The name Darjeeling is derived from the Tibetan words ‘dorje’ meaning thunderbolt and ‘ling’ meaning land or place. Hence, “The land of the Thunderbolt
Darjeeling Hill Station, at a height of 6700 ft., sits on the foothills of the Himalayas surrounded by tea gardens and quaint little hill towns. Darjeeling is best known for its tea culture and the Darjeeling Himalayan Railways.
Darjeeling is recognized internationally as exclusive tea growing area. Grown and manufactured here, are a variety of seasonal black tea as well as special tea which are created through various fermentation techniques with its distinctive natural flavour.
Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999, the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, is an outstanding example of the influence of an innovative transportation system of a social and cultural development of a multi-cultural region.
Darjeeling also draws you to its diverse cultural- lingual populace, old and charming temples and monasteries displaying colourful fluttering prayer flags, the Zoological Park conserves endangered Himalayan species and is also known to be the only breeding center of snow leopards in the world, the Himalayan Mountaineering museum displays old equipment including that used on the historic Tenzing-Hillary climb and traces the history of attempted climbs from the year 1857
Many come to this area for trekking up to the Singali La Ridge. This is one of the very attractive trekking trails in this region giving the trekkers an immense satisfaction of witnessing some of the highest mountains in the world like Everest, Kanchenjunga, Lhotse and Makalu.
While in Darjeeling, if you wish to enjoy a bit of isolation and relaxation away from the main town, then there are some very special homestays and boutique hotels that offer comfort/ luxury stay, private excursions or even just the peace and quiet.
About 70kms towards the west is Kalimpong, located on a ridge. This is a quaint little town with a rare ethnic blend of diverse culture, this area flaunts its floral nurseries, bustling bazaars, monasteries and rich cultural history.