27°C | 19°Cview more Courtesy: WeatherBug
Fixed Holiday Packages
- Rs. 25999Ladakh Packages with Return Flights from Delhi
- Rs. 14999Himachal packages for 7 days with transport from Delhi
- Rs. 19999Chardham Yatra with transport from Delhi and all meals
- Rs. 15999Uttrakhand Holiday for 8 days with transport from Delhi
- Rs. 77777Kailash Mansarovar Yatra - Avail Rs 10,000 off
Popularly known as the Queen of Hills, Darjeeling is located in the Shivalik hills of the lower range of the Himalayas. Like most other hill stations in India, the British developed Darjeeling as a respite from the summer heat in the plains. The British loved the town for the complete rejuvenation package that it offered - serene atmosphere, view of the snowline, scented pines and a golden colored brew called the Darjeeling tea. The place has since become a pilgrimage of sorts for tea connoisseurs.
Darjeeling Himalayan Railway is the town's other claim to global fame. Connecting the town with the plains, it was declared a World Heritage Site in 1999 and is one of the few steam engines still in service in India. Darjeeling also has several British-style public schools, hotels and houses that are very old and declared as heritage buildings.
Until the beginning of the 18th century, the area between the present borders of Sikkim and the plains of Bengal, including Darjeeling and Kalimpong belonged to the kings of Sikkim. In 1706 the king lost Kalimpong to the Bhutanese and Darjeeling was invaded by the Gurkhas in 1780, as they had established and strengthened themselves in Nepal. These annexations by the Gurkhas became a sore point with the British who were quick to appreciate Darjeeling's value as a site for a sanatorium and hill station, and also as a probability to a pass into Nepal and Tibet. They started building pressure on the king of Sikkim into granting the site to the British. It was just a dense, uninhabited forest when the British came in and they soon converted that into tea estates, built roads, bridges, sanatoriums houses and lodges. Nepali labor was employed in the growing of tea plantations and by 1857 Darjeeling had a population of some 10,000. Even today, the vast majority of people speak Nepali as the first language.
Like most hill stations, Darjeeling is best covered by foot. The cool climate makes walking around town a pleasure. Travelers can hire taxis from stands near the entrance to the Mall for longer trips. Shared-jeeps also operate on certain stretches.
Tourist Traps in the City
During monsoons between June to August landslides and road blockades are not unusual. If you chance to be around this time carry raincoats and umbrellas and be ready for cloudy and foggy days. In winter, water tends to be scarce.
Picnics, rides and swings along the Batasia Loop stretch of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway is a very popular local activity.
Shawls woolens, curios beads, semi precious and precious stones, tankhas, Buddhist curios and artefacts are items to shop for in Darjeeling. The well known shopping centers are as follows Chowk Bazaar, Chowrata, Ladenla Road, Nehru Road, Motor Stand and Mahakal Market. Curio retailing shops such as Art Emporium and Dorjee on Ladenla Road, Eastern Arts on Chowrasta and last but not the least Nepal Curio House on Nehru Road are important for most shoppers
Several shops, hotels and travel agents all over Darjeeling have STD telephones with meters. There are internet cafes in town; charges for a half-hour are normally around Rs.15.
AirTel, Reliance, Aircel, Tata Indicom, Vodafone and BSNL are the main cell service providers.