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Darjeeling – The Queen Of The Hills

I guess most of you are unknown to the importance of Darjeeling in my life. Darjeeling has been the first place I ever traveled to solo. My trip to Darjeeling has changed me and shaped me into who I am today. Let us set out on this journey to the best hill station in India, together.

Darjeeling holds a profound significance in my life as the site of my inaugural solo voyage. This charming hill station in India, with its majestic mountains and tranquil tea gardens, became the backdrop for a transformative journey of self-discovery. Amidst the winding streets adorned with Tibetan prayer flags and colonial architecture, I embraced the exhilarating freedom of solo exploration. Through moments of quiet introspection and encounters with locals, I unearthed newfound courage and clarity. In Darjeeling’s serene embrace, I found not only breathtaking vistas but also the inner strength to confront fears and embrace the boundless possibilities of self-realization.

Meaning of Darjeeling

Did you know Darjeeling is so called because it is considered as a place of thunderbolt!?

Darjeeling, the land of Indra's Scepter (Dorje ling)
The above image has been generated using Generative AI to visually show the representation of Darjeeling as mentioned in Indian and Tibetan Mythology.

Yup, you heard that right. Darjeeling derives its name from Dorje – ling’ which means ‘The Land Of Thunderbolt’ in Tibetan language. ‘Dorje’ or thunderbolt derives its significance from the scepter of Hindu God, Indra. Darjeeling is thus believed to be the land of Indra’s Scepter.

History Of Darjeeling

Darjeeling, is not just the Queen of the Hills, it has a history that dates back beyond the time when the English East India Company established their rule in India. Darjeeling is a heritage not just to Bengal, but also to the entire Indian subcontinent.

Darjeeling Mall Road Old Image, History of Darjeeling
An old image of The Chowrastah in Darjeeling; it was captured somewhere amidst the 1920s.
Source: Old Mount Hermon Students’ Association (UK)

Darjeeling, nestled in the Indian state of West Bengal, has a rich and storied history dating back centuries. Originally inhabited by the indigenous Lepcha people, its strategic location along ancient trade routes attracted attention from various empires, including the British East India Company. In the early 19th century, the British established Darjeeling as a hill station, drawn to its cool climate and breathtaking scenery. This marked the beginning of its transformation into a popular retreat for British officials seeking respite from the sweltering heat of the Indian plains.

By the mid-19th century, Darjeeling had become renowned for its tea cultivation, thanks to the efforts of pioneering British planters. The region’s fertile slopes were ideal for growing high-quality tea, which soon gained international acclaim. With the construction of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, fondly known as the “Toy Train,” in the late 19th century, Darjeeling became even more accessible, attracting tourists from far and wide. Despite its tumultuous history, including periods of political unrest and the struggle for independence, Darjeeling has emerged as a beloved destination, celebrated for its natural beauty, cultural diversity, and iconic tea industry.

According to darjeeling.gov.in, “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 the territory known as British Sikkim, belonged to Nepal, which won it by conquest’.”

How To Reach Darjeeling?

Darjeeling, in the Himalayas of India, is a beautiful place to visit. If you want to go there, you might wonder how to get there. Here’s an easy guide to help you find an answer on how to reach Darjeeling.

There are 4 methods to reach Darjeeling.

  1. By Air (Bagdogra Airport)
  2. By Train (NJP Railway Station or Siliguri Junction)
  3. By Road (Road Trip)
  4. By Trekking

How To Reach Darjeeling By Air

You can fly to Bagdogra Airport. It’s the closest airport to Darjeeling, about 90 kilometers away. From there, you can take a taxi or a pre-booked ride to Darjeeling. During the drive, you’ll see pretty views of mountains and tea gardens.

How To Reach Darjeeling By Train

In order to reach Darjeeling you need to get to either New Jalpaiguri Station or Siliguri Junction and from there, either buses or shared cabs or private cabs, you can chose any option according to your own convenience and reach Darjeeling.

You can take the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, also called the “Toy Train.” It’s a fun ride from New Jalpaiguri or Siliguri to Darjeeling. The train passes through villages and forests, offering nice views. Remember to book your tickets early. However the train is not operating since the outbreak of Covid-19.

How To Reach Darjeeling By Road

If you like driving, you can take the National Highway 110. It connects Siliguri to Darjeeling. You can hire a taxi, share a jeep, or take a bus. Along the way, you’ll see mountains, waterfalls, and tea plantations.

How To Reach Darjeeling By Trekking Routes

For those who enjoy hiking, there are trekking routes to Darjeeling from nearby places. These trails go through forests, rivers, and small villages. They offer a different way to experience the beauty of the Himalayas.

No matter how you choose to travel, going to Darjeeling will be a memorable adventure. Enjoy the journey and the stunning views along the way!

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