Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council in northeast India provides the perfect ambiance of a hill resort with its mild climate and laid back charm. Its verdant hills and valleys are steeped in color, and are interspersed with vast stretches of lush green tea gardens. Presiding over all these is the 8,586 m Mount Khangchendzonga looming over the northern horizon, giving a magical aura to the land that entices thousands to its environs and leaves all the senses intoxicated.
Darjeeling is hemmed in by Sikkim in the north, Nepal in the west and Bhutan in the east. Darjeeling town, Kalimpong and Kurseong are the major urban centres. Heavily influenced by British India, Darjeeling still carries imprints reminiscent of its colonial past. The toy train is one of the most striking examples of Darjeeling’s British Raj influence.
Mirik (1,767 m) is another tiny hill resort easily accessible from Siliguri, Kurseong or Darjeeling. The center-piece of the town is the Sumendu Lake where boating under the serene gaze of Khangchendzonga makes for a most relaxing pastime.
It is a sleepy little town situated at an altitude of 1,200 m, some 50 km to the east of Darjeeling. It once used to be the hub of the trans-Himalayan trade between India and Tibet when merchants used to ferry commerce by mule caravan over the Jelepla pass on the Sikkim-Tibet border.
The capital of Sikkim, Gangtok is a popular hill station destination in the East. This small town, lies atop a ridge, at an altitude of 5,800 ft, amidst a Himalayan setting, with the world’s third tallest peak Kanchenjunga at its east, and overlooking the river Ranikhola. Gangtok meaning ‘lofty hill’ was said to have been a small village until it gained the status of an important pilgrimage centre with the building of the Enchey Monastery in 1840. In 1975 with the end of the monarchical rule, Sikkim was made an official state of India with its capital at Gangtok.
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