Darjeeling is a hill station in the Indian state of West Bengal, it is situated close to the border with Nepal and Sikkim. Darjeeling is one of the first hill stations of India. Darjeeling Town is the Capital of Darjeeling District in West Bengal / Bengal.
The name "Darjeeling" comes from the Tibetan words Dorje ("thunderbolt") and ling ("place"), literally means "the land of the thunderbolt." It is internationally famous for its tea industry and the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The tea plantations date back to the mid-nineteenth century as part of a British development of the area.
As a travel agent, you need to understand the operational issues of operating a tour in Darjeeling, as it is one of the most beautiful and most important hill stations of the region.
The major issue is with tourist transport in Darjeeling and Sikkim region. Travel Agents must note that due to some legal restrictions coupled with the influence of local curtails, the free movement of tourism vehicles is difficult in Darjeeling town. It is preferable to have a Darjeeling registered taxi vehicle for undertaking the sightseeing here. At Tripsy we have several vehicles registered at Darjeeling and hence we can offer a smooth passage for your guests.
The second major issue to remember here is that in the entire region, tourist vehicles are not available on a disposal basis rather vehicles are available on a point to point and itinerary basis. As a travel agent/tour operator, you must communicate this information to your guest to avoid trouble.
You must also remember that not all the sightseeing points are open on every day. If on a particular day a particular sightseeing point is closed, there is no practice of replacing the same with alternative sightseeing. Unless the guests are informed about this, there can be some confusion.
The roads in Darjeeling are narrow and many roads are one way to avoid traffic snarl. Often the traffic system does not allow vehicles to stop at specific points. Also, some part of the town is totally inaccessible by vehicle, which keeps the area serene as only pedestrians are allowed there. Your guests must be informed about these issues. That they may have to walk last some distance when the hotel cannot be reached by the vehicle or the vehicle is not allowed to stop there. Most hotels do provide porter assistance in such cases. Talk to our travel experts about a specific hotel before confirming booking through us. Due to many roads being open for one way traffic, often if the vehicle misses to pick the guest, it may have to take around which is often quite long. So guests must maintain their timing as well.
For more issues on managing a tour to Darjeeling, you can consult our operators at the time of booking as well as our operational experts for a hassle-free journey to Darjeeling for your guests, in turn, ensuring more business to your travel agency.
Darjeeling was a part of Sikkim before the British took over the area in 1835 as they found the area suitable for a sanatorium. The cool climate of Darjeeling along with beautiful views made it an attractive place for the British; weary of the heat and dust of the Indian plain.
The History of Darjeeling is intertwined with the history of Nepal, Bhutan, Sikkim, Bengal and Great Britain. It was originally just a cluster of villages that was administered intermittently by Nepal and Sikkim. Prior to the year 1816, the whole of the territory known as British Sikkim belonged to Nepal, which won it by conquest. Prior to its acquisition by the East India Company in 1835, Darjeeling formed a part of Sikkim and for a brief period of Nepal. Darjeeling came in prominence during the mid 19th century when generally because of its climate, Britishers first established a hill station thereafter leasing it from the Chogyal of Sikkim. They later discovered that the area was particularly well suited for tea plantations. In 1849, the British annexed the area and Darjeeling became a part of British India. The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway was opened in 1881 (it is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and the town became the de-facto summer capital of India during the days when the East India Company governed from Calcutta.
British India helped the growth of this place bringing in Tea cultivation and developing transport from Bullock / Human Cart to Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR). The main road from Siliguri i.e. National Highway 110 is known as the Hill Cart Road and the name is derived from the Cart that used to transport goods and people from Hills to plain and vice versa. Darjeeling came in prominence during the mid 19th century when generally because of its pleasant climate and East India Company turned it into a Summer Capital. Development work started as soon as they settled. Darjeeling Himalayan Railway started its operation in 1881 (Now it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and tourist attraction along with it is the Ghoom DHR Museum. Interestingly very few people know that the first hydroelectric installation in India was near a tea estate at Sidrapong for the Darjeeling Municipality in 1897.
Gradually tourism and the tea industry became the most significant contributors to Darjeeling's economy. Tea Bungalows (generally built during the British time) like Ghoom, Runglee Rungliot, Sourenee, Selim Hills, Fagu, Chamong, etc are quite popular among tourists. Home Stay is another great side of tourism, typical Lepcha, Gurung, Tamang, Forest Villages and villages near religious sites host tourists with basic stay and sightseeing options. Darjeeling has become a popular filming destination for Bollywood and Bengali cinema; since the days of Aradhana, Main Hoon Na, Kanchenjungha, Barfi, etc have been filmed there. Colonial architecture still can be observed here. These are memories from British days few mock Tudor residences, Gothic churches, the Raj Bhawan (Governor House), Planters' Club and various educational institutions still are attractions for tourists. Buddhist monasteries reflect the pagoda style architecture.
