The Magic of Darjeeling
General InformationHistory of DarjeelingActivities & ExcursionsSpecial FactsPlaces of InterestThe Suburbs
The 11th edition of Encyclopedia Britannica "Quote" - Darjeeling, a hill station and district of British India, in the Bhagalpur division of Bengal. The sanatorium issituated 367 miles by railnorth of Calcutta.In 1901 it had a population of 16,924. It is the summer quarters of the Bengal government and has a mostagreeable climate, which neither exceeds 80 degree F. in summer, nor falls below 30 degree F. in winter. The great attraction of Darjeeling is its scenery, which is unspeakably grand. The view across the hills to Kinchinjunga discloses a glittering white wall of perpetual snow, surrounded by towering masses of granite. There are several schools of considerable size for European boys and girls, and a government boarding school at Kurseong.
The peoples of the Nepali , Lepcha, Bhutia and Tibetians communities are considered to be the original inhabitants of the hilly portion of the district. They are a fine, frank race, naturally open-hearted and free-handed, fond of change and given to an out-door life; but they do not seem to improve on being brought into contact with civilization. Wheel spins in the hands of Lamas mumbling invocations to God, in the distance are the snowcapped Khanchendzonga range, on the streets amidst brightly painted pagoda roofed houses, lined with friendly smiling people are silver, silk and spice and jewelers to gladden one's heart. The tea industry, for which the region is famous, Tourism and Transport is the other major industry continues to regulate, the economy of the area and the country as well.
The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway of 2 ft. gauge, opened in 1880, runs for 87 Km. from Siliguri.
The town of Darjeeling can be reached by the 87 km (52 miles) long Darjeeling Himalayan Railway popularly known as the "Toy Train" from Siliguri, or by the Hill Cart Road (National Highway 55) that follows the railway line. The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway is a 60 cm (2 ft) narrow-gauge railway. It was declared a World Heritage Train by UNESCO in 1999, becoming only the second railway, after the Semmering Railway in Austria in the world.
The Journey to Darjeeling
The Toy Train from Siliguri is exciting means of transport to Darjeeling. Innovative engineering executed to perfection, takes six to seven hours to cover a distance of 87 kms. It uses neither rack mechanism nor cable as other mountain railways do, but moves only on adhesion. The journey is leisurely, but not strenuous it gives you enough time to watch and appreciate the beauty which nature has provided. Passing through the forests, waterfalls, over deep valleys and through the mountains and tunnels it will remind you of Bollywood movies Sagina Mahato, Aradhana or Parineeta. Hindi filmdom recognised the romantic potential of the Darjeeling railway long ago.The important station enroute are New Jalpaiguri – Sukna – Tindharia – Rangtong – Chunabhatti – Tung – Sonada – Ghum – Darjeeling.