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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.