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Darjeeling is the District Head Quarter of Darjeeling District and situated at the northern border of West Bengal. The district shares the international border with Nepal on it's west, Bangladesh on it's south-east and Bhutan on North-east. Jalpaiguri district of West Bengal is on the east. The major part of the district is bounded by high Himalayan ranges with steep rise of about 2150 M from the southern part of this district consisting of plain land. It's average height is about 2,134m or 6,982 ft in the Lower Himalayas range. Darjeeling town is 689 KM from Kolkata and about 80 km.away from the Siliguri town.

Geography: Darjeeling is the main town of the Sadar subdivision and also the headquarters of the district. Most of the district,including the town of Darjeeling lies in the Shivalik range (or Lower Himalayas). The soil is chiefly composed of sandstone and conglomerate formations, which are the solidified and up heaved detritus of the great range of Himalayas However, the soil is often poorly consolidated (the permeable sediments of the region do not retain water between rains) and is not considered suitable for agriculture. The area has steep slopes and loose topsoil, leading to frequent landslides during the monsoons. According to the Bureau of Indian Standards, the town falls under seismic zone-IV (on a scale of I to V, in order of increasing proneness to earthquakes) and near the convergent boundary of the Indian and the Eurasian tectonic plates and is subject to frequent quakes. The hills are nestled within higher peaks and the snow-clad Himalayan ranges tower over the town in the distance. Mount Khanchendzongha (8,591 am or 28,185 ft) — the world's third-highest peak — is the most prominent peak visible. In days clear of clouds, Nepal's Mount Everest (8,850 am or 29,028 ft) can be seen.

GENERAL DESCRIPTION: Darjeeling is called the Queen of the hills in India. The majestic view of the Mount Khangchendzongha mesmerizes the visitors. It is one of the magnificent hill resorts in the world for the vibrant lush green steep hills and valleys and the breathtaking scenic beauty of the snow clad peak - Khanchendzongha throughout the year.It is the third highest peak of the great Himalaya.This heavenly retreat is bathed in hues of every shades.

The name is derived from the Tibetan word 'Dorje' means' thunderbolt' and 'ling' means 'place' -' the land of thunderbolt'. Up to early 19th century, Darjeeling was under the rule of the kingdom of Nepal and Sikkim intermittently. In 1828, a delegation of British East India Company on the way to Sikkim stayed in Darjeeling and thought the region suitable for making a sanitarium for British soldiers. The company negotiated a lease of the area from 'Chogyal' of Sikkim in 1835. And in the second half of 19th century Darjeeling was annexed by the British Indian Empire through an accord between Sikkim and the Company. In 1841 Britishers first planted tea on experimental basis in Darjeeling and the success later helped in growing several Tea Estates all around the town in the second half of 19th century. From it's inception Darjeeling produces the world's most aromatic variety of tea and still earn a considerable amount of foreign currency through export. Another most interesting aspect of Darjeeling is the "Toy Train" which is regarded as among the most spectacular in the world. It is the second declared World Heritage railway after the Simmering Railway in Austria . It takes 6-7 hours to cover 82 km. from New Jalpaiguri and passes through the forest, waterfalls& deep valleys . The economy of the district largely depend upon the Tourism and the Tea industry.

Here, the majority of populace is of ethnic Nepalese background Gorkhas, Lepchas, Newars and Bhutias migrated to Darjeeling in search of jobs during the British rule. Now various communities that inhabit Darjeeling includes Bengalis, Marwaris, Chinese, Tibetans, Biharis and Anglo-Indians. The most commonly spoken language is Nepali, Hindi, Bengali and English. Hinduism, Buddhism and Christianity remain the predominant religions. The culture in the district has been widely dominated by Bengalis.

Last Updated on Monday, 24 May 2010 00:31


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