Originally just a cluster of villages that was administered intermittently by Nepal and Sikkim, Darjeeling grew in prominence during the mid 19th century when, because of its climate, the British first established a hill station there after leasing it from the Chogyal of Sikkim and 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 Raj was governed from Calcutta.
Because it was a popular hill station during the days of the Raj, a lovely Victorian town was built among the Himalayan foothills, the remnants of which are still visible around the Chowrasta and Darjeeling remains a popular summer and fall resort for the natives of Kolkata today. For foreign tourists, the main attractions are the cultural diversity (many Tibetan refugees moved here after Tibet was annexed by China and they co-exist with the descendants of the many Nepali and Bihari laborers brought to work in the tea plantations), the beautiful views (including the wonderful vista view of Kanchenjunga), a variety of trekking options, and the opportunity to cool down after a stint in the plains. The town is also a jumping off point for travelers heading to Sikkim.
There has been intermittent political action from Gorkha groups demanding an independent state (Gorkhaland). In June 2008 a strike paralyzed the area, with closed hotels, restaurants and shops, and the accompanying protests even turned violent a couple of times. Though inconvenient, tourists generally are not at risk, but recently they do check the status before going there.
The nearest airport is Bagdogra, near Siliguri, 96 km from Darjeeling.
Air India (fomerly Indian Airlines), India's largest airline, has flights from:
- Delhi - IC 880 (Tu/Th/Sat) and IC 879 (Mon/Fri - via Guwahati)
- Guwahati - IC 879 (Mon/Fri)
- Kolkata - IC 721 (Tu/Th/Sat)
Jet Airways, a private airline, has flights from:
- Delhi - 9W 601 (Mon/Wed/Fri - Via Guwahati) and 9W 602 (Tu/Th/Sat/Sun)
- Guwahati 9W 601 (Mon/Wed/Fri)
- Kolkata 9W 617 (Daily)
Spice Jet also operates flights from Kolkata & Delhi.
Air Deccan also known as Kingfisher red, runs budget flights to and from Bagdogra from Delhi, Guwahati and Calcutta.
Indigo has also started direct/indirect flights to & from Delhi and Guwahati since April, 2009 end.
Druk Airways has also commenced direct flights to & from Paro as well as Bangkok, twice a week for both destinations
All other cities major cities can be accessed by taking a flight to Delhi/Kolkata and connecting.
Getting to and from Nepal can be tricky, despite their close proximity. One can catch a share jeep to Siliguri and a bus to the Nepalese border, changing buses in Nepal. An alternative is that Juniper Tours and Travels - located just next to the clock tower in Darjeeling offer a service where a driver can take you across the border and drop you at the Bhadrapur airport in Nepal for your connecting flight to Kathmandu. It is more expensive than organising your own transport but they make a concerted effort to look after you and will help you out if the situation becomes dicey (particularly with strikes in Nepal), they cannot be recommended highly enough and this is unusual for India.
Siliguri is the nearest town connected to the mainline rail network. Ample transport is available to Darjeeling from here. The most popular modes of transport are taxi (usually shared by three to four passengers), shared jeep (ten passengers) @Rs.120/-.
Shared jeeps depart regularly, from several locations around town. They leave when full, and are a cheap, fast and reasonably comfortable way to get to Darjeeling.
If you have arrived by train at NJP, you can take a taxi or shared jeep to reach Darjeeling from the booking counter at the taxi stand in front of the railway station. There is also a prepaid taxi stand in front of the train station. Note that if you arrive too late for the jeep to make a return journey from Darjeeling, you may end up paying more, e.g. Rs.200 per person. The prepaid counter will tell you that no jeeps are available, so you'll have to find one via a fixer or by negotiating directly with drivers.
Tourists often opt to buy an extra seat or two to have more space for the 3 hour journey up to Darjeeling! Luggage is carried for free on the roof. Jeeps may stop for a snack and toilet break on the way up (normally a few km short of Kurseong).
There is a regular bus service from Silguri to Darjeeling. However, they are quite slow due to the steep, twisty climb up to Darjeeling. Shared jeeps are almost as cheap, and faster.
New Jalpaiguri (NJP) near Siliguri is the nearest station on the main inter-city line. Direct trains to NJP run from Delhi (approx 27 hours) several times a day. If you are traveling from Kolkata (Sealdah Station) the best train for you will be Darjeeling Mail (circa 12 hours) running nightly at 10:05PM.
