Darjeeling- History, Traditions, Cuisine etc
Darjeeling in West Bengal, India is one of the most beautiful cities that you can visit. A hill station nestled in the Himalayas, it has its own distinct culture that leaves you mesmerized. Darjeeling has a very interesting history. Initially a part of Nepal, Darjeeling became a part of India after the British took over it in near about the first quarter of the nineteenth century. Then the British established a military depot there and later a sanatorium. These two establishments meant that population in the district increased drastically. Transportation was improved and the British officials began to arrive with their families during the summers, when the Calcutta heat became unbearable. Slowly, it became a full fledged city.
The other important change came about with the tea plantations. The tea growers here, with the access to technology that the British could provide, developed a new hybrid black tea and fermentation techniques which single handedly changed the history of this region. Today tea plantation holds the key to the economic development of the region and Darjeeling tea is considered the very best of all the black tea varieties all over the world. And you can catch them at its best in the famous Toy Trains, without which Darjeeling is incomplete.
Darjeeling was already the land of the Gorkhas and with the British settlement; Darjeeling had a multi ethnic population. So on the one hand; if there are the Hindu festivals like the Durga Puja and the Diwali, you will be amazed when you see Darjeeling during Christmas time, very much mistaking it for a quaint English hillside town. Then there is Buddha Purnima, a very important festival for the Buddhists and celebrated with great vigor by the Lepchas, Bhutiyas and Hindus alike. It is hard to find a city where you have church like the St. Andrews, temples like Dali Gompa and Buddhist monasteries at such close proximity.
A famous Tibetan food item is now famous all over the world and you will find it cooked all over in Darjeeling. The Momo, a dumpling kind of dish, stuffed with meat and served with clear soup is very famous here. Thukpa, another Tibetan dish, is also very delightful. There are various other such local beverages and dished. All in all, a trip to this hill station will reveal a very new, simple and yet unique way of life that you will love to discover.
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