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Darjeeling

 

One night, we had a dream. Of a lush green valley running through hills, with an aroma so fresh and an ambiance so captivating, we wish we never stopped dreaming. Doing what we do, we decided to find it and fortunately we could find a place just like that. It’s utopic. It’s paradisiacal. It’s Darjeeling – one of the best luxury destinations in India.

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The district of Darjeeling is also known as Queen of Hills as it is surrounded by hills from all sides.

Best Time to Visit

 

Darjeeling is one of the best hill station destinations of India. It is one of the best places to visit in North East India. The pleasant weather and upbeat aura makes up for the perfect experience. The weather is always fresh and a little breezy. Temperature ranges from 2 to 18 degrees Celsius. 

The best time to get a Boutique Tour Operator in India to organize a trip to Darjeeling is between March to May and October to November. One can reach Darjeeling via flight from Delhi to Bagdogra Airport. From Bagdogra airport, Darjeeling is almost 100 kilometers. Although you can easily get a local cab to cover this distance, the bus route is more scenic. Plan a week or two’s tour with trip planner in India ‘Nomaday Travel’ for a trip to Darjeeling on an organized tour.

Pack light clothes but do not forget to carry a light jacket for the trip to Darjeeling because the weather sometimes changes really fast.

What is Darjeeling internationally famous for?

 

tea tourism in india

 

No matter where you go in the world, if you’re having the best quality Tea, chances are it came from one of the gardens of Darjeeling. Darjeeling Tea is also known as the ‘Champagne of Teas’ because of its unique aroma. In fact, it is one of the best tea varieties in the world. Luxury Tea in one of the best luxury destinations in India; isn’t that great?

The moment you see these lush green Tea gardens, you immediately realize you’re in for a treat. Hazy clouds lurking low, blending with the atmosphere, leaving comfortable moisture in the air is just surreal. And the persistent, breezy weather will make you fall in love with your life again. Hire ‘Nomaday Travel’ the trip planer in India for a trip to Darjeeling for a more detailed boutique tour of this place.

Tea cultivation in India was started by Britons in 1847. Tea plant seeds were brought from China and as Indian climate is most suited for agriculture, the Tea cultivation flourished greatly. As a matter of fact, India produces about 900,000 tons of Tea every year. It is the second largest producer of Tea in the world. Moreover, it exports 80% of its production.

But Tea cultivation here is not known just because of the quantity. It is known for its superior quality leaf, handpicked by thousands of tea workers every day. There are Tea specialists who specialize in Darjeeling Tea. Their precision is unparalleled and consequently, the product too is.

Today, Tea cultivation in India is managed by Tea estates, which are officially recognized Tea gardens of Darjeeling. These Tea estates somewhat make Darjeeling a place counted among the luxury destinations in India. They are situated at a height of 600 to 2000 meters above sea level. There are 78 Tea estates sprawling across the hill slopes of Darjeeling and Kurseong sub division, which you can say is the whole point of why you should plan a trip to Darjeeling. For a more detailed tour of allied areas of these regions, we would recommend our tour packages for North-East India.

Tea Tourism in India

 

tea tourism in india-tea estates in india

 

Due to the international recognition that Darjeeling Tea has gained as one of the most natural luxury destinations in India, every year, more and more travelers come here to know about the Tea cultivation here. In the wake of this, a relativity new concept of Tea tourism in India has emerged which focuses extensively on getting travelers closer to knowing how they get one of the best quality Tea in the world. Tea tourism in India is one of the biggest factors that gave a fillip to North-East India tourism.

Tea tourism in India is all about getting closer to nature, away from the urban hustle. You live in a bungalow in the middle of a Tea estate and experience the coziest of moments. These bungalows have a Victorian feel, adorned with furniture and setting which reflect the British era which shaped the Tea cultivation here. The majestic aura of these tea estates bungalows make Darjeeling one of the best luxury destinations in India. For a seamless experience at these bungalows, contact Trip planner in India ‘Nomaday Travel’.

