“Dorji” meaning “Thunderbolt” and “ling” meaning “place”. “The Land of the Thunderbolt” is thus a magical place surrounded by high peaked mountains and lush green hills.
Once belonging to Sikkim, Darjeeling was leased to the British East India Company. Though the climate and landscape was ideal, not much else was there in the mountains. As the lease was signed, work on improving the area began and a road to Darjeeling was paved. The man responsible for transforming Darjeeling into a hill station was Dr Arthur Campbell who also experimented with planting Chinese tea seeds way back in 1841. The soil of the land was ideal for tea plantation and soon other enterprising Britishers began doing the same, converting the once barren mountain sides into beautiful rolling hills of tea, making Darjeeling a getaway heaven.
Today, as part of West Bengal, Darjeeling is still one of the most sought after tourist destinations and a bustling Himalayan hill station. Not only is it known for its sprawling tea estates and a destination for a relaxed vacation, it is one of the departure areas for mountaineering treks, and houses the famous Himalayan Mountaineering Institute.
Walking through this town, the beauty of this hill station still captivates its visitors. Even today you will see the old colonial architecture mingling with modern cafes, stores and surroundings. Lined with several tea shops, Darjeeling offers a taste of the old world charm.
Duration: ½ day
Nature of Trip: A look into the cultural aspect of the city with a visit to the nearby Monastries.
You will visit the Ghoom Monastery and St. Andrews Church.
Duration: ½ day
Nature of Trip: A walk through the tea plantations with the history of Darjeeling tea culture that has spread all over the world.
Visit one of the tea plantations of Darjeeling and learn the history of Darjeeling tea, its process and how it has been able to export its quality tea worldwide. You might want to try plucking the tea leaves, a complex process that requires nimble fingers.
Duration: 1-2 hours
Nature of Trip: A train ride that takes you back to the bygone British era, letting you breathe in the pure Himalayan air.
As part of the UNESCO World Heritage List, the famous toy train, which the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway built courtesy the British in 1880s, with a two-foot narrow gauge track, is one of the 12 steam locomotives that remain today from the original number of 34. Offering panoramic views of the Himalayan pine trees and tea plantations that dot this queen of hillstations, the toy train moves at a lazy pace to allow you to soak the sights of high waterfalls, misty green valleys and snow-capped Kanchenjunga range.
Duration: 2-3 days
Nature of Trip: An adventurous trip that includes moderate to difficult trekking expeditions.
Start at the base near Darjeeling and begin your trek up to Sandakphu, which stands at roughly 3535 metres (12,000 feet). The trek can be a mix of road and foot journeys with optimum emphasis on safety and security of the trekkers. Though the accommodation is basic, it is clean and hygienic. Yes, you should have the spirit to acclimatize to the cold to enjoy this trekking adventure.
Spotting snow leopards