Darjeeling

ABOUT DARJEELING

Darjeeling the dream land of the East, it has been a popular hill station since the British period. The tourist flow to this place has been increasing day by day. Due to the proximity with three international borders, this place is strategically very important.

The toy train coming from Siliguri is some thing which is liked by the elders and the children equally. The real fun in coming to Darjeeling is on the toy train. It takes six to seven hours to cover a distance of 82 kms and the slow speed gives you enough time to watch and appreciate the beauty which nature has provided it. This train passes through the Forests, waterfalls, over deep valleys and through the mountains and tunnels.

The town of Darjeeling can be reached by the 50 miles (80 km) long Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (nicknamed the "Toy Train") from Siliguri, or by the Hill Cart Road (National Highway 55) that follows the railway line. The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway is a 60 cm (2 ft) narrow-gauge railway. It was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999, becoming only the second railway in the world to have this honour.[8] Regular bus services and hired vehicles connect Darjeeling with Siliguri and the neighbouring towns of Kurseong, Kalimpong and Gangtok.

Four wheel drives, including Land Rovers, are the most popular means of transport, as they can easily navigate the steep slopes in the region. However, road and railway communications often get disrupted in the monsoons due to landslides. The nearest airport is in Bagdogra near Siliguri, located about 93 km (58 miles) from Darjeeling. Indian Airlines, Jet Airways and Air Deccan are the three major carriers that connect the area to Delhi, Calcutta and Guwahati. The closest major railway station is in New Jalpaiguri, which is connected with almost all major cities of the country. Within the town, people usually traverse by walking. Residents also use bicycle, two-wheelers and hired taxis for travelling short distances.

Darjeeling Tourist Place



  • GENERAL INFORMATION
  • HISTORY OF DARJEELING
  • CLIMATE
  • TRANSPORT
  • CULTURE OF DARJEELING
  • FESTIVALS

Darjeeling is a town and a municipality in the Indian state of West Bengal. It is located in the Lesser Himalayas at an elevation of 6,700 ft (2,042.2 m). It is noted for its tea industry, its spectacular views of the Kangchenjunga, the world's third-highest mountain, and the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Darjeeling is the headquarters of the Darjeeling District which has a partially autonomous status within the state of West Bengal. It is also a popular tourist destination in India.

The recorded history of the town starts from the early 19th century when the colonial administration under the British Raj set up a sanatorium and a military depot in the region. Subsequently, extensive tea plantations were established in the region and tea growers developed hybrids of black tea and created new fermentation techniques. The resultant distinctive Darjeeling tea is internationally recognised and ranks among the most popular black teas in the world.

The history of Darjeeling is intertwined with that of Sikkim, Nepal, British India, and Bhutan. Until the early 19th century, the hilly area around Darjeeling was controlled by the Kingdom of Sikkim[5] with the settlement consisting of a few villages of the Lepcha and Kirati people.[6] The Chogyal of Sikkim had been engaged in successful warfare against the Gorkhas of Nepal. From 1780, the Gorkhas made several attempts to capture the entire region of Darjeeling. By the beginning of the 19th century, they had overrun Sikkim as far eastward as the Teesta River and had conquered and annexed the Terai. In the meantime, the British were engaged in preventing the Gorkhas from over-running the whole of the northern frontier. The Anglo-Gorkha war broke out in 1814, which resulted in the defeat of the Gorkhas and subsequently led to the signing of the Sugauli Treaty in 1815.

According to the treaty, Nepal had to cede all those territories which the Gorkhas had annexed from the Chogyal of Sikkim to the British East India Company (i.e. the area between Mechi River and Teesta River). Later in 1817, through the Treaty of Titalia, the British East India Company reinstated the Chogyal of Sikkim, restored all the tracts of land between the River Mechi and the River Teesta to the Chogyal of Sikkim and guaranteed his sovereignty.

