Darjeeling...the place of the thunderbolt
Darjeeling is largely a Nepalese town of vanishing beauty. While there are many things to see and do in and around the town, the setting and the town itself is the attraction. Walk past the English village cottages, past a church or grammar school and confront Kanchenjunga, the third highest mountain in the world and the peaks of the eastern Himalayas. 

The town, after being wrenched from Sikkim in 1817, was used as a British Army Sanatorium, then became a tea plantation area and gradually a popular hill resort for the Sahibs and Memsahibs of the Raj. Later it developed as a mecca of private school education and then a refugee centre. It is no longer a quaint Raj hill station but a very busy cosmopolitan hill town, very crowded at peak tourist times with its own particular problems. 

Darjeeling is perched on roughly three levels and hotel rooms often open out to views of the Himalayas and the town itself. On the top are the rich villas, the expensive hotels and attractive shops and clubs. The middle deck is very Indian in flavour with Indian hotels and shops. The basement is in many ways the most interesting. This is the market area for the local Nepalese, Tibetans, Bhutias and Lepchas, selling everything from vegetables and fish to bags and jewellery. It can be fun to shop in the crowded local markets on Hillcart Road, or get into some authentic Nepalese and Tibetan food at a local cafe or why not take a ride on the 'toy train' from one of the highest railway stations in the world. Passengers can actually outpace the train at certain points. 

It is to the top however that most are drawn, to promenade around Observatory Hill with views that you'll never forget, or to sit back at the crossroads (Chowrasta) with a coffee and cake. There is a zoo, a botanical gardens, tea gardens (one with a ropeway ride), churches like St Andrews, monasteries, a Tibetan refugee self-help centre and two Himalayan museums including one with Everest memorabilia. 

And if you come to walk you are invited each day to take part in guided walks through the town and out into the country side, through the tea plantations and local farming communities, the river valleys and their forests below, into the refugee centre, the monasteries and to points with great views of the peaks. 

From Darjeeling you can extend your visit to towns like Kalimpong to the east or villages along the Singalila trek on the Nepalese border.
Darjeeling is a good place to visit, most months of the year.
Darjeeling  J F M A M J J A S O N D
Av Daily Max (C) 9 11 15 18 19 19 20 20 20 19 15 12
Rainfall ( mm) 22 27 52 109 187 522 713 573 419 116 14 5
Monsoon hits mid June and for three or four months it is very wet with temperatures in Darjeeling averaging in the low 20's. In other parts of India the temperatures are in the high thirties and forties. Winter is cold, (these are maximum temperatures), but it is largely dry and snows very rarely. October to November and March to May are considered the best months on the hill.
Darjeeling Impressions
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