The acreage of muscatel flavored tea
|State||: West Bengal|
|Type of Tourism||: Hill Station|
|Area||: 10.57 square kilometers|
|Population||: 132,016 (As per Indian census- 2011)|
|Altitude||: 2,050 meters|
|Best Tourist Season||: September to October and February to May|
|Clothing recommended||: Light woolens in summer and heavy woolens in winter|
|Languages spoken||: Nepali, Gorkha, Tibetan, Hindi, Bengali, English|
|Telephone Code||: India (0354), International (+91)|
|Pin Code||: 734101|
|What to buy||: Tea, Curio Items, Thangkas, Paintings, Local Oriental & Buddhist Artifacts from Dorjee, Miniature Monasteries, Handicrafts, Statues of Wood and Metal, Singing Bowls, Gift Ware, Furnishings, Artificial Jewellery, Leather Work, Garments Made from Yak Wool, Woolens and Other Warm Clothing, Ethnic Dresses, Carpets, Footwear, etc.|
|Food Specialties||: 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, Darjeeling Tea|
|Local transportation||: On Foot, Rental Car, Taxi, Auto Rickshaw, Horse Carts, Bicycle, city bus|
|Adventure in Darjeeling||: Trekking, Mountain Biking, Parasailing|
When Mark Twain; the great American author and humorist visited Darjeeling he was so spell bounded by its natural charisma that he cried out, “The one land that all men desire to see, and having seen once-by even a glimpse would not give that glimpse for the shows of the rest of the world combined.”
One of the most sought after hill resorts of India, globally renowned for its thriving tea industry and reckoned worldwide for its Darjeeling Himalayan Railway classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Darjeeling is perhaps the most precious jewel studded in the glorious diamond necklace of the lofty Himalayan Mountain Ranges. The administrative headquarters of the Darjeeling District and boasting of its exceptional autonomous rank in the state of West Bengal, Darjeeling is nestled in the Mahabharata Range (the Lesser Himalayas) at the altitude of about 2,050 meters above the sea level. Fondly labeled as the ‘Queen of the Himalayas’ Darjeeling, perched against the ethereal backdrop of the transcendental Mount Kanchenjunga is a paramount treasury of infinite scenic pulchritude.
Darjeeling, the ‘muscatel champagne of teas’ derives its name from a Tibetan word ‘Dorje Ling’ meaning ‘the land of Dorjee; the majestic thunderbolt’. Developed and brought to prominence as a summer retreat by British, Darjeeling, the erstwhile Victorian hamlet is indeed a Utopia blessed with tremendous beauty, blissful ambience and salubrious weather. In the words of Rabindranath Tagore; “Flowers are everywhere. The days are cold and the sun almost seems to play hide and seek with us”. Darjeeling, the potpourri of six ‘T’ s i.e. Tea, Teak, Toy Train, Tiger Hill, Tourism and Trekker’s Paradise is undoubtedly the dreamland incarnated. The flower filled promenades and the far flung stretches of the emerald green tea plantations of this colonial hill station enthrall its visitors to no extent. Darjeeling, evidently the seventh heaven of the botanists, ornithologists, photographers, artists, trekkers and holidaymakers is a must visit destination at least once in a lifetime.
History Of Darjeeling
Darjeeling, originally a part of the state of Sikkim was inhabited by several native tribes such as Lepchas, Bhutias and Limbus. In 1780 AD, Darjeeling was invaded by the Gorkhas and annexed to Nepal. Following the Anglo-Gorkha War and the Treaty of Sugauli of the year 1815, Darjeeling was ceded to the British East India Co. who reinstated it to the Sikkimese Chogyal as maintained by the Treaty of Titalia in 1817. Captain George Aylmer Lloyd and Mr. J.W. Grant, who were sent to resolve the dispute between Nepal and Sikkim stayed at Darjeeling; ‘the old Goorka station called Dorjeling’ for six days in February 1829. Overwhelmed by its unparalleled loveliness, charismatic milieu and pleasant ambience, Captain Lloyd conveyed the British Government that Darjeeling could serve as their sanitarium. After the survey by Captain Herbert, the ‘Project Darjeeling’ was approved and the land was taken on lease from the then Chogyal of Sikkim as per the ‘Deed of Grant’ on 1st February 1835.
Soon, under the direction of Dr. Arthur Campbell and Lieut. Napier, the foundation of the sanitarium was laid and thus the onset of the transformation of the then worthless and deserted mountain of Darjeeling into the present day thriving hill resort was marked. In the year 1839 a road was constructed that connected Darjeeling with the plains lying at the base. In 1841 Dr. Campbell brought Chinese tea seeds from the Kumaon region and before long a number of tea estates commenced operating commercially here. Darjeeling was annexed to the British East India Co. following some disagreement between Sikkim Chogyal and British authority in 1849. Darjeeling Municipality was established in the year 1850 and in 1866; Darjeeling District was given its final shape.
Over the years Darjeeling witnessed its all round development and progress and with the opening of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway in 1881, this advancement was further accelarated. Darjeeling disaster of the year 1898 was a dire event in the history of Darjeeling when the fatal earthquake caused significant damage to this juvenile town. Elite British Officials and well-off Indians of Kolkata started visiting Darjeeling in every summer and the town mellowed as a favorite tourist destination. In a little while this summer retreat came to be known by the title the ‘Queen of the Hills’.
After the Independence, Darjeeling was annexed to the state of West Bengal and a separate Darjeeling District was formed. During the later years, the demand of separate Gorkhaland created a lot of agitation in this region which was resolved in 1988 by appointing ‘Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council’ that was bestowed upon with the autonomy to govern the Darjeeling District. Recently Gorkha Janmukti Morcha again demanded a separate state and subsequently a new and more powerful ‘Gorkhaland Territorial Administration’ was elected. At present, Nepal is undertaking a campaign called ‘Greater Nepal’ under which Darjeeling, along with all the neighboring terrain ceased by the British from Nepal Kingdom should be returned to Nepal.