Darjeeling's temperate climate has five distinct seasons: spring, summer, autumn, winter, and the monsoons. Summers (lasting from May to June) are mild, with maximum temperatures rarely crossing 25 °C (77 °F). The monsoon season from June to September is characterised by intense torrential rains often causing landslides that block Darjeeling's land access to the rest of the country. In winter temperature averages 5-7 °C (41-44 °F).

Occasionally the temperatures drop below freezing; snowfalls are rare. During the monsoon and winter seasons, Darjeeling is often shrouded in mist and fog. The annual mean temperature is 12 °C (53 °F); monthly mean temperatures range from 5-17 °C (41-62 °F). The highest temperature ever recorded in the district was 26.7 °C (80.1 °F) on 23 August 1957; the lowest-ever temperature recorded was -5 °C (23 °F) on 11 February 1905.[20] The average annual precipitation is 281.8 cm (110.9 in), with the highest incidence occurring in July (75.3 cm or 29.6 in).

Darjeeling can be reached by the 88 km (55 mi) long Darjeeling Himalayan Railway from New Jalpaiguri, or by National Highway 55, from Siliguri, 77 km (48 mi) away.[58][59] The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway is a 600 mm (2 ft) narrow-gauge railway that was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999 for being "an outstanding example of the influence of an innovative transportation system on the social and economic development of a multi-cultural region, which was to serve as a model for similar developments in many parts of the world",[60] becoming only the second railway in the world to have this honour.[14][53] Bus services and hired vehicles connect Darjeeling with Siliguri and Darjeeling has road connections with Bagdogra, Gangtok and Kathmandu and the neighbouring towns of Kurseong and Kalimpong.[58] However, road and railway communications often get disrupted in the monsoons because of landslides. The nearest airport is Bagdogra Airport, located 90 km (56 mi) from Darjeeling.[58] Within the town, people usually traverse by walking. Residents also use two-wheelers and hired taxis for travelling short distances. The Darjeeling Ropeway, functional since 1968

The culture of Darjeeling is diverse and includes a variety of indigenous practices and festivals as mentioned above. Many of the Nepali Hindus, as well as the various Buddhist and other ethnic groups such as the Lepchas, Bhutias, Kiranti Limbus, Tibetans, Yolmos, Gurungs and Tamangs, have their own distinct languages and cultures and yet share a largely harmonious co-existence. Colonial architecture characterizes many buildings in Darjeeling, exemplified by several mock Tudor residences, Gothic churches, the Raj Bhawan, Planters' Club and various educational institutions. Buddhist monasteries showcase the pagoda style architecture. Darjeeling is regarded as a centre of music and a niche for musicians and music admirers. Singing and playing musical instruments are common pastimes among the resident population, who take pride in the traditions and role of music in cultural life.[69] Darjeeling also has a Peace Pagoda built in 1992 by the Japanese Buddhist organisation Nipponzan Myohoji.

Darjeeling Festivals in Winter December to February. At the start of the year in January the Lepchas and Bhutias celebrate their New Year in Darjeeling. Long processions are seen where people take part in traditional dances. At places fairs are organized. The fairs display local home-made handicrafts and food items very special to these clans like Thupka, momo and wanton.
Apart from the religious festivals, Darjeeling is the hub of Tea and Orange festivals. The Teesta Tea & Tourism festival overlaps the month of November and December and attracts large number of tourists. One gets a chance to taste and cherish the fragrance of the world famous Darjeeling Tea.
Darjeeling Orange festival also attracts tourists and helps one to get acquainted with the fruit and its varieties, its quality and the methods of its conservation. Although oranges in Darjeeling are smaller and paler in color compared to what you see in the western India, they can be exceedingly sweet and delicious. Orange fest usually takes place in December.
A 7-day long annual festival called Darjeeling Winter Festival has been initiated for the first time. This year it is scheduled between January 4 - 10, 2015 and held at Mall (Chowrasta) where recently a concrete large stage has been built at one end for such occasions. Many bands as well as dance groups from Nepal, Sikkim, Darjeeling, Delhi etc will be performing over the 7 days. The idea is to attract tourists during this lean period.


