"Queen of the Hills"
The captivating Great Tiger Hills in the distance at dusk.
The History Of Darjeeling
The name Darjeeling itself is derived from the Tibetan words "dorje" meaning thunderbolt and "ling" meaning a place or land. When put together, these words make up Darjeeling which means "the land of the celestial thunderbolt". Previously, Darjeeling was a bit of land owned by the region of Sikkim and for a brief period by Nepal. In 1828, a British Captain named Lloyd was sent to settle the dispute between Sikkim and Nepal and when he went, he saw Darjeeling. The beauty of the land entranced him and in 1835 the British East India Company was gifted Darjeeling by the Raja of Sikkim for a summer resort and a base.
Did You Know?
- Hindi, Bengali, Nepali and English are the main languages spoken in Darjeeling, but some of the people living on the plains speak Bengali and the tribal people and most of the refugees speak Tibetan.
Tea pickers working in the lush, green tea gardens of Darjeeling.
Tea and Tourism in Darjeeling
The tea industry in Darjeeling is the main part of the economy and is very successful. The climate is cool and moist, the soil is very fertile and the rainfall and sloping hills all contribute to the perfect tea growing conditions in Darjeeling. Hence the tea is called "Darjeeling Tea". Due to the demands of the Western and Japanese markets, about 80% of the total produce made is exported every year. There are many different types of Darjeeling tea; it can be black, oolong, green or white. Black tea is the most popular with a consumption of over 90% in the Western world. Nowadays, India has begun a concept called "tea tourism". The tourists can stay in tea garden bungalows and enjoy the tranquil atmosphere and see the culture and manufacturing process of the tea gardens. Darjeeling is also famous for its Himalayan Railway. The train is known as the "Toy Train" and it takes you on a ride along the eastern Himalayan Mountains through the lush green tea gardens and fascinating hills. The train's route is about 80 kilometers; from New Jaipalguri to Darjeeling. Darjeeling's famous tea and it's Himalayan Railway are some of the main causes for hundreds of tourists every year.
Flora and Fauna
Darjeeling can only be described as an alluring paradise to see. The majestic purple Tiger Hills in the distance add to the beauty and because of them Darjeeling is also nicknamed as the "Queen of the Hills". Mount Kanchenjunga and Mount Everest can also be seen along with the eastern Himalayan Mountains. Darjeeling is filled with many forests with large trees, ferns and flowers. It is also famous for its 600 species of beautiful orchids. The colorful orchid fields with the butterflies flying around in the springtime are said to be a scenic splendor and a feast for your eyes. Apart from just the flora there is a great diversity in the fauna as well. There is a variety of monkeys, wild cats, tigers, leopards, civets, foxes, deer, hare, and almost 600 species of birds! The stunning environment of Darjeeling is said to be very unique and a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see.
Did You Know?
- When Mark Twain visited Darjeeling, he said it was, "the one land all men desire to see."
- Nile Guide. "About Darjeeling." <http://www.nileguide.com/destination/darjeeling-india-224/overview/local-info>.
- Official Website. "Darjeeling District." <http://darjeeling.gov.in/>.
- Gorkhaland Territorial Administration. "About Darjeeling-Flora and Fauna". <http://www.gtatourism.com/about_flora.html>