Darjeeling has already been immortalized in Indian movies and ones from Hollywood with the world famous Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, a mini railway service that takes passengers around hills and ranges with natural beauty at its best. Darjeeling is a hill station in the northern area of the state of West Bengal in India and boasts of snow-capped peaks, a true paradise in the Lesser Himalayas or the Mahabharata Ranges. Darjeeling is a township that has been nurtured as a tourist destination since times of the British Empire and is known across the globe for its vast tea plantations and exquisite quality of tea. It’s no surprise, that one of Darjeeling’s key exports is various varieties and qualities of tea.
The War Memorial
Contrary to its peaceful and pristine aura today, Darjeeling has had a bumpy past with wars fought for its control. As of today, the active Gorkhaland movement still creates sporadic violence now and then. One must definitely visit the Darjeeling War memorial set against majestic snow capped peaks and makes for a photographers dream canvas.
Nature at Darjeeling
Darjeeling is where a nature lover should head with its alpine and temperate forests featuring Sal and Oak trees. Despite the weather change, most of Darjeeling’s forests are evergreen adding to the Darjeeling tourism value. The town features several nature parks like the Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park and the Lloyd’s Botanical Garden where nature lovers and photographers spend afternoons on end taking in the serenity. Darjeeling also boasts of a variety of export grade orchids so one might want to pamper their spouse or their female friends with some freshly plucked flowers.
The West Bengal forest department is charged with protection of wildlife in the region. Some of the common species found in the region are the one-horned rhinoceros, elephants, the Indian tiger, leopard and the hog deer. Darjeeling is also a place for birdwatchers with some beautiful migratory species in and around the region.
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Mall Road is where most of the ethnic and local shopping happens and one can manage a fairly good deal if you bargain. The locals are friendly, fun loving and celebrate most Indian festivals like Durga Puja, Diwali and Kali Puja. Apart from these; a whole lot of local festivals are also celebrated. Needless to say, no matter when you visit Darjeeling, one can be sure a mini-celebration is around the corner. Buddhist monasteries are great places to learn about the local culture and the monks are generally open to showing tourists around the temples.
The local cuisine is worth trying with the signature momos (dumplings) topping the list. These dumplings are served with hot sauce and are cooked with chicken, beef, vegetables or pork. Other street food includes a variety of noodle-based soups and some spicy rice preparations.
Darjeeling is painted with colonial architecture and the city was very well maintained during the British Raj. Most of the buildings have been preserved and the town is still remnant of the British Raj. The Gothic styled churches make for amazing photographs and post card souvenirs.
The people of Darjeeling make the town worth visiting. They are fun loving and play a plethora of instruments. Music lovers have often written and blogged about the various small street clubs and the locals pride themselves in the way music has blended into their culture.
Darjeeling promises to be a perfect destination for backpackers and families alike and boasts of proximity to many smaller towns. It’s an ideal base from which to visit other towns in the northern regions of the state of West Bengal.
Tourist Places in and Around Darjeeling
Darjeeling Tourism has a lot to offer to the visitors. There are numerous attractions such as the Happy Valley Tea Estate, Lloyd’s Botanical Garden, Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, Batasia Loop and War Memorial, the Cable Car, Bhutia Busty Gompa and also the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute and Museum.
The climate of Darjeeling is broadly divided into summer, monsoon and winter, where the summers are mild and winters can get very cold.
Darjeeling is well-connected to major parts of the state of West Bengal as it is a popular destination, thus making it easier for the visitors to get there.