One of the most famous hill stations in India, Darjeeling has been a favored holiday destination since the time of British rule in India. The British officials, who were not used to the tropical heat prevalent in our country, used to escape to this hilly retreat during the hot months of summer. Being located in the foothills of Himalayas at an elevation of 2,042 meters above sea level, Darjeeling boasts of a cool and pleasant climate all round the year. This made it a popular holiday destination.
Darjeeling also has economic importance as one of the major tea producing regions in the world. Commercial tea production in the region was started by the British somewhere during the late 1800s. Many of the tea estate resorts in Darjeeling date back to the colonial era. The world-famous Darjeeling Tea has the unique distinction of being referred to as the 'Champagne of Teas' by many tea lovers. This is why the tea gardens of Darjeeling attract such huge number of tourists.
Situated in the lesser Himalayan mountain ranges, Darjeeling is known for its beautiful panoramic views. Snow-clad mountain peaks sneaking in at the horizon, a layer of mist running in the hills, and lush greenery of nature – all these sights make Darjeeling one of the best places for a cozy getaway from the meddling life of city.
The hill station is most known for its 3 T's – Tea, Toy Train and Tiger Hill. Toy Train refers to the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway route which has been marked as a UNESCO world heritage site. Running between New Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling, this Toy Train ride promises to be full of cherished moments and scenic views. Tiger Hill is located about 1.5 hours drive away from Darjeeling and is one of the must-see attractions here. The best time to visit is during the early part of dawn to catch the wonderful sunrise view over Mt. Kanchenjunga. As the golden rays of the sun falls upon mountains, the sky changes colors from a brilliant red to mesmerizing orange.
Tourism has always been a big part of the way of life in Darjeeling. Many of the locals such as tour guides, drivers and shopkeepers depend on the tourist population for a large part of their income. In recent years, Darjeeling has also emerged as one of the premium tea tourism destinations in the country. There are plenty of tea estate resorts in Darjeeling that offer luxurious rooms for their guests. Tourists can have the unique experience to stay at a tea garden, get a chance to walk freely among the tea plantations, talk to the local tea workers, take part in tea tasting sessions, and maybe even get a chance of plucking tea leaves.
Tea tourism experience in Darjeeling can be likened to the famous wine tourism of the vineyards in Europe. There is a certain section of luxury travelers, foreigners included, who are willing to pay handsomely for a chance to stay at a tea estate. These estates are usually built in two sections – one side is the plantations and the other side is the accommodations. These tea estate resorts offer either deluxe rooms or spacious bungalows, built with an old-world charm and contemporary interiors. Nestled in the lap of nature, guests can enjoy the lush green views of tea plantations as well as witness the gorgeous snow-clad peaks visible in the background.
Staying for a couple of blissful days at one of the tea estate resorts in Darjeeling is indeed a memorable experience. Each morning, guests can sip a warm cup of Darjeeling Tea grown locally in the estate. They can enjoy a leisurely walk along the tea gardens and get a chance to know about the types of tea grown and its distinguishing features by talking to the local tea workers. Most of these resorts also offer a complimentary tea tasting session, together with an entire procedure of how exactly tea tasting is done. A collection of unique blends of teas are presented to tantalize the taste buds of the guests. There are some tea estate resorts that provide guided tours to the tea manufacturing factory where they can learn more about the commercial processing of tea.
If you want to experience the entire process of tea production, right from tea cultivation to factory processing, a stay at one of the tea estates in Darjeeling seems like the ideal option for you.