In particular, a typical day at these bungalows starts with a sip of Tea made from fresh plucked tea leaves. And just like that, you can even choose which leaves you want for your tea.

tea tourism in india-tea estates in india

The breakfast you get is also made with fresh ingredients from the backyard garden. You can take a walk through the Tea gardens, feeling the dewed leaves lashing past you as you proceed. Or get to know the plantation workers and exchange a few stories. Or take few selfies with these lovely people. All in all, your trip to Darjeeling could be the most memorable experiences for you because of these little things that matter.

Nearby are the Tea processing factories where you can learn about the intensive Tea processing. You also have a private vehicle or a driver to take you deeper into the paradise.

All in all, Tea tourism in India might result into some of you changing your life goals from Yacht to a Tea estate in Darjeeling. Trust us, it happens with most after a trip to Darjeeling.

These packages for Tea tourism in India are available in different budget options. A trip planner in India can plan a stay for you without hassles and according to your requirements. While estate bungalow is a better option, there are also a home-stay option provided by local tea workers. You get a cozy bed and local homemade food at their home. It is nearly as good an option as the tea bungalows.

People & Culture

 

tea tourism in india-tea estates in india

 

Even though Darjeeling is considered one of the best luxury destinations in India, the populace of this region is quite simple. The district is scarcely populated and that is what makes it appealing as a getaway destination. There are just 130,000 people in the town, but comprises of so many ethnicities, it’s difficult to differentiate among people.Trip planner in India ‘Nomaday Travel’, can take you on an ethnic tour of this place.  Its location is the main reason behind that as it kind of touches the regions of Bhutan, Tibet, Nepal and Sikkim. The population also has a trace of Europe as the Britons settled here for Tea cultivation. And well, we have to give some credit to them for the majesty they left in these Tea gardens.

Hinduism and Vajrayana Buddhism are generally practiced here. Hindi is usually spoken here with a few other regional languages spoken among the cults. The major Hindu festivals celebrated here are Dasain, Tihar, Diwali, Saraswati Puja, Maghe Sankranti, Janmashtmi and Vishwa Karma Puja. Buddhist festivals celebrated here are Saga Dawa, Lhabab Dhuechen, Drukpa Teshi, Phang Lhabsol, Losoong, Loosar, Bumchu.

trip to darjeeling - lepchas

The original tribe of Darjeeling is Lepchas, which are of Mongolian origin and speak their own language called Rong Ring. They mainly practice Buddhism or Christianity and are very calm people. As can be seen, these people have been involved in crop cultivation and cattle, even today. Another skill they have is that they are excellent Bamboo craft makers. Their handcraft products can be found in local markets of Darjeeling. Ask trip planner in India ‘Nomaday Travel’ for a trip down the local market lanes.

trip to darjeeling - khampas

The Khampas are recent immigrants from Tibet and are part of Lepchas tribe. However, these people have a flamboyant outlook and dress like Red Indians. Their outfits are usually very heavy and traditional. They practice Buddhism, but live like warriors.

“If a man says he is not afraid of dying, he is either lying or he’s a Gorkha”

The above lines were quoted by Sam Manekshaw, Indian Army’s first Field Marshal.

The Gorkha Regiment which, by all means, is the best and most disciplined regiment of the Indian Army, is made up of Gorkha people who are generally found in Nepal but are also found in Darjeeling. They are short in height and are usually of slim & smaller built, but are very energetic and healthy.

The Sherpas found in the hills of Darjeeling are known for their mountaineering skills and fitness. Tenzing Norgay a.k.a Sherpa Tenzing, the first person ever to climb Mount Everest, belongs from the Sherpa community. These people are simple and always prefer to live amongst nature.

Hinduism being the dominant religion here has a consolidated style of its own with temple designs inspired from Nepalese and Tibetan architecture. Dhirdham and Mahakal temples are few such examples of cultural amalgamation.

Darjeeling is greatly influenced by Buddhism. Evidently, many prominent Buddhist monasteries built in Pagoda style architecture attract travelers from all over. Some of the most popular monasteries here are Ghum Monastery, Bhutia Busti Monastery, Shakya Monastery, Makdhog Monastery and Dali Monastery.

However, a large portion of this place is adorned with colonial architecture from the British era such as Mock Tudor residence, Gothic Churches, Raj Bhawan, Plantars’ Club, Tea estate bungalows and more.