From there (NJP), the famous Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, known to all as the 'Toy Train' completes the journey to Darjeeling.
This route is very popular with tourists as it passes through some very picturesque mountain scenery and has been the subject of many romantic articles. The line has a series of zig zags and loops to gain height and runs straight up several village main streets! Trains depart NJP at 9 a.m. and arrive in Darjeeling at 3:30. Now the train is diesel hauled is reasonably reliable and punctual.
The steam 'Joy' train operates from Darjeeling to Ghoom round the famous Batasia Loop, once or twice a day (10AM)&(1:40PM) – enquire at Darjeeling station. Costs about INR 250 (First class)/ INR 50 (Second Seating). Strongly suggested you buy tickets for earlier train as the 2nd train rarely has enough people. Website DHR: 
A steam train also operates Siliguri to 'Agony Point' above Tindharia most Saturdays and Sundays. Enquire to Siliguri station. There is also a daily 'School Train' that leaves Kurseong at 06:15 arriving Darjeeling at 08:45. It leaves Darjeeling at 16:00 arriving Kurseong at 18:30. This is still hauled by a steam engine and is one of the last 'day to day'/ordinary steam trains running anywhere in the world. IR keeps changing the times for it and it is notoriously unreliable often running hours late.
Darjeeling is a small town and the salubrious climate means walks around town are an extremely enjoyable means of getting around. For longer trips, taxis are available in stands near the entrance to the Mall.
A great way to spend a day is to take a share-jeep to Ghoom (the next town up the ridge), visit some monasteries there and walk back to Darjeeling via some of the villages.
- Himalayan Mountaineering Institute(HMI) http://www.himalayanmountaineeringinstitute.com/This is one of the most visited spot in Darjeeling. This institute was created by the late Tenzing Norgay. He was a Sherpa who climbed the Mount Everest on 29th of may 1953 with Sir Edmund Hillary. All the equipments used in that climb are still a highlight in that institute.
- Himalayan Zoo Padmaja Naidu Zoological Park shares the premises of HMI It has a good collection of animals found in the Himalayan region.
- Buddhist monasteries
- Japanese Peace PagodaThis impressing building is part of a grid of around 30 pagodas spanning the whole globe. Constructed by the Japanese Buddhist Nipponzan-Myohoji Order, the one at Charlimont on the outskirts of Darjeeling was consecrated in 1992. A small temple just lies alongside. If you're woken up due to the sound of drumming in the streets of Darjeeling between 4 and 5 am: These are the monks (Theravada) of the Japanese temple having their early morning walk.
- Tiger Hill - Ideal to visit early morning when the first rays of the sun kiss the Mt Kanchenjunga and give it a golden color. To visit the hill, one needs to get up at 3:00AM in the morning. You can taste some excellent tea on your way to the hill, which will provide much needed warmth on cold Darjeeling mornings. When getting into a taxi at 4am keep in mind that they are shared taxis and your driver might wait around in vain for others to join your taxi causing you to miss the sunrise! Those travelling alone or as a couple might want to squeeze into an already occupied jeep to insure full viewing pleasure. Though it has executive lounge (Rs.40/- per person) and special lounge (Rs.30/- per person), nothing beats having view from open area as you can have a full paranomic view from outside avoiding crowd in the lounge.
- Observatory Hill: Observatory hill is the oldest site in Darjeeling. This hill is also known as the “Makal-Babu-Ko-Thaan” in local area. It is said that a Red Hat Buddhist Monastery stood at this very spot. Nepal people destroyed this monastery in the 19th century.
Darjeeling is one of the oldest hill stations in India, and has plenty of options, both for those seeking a lazy getaway from the hot plains, as well as nature enthusiasts and adrenaline junkies. Apart from sights within the town, there are plenty of trek options along the Himalayan ridges on the Indo-Nepal border near Darjeeling. The most popular one being the Singhalia Ridge Trail. Bookings for guides, porters and accommodation on the trail can be made in Darjeeling or in the nearby town of Manebhanjang, which serves as the trail-head. Be aware that from July to mid-September the Singalia park is closed, but because of the rain, clouds and fog it is less enjoyable anyway.
