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On the northeast edge of the great nation of India, 96km from the nearest airport, a quiet town reposes in the foothills of the Himalayas. This is Darjeeling, the much-beloved place wrested from the King of Sikkim in 1829 and to which colonial British soldiers happily escaped for R&R (the mountainous terrain produces a relaxingly cool climate, especially during the summer and spring).
Today, it’s a quaint town where the cultures of India, Nepal and Sikkim peacefully come together to create an ideal destination for travellers in search of something utterly different from the rest of India’s already broad spectrum of experiences.
With so many things to see and do in Darjeeling, it’s a perfect semirural getaway for culture and action enthusiasts alike. With Kanchenjunga, the third-highest peak in the world, as part of its backdrop, Darjeeling provides not just great photography opportunities, but an ideal playground for adventure activities, like mountaineering, white-water rafting, trekking or even mountain biking.
A Darjeeling tour helps make the most out of a stay in Darjeeling, different choices allowing for close contact with the locals through their cooking and rural hospitality. Visitors should also definitely try a ride on the ‘Toy Train,’ a classic steam engine that has lived to tell the tale of the town’s colonial past and is now included on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. Darjeeling is, of course, also known the world over for its namesake tea that grows in profusion on extensive organic tea gardens.
Exploring this region is now possible through the whl.travel local connection in Darjeeling: brothers Navin and Pravin Tamang of Tathagata Journeys. Navin and Pravin also run their own organic farmstay, where visitors can immerse themselves in the famous tea culture. Himself a traveller at heart, Pravin openly shares: “We are excited about the partnership, as we are a very small operator trying to reach out to like-minded people and we feel that whl.travel shares our passion on this. We feel very happy that Darjeeling is going to be reachable to travellers through whl.travel. We really appreciate the help we have received so far from everyone.”