Darjeeling Places of Interest

Darjeeling Himalayan Railway

The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, also known as the DHR or "Toy Train", is a 2 ft (610 mm) narrow-gauge railway that runs between New Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling in the Indian state of West Bengal, India. Built between 1879 and 1881, the railway is about 88 km (55 mi) long. Its elevation level varies from about 100 m (328 ft) at New Jalpaiguri to about 2,200 m (7,218 ft) at Darjeeling. Four modern diesel locomotives handle most of the scheduled services however the daily Kurseong–Darjeeling return service and the daily tourist trains from Darjeeling to Ghum (India's highest railway station) are handled by the vintage British-built B Class steam locomotives. The headquarters of the railway is located in Kurseong.

Batasia Loop

Located 5km from Darjeeling Town and just below Ghoom, Batasia Loop as the name suggests, is a loop or a spiral of a narrow gauge railway track where the Toy Train negotiates a sudden sharp descent from Ghoom. It's a wonderful viewing place with manicured gardens, streams and falls, from where you can get a wide range view of the Darjeeling's landscape, Kanchenjunga and the other Eastern Himalayan peaks.There is no better place to get a 360 degree view of Darjeeling's landscape including the hill town and the snow covered peaks of the Eastern Himalayas with the majestic Kanchenjunga on one side. And all this from the middle of a lovely flowering garden around which the toy train track is laid.

Rock Garden

The garden is about 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) from Darjeeling. While proceeding from the town along Hill Cart Road, one has to turn right, well before reaching Ghum. The road descends rapidly into the valley. With sharp bends all the way, there are scenic views at many points. Tea gardens dot the hill slopes. The Rock Garden is not one in the conventional sense. A multi-level picnic ground terraced around a natural waterfall, its attraction is in it "being a sort of road-side facility but with a little too much concrete." The garden offers a beautiful view of a hill stream cascading over rocks along the slope, done up with flower gardens and sitting spaces at different levels. There also is a small lake. With tourists pouring in large numbers, tea shops and snack kiosks have come up.

Japanese Peace Pagoda

Peace Pagoda, Darjeeling or Darjeeling Peace Pagoda is one of the Peace Pagodas designed to provide a focus for people of all races and creeds to help unite them in their search for world peace. It is located in the town of Darjeeling in the Indian state of West Bengal. Like most of the other Peace Pagodas, it was built under the guidance of Nichidatsu Fujii (1885–1985), a Buddhist monk from Japan and founder of the Nipponzan-Myohoji Buddhist Order. The foundation stone of the pagoda was laid on 3 November 1972 by Nichidatsu Fujii, and was inaugurated on 1 November 1992. The pagoda was designed by M. Ohka, and it took 36 months for constructing it. It houses the four avatars of Buddha including Maitreya Buddha. The height of the pagoda is 28.5 metres (94 ft) and diameter is 23 metres (75 ft).The Pagoda is situated on the slopes of the Jalapahar hills of Darjeeling, a few kilometres from the town of Darjeeling.

Tiger Hill

Tiger Hill (2,590 m) is located in Darjeeling, in the Indian State of West Bengal, and is the summit of Ghoom, the highest railway station in the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway – a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It has a panoramic view of Mount Everest and Mt. Kangchenjunga together. It is 11 km from the town of Darjeeling and can be reached either by jeep or by foot through Chowrasta, Alubari or Jorebangla and then climbing up the incline to the summit. Panorama of the Kangchenjunga massif from Darjeeling's Tiger Hill. At sunrise, the peaks of Kangchenjunga are illuminated before the sun is seen at lower elevations. From Tiger Hill, Mount Everest (8848m) is just visible. Makalu (8481m) looks higher than Mt. Everest, owing to the curvature of the Earth, as it is several miles closer than Everest. The distance in a straight line from Tiger Hill to Everest is 107 miles (172 km).

Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park

Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park (also called the Darjeeling Zoo) is a 67.56-acre (27.3 ha) zoo in the town of Darjeeling in the Indian state of West Bengal. The zoo was opened in 1958, and an average elevation of 7,000 feet (2,134 m), is the largest high altitude zoo in India. It specializes in breeding animals adapted to alpine conditions, and has successful captive breeding programs for the snow leopard, the critically endangered Himalayan wolf and the red panda. The zoo attracts about 300,000 visitors every year. The park is named after Padmaja Naidu (1900–1975), daughter of Sarojini Naidu. The zoo serves as the central hub for Central Zoo Authority of India's red panda program and is a member of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Mirik

Mirik is a picturesque tourist spot nestled in the serene hills of Darjeeling district in West Bengal, India. It is the headquarters of Mirik subdivision. The name Mirik comes from the Lepcha words Mir-Yok meaning "place burnt by fire". Mirik has become a popular tourist destination for its climate, natural beauty and easy accessibility. The centre of all attraction is the Sumendu lake, surrounded by a garden named Savitri Pushpaudyan (after Savitri Thapa, a martyr soldier of INA) on one side and pine trees on the other, linked together by an arching footbridge called Indreni Pool (named after Indreni Thapa, a martyr soldier of INA). A 3.5-km-long road encircles the lake and is used for walks with the view of Kangchenjunga on the far horizon. Boating on the quaint shikaras and horse riding are available.

Bengal Natural History Museum

If you like to know about the fauna of Darjeeling district and that of the state, don't miss out on the Bengal Natural History Museum. It's only a few minutes downhill walk from the Chowrasta Mall. It started as a modest effort way back in 1903 when the then Governor of Bengal initiated creation of a small museum in the Botanical Gardens of Darjeeling. A small building in the Botanical Garden was constructed at a cost of Rupees 14,000 to display only the butterflies and birds of the area. However it was too small and not good enough for the students and researchers to study the whole bird and animal life in the region. Therefore the present building was constructed in 1915 at a cost of Rupees 55,000 to satisfy such requirement.

Darjeeling Mall (Chowrasta)

The Chowrasta or the Mall is the town center in Darjeeling. This is a lovely little flat area, a public square where four roads meet. This public place is where you would like to lounge & bake in the sun, sit and watch the wonderful views of the mountain range and see many locals and tourists hanging around. One side of the mall is lined with pine trees through which you get wonderful mountain vistas, the other side is lined with lovely boutique shops of different kinds. And all around the mall, you have benches to sit and relax.

Ghum Monastery

The monastery belongs to the Gelukpa or the Yellow Hat sect and is famous for its 15 feet high special statue of the Maitreya Buddha. The external structure of the building was established in 1850 by the famous Mongolian astrologer and monk Sokpo Sherab Gyatso. Since 1850 to 1905 he had administered as the head of the monastery. Later he went to Tibet and died in his birth province. In 1909 Kyabje Domo Geshe Rinpoche Ngawang Kalsang, popularly called Lama Domo Geshe Rinpoche, succeeded Sherab Gyatso as head of the monastery. The main statue inside the temple is that of the Maitreya Buddha (Gyalwa Shampa) or the Future Buddha. This 15 feet high statue was specially commissioned during his tenure. He acted as the head of the monastery since 1910 to 1952. Later, he went to Tibet and died in his birth place. During the Chinese occupation of 1959 in Tibet many high ranking abbots fled to India and took refuge in this monastery. In 1951 H.H. the Dalai Lama sent H.E the Dhardo Rinpoche as a head monk of Tibetan monastery in Bodh Gaya. In 1961 he was sent as a head of the Yiga Choeling monastery Ghoom, Darjeeling.