Darjeeling is situated at an average elevation of 2050 meters i.e. 6725 feet in the lower Himalayan region - Jalapahar range that originates in the south from Ghum. The range has a Y shape with the base resting at Katapahar and Jalapahar and two arms diverging north of Observatory Hill. Jalapahar range originates in the south from Ghoom / Ghum. The range is Y shape with the base resting at Katapahar and Jalapahar. Darjeeling is also a district and spans over a large area of about 2100 square kilometers now it has been bifurcated by the creation of Kalimpong. The district has subdivisions like Kurseong, Siliguri etc as well as the hill resort town of Mirik. Flora includes temperate, deciduous forests of poplar, birch, oak, and elm as well as evergreen, coniferous trees of wet alpine. Dense evergreen forests lie around the town with a wide variety of rare orchids. Lloyd's Botanical Garden preserves common and rare species of flora, while the Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park represents the only specialized zoo in the country conserving and breeding endangered Himalayan species.
"Darjeeling" literally means Land Of Thunderbolt as per Tibetan words Dorjee means "thunder" and ling means "place”. Situated in Lesser Himalaya, Darjeeling is one such place where it seems time stops for mankind. The vivid landscapes, tea plantation, eternal weather, and the slopes make it one of the most popular tourist destinations of India. The topography of Darjeeling hills is more like the letter Y. Darjeeling-Jalapahar Range starts from the south of Ghoom. It then bifurcates into two sub-ranges, one diverging towards the Observatory Hill near the Chourasta Mall and the other going down to the spur near Lebong.
The district has subdivisions like Kurseong, Siliguri, etc as well as the hill resort town of Mirik. Diverse Flora & Fauna makes the region quite attractive. Red Panda to Salamander is a few of the spotted fauna. Forests of poplar, birch, oak, and elm, as well as evergreen, coniferous trees, surround the town. Two units preserving and assisting the preservation and history are Lloyd's Botanical Garden preserves common and rare species of flora, while the Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park represents the only specialized zoo in the country conserving and breeding endangered Red Panda & Snow Leopard.
There is a mixed culture yet Nepali culture prevails among the majority. Residents are mostly immigrant Nepalese, Tibetans, as well as some Lepchas and Bhutias from Sikkim. Nepalese are mostly Hindus while Tibetans follow Buddhism. When one compares them with the people of lower plains, they are quite different both in looks and culture. Two predominant religions are Hinduism and Vajrayana Buddhism. Dashain, Tihar, Buddha Jayanti, Christmas, Holi, etc. are the main festivals. Besides, the diverse ethnic populace celebrates several local festivals. They are basically very hospitable and extend a lot of warmth. Indigenous ethnic people include the Lepchas, Bhutias, Sherpas, Rais, Yolmos, Damaris, Kamais, Newars, and Limbus. Other communities include the Bengalis, Marwaris, Anglo-Indians, Chinese, Biharis, and Tibetans. Nepali (Gorkhali) represents the most commonly spoken language; people also use Hindi, Bengali, and English.
Two predominant religions are Hinduism and Vajrayana Buddhism. Dashain, Tihar, Buddha Jayanti, Christmas, Holi, etc. are the major festivals. Besides, the diverse ethnic populace celebrates several local festivals. They are basically very hospitable and extend a lot of warmth with commonly spoken language are Nepali (Gorkhali), Hindi, Bengali, and English.
It is really a place of delicacies. Momo & Wai-Wai are quite popular snacks and is worth a try. Momo is a form of Dumpling stuffed with Vegetable or Chicken or pork. Veg Momo is most in demand. Wai Wai & Thukpa is noodles eaten either dry or in soup form. Chhang is a local beer made from millet. Tea is the best beverage and perhaps the best in the world. Bakeries are quite popular and Glenary's Bakery & Café which operates from a two-storied white colonial building is worth visiting. Run by Edward Family from pre-independence days this is a prominent landmark of Darjeeling. Keventer’s is another such joint. There was a time when breakfast in Darjeeling meant Keventer’s and its full monty platter of sausages, bacon, eggs and a great view and it is still in operation.
