Thursday, 17 February 2011

History of Darjeeling District, India

Darjeeling in Bhagalpur, Bengal ... is north of Calcutta, near the Himalayas

The name Darjeeling is a composition of 'dorje' meaning 'thunderbolt' and 'ling' meaning 'place' ... 'the Land of Thunderbolt'.

From 1911 Encyclopedia:
DARJEELING, a hill station and district of British India, in the Bhagalpur division of Bengal. The sanatorium is situated 367 m. by rail north of Calcutta. In 1901 it had a population of 16,924. It is the summer quarters of the Bengal government and has a most agreeable climate, which neither exceeds 80° F. in summer, nor falls below 30 in winter. 

The great attraction of Darjeeling is its scenery, which is unspeakably grand. The view across the hills to Kinchinjunga discloses a glittering white wall of perpetual snow, surrounded by towering masses of granite

There are several schools of considerable size for European boys and girls, and a government boarding school at Kurseong

The buildings and the roads suffered severely from the earthquake of the 12th of June 1897. But a more terrible disaster occurred in October 1899, when a series of landslips carried away houses and broke up the hill railway. The total value of the property destroyed was returned at X160,000.

The district of Darjeeling comprises an area of 1164 sq. m. It consists of two well-defined tracts, viz. the lower Himalayas to the south of Sikkim, and the tarai, or plains, which extend from the south of these ranges as far as the northern borders of Purnea district. The plains from which the hills take their rise are only 300 ft. above sea-level; the mountains ascend abruptly in spurs of 6000 to 10,000 ft. in height. The scenery throughout the hills is picturesque, and in many parts magnificent. The two highest mountains in the world, Kinchinjunga in Sikkim (28,156 ft.) and Everest in Nepal (29,002 ft.), are visible from the town of Darjeeling.

From Encyclopedia Britannica:
Darjiling, also spelled Darjeeling, Tibetan Dorje-lingcity, extreme northern West Bengal state, northeastern India. Darjiling lies about 305 miles (490 km) north of Kolkata (Calcutta). The city is situated on a long, narrow mountain ridge of the Sikkim Himalayas that descends abruptly to the bed of the Great Rangit River. Darjiling lies at an elevation of about 7,000 feet (2,100 metres). On a clear day the city affords a magnificent view of Kanchenjunga (28,169 feet [8,586 metres]), and Mount Everest can be seen from a nearby viewing point. 

The name of the city means “Place of the Thunderbolt.” 

Darjiling was ceded by the raja of Sikkim to the British in 1835 and was developed as a sanatorium for British troops. It was constituted a municipality in 1850. 

The Chaurastha (“Four Roads”) district encompasses the Mall, where the roads converge; it is the city’s main shopping centre and the most attractive promenade.  

Observatory Hill, Darjiling’s highest point (7,137 feet [2,175 metres]), is crowned by Mahakal Temple, which is sacred to both Hindus and Buddhists. 

Birch Hill contains a natural park and the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute. 

The Lloyd Botanic Gardens, well-known for their varieties of Himalayan flora, were laid out in 1865. 

Besides these attractions, Darjiling has a zoo, a natural history museum, and a racecourse. 

It is well-known for its residential schools, and there are several colleges affiliated with the University of North Bengal (founded 1962) in and around the city.

The area in which Darjiling is situated receives plentiful rainfall and has a wide range of climates, from tropical to subalpine, owing to its varying elevations. 

Local coniferous and oak forests yield valuable timber. The local rural economy is based primarily on tea, which is plantation-grown up to elevations of 6,000 feet (1,800 metres). Other crops are rice, corn (maize), cardamom, and wheat. Pop. (2001) 107,197.

Get in
Darjiling is a noted hill resort, and the city’s economy is based largely on tourism; the peak periods for visitors are April to June and September to November. The city has major road, rail, and air connections with Kolkata.  

By plane
The nearest airport is Bagdogra, near Siliguri, 96 km from Darjeeling.
Air India (fomerly Indian Airlines), India's largest airline, has flights from:
  • Delhi - IC 880 (Tu/Th/Sat) and IC 879 (Mon/Fri - via Guwahati)
  • Guwahati - IC 879 (Mon/Fri)
  • Kolkata - IC 721 (Tu/Th/Sat)
Jet Airways, a private airline, has flights from:
  • Delhi - 9W 601 (Mon/Wed/Fri - Via Guwahati) and 9W 602 (Tu/Th/Sat/Sun)
  • Guwahati 9W 601 (Mon/Wed/Fri)
  • Kolkata 9W 617 (Daily)
Spice Jet also operates flights from Kolkata & Delhi.
Air Deccan also known as Kingfisher red, runs budget flights to and from Bagdogra from Delhi, Guwahati and Calcutta.
Indigo has also started direct/indirect flights to & from Delhi and Guwahati since April, 2009 end.
Druk Airways has also commenced direct flights to & from Paro as well as Bangkok, twice a week for both destinations
All other cities major cities can be accessed by taking a flight to Delhi/Kolkata and connecting.