The land of Sikkim was an independent state during the early 17th century. Its boundaries extended as far as eastern Nepal. The king of Nepal, Prithvi Narayan Shah conquered Sikkim. As Darjeeling was aClick here to Read More
part of Sikkim in those days, Prithvi Narayan Shah added Darjeeling to the Nepali kingdom. At the end of the 1813, the British East India Company declared a war against Nepal. Under the leadership of General Ochterlony the British gained victory over Nepal. A treaty was signed at the close of 1816 in a place called Sugauli. It was decided that Nepal surrender 4,000 sq. miles of its territory to the British. On the 10th of February 1817, another treaty was signed called the treaty of Titaliya. According to this treaty the area of Darjeeling was handed over to the Raja of Sikkim. In 1828, Darjeeling was chosen as a sanitarium for British soldiers. The cool climate of Darjeeling resembled London in many ways, so it was chosen also as a residential colony for the wives and children of the British soldiers labouring in the hot and humid parts of India. In 1835, after a lot of discussions and pressure from the British government, the Raja of Sikkim was persuaded to hand over Darjeeling to British India as a “gift”. In return the British would pay a certain amount of money as annual subsidy to the Raja of Sikkim, Chogyal Tsudphud Namgyal. So the East India Company under Lieutenant Napier founded a hill station. From the year 1860 rapid progress was made in the fields of road construction and school establishments. Tea plantations also started to develop in Darjeeling and population also started to increase rapidly. After India’s independence on 15th August 1947 Darjeeling district was retained in the state of West Bengal in India. The Tea industry continues to occupy a major role in the economy of the area.
The name Darjeeling is composed of two words “Dorje” and “ling”. “Dorje” means “thunderbolt” and “ling” means “place”. So, Darjeeling is “the Land of Thunderbolt”.
Museums and Galleries
Himalayan Mountaineering Institute :It is situated on Jawahar Parbat about 2 Km from Chowrasta. Established in 1954, this unique institution trains mountaineers. It has aClick here to Read More
museum containing an interesting collection of mountaineering equipment, specimens of Himalayan flora and fauna and a relief model of the Himalayas. The Everest Museum traces the history of attempts on the great peak.
Natural History Museum :Established in 1903, a comprehensive collection of Himalayan and Bengali fauna is packed into this interesting museum. Amongst the 4300 specimens is the estuarine crocodile, the animal responsible for the greatest loss of human life in Asia. It is walking distance from the chowrasta.
Step-aside :About 3 minutes walk from the Chowrasta will bring you to this place where the famous Indian patriot DeshbandhuChittranjan Das had passed away in 1925.
Ava Art Gallery :It is about 2 km from the town on the way to Ghoom. It houses fine art and embroidered work of Mrs. Ava Devi.
Town Outside Darjeeling
Kalimpong :Kalimpong is within Darjeeling province and is a sub-division of Darjeeling. It is a small but bustling town in the Himalaya foothills ofClick here to Read More
West Bengal- Kalimpong is at an altitude of 1250 meters. This bazaar town was originally a part of Bhutan but later it was taken over by the British and finally it settled down with West Bengal.
Kurseong :Kurseong is mid way between Siliguri and Darjeeling. The way from Darjeeling to Kurseong is generally open through out the year. So, the toy train is not coming to Siliguri then you can come up to Kurseong. This place is equally beautiful and is full of natural splendor.
Mirik : Mirik is 52 kms from Siliguri and 55 kms from the nearest Airfield of Bagdogra. Mirik is being developed as a new hill station in the mountains. Mirik is surrounded by tea estates, orange orchards and cardamom plantations. It has all the facilities to fulfill the needs of a tourist.
