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Close to Tibet and Nepal, the delightful hill station of Darjeeling makes a wonderful respite from the hot, humid North Indian plains. And that's exactly why it was built. The British established Darjeeling in the mid-19th century as a holiday escape from Calcutta and surrounding areas. The large numbers of hotels in the town are testimony to one of its major industries: tourism. The other is tea. Indeed, Darjeeling is almost synonomous with the word "tea" (trust the British!) and the town is surrounded by mountainous slopes that are an artist's palette of varying shades of green leaves. Visiting a tea estate and being shown the traditional ...

Close to Tibet and Nepal, the delightful hill station of Darjeeling makes a wonderful respite from the hot, humid North Indian plains. And that's exactly why it was built. The British established Darjeeling in the mid-19th century as a holiday escape from Calcutta and surrounding areas. The large numbers of hotels in the town are testimony to one of its major industries: tourism. The other is tea. Indeed, Darjeeling is almost synonomous with the word "tea" (trust the British!) and the town is surrounded by mountainous slopes that are an artist's palette of varying shades of green leaves. Visiting a tea estate and being shown the traditional processes still used to make the stuff that fueled the British Empire for generations is an intriguing experience. Exploring Buddhist monasteries, zooming around on a cablecar, trekking around the sublime mountainous landscape and white-water rafting are all available. And to cap it off you even get here via a toy steam train from New Jalpaiguri — one of only two train lines on the planet to receive World Heritage status.

Alan Murphy
About the Expert

Alan Murphy is coauthor of Lonely Planet's Britain, Scotland, India and North India. He has been writing and updating travel guidebooks for the past 12 years.

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Alan Murphy for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Darjeeling is a town in the Indian state of West Bengal.
  • Language: Nepali, English, Tibetan, Hindi, Bengali
  • Currency: Indian Rupee
  • Research: Darjeeling | Wikitravel
  • Current Time:

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Mid March to mid May; mid September to mid November; Christmas