Darjeeling is chiefly inhabited by the Gorkhas of Nepali background. Apart from that, this hilly region is also populated by other aboriginal tribal groups such as Sherpas, Limbu, Bhutias, Lepchas, Tamangs, Gurungs, Rai and Newars. Other communities migrated to Darjeeling and settled there include Anglo-Indians, Tibetans, Chinese, Bengali, Biharis and Marwaris. The three major religions followed at Darjeeling are Hinduism, Buddhism and Christianity and the most commonly spoken languages of Darjeeling are Nepali, Gorkha, Tibetan, Hindi, Bengali and English. The tourism industry and the tea industry are the two major professions that support the economy of Darjeeling. Aside from its world famous Darjeeling Tea, other crops like maize, paddy, millets, potato, ginger and cardamom are also extensively grown here.
The special gourmet feasts of Darjeeling that every visitor must taste without fail include Momos, Thukpas, Gundruk and Sinki, Wai Wai, Kinema, Chhang, Tongba, Nigar, Phagshapa, Tama, Sishnu Soup, Thentuk, Darjeeling Cuppa, Sael Roti, Curpee; the Himalayan Bubble Gum made of Cow and Yak Milk, Sizzerlers, Thai Chicken Rice Noodle, Chicken Sausages, and so on. Maximum of the houses and other edifices of Darjeeling are built either in colonial and gothic fashion of architecture or in Buddhist pagoda style.
Darjeeling is acclaimed as a niche for music and music lovers and the most common pastime of the citizens here is singing and playing musical instruments. The people of Darjeeling adore their traditions and the role of music in their social and cultural life and feel pride and prestige in preserving the customs. Darjeeling is a foremost hub of Nepali rock music and western music is also popular amongst the young generation of 21st century. Other than that, the most favorite sports of Darjeeling are cricket and football.
Almost all the Hindu and Tibetan festivals that adhere to the lunar calendar are celebrated in Darjeeling throughout the year. Aside from the major festivals celebrated nationwide such as Diwali, Dussera, Holi, Christmas, etc. the ethnic natives of Darjeeling celebrate various local festivals such as Losar, Chaita Dasai, Maghe Sankranti, Buddha Jayanti, Saga Dawa, Chotrul Duchen, Cho Nga Chopa, Tendong Lho Rumfaat, Sansari Puja, Ashar ko Pandra etc. Moreover, the ten days annual Darjeeling Carnival held in the winter season particularly presents the rich cultural and musical heritage of Darjeeling Hill Resort. The Teesta Tea and Darjeeling Tourism Festival are organized in the months of December and January.
Darjeeling has been flourishing as an important summer getaway and a thriving tourist destination since 1860 AD and it happens to be the only site in eastern India that draws such a large figure of foreign tourists every season. Darjeeling is also a much loved shooting locus for Bollywood and Bengali Film Industry. ‘Kanchenjunga’ by Satyajit Ray, his ‘Feluda’, the popular Bollywood movies Aradhana as well as Main Hoon Na were filmed at Darjeeling. .