Darjeeling and Kalimpong
Darjeeling and Kalimpong are two hill stations in the far North of West Bengal, which offer visitors an escape from the steamy heat of the plains.
From the words Dorje Ling meaning ‘place of the thunderbolt’, Darjeeling is most famous for its tea and the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR). The best and most scenic way to travel to this hill station is on the narrow gauge train; hailed as an engineering masterpiece it has been given an UNESCO World Heritage Site status. Darjeeling is at an altitude of 2,134m and has stunning views of the surrounding Kanchenjunga range (Tiger Hill is the popular look-out spot for watching the sun rise) and the terraced tea gardens and forests make this area a firm favourite for trekkers.
The hill station of Kalimpong is 50 kms east of Darjeeling in the Mahabhart Range, also known as the Lesser Himalaya. It was part of Bhutan until it was annexed by the British in 1865. Kalimpong is a popular base for tourists as it has a very pleasant climate and is a convenient base for a number of popular tourist locations. Horticulture is an important economic aspect of Kalimpong – not tea but orchids and other flowers. The majority of the population here are ethnic Nepali who migrated to the area is search of jobs during the Raj.