Darjeeling (Queen of Hills) - Altitude: 2143 mts. / 7000 ft.
Darjeeling is hemmed in by Sikkim in the north, Nepal in the west and Bhutan in the east. Darjeeling town, Kalimpong and Kurseong are the major urban centers. Heavily influenced by British India, Darjeeling still carries imprints reminiscent of its colonial past. The toy train is one of the most striking examples of Darjeeling's British Raj influence. Darjeeling conjures visions of serenity, of vibrant green hills steeped in splendour, a land of breathtaking beauty crowned by the majestic Himalayas.
Darjeeling in northeast India provides the perfect ambiance of a hill resort with its mild climate and laid back charm. Its verdant hill and valleys are steeped in color, and are interspersed with vast stretches of lush green tea gardens. Presiding over all these is the 8,586-m Mt. Kanchenjunga looming over the northern horizon, giving a magical aura to the land that entices thousands to its environs and leaves all the senses intoxicated. The flaming red rhododendrons, the sparkling white magnolias, the miles of undulating hillsides covered with emerald green tea bushes, the exotic forests of silver fir - all under the blanket of a brilliant azure sky dappled with specks of clouds, compellingly confounds Darjeeling as the QUEEN OF THE HILLS.
Until the early part of the eighteenth century, Darjeeling was under the king of Sikkim. Later Gorkhas invaded the region and annexed the area, which they eventually lost to British. The British used the place to escape the heat and found the strategic importance of the area. They, hence, developed the area as a hill station and tea-growing area. Darjeeling is well known for its tea industry and eco-tourism.
Darjeeling is thought to be derived from the word Dorjeeling, which literally means 'the place of Dorjee' the majestic thunderbolt. Some believe that the thunderbolt belongs to the Lamaist religion and some believe that it belongs to Lord Indra.
Timber, Tea, and Tourism underpin the economy of Darjeeling. The tea plantations were originally developed by the British. Oranges and cardamom are also available in plenty. Traditional arts and crafts of Tibet and Sikkim are the products available for shopping. Traditional Tibetan and Sikkimese food as well as other Indian cuisines are available.
Rain can be expected any time in a year. Summer and spring are the two seasons most popular with the visitors. Darjeeling is a famous destination for Bollywood and Bengali film shooting.
The most popular and ubiquitous mode of transport is a four-wheel drive. Land rovers, especially, are the choice of tourists. They can easily serpentine through the steep and sometimes narrow roads of the hill.
Several local festivals are celebrated throughout the year. The festivals are colorful and the visitor should ensure that they are in Darjeeling to take part in the celebrations of one of these festivals.
Places to see Aroundn Darjeeling :
Tiger Hills, Himalayan Mountaineering Institute & Zoo, Botanical Garden, Happy Valley Tea Garden, Japanese Temple, Rope Way, Tibetan Refugee Center and Batasia Loop etc...
Mingma! Julay!namestey! hope you are in good health. Sorry to write you lately. Our trip to Thiland made us busy so we were unable to write you back. Mingma the trekking was well organised and I had a wonderful time with you.. . Ladhak is a wonderful place and your guiding made it much much better. We all are very happy and eager to visit your country sikkim next time.
The way you describe sikkim, it really seems to be a nice place. We will promote for you wherever we go. Thanks for your support when the chips were down..
Convey our regards to Jigmee,Arun and Horse man. Hope we will meet then again. Harry,Dorris Michael and Gracy Switzerland 2009
Max, hope you are doing fine business. We are thankful for your warm guidance and wonderful trekking arrangements in a short time. Mingma the food was excellent. We will return to sikkim with friends and family someday. We would no doubt recommend your company mountain tours and treks to all of our friends who want to visit India and specially sikkim and Darjeeling. Adam and wanda Netherland. 2010
Mingma, thanks for your mail. We are still in kerela and doing familiarization trip. Its very hot out here. Mingma your trekking arrangements was good and we had no hesitation in recommending your company. Your guide and cook was very good. We had more than enough varieties of food everyday. We surely hope that you will do well.
Well take care and best of luck Andrew, Roben and David Switzerland 2011 feb