The name ‘Darjeeling’ is derived from a monastery called ‘Dorje Ling’, built by Denzongpa tribals in 1765, on behalf of the Chogyal or King of Sikkim. It was a part of the kingdom of Sikkim and a native tribe named ‘Lepcha’ were the original inhabitants of the place, before being invaded by the Gorkhas of Nepal in the 1790s. Under the Sugauli Treaty of 1815, Nepal yielded one-third of their lands to the British, who established Darjeeling as a sanatorium. Dr. Arthur Campbell of the Indian Medical Service, started tea plantation in the town, in 1841. This gave rise to several tea estates being started in the area. The differences between the British and Sikkim led to the annexation of Darjeeling into the British Empire. During the 19th century, immigrants from Nepal were recruited to work in the tea plantations and construction sites. The district grew as a popular tourist destination and started to be known as ‘Queen of the Hills’. After independence, in 1947, Darjeeling was merged with West Bengal. Migration of thousands of Tibetan refugees happened in 1950, when Tibet was annexed by the People Liberation Army of China. This led to a surge in population of Darjeeling. In the 1980s, the ethnic population demanded for a separate state for Gorkhas, leading to political tensions and the issue is still being hotly debated.
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The Indian Railways offers five hill trains: Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, Nilgiri Mountain Railway, Kalka-Shimla Railway, Kangra Valley Railway, and Matheran Railway.
Here is how you can explore the best places on a budget trip to North East India.
Plan a holiday in Northeast India and explore its wealth of wildlife sanctuaries home to some exotic species of animals and birds.
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