Posts Tagged 'Railway'

Fancy a cuppa? then head to the hill town of Darjeeling for some champagne tea and more

If you enjoy a good cup of tea, then its likely that you are well acquainted with Darjeeling tea which is also known as the champagne of teas and which when brewed properly actually yields a thin-bodied, light-colored liquid which has a wonderful floral aroma. Darjeeling tea is especially popular in the UK and other countries which were once a part of the great British Empire.

A cup of Darjeeling tea- the champagne of teas

A cup of Darjeeling tea- the champagne of teas photo credit adulau

This much coveted Darjeeling tea is produced in the hills of the district of Darjeeling which is located in the state of West Bengal in India. The district of Darjeeling is actually located in a range of hills which is known as the Shivalik Hills and these hills are a part of the lower Himalayas. During the years of the British Raj( the years that the British ruled the subcontinent between 1858 and 1947),this charming town of Darjeeling, came to be developed as ‘hill station ‘ or a summer escape for the British residents who were stationed in India during that time. Up until the time that the British came to rule in Darjeeling, this hill town was ruled intermittently by the kingdoms of Nepal and Sikkim and in fact the British acquired Darjeeling from Sikkim in 1835.

The town of Darjeeling which is located on an elevation of 6,982 ft (2,128 m) enjoys a very agreeable climate which is characterized by five seasons mainly spring, summer, autumn, winter, and the monsoons. Summers in Darjeeling are usually mild with temperatures summer hovering around 25°C (77°F) and it is for this reason that the British decided to establish the town of Darjeeling as one of their summer capitals. They could then retreat to this summer capital to escape the sultry and oppressive heat of the plains. Over years the town of Darjeeling, became the favored summer destination of many wealthy Indians as well especially the maharajas and the zamindars( land owners) from the neighboring city of Calcutta who like the British chose to vacation in the pleasant environs of Darjeeling.

Your holiday home at Sterling Darjeeling close to all the 'tearrific' sites

Your holiday home at Sterling Darjeeling

If you choose to have your holiday home in Darjeeling you will be able to explore the many delights of this enchanting hill town which has a rich culture and history. Your holiday home in Darjeeling can be a studio, a one bedroom or a two bedroom depending on your individual preference. No matter what kind of holiday home you choose to have in this Queen of the hills, it is ensured you will have easy access to the wondrous sights of this quaint and historic town

The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway

The British actually were responsible for a lot of the development in Darjeeling and in 1881 they established The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway here which continues to run until today over a route that stretches over 80 km (50 miles) from Silguri to Darjeeling was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999. It is only the second railway in this world to be bestowed this honor and it is one of the prime tourist attractions of Darjeeling. Though nowadays many these locomotives are powered by diesel engines and the only steam locomotive (affectionately known as the ‘Toy train’) that operates is the on the route from Kurseong to Darjeeling

The famous 'Toy Train' of Darjeeling photo credit Joe Gratz

The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway -Photo Credit Joe Gratz

The Tea plantations

The British also realized that Darjeeling’s unique topography and temperate climate was also conducive to the cultivation of tea and they established a number of tea plantation here which specialized in the production of many black teas and other blends. Darjeeling teas are often considered by tea aficionados to be the finest teas in the world. Many of these tea plantations which date back to the mid nineteenth century continue to operate in Darjeeling until today and employ much of the local population. They are well also established tourist attractions.

Lloyd’s Botanic Gardens

Located below the market place, is this green oasis which is yet another renowned attraction of Darjeeling. The Lloyd’s Botanic garden displays the lush alpine vegetation which is native to Darjeeling and it has verdant lawns which have poplar, birch, oak, and elm trees all of which are found in the forests that surround this hill town. These gardens are also famous for many varieties of orchids which are housed in a hot house and attract scores of visitors to the gardens.

Pamaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park

Darjeeling’s zoo is famous for the conservation of alpine animals and it also excels in the captive breeding of animals such as the snow leopard and the endangered Himalayan wolf and the Red Panda.

The spectacular Kangchenjunga sunrise Photo credit aaron ostrovsky

The spectacular Kangchenjunga sunrise Photo credit aaron ostrovsky

Tiger Hill

Tiger Hill is one of the highest hills surrounding the town of Darjeeling. It rises 8500 feet above sea level and is a popular tourist attraction for awe-inspiring views that it affords of the majestic Himalayan peaks. People love to come out to Tiger Hill in the early hours of the morning to watch the sun rise over the Himalayas .As day breaks, the twin peaks of the Kanchenjunga mountain are first colored pink and then orange by the early rays of the sun and present a truly magnificent sight which is easily accessible to you when you book your holiday home in Darjeeling.

Ghum Monastery

Darjeeling is home to a multi ethnic population who follow a number of religions like Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity and Islam. As a result of which a number of beautiful monasteries, gothic churches and elaborate temples can be found here. The Ghum Monastery which is built at a height of 8000 feet and is located 8 km from the main town of Darjeeling is one such monastery which is frequented by the many visitors who flock to Darjeeling.

Elite Boarding Schools

Apart from the railway and tea plantations, the British were responsible for yet another important development in Darjeeling and this was the development of excellent boarding schools which were initially built and established in this quaint town by Scottish missionaries who wanted to ensure that the children of British residents had access to the same education that was imparted in some of the best public schools in England like Eton, Harrow and Rugby. St. Joseph’s College, Loreto Convent, St. Paul’s School and Mount Hermon School are some of these historic erstwhile colonial schools many of which are now over a century but continue to attract students from all over India and other countries of South Asia until today. Today these schools are run either by the government or by private and religious organizations or trusts and are yet another popular attraction of Darjeeling.



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