Darjeeling - Abbey Travel, Ireland

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Welcome to Darjeeling


The tourist jewel of West Bengal, and the most famous of India's Colonial-era 'hill stations', Darjeeling has been extending a cool, alpine welcome to sun-stroked visitors since the mid-19th century. A town full of Victorian architecture built into the foothills of the Himalayas, Darjeeling is not only picturesque, but offers a wealth of interesting sights and activities to travellers. A mandatory thing to do in Darjeeling is take a ride on the Himalayan Railway (more commonly referred to as the 'Toy Train'), a narrow, winding journey through gorgeous mountain scenery. Trekkers will rejoice at the amount of top-quality hiking trails for them to explore (the best of which are located in nearby Singalila National Park), while culture-vultures will adore the cultural diversity of the area, with its significant Tibetan community. There are beautiful Buddhist monasteries and sanctums to explore, and - of course - fields and fields of the famous Darjeeling tea to enjoy. An absolutely wonderful place to cool off and recuperate after some hard travelling on the plains, tourists are urged to make Darjeeling a part of their Indian adventure.

Information & Facts

Although English is generally used for official and business purposes, Hindi is the official language and is spoken by about 40 percent of the population. Urdu is the language common with the Muslim demographic. India has a total of 22 official languages

The currency is the Indian Rupee (INR), which is divided into 100 paise (singular paisa). Major currencies can be changed at banks, and authorised bureaux de changes. It is impossible to obtain rupees outside India, but no matter what time you arrive in India there will be an exchange office open at the airport. It is illegal to exchange money through the black market and it is advisable to refuse torn notes, as no one will accept them apart from the National Bank. It is best to change money into small denominations. Travellers cheques and major credit cards are widely accepted, particularly in tourist orientated establishments. ATMs are not generally available.

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the narrow-gauge Darjeeling Himalayan Railway was opened in 1881 to establish a rail connection between the hill station of Darjeeling and Siliguri. These days, the 'Toy Train' - as it is affectionately known - is one of India's greatest tourist attractions, and an absolute must-do for visitors to West Bengal. Visitors are advised to take a day-trip from Darjeeling to Ghum (India's highest railway station) - as not only are the views exhilarating, but the trip is taken in a British-built B Class steam locomotive. If at all possible, book a backwards-facing seat, so you can stare out at the plumes of steam trailing the diminutive steam-engine as it climbs through the Himalayan foothills.

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