Darjeeling – The Rolling Hills of Himlayas
Located in the northeastern section of India, close to Nepal and Tibet, Darjeeling the rolling hills of the Himalayas was just a normal village before it became a tourist place because of its serenity. The land of Thunderbolt, Darjeeling originates from two Tibetan words: “Dorje” and “ling”. Dorje signifies thunderbolt which according to Hindu mythology is the staff of God Indra. The word ling means an area or spot. So, the name Darjeeling signifies the ‘place where there is thunderbolt’.
Along with the dazzling snow peaks of Kanchenjunga, the orchids, the pines, the cute toy Himalayan train, Darjeeling is mainly known for its tea.
People & Culture:
Hinduism and Vajrayana Buddhism are obeyed here, followed by Christianity too. Indigenous communities such as the Lepchas and the Kiranti Limbus practice Animism and Shamanism.
The main festivals celebrated here are Dashain, Tihar, Buddha Jayanti, Christmas, Losar, etc.
Besides these, the local festivals that are celebrated are as follows:
- Buddhist ethnic groups which include Lepchas, Bhutias, Sherpas, Yolmos, Gurungs, and Tamangs celebrate their new year called Losar in January/February, Maghe Sankranti, Chotrul Duchen and Tendong Lho Rumfaat.
- The Kiranti Rai people (Khambus) celebrate their annual Sakela festivals of Ubhauli and Udhauli.
- Deusi and Bhaileni are songs performed by men and women, respectively, during the festival of Tihar.
Majority of the people in Darjeeling speak in Nepali. However, Bengali and Hindi are predominant in Terai region or Plain Siliguri subdivision.
Due to the mix of culture and people, the cuisine has a lot of variety too. However, rice, noodles and potato are dominating in the diet; mainly because it suits the weather conditions there. The most popular local snack food is Momos, a steamed dumpling containing meat or vegetables cooked in a doughy wrapping and served with clear soup and achar. Another popular Tibetan food is ‘Thukpa’, which is a hot noodle soup with meat, eggs and vegetables. Apart from Tea being the most popular delicacy, the Butter Tea is something we would recommend you to try for must!
Best time to visit:
October to March: October is when the monsoon season ends and a slight chill is observed in the weather. Winter season begins in full swing and it is during the months of mid-November to January, when the average temperature ranges between 7 and 5 degree Celsius. Snowfall is rarely seen in Darjeeling.
- The Darjeeling – Rangit Valley Ropeway is the largest ropeway in Asia.
- Actor Benedict Cumberbatch who had won the heart of millions of fans through his on screen portrayal of Sherlock Holmes once taught English in a Tibetan monastery in Darjeeling.