- Shruberry Health Club less visited but offers unique and charming views of Kanchenjunga.Few locals can been found jogging here and offering prayers to various objects
- Singalila National Park west of Darjeeling, adjacent to Nepalese border Singalila is a trekking destination in the far northwest corner of West Bengal state. Kanchenjunga, the world's 3rd highest peak, is visible for much of the trek, to the north, on the Nepalese border with Sikkim. Usually the park is accessed from Maneybhanjang, approx. one hour, or 30 km. west of Darjeeling. The park can also be accessed from Rimbik, where many trekkers finish up, or from Bijanbari, with one extra day's walking. Trekkers must pay a 100rp fee to enter the park, and must hire a guide. Porters can also be hired in Maneybhanjeng. Many trekkers sign up for a 3, 5 or 6 day trek in Darjeeling, where various trekking companies make all of the arrangements. Passports must be carried, as the trek crosses briefly into Nepal, then back into India. Sleeping bags and layered warm clothing are a must, as the temperature dips well below freezing most nights. Overnight lodging is done at assorted huts or simple guesthouses along the way, and hot meals are available at the same. Starting from Maneybhanjang, most trekkers stay overnight in Gairbas or Kalipokhari, and press on to Sandakphu for the 2nd night. Sandakphu at 3636 meters, is a favorite spot to view the high Himalayan peaks of LLotze, Everest, Makalu, etc., in early morning when visibility is good. 3 day trekkers turn aside and head downhill to Rimbik for their final night, while others head further north for spectacular views from Sabarkum and Phalut, then downhill for Raman, and finish in Rimbik for the last night. For greater cash outlay, non-trekkers, or those pressed for time can hire a jeep as transport from Maneybhanjang to Sandakphu, and stay overnight to catch the sunrise views. The ideal time to visit is April or May, in spring when the rhododendrons are in bloom, but Singalila can also be done in the fall, after monsoon season.
- Darjeeling Himalayan Railway http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darjeeling_Himalayan_Railway The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, nicknamed the "Toy Train", is a 2 ft (610 mm) narrow-gauge railway from Siliguri to Darjeeling in West Bengal, run by the Indian Railways.
It was built between 1879 and 1881 and is about 86 km (53 mi) long. The elevation level is from about 100 m (328 ft) at Siliguri to about 2,200 m (7,218 ft) at Darjeeling. It is still powered by a steam engine. A modern diesel engine is used for Darjeeling’s mail.
- Mountain Biking http://thrillophilia.com/Adventure-Sports-Sikkim--Darjeeling-Biking-Tour_89.htmltMountain biking is an adventure and the best way to explore the beauty of any mountain or hilly area. This is the best way to explore the natural beauty of the Darjeeling. Darjeeling has many exciting tracks for the motor biking. Adventure lovers love to ride on these roads as they provide them the opportunities to explore the natural beauty at their own with some adventure and thrill.
- Tea. Darjeeling is famous the world over for its teas, which are very aromatic and have a delicate taste. Shops selling teas (usually owned by local tea gardens), dot the area in and around the Mall, and at the Chowrasta. Golden Tips & Nathmulls are especially known for their tea and also ship worldwide. Stop by to smell the numerous varieties they have to offer. Location: Rink Mall
- Curio items pertaining to Tibetan and Himalayan cultures, such as thangkas, miniature monasteries and garments made from yak wool. Shops are located in and around the Rink Mall, Chowrasta and Darjeeling Local Haat.
- Dorjee The most unique shop that perhaps has the most facinating & exotic collection of local oriental & Buddhist artefacts is located just opposite the General Post Office. This place, though surprisingly small, is more like a mini Alladin's cave. A must-visit for all objet-d'art lovers. However, Indians are frequently cold shouldered unlike the deep interest shown to foreign customers.
- Hand PickLocated inside the Rink Mall, this place offers a plethora of handicrafts not only from in and around Darjeeling but several places across the country. Ethic garments, statues in wood, metal, etc., leather goods & ethnic dresses & footwear, singing bowls, artificial jewellery, paintings, thangkas, Rajasthani decorware & gift ware, furnishings, etc. Prices labelled & reasonable.
- Oxford Bookshop Chowrasta Excellent selection of titles. Local travel guides.
- Book Shoppe Bagdogra Airport (Departure level) offers the flier a good selection of books.
- Das Studio The MallPosters and picture postcards. Excellent selection of posters and cards depicting scenes of the Himalayas.
