Darjeeling located in the state of West Bengal is situated at an attitude of 6,710 ft in Lesser Himalaya. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is noted for its Darjeeling Himalayan Railways and its famous tea industry. A large number of inhabitants being Buddhist there are lots of old monasteries are present along its length and breadth. The vivid landscapes, tea plantation, eternal weather and the slopes make it one of the most popular tourist destinations of India. Darjeeling is the highest tea exporter and thus, tea tourism in Darjeeling attracts many visitors during the plucking season. In this season one might observe the women in the fields plucking the leaves. The aroma in the hills surrounds international visitors. Darjeeling spread across the area of 3149 sq Km is one of the important shopping centers where visitors can shop for showpieces, clothes handicrafts and showpieces. The tourists in Darjeeling shop for woolen garments, fashion clothes and shawls.
The name 'Darjeeling' came from the Tibetan words, 'dorje' meaning thunderbolt (originally the scepter of Indra) and 'ling' a place or land, hence 'the land of the thunderbolt'. A land-mark year in the History of Darjeeling was 1835, but it would be appropriate to trace its History before that. Prior to its acquisition by the East India Co. in 1835, Darjeeling formed a part of Sikkim and for a brief period of Nepal. However neither the history of Sikkim, nor the history of Nepal furnish any account of its early history.Previously Darjeeling formed a part of dominions of the Raja of Sikkim, who had been engaged in an unsuccessful warfare against the Gorkhas. From 1780 the Gorkhas constantly made inroads into Sikkim and by the beginning of 19th Century, they had overrun Sikkim as far eastward as the Teesta and had conquered and annexed the Terai. E.C.Dozey in his 'Darjeeling Past and Present' writes, 'Prior to the year 1816, the whole of the territory known as British Sikkim belonged to Nepal, which won it by conquest'.In the meantime, the British were engaged in preventing the Gorkhas from overrunning the whole of the northern frontier. The Anglo-Nepal war broke out in 1814. Defeat of the Gorkhalis led to the Treaty of Sugauli,1815 in which, 'Nepal had to cede all those' territories the Gorkhas had annexed from the Raja of Sikkim to the East India Company.'In 1817, in the Treaty of Titalia' , the East India Co. reinstated the Raja of Sikkim (who was driven out), restored all the tracts of land between the Mechi and the Teesta to the Raja and guaranteed his sovereignty.With the intervention of the British, the Gorkhas were prevented from turning the whole of Sikkim into a province of Nepal and Sikkim (including the present District of Darjeeling) was retained as a buffer state between Nepal, Bhutan and Tibet.Ten years later dispute once again arose between Sikkim and Nepal, which according to the Treaty of Titalia, were referred to the Governor General. Accordingly in 1828 Captain Lloyd was deputed to settle the dispute. Along with Mr. J.W.Grant, the Commercial Resident at Malda,he came to the Hills and was attracted by the position of Darjeeling.
The best time to visit Darjeeling is between the months of April to June along with September to December. Darjeeling experiences a moderate climate during most of the year. In the summer the temperatures range between 14°C and 8°C and during winter temperature falls to freezing point of 6°C to as low as 1°C. During the monsoon Darjeeling experiences heavy rain showers which at time lead to frequent landslides. A lot of tourist visit Darjeeling during summers as it is a favorable time for all tourist activities. For sightseeing the best months would be from September to November. Visitors who like chilly climate should visit Darjeeling around December to January, as it is the best period for honeymooners. The adventure avid can visit Darjeeling in the month of February to June which is idyllic for all adventure activities in Darjeeling.
By Air: Darjeeling is well connected by air from all the major parts of the country by Bagdogra airport. It is the nearest airport and is mere 3 hours drive away from Darjeeling.By Train: Those thinking to travel to Darjeeling by train can board the famous Darjeeling train from Sealdah and various other express trains from all around the country on a daily basis to reach the nearest railhead New Jalpaiguri. On reaching New Jalpaiguri one can board the famous Toy Train which chugs its way up to reaching Darjeeling.By Road: Darjeeling is well connected to Siliguri, the terminal city as a fleet of state and private buses run overnight from Calcutta to Siliguri. After deporting at Siliguri, enjoy a 2 hours scenic drive while traversing through the forest and tea gardens either by boarding a luxury bus or private taxi to reach Darjeeling.
So where do you go for shopping in Darjeeling and what should you buy? Well, having come all the way to this vibrant hill town, I am sure you won't like to get into a typical city type mall. By the way that too is available here including a Big Bazaar and a Rink Mall at Laden La Road. You are probably looking for some original and authentic items of Darjeeling. There are actually plenty on offer from the hills here that has many skilled craftsmen and artisans making exquisite handmade articles.
From times immemorial the mighty town of Darjeeling, tucked in the Lesser Hiamlaya, has always attracted the mind of travellers from all over the world. The town hosts the typical Gorkha culture and is well known for its quaint colonial ambiance. Moreover, this hill station in India is the gateway to one of the popular treks in the Indian Himalayan region, the Sandakphu-Phalut Trek and is also one of the two places in India where from one can capture the entire panorama of the Eastern Himalayan ranges, from the Everest to Kanchendzonga. Further, the refreshing environment layered with several tea estates and evergreen forests… simply offers a retreat and is ideal for leisurescapers. Here are some of the best places to visit in Darjeeling that will surely quench your Darjeeling trip palette.