the cities like Kolkata, Delhi and Guwahati to Darjeeling. From the airport, one can reach the city by hiring taxis. It will take almost 3 hours to reach Darjeeling from the airport. Flights are available from all major cities.
Darjeeling is well connected to some of the major cities close by such as Gangtok and Kalimpong which are located at a distance of 100 km and 51 km respectively. The city is also connected with Kolkata which is 651 km away and it takes around 14 hours to reach here. The capital city of Nepal, Kathmandu is just 310 KM away from this beautiful place. From the airport, one can reach the city by Bus or Cab.
The nearest railway station to Darjeeling is New Jalpaiguri which connects the city with all the major parts of the country. There are a number of trains from cities like Kolkata, Delhi, Guwahati, Chennai, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Bhubaneshwar and Kochi. People can hire private cabs from the station to reach Darjeeling.