Siliguri /New Jalpaiguri :The twin Cities of Siliguri and New Jalpaiguri are the departure point to Darjeeling, Sikkim and the North Eastern States. Being the nodal point this place has become very busy and crowded. This area has got population over 2.5 lakh people. Siliguri also acts as a transit point for Nepal. This place is not very pleasant to stay as there are always long lines of buses and trucks. These trucks and vehicles might be good for business but they provide very ugly sight. Tourists come to Siliguri and New Jalpaiguri mainly to change bus or catch trains. If you have time then visit the almost forgotten wild life sanctuary of Jaldhapara. The best season to visit this park is between October and May. This the time when the new grass has come up and animals are out there. The sanctuary has elephants, dears, tigers and other animals but the main attraction is the Rhinos which are threatened by the poachers. Elephant Safari can be taken from Hollong.
Temples and Monasteries
Ghoom Buddhist Monastery :A typical Tibetan Monastery, situated about 8 k.m. from the town just below Hill Cart Road and the railwayClick here to Read More
station near Ghoom. This is probably the most famous monastery in Darjeeling. It enshrines of the Maitryee Buddha (the coming Buddha) – 15 feet tall. Foreign tourists are allowed to enter.
Observatory Hill :It is situated above the Windamere hotel. There's a Kali Shrine and apart from the magnificent view it commands, great religious importance is attached to the Observatory hill by both Hindus and Buddhists, who worship here by the hundreds.
Dhirdam Temple :Situated just below the railway station, it is built on the style of the famous "Assumption" temple of Kathmandu (Nepal).
Aloobari Monastery :Nearer Darjeeling, on Tenzing Norgay Rd, this monastery welcomes visitors and the monks often sell Tibetan and Sikkimese handicrafts and religious objects (usually hand bells). If the monastery is closed ask at the cottage next door and they'll let you in.
Bhutia Busty Monastery :Not far from Chowrasta is this colourful monastery, with Kanchenjunga providing a spectacular backdrop. Originally a branch of the Nygmapa sect's Phodang Monastery in Sikkim, it was transferred to Darjeeling in 1879. The shrine here originally stood on Observatory Hill. There's an old library of Buddhist texts upstairs.
PLACES OF TOURIST INTEREST
Jawhar Parbat (formerly Birds Hill) :It was planted by a former British Governor and it is Click here to Read More
behind the Raj Bhawan (Governor's residence), northwest of the town square. From here you will get a magnificent view of Mount Kanchenjunga and Singla Valleys.
Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park :Located adjacent to the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute. It is a high altitude wild life park and a new home for the Siberian Tiger, Himalayan Black Deer, Deer Panda, Llama and birds. It is open from 8 am to 4 pm.
Lloyds Botanical Garden :Its a colourful garden situated just below the Market motor stand. It contains a representative collection of Himalayan plants, flowers, orchids etc. The hot houses are well worth a visit. Timings : 6am to 5 pm. No entrance fee.
View Points and Other Scenic Places
Tiger Hill :Situated at an altitude of 2590 mt. (8,482 ft.) and 11 km from the town, the Tiger Hill has earned international fame for Click here to Read More
the fabulous view of the Sunrise over "Kanchenjunga" and the great Eastern Himalayan peaks that can be seen from here. On a clear day even Mt. Everest is visible. The golden glow of the rising Sun changes the co lour of the snow capped peaks to crimson, pink and shining gold as one watches from the observation desk.
Batasia Loop :It is about 5 km from Darjeeling and 3 km from Ghoom. This railway loop is a marvelous feet of engineering. It is delightful to see the trains as it winds it away round the loop. It is a pleasant and delightful descent from Ghoom – highest railway station in the world.
The Ropeway :The Darjeeling – Rangeet Valley Passenger Rope way is situated at North Point which is 3 km from the town This is the first passenger Ropeway to be constructed in India. It is 5 km long and connects Darjeeling and Singla Bazaar. A beautiful Picnic and Fishing spot.
Happy Valley Estate :Here the tea from the gardens is processed. One can spent a few hours here. Entry is only allowed to persons who have permission from any officer of the estate.
