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The Heaven of West Bengal

Darjeeling

DARJEELING, AUG 26,(UITV): The name ‘Darjeeling’ is derived from a monastery called ‘Dorje Ling’, built by Denzongpa tribals in 1765, on behalf of the Chogyal or King of Sikkim. It was a part of the kingdom of Sikkim and a native tribe named ‘Lepcha’ were the original inhabitants of the place, before being invaded by the Gorkhas of Nepal in the 1790s. Under the Sugauli Treaty of 1815, Nepal yielded one-third of their lands to the British, who established Darjeeling as a sanatorium. Dr. Arthur Campbell of the Indian Medical Service, started tea plantation in the town, in 1841. This gave rise to several tea estates being started in the area. The differences between the British and Sikkim led to the annexation of Darjeeling into the British Empire. During the 19th century, immigrants from Nepal were recruited to work in the tea plantations and construction sites. The district grew as a popular tourist destination and started to be known as ‘Queen of the Hills’. After independence, in 1947, Darjeeling was merged with West Bengal. Migration of thousands of Tibetan refugees happened in 1950, when Tibet was annexed by the People Liberation Army of China. This led to a surge in population of Darjeeling. In the 1980s, the ethnic population demanded for a separate state for Gorkhas, leading to political tensions and the issue is still being hotly debated.

Best places to Visit in Darjeeling:

Tiger Hill

One of the best tourist places in Darjeeling, Tiger Hill is a complete package for a nature lover. If you can bear the chilling cold, climb up this hill to witness the charismatic first rays of the Sun on Mt Everest. Drive to Tiger Hill before sunset and fix your camera settings and shutter speed for the mesmerising aura. It happens with a blink of an eye.

Batasia Loop

This elevated area below Ghum has spiral railway tracks through a tunnel over a summit. What adds to the panoramic view is a nicely decorated garden area that offers a perfect retreat. It is the wide expanse of planned greenery that makes Batasia loop one of the famous tourist places in Darjeeling.

Padmaja Naidu Zoological Park

Padmaja Naidu Zoological park is another name among the rich in some of the most exquisite and rare flora and fauna. Located downslope from the Jawahar Road, this zoological park is home of largest population of snow leopards in India.

Peace Pagoda

Peace Pagoda reflects four avatars of Lord Buddha and is located adjacent to Nipponzan Myohoji Buddhist Temple. It attracts people from all religion and offer spiritual serenity and love to all. Spend half an hour meditating here and you are in for a trance nothing else can guarantee.

Ghoom Monastery

Also known as Yiga Choeling Monastery, this popular destination among the tourist places in Darjeeling is located downslope of Ghoom Railway station. This monastery is one of the oldest of the region and reflects the ancient glory of Buddhist culture.

Himalayan Railway Station

Among the other top tourist places in Darjeeling is the toy train that starts from New Jalpaiguri and terminates at Darjeeling. This station in the lap of Himalaya is a picturesque destination. A UNESCO world heritage site, this railway station has been used for filming several documentaries and movies.