- The Tea
Many tourists form all over the world has discovered Darjeeling
It's knocking at the door 4 in the morning:
- Your jeep for Tiger Hill, Sir!
I'm in Darjeeling, the tea town in India, at 2134 meters or 7000 ft above the sea in the northern Indian mountain landscape Himalaya
From the top of Tiger Hill at 2660 meters you can see the most beautiful sunrise in India. From here you can see the mighty "Mountain of the Gods", called Kunchenjunga at 8.598 meters. It's tibetan name is: Khang Chen Dzod Nga. You see a large mountain with seven peaks and the highest and most famous of them all is the Kunchenjunga.
Its getting crowded at Tiger Hill just before the sunrise: Lots of tourists and local people gather, and when the sunrise came cameras click all over the place.
The highest railway in the world.
The good old steam trains from the opening in 1881 are still working in Darjelling. The trains are puffing its beauteous way up linking altitudes varying from 1,828 meter (6,000 ft) at Manibhanjan, to 3,657 meters (12,000 ft) at Phalut and Sandakphu. This English made train was opened in 1881 by the on a gauge of 2 ft, the maximum gradient being 1 to 20 the distance of 82 km - that is 51 miles - is covered in seven hours when the world's most beautiful scenery passes before you. After a straight run of eleven kilometres at Sukna the train begins its ascent, at very sharp zig-zag turn a fresh landscape, each more enchanting than the other comes into view as various plants replace stately forests. Ghoom Station at 2.438 meters the highest station in the world is passed just before the train enters end stop at Darjeeling Railway Station. Even though the bus is faster, most tourists naturally prefer the train.
Mt. Everest at Nuptse 8.848 meters
Darjeeling has about one million inhabitant if you include the surrounding areas. Beside Indians you find larger groups of people from Sikkim, Bhutan and Tibet inhabiting the town.
The town is built in three floors. On top floor called the Observatory Hill you find the hotels for the tourists, the fine shops, the nice big and wealthy houses of the well to do people in Darjeeling.
Originally a Tibetan monastery was built on Observatory Hill. This monastery was called Dorje Ling that gave the place its name: Darjeeling. Dorje Ling means the place of lightening.
Next floor belongs to the Indian inhabitants: Special Indian hotels and shops like any other Indian town.
Then on the ground floor you find the lowest social rang: Here lives the tibetans, the buthanese and the nepalese. This is the most colourful but poor part of the town with its crowded marked places and the people with the most colourful clothes. These marked places are very popular and you can buy handcrafts, silver and a lot of the local hand made things here. At Market Square you can hear all the languages: Nepalese, Buthanes, Tibetan, Indian languages like Hindi and English.
The Tea industry
Darjeeling became a town thanks to the British colonists: the first Europeans came here in 1829. In 1841 Campel started the tea industry and the Darjeeling climate was perfect for tea. The summer temperature varied from 9 to 15 C and the winter temperature between 1 and 6 C. This is quite different from other Indian temperatures. The climate was also the reason why many British settled there during the occupation. This shows on the English architecture on Observatory Hill.
Darjeeling is often called the Indian answer to Switzerland because it's nicer and more clean than most Indian towns. Many rich Indians come to Darjeeling for their holiday because of the climate. The last years many tourists form all over the world has discovered Darjeeling