Darjeeling, Information about Darjeeling, Darjeeling Tour


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Information about Darjeeling

Darjeeling, formerly known as Darjiling is also known as the place of thunderbolt or Dorja the mystical. Darjeeling is situated at an altitude of 2134 m above sea level in North Bengal. Darjeeling is the famous hill station in West Bengal and has spectacular scenery and offers views of the Himalayas. The scenic beauty of Mount Everest and Kanchenjunga, the two highest peaks of the Himalayas, is something never to be forgotten. Darjeeling is built on spur on the Ghoom Sanchal Ridge and faces the Himalayas and the surrounding hills. These hills are thickly covered with coniferous forests or terraced tea gardens. The upper reaches of the popular hill station were originally occupied by the Europeans who built houses with commanding views. Nepali, Lepcha, tibetan, Bhutia and Bengali are the various people that lives in Darjeeling. The best season to visit Darjeeling is from October to December and April to June.

History of Darjeeling

The history of Darjeeling is quite interesting. Until the beginning of the 18th century, the whole area between the present borders of Sikkim and plains of Bengal belonged to the Raja of Sikkim. Although, some of its parts were annexed from time to time by the Bhutanese and Nepalis. Due to the East India Company's intervention and the subsequent return of the territory's sovereignty to the Rajas of Sikkim and clash between the Sikkimese and the Nepalese, the British dispatched in 1828 two officers on a fact–finding mission. The officers were quick to appreciate the value of the area known as Darjeeling, the place of Thunderbolt for a sanatorium and as a key of entry into Nepal and Tibet. The officer observations were conveyed to Calcutta and the British authorities forced the Raja to cede this area to them for a small stipend of Rs. 3000. Later developments enabled the British to annex the entire area to then empire. Darjeeling, which was completely under forests, shaped into a resort by 1840. A road was built and numerous houses and a sanatorium was constructed. Hotels too followed in course to time. A toy train was constructed by 1881 at a cost of Rs.1, 700,000 only! Darjeeling became the summer capital of the state of Bengal.

Industries of Darjeeling

Tea is the most important crop which is grown in Darjeeling. The East India Company started growing tea, first in the Assam and later in Darjeeling. The various varieties of tea are available which are grown in the much lower altitudes in Bagdogra and in Sylhet in Bangladesh. Today, India is the largest producer of tea in the world and about a quarter of the total output of tea is grown in Darjeeling. Tea is the national drink of India and is consumed in large scale in India. The old method of tea processing can be seen in the Happy Valley Tea Estate near Darjeeling. Most of the Darjeeling's tea is sold through auction houses, the largest centre is in Kolkata.

Festivals of Darjeeling

Buddha Jayanti, the birth anniversary of Lord Buddha is celebrated at various Buddhist monasteries in Darjeeling. This festival is celebrated in the month of May.

Sports of Darjeeling

The Himalayan Mountaineering Institute holds mountain climbing, rock climbing, etc. There are any number of Himalayan treks which can be undertaken form Darjeeling. A popular trekking is to Sandakphu. The best season for trekking are April to May and October to November.

Tourist Attractions in Darjeeling

The famous tourist attractions in Darjeeling are the Tiger Hill, Ghoom Monastery, Observatory hill, Tibetan Refugee Self-Help Centre, Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park, Mirik, Lloyd Botanical Garden and Kurseong.

Tiger Hill
Tiger Hill is situated about 11 km from Darjeeling. It is about 2555 meters high and approachable through Gheem Rock, a fine picnic spot. It is famous for the spectacular view it offers of sunrise over the Kanchenjunga mountain flanked by Kabru and Pandim. Mount Everest and the other two peaks of the Makalun and Lhotse are visible on a clear day. April and October are the best seasons to enjoy this view. Sanchal Lake and Forest are an attractive picnic spot, situated near Tiger Hill. It is the source of water for the city. Permission has to be obtained from the Municipal officer, Darjeeling, to visit the place.