Dance & Music

 

trip to darjeeling - culture

 

Darjeeling has a rich dance & music culture owing to its intermingling with different ethnicities of surrounding regions. The youth is greatly influenced by western music and there is an abundance of teenage musicians here.

However, the typical traditional population here has a musical culture of their own. Jhowre and Juhari songs sung here pertain to love and affection. Rateli songs are more like rhymes for kids which they grow up listening to. Rosia songs are sung during cultivation, whereas Malsiri songs are chanted during Durga Puja.

The folk dance culture of Darjeeling is richer than most of the destinations in India. The main contributors to the dance forms of Darjeeling are Nepalese, which are known for their happy and jolly nature. There are many kinds of Naach (dance) performed here.

Maruni Naach is a dance form which is performed by men and women during Tihar festival.

Dhan Naach is performed to celebrate the harvesting of rice; hence, also called Paddy dance.

Jhankri Naach is to cure a person from sickness as it is usually believed that sickness is caused by ill eye of spirits over a person.

Balan Naach is practiced by Bahuns and Chhetri tribes of Nepal.

Khukuri Naach is performed by Gorkha as a symbol of their pride.

Points of Interest

 

Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (Toy Train)

 

trip to darjeeling - toy train

Accredited with the status of UNESCO World Heritage, Darjeeling has a Toy train railway network which is meant to show you around the jaw dropping landscapes for those perfect photo opportunities you have been wanting. Or maybe just rest your camera for a while and enjoy the ravishing scenery that surrounding you. If you’re seeking a tour to luxury destinations in India, sipping your Tea on a toy train crawling between the valleys, is quite a luxury, isn’t it?

Started in 1880, this cute little railway network stretches from Darjeeling (West Bengal) to New Jalpaiguri (West Bengal). It was awarded UNESCO World Heritage status for it stands an outstanding effort of innovative transportation and for development of multi-cultural region.

Tiger Hill

 

trip to darjeeling - tiger hill

 

There’s no better way of kick starting your day than watching a beautiful sunrise. And Tiger Hill is just the place to be for that. It is, without doubt, one of the best places to visit in North-East India and probably the most nerve calming experience on your trip to Darjeeling. It is 11 km from the city and can be reached by Jeep.

Adventurers who seek a trekking opportunity can also satiate their soul by reaching this place by a 7 Km Chatakpur Tiger Hill trek, which passes through the village of Chatakpur taking you to through Senchal Wildlife Sanctuary straight to the Tiger Hill. It’s always better to take expert advice of a trip planner in India for this kind of excursion. 

On a clear day, you need to leave your room early to reach Tiger Hill, usually by 4:30 AM, for a spectacular panoramic view of Mount Kangchenjunga slowly adapting to the color of Golden sunshine. If you’re a solo traveler, you’ll probably have the best experience among hundreds of people on the hill with you.  We also offer many solo travel packages in India for those who prefer traveling on their own and absorb the most. Mount Everest is also just visible from this spot.

Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park

 

trip to darjeeling - national park

 

Usually a typical zoo is not very exciting because there are not many species we haven’t already seen. But that is not the case with Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoo. Some of the animal species here, are found exclusively in Himalayan regions. Rare species such as Red Panda, Chinese Wolf, Yak, Clouded Leopard, Himalayan Blue Sheep, Himalayan Tahr, Himalayan Palm Civet and many more can found here.

You can visit this zoo any day, except Thursday, from 8:30 AM to 4 PM.

Ghum Locality

Ghum locality is situated at an altitude of 2225 meters from sea level. In addition to that, the Ghum railway station is the highest railway station of India at an altitude of 2258 meters.

The place is famous for two points of interest – Batasia Loop and Ghum Monastery.

trip to darjeeling - batasia loop

Batasia Loop is a small spiral railway track that operates around a big garden. In the middle of the garden lies a memorial dedicated to martyred Gorkha soldiers of India Army.

You can ride the Batasia Loop Toy Train anyday between 4AM to 5PM.