Several eateries which dish out North Indian, Nepali, Tibetan, and continental fare dot the area around the Mall. "Momos", a steamed Tibetan delicacy are a staple food offered by almost every eating joint.
Keep in mind that everything closes pretty early in the night (The town goes to sleep before 9 PM). So, do keep something in stock to eat, if you are planning to stay up late.
- Glenary's Bakery and Cafe A good place for cakes, pastries, the ubiquitous Darjeeling cuppa, sizzerlers and North Indian fare. Offers nice views of Mt Kanchendjunga on clear days.
- Hot Stimulating Cafe On the way to Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, on Hooker Road, is this lovely little cozy place with pictures of Bob Marley covering one whole wall. The Momos here are awesome! They even offer a Momo-cooking course! The guy who owns it can double up as your local guide, trekking along with you to some adventurous outings from Darjeeling.
- Hotel Lunar This is probably the best vegetarian restaurants in town where you can enjoy a great view and wonderful service.
- Hotel Chanakya If you are looking for an authentic Bengali restaurant in town where you can enjoy both veg and nonveg dishes then this is the place where you should go.
- Kunga's An excellent Tibetan place, situated just above the clocktower. It serves superb Tibetan food, including hearty Tibetan soups (Thentuk is recommended). It is, however, tiny, hence often full and crowded.
- The Park 50 meters from the clock tower Rs 90-150 Located near the clock tower, this restaurant is especially popular with tourists. They have two menu cards, one Thai and the other Indian, and the cook mastered both cuisines. The Thai cuisine is quite excellent. Try their Thai style chicken rice noodle.
- Keventers 50 meters from the Mall This place with it's awesome western delicacies and cool view was featured in a number of movies and books. Don't forget to try the chicken sausages and the chocolate milk shake.
- Golden Tips Tea Cosy Chowrasta, The Mall 0354-2253251 http://www.goldentipstea.com/ 0830-2100 Rs. 300-12,000-00 The finest collection of Darjeeling Tea in loose (estate) & handcrafted Gift Packaging. Over 250 varieties - Darjeeling Black, Green, Oolong, White, Flavored, Herb Teas. Gourmet Tea sit in service with a handsome and well presented range of snacks and eatables. Tea Menu with almost 75+ kinds of different hot & iced teas, tea mocktails. Tea Paraphernalia like metal /' silver tea sets & pots, strainers, infusers, spoons, tea cosies, etc on sale. Good collection .. Online store www.goldentipstea.com
- Nathmull's Tea Cosy The Rink Mall (Opposite General Post Office), Darjeeling at the entrance of the Rink Mall 0354-2257309 http://www.nathmulls.in Rs. 20 to Rs. 12000-00 A great place tastefully done up with an amazing ambience and collection of hundreds of varieties of the finest Darjeeling Teas. Serving almost 100 varieties of tea & tea mocktails from a Tea Menu. A large collection of tea accessories such as silver tea pots & sets, tea cosies, tea strainers & infusers books on teas & other paraphernelia
- Boney's Snack Bar Capital Market, Ladenla Road Opp Clock Tower, Near Hayden Hall Serves very good grilled sandwiches, sandwiches, pizzas, burgers and even pastas.
- Tea – Darjeeling tea is world renowned after all. Also called the 'Champagne of Teas', You can taste and buy the best teas in the market & at Tea Cosy, the tea parlors with an excellent environment located inside the Rink Mall and at the Golden Tips Chowrasta.
- Joey's Pub – Pop into Joey's Pub for some cheap beer, great hospitality, cricket on TV etc. A British-looking pub popular with travellers. A good place to pick up trekking information and travel partners to fill a jeep to Sikkim or down to the plains.
- Kho Cha Laden La Road +913542257308 http://www.khochateas.com 80 - 9.000 a snazzy Tea Boutique having a very wide frontage even though the place is not all that big. Over 50 kinds of finely packaged teas from Darjeeling & other areas in India. Oolong, black, green, white, CTC, Spiced, herbal & many more. Besides, they also have almost 25 kinds of estate teas to see, taste & select The place even boasts of a small 4-seater tea bar with a proper Tea Menu ! Interesting and very well located. Few accessories also available. Teas can also be bought from their online website which is quite nice www.khochateas.com
Darjeeling has a large number of hotels and lodges. However, on the whole, budget accommodation is of poor value compared to elsewhere in India. Most places target groups coming in from West Bengal; backpacker-oriented accommodation is sparse and you probably won't get touts coming to pick you up at the bus stop so it pays to have a few ideas in advance.
