Darjeeling: Queen of the Hills

BY Seema Shukla

Nestled among the range of mountains with the glistening sky-high Mt Kanchenjunga, Darjeeling is located in West Bengal. It is fondly known as the “Queen of the Hills”. 

In the early 19th century, during British Raj in India, Darjeeling has come off age as one of the most sought-after hill stations in India. It became the summer house for British officials, soldiers, and their families.

    The scenic beauty of Darjeeling and its cool climate all year (due to its height of 2,050 meters above sea level) is the perfect getaway for a romantic honeymoon.

Nestled amidst acres of tea plantations, Darjeeling is a center for nature lovers. Over 86 tea estates in Darjeeling are responsible for producing the worldwide famous `Darjeeling Tea. The tea state allowed the visitors to pluck a few tea leaves to get the experience of tea production, they also provide a tour of tea production means a journey from tea leaves to final tea to their visitors. In addition to muscatel-flavored Darjeeling tea, Darjeeling is also a land of the world heritage ‘Darjeeling Himalayan Railway’ where the century-old miniature steam engine still chugs uphill vying for space with the fast-disappearing Land Rovers. This journey gives the illusion of moving in a flower basket as Darjeeling is full of flowers, you can see flowers everywhere.

The toy train system is established in the year of 1881 and received the title of World Heritage Status by UNESCO. The journey of the toy train begins from the plains and rises to over 2000 meters above sea level, offering breathtaking views of the mountains as it chugs along.

Another specialty of Darjeeling is its location, which provides the view of the third-highest peak in the world and the highest in India, the Kanchenjunga peak. Tourists can enjoy a panoramic view of the Kanchenjunga peak through Tiger Hill,  located 13 km away from Darjeeling and at a height of 2,590 m, Tiger Hill is internationally acclaimed for providing an enthralling view of a stunning sunrise over Kanchenjunga and other mesmerizing peaks of the Himalayas.

Darjeeling is certainly a place of monasteries, botanical gardens, a zoo, and the longest Asian cable car known as the ‘Darjeeling-Rangeet Valley Passenger Ropeway cable car’ and Tiger Hill.

Visitors can reach Darjeeling by car from the nearest airport Bagdogra airport or the nearest railway station New Jalpaiguri by taking a private taxi, it generally takes 3 hours to reach Darjeeling from both places. The food and lodging facilities are very good and reasonable at Darjeeling. Mostly the hotels and restaurants are owned by Napalees, Tibatees and Bhutanese. They provide Indian, Tibetian and Nepalese food. In the restaurants, people can get some popular food of Sikkim also. Some famous dishes of Darjeeling  Aaloo Achar, Kwati, Sel Roti, Pork Curry, Tibetan Thukpa, and Gundruk are normally available in restaurants.

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