DARJEELING - the snug little town of Dorje-Ling
The hustling town of Darjeeling settles itself at a cozy 4 square mile arena, but the entire district spans across 1,215 square miles. Famous for growing the "champagne of teas", Darjeeling has received global recognition adhering to its exclusive, fragrant brews that are enjoyed all over the world. After this secluded place fell into the notice of East India Company, the land of “Dorje Ling” was effectively transformed into an ideal summer getaway for the British & Indian elites. The fact that it sits at an average altitude of 2,042m from the sea level, favored Darjeeling with pleasant weather conditions year-round, unlike its neighboring cities that burned hot during summers.
What to expect
When you step in Darjeeling, get ready to be spellbound. This snug hill station is decorated with a World Heritage that huffs past the dewy tea estates in narrow, high-elevation tracks. Every alley ends up taking you to a sightseeing destination. And if it doesn’t, just stand where you are, and the view of the omnipresent Kanchenjunga is bound to leave you tongue-tied. With premium European architecture visible every now and then in the scattered surroundings, you will also witness the richness of the ethnic culture that thrives in perfect harmony with the preeminent remnants of the British.
If you are interested in exploring the local dishes of Darjeeling, you will run into plenty of stalls, restaurants & diners who serve authentic dishes. Try out steamed dumplings stuffed with seasoned vegetable & meat fillings, served with a side of a piping hot bowl of clear soup & spicy chutney made out of ground wild tomatoes & "dallay" - a super spicy chili grown plenty in the hills. Cured pork sausages, noodles, dried beef curries, Naga & Bengali platters, buttered corn, dried yak cheese toffees called Churpi, yak butter and pungent cheese, et cetera. Darjeeling also serves western dishes like scones, sandwiches, pizza, milkshakes, cheese and onion pies, sizzlers and pastries.
Places you cannot miss
Padmaja Naidu Zoological Park
The Tibetan Refugee Self-Help Centre
How to Reach
The nearest airport to Darjeeling is Bagdogra, which is well connected with the international airport of Kolkata. From Bagdogra, Darjeeling is a three-hour scenic ride.
New Jalpaiguri Railway Station is the nearest railhead that connects all the major cities of India. From NJP, it’s a three-hour ride on public/reserved vehicles to Darjeeling again.