There are many reasons which attract so many visitors to Darjeeling and listed below are some of the most popular.
As the oldest and many say the best hill station in India, Darjeeling was an extremely popular destination in the time of the British Raj. The wonderfully cool climate, clear brisk air and the breathtaking views of the Himalayas drew the British here to escape the stifling heat of Kolkota. It is still a very popular place for honeymooners, trekkers and others seeking to escape from the oppressive build up of heat on the plains before and after the monsoon season: the climate is temperate with temperatures ranging only between 12 and 25 in the summer and between 1.5 and 10 degrees during the winter. 1.5 and 24 degrees.
The two high seasons are between April and June, and from October to December. During these months the mountains are clearly visible especially if you are an early riser! You will need to bring warm clothes throughout the year but particularly from November onwards when the temperature starts to drop, although it rarely gets below freezing. However there is a wide range of cold weather gear for sale everywhere in Darjeeling, from hand-knitted Tibetan sweaters to imported down jackets.
The history of tea in Darjeeling goes back some 150 years and although it has declined considerably since its hey day it still produces 10-11 million kilograms a year. There are over seventy tea gardens in the region with the nearest being Happy Valley Tea Estate about 1km away which is open to tourists. There are also many shops in Darjeeling where you can sample and buy tea
Trekking in Darjeeling
The best way to enjoy the fabulous scenery around Darjeeling is to go Trekking. There are many Trekking companies around who arrange Treks to suit you. Two of the most popular treks are Sandakphu and Phalut, The shorter trek to Sandakphu passes through the forests of the Singelila National Park, with breathtaking views of the Kanchenjunga range. Continuing on to Phalut the trek takes in views of passes into to Tibet, and views of the Everest range.
During the spring trekking season April to May the Rhododendrons and other shrubs are in flower, although there may be occasional rains, whilst in the winter season, October to December visibility is excellent. White water rafting is also available on the nearby Teesta River.
Many people travel to Darjeeling to find out more about Tibetan Bhuddism and Culture. The approach road to Darjeeling is enhanced by the many beautiful monasteries with their distinctive Tibetan Architecture, red and gold paintwork, and fluttering prayer flags. The most famous one is at Ghoom, about 8km south of Darjeeling, which is open to visitors. The Manjushree Centre of Tibetan Culture offers Language classes and Tibetan medicine can be studied at the Chagpori Tibetan Medical College in Darjeeling.