Tiger Hill, Darjeeling

Ghoom Monastery
Ghoom Monastery is situated about 8 km from Darjeeling. According to some people, the railway climbs to a height of 8000 feet at Ghoom Monastery, making it the highest railway station in the world. This monastery, also known as the Yiga-Choling Gompa is the Yellow hat Tibetan-Buddhist monastery and the most famous monastery in the area. This monastery was built in 1875 and has a five metre high gilded statue of Maitreya or the future Buddha.The monastery follows the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism. There is a 15-feet high statue of "Maitreya Buddha" (Coming Buddha) in the monastery. It contains images of Buddha’s disciples, Chenrezi and Chongapa.

Observatory hill
The Observatory Hill offers a grand view of the twin peaks of the Kanchenjunga range. This place is sacred to Lord Shiva and believed to be the site of the Mahakala cave. The Cave temple of Mahakal is situated on the top of the observatory. A Red Hat Buddhist monastery is also situated here which was destroyed in the 19th century, but gave its name to this hill station.

Tibetan Refugee Self-Help Centre
The Tibetan Refugee Self-Help Centre is situated in the main area in Darjeeling. After the Chinese invasion, thousands of Tibetan refugees settled in Darjeeling and the rehabilitation centre was established in 1959 to enable them to continue to practice their skills and provide an outlet for their goods. This worskshop produces woollen carpets, textiles, curios, jewellery and a variety of items in wood and leather in traditional Tibetan craftsmanship.

Himalayan Mountaineering Institute
The Himalayan Mountaineering Institute was previously headed by late Tenzing Norgay, who jointly conquered Everest in 1953. This institute imparts the art of climbing hills to aspiring mountaineers and holds demonstrations during the season. This place also has a museum which has old mountaineering equipments, including those used on that historic climb, a model of the Himalayas and a display of Himalayan flora and fauna. There is also a telescope that belonged to Adolf Hitler.

Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park
Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park is located near the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute and is a high-altitude wildlife park. This Zoological Park is the home of the Siberian tiger, Himalayan black bear, deer, panda, panther, snow leopard, llama and many colourful birds.

Mirik is a charming place that has been recently opened to the tourists. Mirik is a famous hill station, about 1800 metres high with a beautiful lake in the centre.

Lloyd Botanical Garden
The Lloyd Botanical Garden has an interesting collection of Himalayan alpine flora including banks of azaleas, ferns, rhododendrons, magnolias, orchids and multitudes of trees and plants. 

Kuseong, the charming hill station is situated about 32 km. from Darjeeling on the highway to Siliguri. Kurseong is situated at a height of 1482.5 meters above sea level and offers a magnificent southward view of the plains spreading to the distant horizon more than 150 km. away. Daw hill and Eagle's Crag are the two vantage points. There is a sericulture station here. The place is connected by railway with Kolkata and other cities via New Jalpaiguri.

How to get here

By Air:
The nearest airport is located at Bagdogra, which is about 90 kms. from Darjeeling. Indian Airlines services connect Bagdogra with Kolkata, Delhi, Patna, Guwahati and Imphal. 

By Rail:
New Jalpaiguri, about 80 km and Siliguri, about 90 km are the nearest railway stations to Darjeeling which are connected with Kolkata, Guwahati, Patna, Delhi, Bhubaneshwar, Chennai, Thiruvananthapuram etc. The tiny toy train starts from New Jalpaiguri and reaches Darjeeling in 7 hours. It is a thrilling experience.

By Road:
Darjeeling is connected by road with all important cities of the eastern region like Siliguri, Gangtok, Guwahati and Kolkata.

States in East India
Bihar || Jharkhand || Orissa || Sikkim || West Bengal

Information about West Bengal
Introduction || History || Geography || Climate || Economy || People || Crafts || Cuisine || Festivals || Tourist Attractions

Cities in West Bengal
Darjeeling || Gaur || Kalimpong || Kolkata || Shantiniketan || Vishnupur

Distances from Cities in West Bengal
Barddhaman || Durgapur || Haldia || Hubli || Kolkata || Siliguri

Festivals of West Bengal
Ganga Sagar Mela || Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Jayanti || Basant Panchami || Birthday of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa || Bengali New Year || Buddha Jayanti || Id || Rabindra Jayanti || Mahesh Yatra || Jhapan || Durga Puja || Christmas || Paush Mela || Vishnupur Festival || Teesta Tea & Tourism Festival

Wildlife Sanctuaries in West Bengal
Sunderbans National Park || Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary || Sajnekhali Bird Sanctuary || Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park || Kolkata Zoo

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