Ghum Monastery or Yiga Choeling Monastery of Ghum is the oldest Tibetan monastery in Darjeeling. It was built in 1850 by the famous Mongolian monk, Sokpo Sherab Gyatso. Buddhist devotees offer  lamps to Lord Maitreya Buddha, which is Buddha of the Future or The Coming Buddha. The biggest and oldest Buddha statue in Darjeeling area is the Lord Maitreya Buddha statue.. Timings for visiting are 12 AM to 12PM.

Peace Pagoda

 

trip to darjeeling - peace pagoda

Although Darjeeling is among the best luxury destinations in India, the spiritual atmosphere of this Buddhist monument says otherwise.

The best feature of this Buddha temple is that it represents the whole point of Buddhism: Peace. The very first site of Peace Pagoda is pacifistic and nerve calming.

It was built by Buddhist Monk, Nichidatsu Fujii. The main dome carries Buddhist inscriptions. At first, you might realize this place is no special and too quiet, but then that’s the whole point of it; Life is exactly how Buddhism wants us to know it.

Chowrasta

 

trip to darjeeling - chowrasta

Chowrasta is the heart of Darjeeling. It is a classic spot for locals as well as travelers, for basking in the sun. This place is so lively that you can spend an entire day out here and it won’t feel like you wasted it. Most of the shops, restaurants and brands you can find at Chowrasta. There’s no such delectable popular cuisine of Darjeeling that you won’t get here. You can truly witness the lifestyle and culture of the urban population here.

After a tiring day, take a break at Chowrasta to gain conscience and spend a little time in your own shoes.

Drooling with Darjeeling – Food Culture & Cuisines

 

The food culture of Darjeeling is rich, just like its community. Different cultures from different regions have gifted this place with an amazing food culture. And because of the cool weather here, Chilies are boldly used in the cuisines to balance the body’s thermostat. So those for whom it’s the first time travel to India, buckle up your seat-belts. Trip planner in India ‘Nomaday Travel’ makes sure you get to taste the most authentic food of this foodie haven on your trip to Darjeeling.

trip to darjeeling - momos

Momos/Dumplings/Dimsums which is a widely popular cuisine of South Asia is what Darjeeling specializes at. That is because this cuisine originated somewhere around Nepal, Bhutan and Tibet region. Consequently, Momos in Darjeeling have the most authentic taste in India. You will find Momos almost at every corner of Darjeeling. It is made of simple flour wrap with veg/non veg filling, which is then steamed to perfection. It is served either with Soup or Red Chili dip.

trip to darjeeling - thupka

Another popular cuisine that is widely available here is Thukpa. It is basically noodles and pieces of pork/chicken in vegetable soup. Usually, it is very spicy but you can ask the vendor to tone down the spice for you. However, we would recommend you to enjoy the warmth this fiery cuisine brings you.

trip to darjeeling - aloo dam

Aloo Dum is prepared in almost every household here because it is made from Potatoes. However, the taste of this cuisine is no less than extremely delightful. It is generally a curry dish which uses lots of Chilies.

Nagaland is no far from Darjeeling, and as a result Naga Platter has percolated down and joined the list. A Naga platter usually has a dish made of Bamboo shoots, Rice, Chicken/Pork and Pickle and has a pungent flavor and aroma.

trip to darjeeling - chhurpi cheese

Chhurpi is a kind of cheese made from butter milk, which comes in two variants: Hard and Soft. It is widely consumed in parts of Nepal, Sikkim, Darjeeling, Bhutan and Tibet. Blunt taste with a hint of sourness is how you would describe its flavor.

trip to darjeeling - chhang

Chhang is a popular alcoholic beverage of Tibet and Nepal. It falls in the category of beer and generally made with millet or rice. According to the legend, Chhang is Himalayan Yeti’s favorite drink.

Darjeeling is one such place that takes your soul to the ninth cloud of composure. Sitting in a Tea estate, doing nothing but watching these Tea gardens is like a cool breeze sinking deep down in your heart, witnessing the integration of different ethnicities into one beautiful culture is all we need to understand how this world is being driven through gears, rolling in a perfect way. It is an impeccable example of how we, from no matter what part of the world, are no different than each other and can always co-exist to create something as beautiful as what we have in the air of Darjeeling.

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