Darjeeling experiences a pleasant climate throughout the year except for the winter chill. Darjeeling experiences five seasons each overlapping other i.e. spring, summer, autumn, winter, and monsoon. Summers extend from mid-April to mid-June, temperatures never crossing 25°C. Torrential rain characterizes the monsoon season from Mid May to September and is always in a short spell. Winter temperature hovers around 5°C to 7°C. Occasionally the temperatures drop below freezing with snowfall. Mist and fog cover the sky of Darjeeling and its surroundings during the monsoon and winter seasons. The Road from Darjeeling to Mirik is really scenic with fog and mist
The nearest airport is Bagdogra Airport (IXB) & Pakyong Airport (PYG). The nearest major Railway Station is New Jalpaiguri Railway Station (NJP) and the nearest Bus Terminus is Tenzing Norgay Bus Terminus (Junction). The nearest Major city is Siliguri of Darjeeling district. It takes about 03 hours to reach Darjeeling from any of these locations by car. Private taxis, shared taxis (available at NJP) and bus are the main public transports to reach Darjeeling from any of these locations. Alternatively, you can take the fascinating toy train from New Jalpaiguri Railway Station (NJP) or Siliguri Junction Station all the way up to Darjeeling soaking in the beauty of Himalayas in a 07 hours ride. Guests need to go by road and negotiate steep & winding mountain roads.
Places of interests are the view of Mount Kanchenjunga, Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, Jore Pokhri Wildlife Sanctuary, Katapahar, Jalapahar, Observatory Hill, Siwalik Hills, Darjeeling Sadar, Mall, Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park, Manebhanjang, Sandakphu, Phalut, Rock Garden, Senchal Wildlife Sanctuary, Singalila National Park, Batasia Loop, Rock Garden, Tea Estates, Tea Factories, Tea Bungalow and few British time bakery & Studios. Nearby places are Lamahatta, Mirik, Kurseong, Chatakpur, Sittong, Takdah, Tinchuley, Lebong, and many more such destinations.
Tiger Hill – Famous for the great view of Kanchenjunga range during sunrise. Tour starts early in the morning before dawn. Experience of a lifetime if the weather is clear.
Darjeeling Himalayan Railway – The DHR is commonly known as the toy train. The small train travels through narrow gauge rail track between NJP (Siliguri) to Darjeeling.
Ghum Station on the DHR is one of the highest railway stations in the world.
Batasia Loop – The toy train takes a full circle here in order to gain height on a steep slope. The place is close to Darjeeling town and offers an excellent glimpse of the town and the mountains. There is also a garden and a war memorial here.
DHR joyride – A common attraction among tourist is the 2-hour joyride on the toy train. The train travels from Darjeeling town to Batasia loop and back (more information)
Visit Monastery – The common tourist activity includes a visit to a number of Buddhist monasteries around Darjeeling. One of them is the Ghum monastery (Sampten Choling Monastery). This monastery is close to 150 years old. The others include Dali monastery (4 km from town), Japanese peace pagoda etc.
Visit to Tea Garden – A trip to Darjeeling is incomplete without a visit to the tea plantations that creates the famous Darjeeling Brew.
Darjeeling Zoo – Known as the Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park, this is another obvious tourist attraction. The facility here was world famous for its Red Panda and Snow leopard breeding program.
Himalayan Mountaineering Institute – Darjeeling is also the place where many great mountaineers including Sherpa Tenzing Norgay lived. Tenzing was the first to climb on mt. Everest along with Edmond Hillary. This legacy, as well as other great stories of mountaineering, is well maintained in the museum inside the Institute.
Being a Tour Operator and a destination management Company we also organize corporate group activities, school excursion other than the normal FIT & MICE. Specialized tour like Birding and Tea Tourism are also organized by us. Adventure activities like Trekking, Camping, etc are taken care of by our team.
Darjeeling today is one of the best hill stations in India. Apart from Darjeeling town, a number of other towns in the neighboring area such as Kalimpong, Kurseong, Lava, Loleygaon etc. have got prominence in tourism.
Due to its vicinity to Sikkim; Darjeeling and Sikkim are considered together as a tourist circuit. Till the 1980’s tourism mostly flourished in Darjeeling hills. Since early 90’s Sikkim started gaining prominence in tourism and today tourism in Darjeeling and Sikkim go hand in hand.
The common tours in Darjeeling – Sikkim Sector cover Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Pelling, and Gangtok. North Sikkim has also come up as an attractive tour option.
Being a leading Travel operator and a destination management Company we organize corporate group activities, school excursion other than the normal FIT & MICE. Specialized tour like Birding and Tea Tourism are also looked after by us. Adventure activities like Trekking, Camping, etc are taken care of by our team.
New Jalpaiguri / Bagdogra Airport / Siliguri Town - 70 km - 3 hours
Gangtok - 100 km - 4 hours
Pelling - 130 km - 5 hours
Kalimpong - 60 km - 2 hours
The journey started more than a decade ago when a financial consultant, a social activist and a biology researcher came together to start a business in tourism that none of them knew about. But travel is something they loved and enjoyed, and so they decided to change the paradigms in their own way. And they remarked “travel is more than a profession, it’s a passion”. Read More [+]