There are several forest guest houses in the Darjeeling area. In order to stay at any of these a special permit from West Bengal Forest Department  is required.
- Birds Eye View Dr. Zakir Hussain Rd near the top of the hill on the south end of Darjeeling. From the jeep drop off and train station it is up to the very top and then keep going right 9832321037, 9775972955 noon Rs 200+ Opened in October 2008.
- Darjeeling Tourist Lodge Bhanu Sarani, Darjeeling 7 minutes from Mall, near Gymkhana Club +91 354 2254411/12/13 http://darjeeling.gov.in/govt-accomodation.html Rs 500-1,600 firstname.lastname@example.org +91 354 2254412Property belongs to West Bengal Tourism Development Corporation and has a breathtaking location with views of Kanchenjunga.
- Hotel Aliment 10AM Rs 250-600Located at the top of the hill, the views are nice, but the 15 min walk from the clock tower is quite steep. In some double rooms there is hot water 6:30PM-7:30PM, but they can fill up a bucket with hot water the rest of the day. There is also a simple restaurant, which houses an impressive library.
- Hotel New Samrat 63, Gandhi Rd beside Hotel Viceroy & OPP Hotel Fairmont +91 923 3622978 noon Rs 600-1,000 Centrally located on the main road.
- Hotel Pineridge The Mall, Darjeeling on the left before Chowrasta +91 354 2254074 Rs 850-1,200All rooms face Kanchenjungha. Rooms are dank & dreary with rickety old furniture. Offers a hint of the old world charm.
- Revolver 110 Gandhi Rd behind Union Church, go through the Open School Gate. +919434428935 http://www.revolver.in 12 noon Rs 799-899 27.376°N approx 88.2647°E approxA Beatles themed lodge and restaurant. The lodge features five cosy rooms, each named after the fab four and Brian Epstein, considered the fifth Beatle. Very affordable, each room has a double bed, attached bathroom with hot water and closet. The lodge showcases a constantly growing list of Beatles memorabilia.
- Zakir Hussain Rd Lodging Zakir Hussain Rd Top of the hill Rs 180-500 Offers a clutch of backpacker-oriented places. On a north-facing slope which is perpetually misty so these places get very cold and damp, with the lack of sunshine often being felt in the attitudes of the proprietors too.
- Bellevue Hotel P O Box 28, The Mall, Darjeeling, W.B. 734101 Right at Chowrasta, the central square within the pedestrian zone +91 354 2254075 http://www.bellevuehotel-darjeeling.com Rs 800 - 2,000 email@example.com Run by a Tibetan family for around forty years, the hotel features a modest, dry and warm interior, rooms are wood-panelled and clean. Free WiFi.
- Gymkhana Resort +91 354 2257325 Rs 2,500+
- Hotel Dekeling 51 Ghandi Road http://www.dekeling.com/ around Rs 2,000 Located very centrally at the south end of the Mall. Has wifi.
- Hotel Fairmont +91 354 2253649 around Rs 2,000
- Hotel Seven Seventeen +91 354 2254717/2255099 http://www.hotel717.com Rs 1,500-3,100 firstname.lastname@example.org Centrally located.
- Hotel Sinclairs http://www.sinclairshotels.com/darjeeling/darjeeling.php Rs 3,500-7,300It has 46 beautiful rooms and suites, with satellite TV. The wooden interiors give it an ambience of a traditional country home.
- Mayfair Darjeeling opposite Governor House, The Mall +91 354 2256376 +91 354 2252674 email@example.com http://www.mayfairhotels.com/darjeeling_about.aspx?page=darjeeling&sid=abt&lid=ovr Rs 8,000Hill resort offering good views. This property was once the summerhouse of the Maharajah of Nazargunj.
- Windamere Hotel Observatory Hill +91 354 2254041/42 http://www.windamerehotel.com Rs 6,650-12,500Established in the 19th century as a boarding house for bachelor English and Scottish tea planters, it was converted into a hotel just before the outbreak of the Second World War. Has been the subject of many stories in the international media. It is situated on Observatory Hill, a Darjeeling landmark. Has wifi.
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