Senchal Lake :A scenic place near the tiger hills. This place has popularly come up as a picnic spot among the tourists. The lake supplies drinking water to the town of Darjeeling.
Kanchenjunga View :From Darjeeling one can have the best, uninterrupted view of the worlds third highest peak. BhanuBhaktaSarani provides one of the enthralling views of these snow capped peaks. The Chowrasta also gives you a good sight to the Kanchenjunga peak.
Snow Leopard Breeding Programme :Nowadays the zoologists and the environmental scientistsare trying to protect the endangered species by breeding them in captivity. Following this trend is KiranMoktan who has devoted his life in breeding program of snow leopards. The snow leopards are not known to have bred in captivity but in this center thanks to the efforts of KiranMoktan these animals have given birth in captivity. Snow leopards are animals who have to be kept in large enclosures. Visitors are allowed in the center but they have to watch the animals in utter silence
Himalayan Mountaineering Institute & Museums :The Himalayan Mountaineering Institute is on the West Jawahar road. The institute runs courses for training mountaineers as well as has the very good collection of mountaineering equipments which have been used in various mountaineering expeditions and other wise. Specimens of Himalayan flora and fauna are also kept here. The record of attempts made to conquer Mt. Everest has been kept in the Mt. Everest Museum. The institute also screens short films on mountaineering. You can also view the Himalayan peaks through the Zeiss Telescope given to the Nepalese Maharaja by Hitler. Sherpa Tenzing Norgay was the Director of this institute for many years and he was cremated near the institute after his death in 1986. Near the institute is Srabri which gives a very good view of the Single valley and the Kanchenjunga range. One can sit at Srabri and feel the cool breeze from the valley.
Travelling In and Out
Siliguri, a bustling town about 80 kilometers from Darjeeling is the gateway to the Hills.Click here to Read More
Air : The closest air port is at Bagdogra(about 88 kilometers from Darjeeling and a three and half hour drive) and is connected by air with all the Metros in the country.
Rail :New Jalpaiguri(NJP) is the nearest rail head and is also about 88 kilometers from Darjeeling. NJP is also connected with all the major cities of the country with most of trains heading for the north-eastern states making a stop at this junction.
Maghe Sankrati :Maghe Sankrati is one of the major festivals of Darjeeling. People of various communities are living in Darjeeling andClick here to Read More
celebrate this occasion with great fun and dedication. It is celebrated in the month of mid January. The celebration of MagheSankrati is also referred as the first auspicious day of Nepali month. This is the festival devoted to the veneration of God Sun. It is a three days celebration and is held on the river banks. Large fairs are organized along with the festival. It is supposed by the devotees that this festival will provide them health, wealth and prosperity. There is a tradition of consuming Tarool, tubers of different edible species of Dioscorea that are commonly known as Yam.
Losar Festival :Losar festival is also known as Lhosar and celebrated in Darjeeling with magnificence and extravaganza. It is basically celebrated by the Tibetan people. It is considered as the starting of Tibetan New Year. The festival is celebrated for continuous fifteen days. The celebration is held in the month of February every year. There is a customary of eating delicious and traditional cuisines and wearing new cloths on the day. On the eve of festival people of Darjeeling perform special mask dance known as Chaam. People also take part ion special prayers on the day. On the fifteenth day of Losar festival large religious congregation known as Cho-Nga Cho-pa takes place for the beginning of bright and prosperous New Year.
Chaite Dasain :ChaiteDasain is one of the famous festivals of Darjeeling. This celebration is getting celebrated from very ancient time period. People of Darjeeling celebrate it with great fervor and enthusiasm. It is generally celebrated in the mint of March. However, this festival has lost its relevance in present times. The festival of ChaiteDasain in Darjeeling signifies the triumph of good over evil. On this sacred day older members of each family apply 'Tika' on the forehead of youngsters and bless them for happy life. Families take part in special prayers and celebrate this festival with great fun.
