A mid-19th-century creation of the Raj, Darjeeling is the most popular and perhaps the most spectacular hill resort of India. Located on the footsteps of the Himalayas and perched on the roof of the world, it is surrounded by snow-capped mountains and dense forests. Rich in flora and fauna surrounding the countryside Darjeeling lives in the shadow of the majestic Kanchenjunga. The small town is a maze of steps and terraces and a treat for nature lovers. Over 4,000 species of flowers, 600 species of birds, and many animals and reptiles are found in Darjeeling. Ruled by the kings of Sikkim, Darjeeling was Dorje Ling, meaning Place of Thunderbolt in the local language, before being discovered by two British Officers.
The place then full of forests was appreciated by the two British officers as a place of strategic importance bordering the three neighboring countries. The king of Sikkim was pressurized to give the place on rent to the British who began the rapid development of the small village turning it into a beautiful hill resort. Darjeeling conjures visions of serenity, of vibrant green hills steeped in splendor, a land of breathtaking beauty crowned by the majestic Himalayas.
Reaching Darjeeling from Kolkata was a big effort that resulted in the construction of the highest railway line in India. The Toy Train, a miniature railway that runs to date was started in 1881. A ride in the toy train is a joy ride with train gaining the maximum speed of 10 km per hour with giving ample time to appreciate nature's glory around on the way.
Darjeeling in West Bengalheavenly retreat is bathed in hues of every shade. The visitors to Darjeeling are welcomed by the cool climate, variation of greenery of dense pine forests, mountain meadows, and large tea estates. To top them all are the smiling people showing the diversity of cultures present in this small place. There are Bengalis, the Gorkhas from Nepal, the Sikkimese, the Lepchas, and the Bhutias and the great mountaineering Sherpas. Mountaineering and trekking activities are in full swing during the year from Darjeeling.
The flaming red rhododendrons, the sparkling white magnolias, the miles of undulating hillsides covered with emerald green tea bushes, the exotic forests of silver fir - all under the blanket of a brilliant azure sky dappled with specks of clouds, compellingly confounds Darjeeling as the Queen of Hill stations.
The enchanting nature at its full bloom, the enthralling views of the Himalayas, the captivating sight of the cultural diversity and the charming people, all make Darjeeling an exceptional tourist destination.