Saturday, March 1, 2008


Darjeeling is a town in the Indian state of West Bengal. It is the headquarters of Darjeeling district, in the Shiwalik Hills on the lower range of the Himalaya, at an average elevation of 6,982 ft (2,134 m). During the British Raj in India, Darjeeling's temperate climate led to its development as a hill station (hill town) for British residents to escape the heat of the plains during the summers.
Darjeeling is internationally famous for its tea industry and the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The tea plantations date back to the mid 19th century as part of a British development of the area. The tea growers of the area developed distinctive hybrids of black tea and fermenting techniques, with many blends considered among the world's finest. The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway connecting the town with the plains was declared a World Heritage Site in 1999 and is one of the few steam engines still in service in India.
Darjeeling has several British-style public schools, which attract students from many parts of India and neighbouring countries. The town, along with neighbouring Kalimpong was a major centre for the demand of a separate Gorkhaland state in the 1980s, though the separatist movement has gradually decreased over the past decade due to the setting up of an autonomous hill council. In recent years the town's fragile ecology is threatened by a rising demand for environmental resources, stemming from growing tourist traffic and poorly planned urbanisation.

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