Ram Navami :Ram Navami is the highly religious festival of Hindus and celebrated in all over the India with great dedication. The Ram Navami Festival is dedicated to commemorate the birth of Lord Rama. People of Darjeeling celebrate this festivity to pay homage to Lord Rama. It is celebrated in the month of March or April. On the day of festival various attractive processions are carried out from the streets of Darjeeling. Marvelously adorned idols of Lord Rama are kept in the attractive and dazzling chariots. This is the major attraction of the festival. It is considered as highly auspicious day for starting any new venture. Lots of tourists come to experience the amazing festival in Darjeeling.
Saga Dawa :Among all the famous festivals celebrated in Darjeeling Saga Dawa is one of them. It is celebrated in the month of May each year. According to the Tibetan calendar Saga Dawa denotes the fourth month. This festival is solemnized in the honor of three consecrated days of Buddha's Birth, Soul Enlightenment and MahaParinirvana. On the festival of Saga Dawa Tibetan people of Darjeeling memorialize the birth day of Lord Buddha and the day when he attained Nirvana. Lord Buddha conquered the spiritual enlightenment in the age of thirty-five at Bodhgaya. Devotees come from various nearby and far places to pay homage to Lord Buddha and get the blessings.
Teesta Tea and Tourism Festivals :The Teesta Tea and Tourism Festival in Darjeeling are celebrated with great fun and enthusiasm. It is the well renowned festival of Darjeeling hence attracts large numbers of tourists every year. Lots of foreigners come to this place and enjoy the astonishing festivities. The traditional celebration commences in Darjeeling and Sikkim and concludes in Dooars. Special programs offer various opportunities to the tourists to experience the values, believes and economic growth of Darjeeling. Varieties of cultural, artistic and traditional programs are performed during the Teesta Tea and Tourism Festival of Darjeeling.
Tihar Festival :Tihar Festival in Darjeeling is one of the popular celebrations. During the celebration devotees venerate the Goddess Laxmi who is believed the deity of capital, wealth and prosperity. On the day people of Darjeeling wash, decorate and illuminate their houses with oil lamps and diyas. It is celebrated for continuous five days. The festival of Tihar is also considered as “Panchak Yama” which signifies the pray of Lord Yamraj who is the God of death. Hence, this celebration is intended to please the deities to save their life and property from any harm. On the day of Tihar festival in Darjeeling there is an old custom of gambling. It is supposed very auspicious. Young girls go door to door and chant the Bhailini hymns in the praise of deities.
Darjeeling Carnival Event :Darjeeling Carnival Event in Darjeeling is celebrated with extreme fun and fervour. It is a ten day celebration. Wide ranges of programs and activities such as poetry concerts, art and craft paintings, and tea drinking activities, musical performances, dance, songs and traditional food festivals are organized during the event to make it vivid. Large numbers of tourists come from all over the world and experience the diversity of cultures and traditions. This well renowned Darjeeling Carnival is conducted during the month of November. Varieties of traditional dances, music and folk songs are presented during the event celebration. Nepali Rock program is very popular in the event. Lots of professional bandmasters and artists show their skills of playing the bands and musical instruments. Another significant festivity during the Darjeeling Carnival is Food Fiesta in which varieties of delicious, ethnic cuisines and traditional beverages are prepared and served to the tourists and visitors.
TendongLho Rum Faat Festival :TendongLho Rum Faat Festival in Darjeeling is celebrated with extreme fervor. Mainly it is celebrated by the Lepchas community of Sikkim but people of various other communities take part in the celebration with same dedication and zeal. This unique festival represents the traditions, cultures, values and believes of Lepchas community. This festival in Darjeeling is solemnized in the month of August. People of Darjeeling wear their customary dresses and participate in the cultural programs with enthusiasm. TendongLho Rum Faat is meant for the Prayers of the Tendong Mountain. So this festival is connected with the veneration of Tendong Mountain. Lots of tourists come every year to enjoy the celebration.