Darjeeling is know as the “Queen of Hills”, Darjeeling is a place of enigmatic natural beauty. still retains the imperialistic touch of British colonial past. Set against the majestic backdrop of the great Himalayas, there is no finer place than Darjeeling to steep yourself in the grandeur and beauty of the towering snow capped mountains. From numerour points in the town you get a view of the mountains that are scarcely rivaled in any part of the world. Darjeeling is a fascinating place with the Buddhist Monasteries. Tea Plantation, Colourful Markets, Handicraft shops, has also the unique attraction of it’s famous Toy-Train a true British legacy. The engines are more than a century old and disgorging black smoke and steam move slowly whistling and puffing away - an anachronism in this age of jet travel.The name ‘Darjeeling’ likely derives from the Tibetan words dorje, meaning ‘thunderbolt’, and ling meaning ‘place’ or ‘land of the thunderbolt’.
The name ‘Darjeeling’ likely derives from the Tibetan words dorje, meaning ‘thunderbolt’, and ling, meaning ‘place’ or ‘land’: ‘the land of the thunderbolt’. This was once the name of a Buddhist monastery situated on top of what is now Observatory Hill, a name which over time came to refer to the whole surrounding area. Looking at Darjeeling’s bustling streets today, it’s hard to imagine that in 1839 there were not more than 20 families in the district. Darjeeling has Dr. Campbell, a British official who became the Station Superintendent, to thank for his 22 year of devotion to developing the region at that time. From these humble beginnings, Darjeeling has today grown into one of India’s premier hill stations, visited by tourists from across Indian and from all over the world.
The Darjeeling District of West Bengal has an approximate area of 12,000 square miles. According to the 2001 Census of India, the district’s population is 1.6 million. with 67% of that number living in rural areas. The literacy rate is 81 % for men and 64 % for women. The district extend from the tropical Tarai plains, at about 300 feet (91 metres) above sea level, to the cool height of the Sandakphu- phalut ridge at 12,000 feet (3658 metres). Darjeeling borders on Sikkim to the north, Bhutan to the east and Nepal to the west. In addition to its namesake town of Darjeeling, the district also includes the hill resorts of Kurseong and Kalimpong at 4864 (1482 metres) and 4100 feet (1249 metres respectively)..
The original inhabitants of the Darjeeling hills are the Lepcha. They speak a Tibeto-Burman language, which they call Rongaring, and were originally the indigenous people both Darjeeling and Sikkim. The majority of Darjeeling’s contemporary population are the culturally Nepali Gorkhas, who speak Nepali (also called Gorkhli), along with their own mother tongues, such as Gurung, Limbu, Mangar, Newar, Rai, Sherpa, Tamang and Thami. The Sherpa community are famous for their courage and stamina in mountaineering, most notably tensing Norgay spent much of his life in Darjeeling and eventually died there. throughout the hills you will also meet Bengalis, Bhutias, Biharis, Marwaries, Punjabis, Sindhis and Tibetans. People from all of these diverse communities come together in Darjeeling to create a lively cultural landscape full of festivals, rituals, songs and dances waiting to entertain you.
Bengali, Hindi, English, Nepali (Gorkhali) and Tibetan are spoken in different areas throughout the hills. Most people, including guides and hotel attendants, are multilingual, speaking English Nepali and some Bengali and Hindi
Hindus and Buddhists from the religious majority, with notable Muslim and Christian minorities. Darjeeling is full of temples and monasteries where you can enjoy a peaceful moment in the company of deities, as well as churches, gurudwaras and mosques.