"Toy Train, Tiger Hill & Darjeeling Tea! What Else!" Top 5 Page for this destination Darjeeling by goutammitra
Darjeeling Travel Guide: 157 reviews and 471 photos
This page is being written almost 11 years after our last visit to Darjeeling! We spent a week there from 25th December'2000 to 3rd January'2001. Those were the day when Gorkha National Liberation Front ( GNLF) was in full power in Darjeeling controlling almost everything and running a parallel administration. They were extorting money from all the business houses, hotels, taxis and even tourists in the name of helping them to run the agitation. They were demanding a separate Statehood for the Gorkhas. It was not acceptable for the West Bengal govt or Indian Union State. It continued till June 2011, with GNLF out of power another group came called Gorkha Janamukti Morcha with Bimal Gurung at the helm of affairs. After endless bunds, several political murders peace ( ?) came to the Darjeeling Hills in July'2011, when new West Bengal Govt. by Mamata Bannerjee brought truce with them and empowered them with in the constitution of India. It can't be said now whether their demand for Gokhaland will end but now peace is there with people and tourists returning to the hills again.
It was that time in 2000/2001, we faced so much hatred for the plain lander or the Bengali people, that we decided not to visit this place again till peace comes back. We did made several visits to the hills but to the neighboring state Sikkim.
Now, we are thinking of visiting Darjeeling again during winter!
Darjeeling, the name came from Dorjeeling a famous Bhutia Monastry which was there at the Mall or Observatory hill, overlooking the Kanchendjonga peaks.
The continuing discord between Sikkim and the British resulted in a war, culminating in the signing of a treaty and the annexation by the British of the area east of the Teesta River in 1865. By 1866, Darjeeling district had assumed its current shape and size, covering an area of 1,234 square miles (3,200 km2).
Two persons responsible for developing Darjeeling in to a hill station Dr.Arthur Campbell , a surgeon with East India Company and Lieutenant Robert Napier also with East India Company. Dr.Campbell established a T.B.Sanatorium here for the British who were in India. The British used Darjeeling as summer capital of India ( till 1911) and Bengal ( Till date). Many new building were set up by the British and tea plantation started. The Orthodox ( Black tea with two leaves and a bud) Tea produced here in Darjeeling produced an unmatched aroma , which in turn created a name for Darjeeling Tea among European Tea lovers. The market for Darjeeling tea grew by leaps and bounds in Europe and among the Royalties of India.
The growing Tea plantation brought many people from outside, the city was full of many people apart from the British, The Indian Royalties , the Bengali people also started settling in. The the place had several British style public school like Eton, which are very favourite among the well off Indians and students from neighboring countries as well.
Soon , it was a tourist center, people from plains started coming for a change or spending vacations here. Many hotels and restaurants were built which brought employment for many locals as well as for the people who came from plains.
Area (in miles): 1, 200 sq.miles.
Height (in meters): 2, 134 mts.
Summers - Summer The summer months are the best time for visiting Darjeeling when the climate remains in a pleasant mood. Summers arrive in the month of April and lasts till June with a maximum temperature of 25°C.
Winters - The winter months creep in during December and is over by February. temperatures drop to 1°C along with heavy mist and rains toward end of December. The month of December is ocassionally accompanied by heavy snow fall.
Best Seasons: ( March - June ) & ( October - November).
Clothing: In summer: Light woolens and In winter: Heavy woolens.
Languages: Gorkhali, Nepali, Hindi, Bengali, Tibetan and English.
Religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam and Christianity.
HOW TO GET THERE?
Well connected by Air from all parts of the country to Bagdogra(Siliguri), which is the nearest Airport and is a mere 3 hours drive from Darjeeling.
The famous Darjeeling Mail from Sealdah (Calcutta) besides other express trains from all over the country operate on daily basis to the nearest rail head at New Jalpaiguri(NJP/Siliguri). Change over at New Jalpaiguri to the world renowned Toy Train which winds its way up the hills to Darjeeling.
Very well connected to Siliguri which is a terminal city. A fleet of luxury State/Private buses run overnight to Siliguri from Calcutta.From Siliguri, a 2 hour scenic drive through tea gardens and forsets either by taxi or luxury bus which operate throughout the day, takes you to Darjeeling.
- Pros:One of the most beautiful place on Earth!
- Cons:Last 20years of Agitation to make it Gorkhaland , sent it to Dogs!
- In a nutshell:Let darjeeling remain as Darjeeling! No politics in Heaven please!
The war memorial is situated at Ghoom - Batasia loop. It's visible when you enter or depart from Darjeeling. The toy... more travel advice
The best and the coolest option to travel to Darjeeling is by Himalayan Mountain Railway's Toy Train from New... more travel advice
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