Originally just a cluster of villages that was administered intermittently by Nepal and Sikkim, Darjeeling grew in prominence during the mid 19th century when, because of its climate, the British first established a hill station there after leasing it from the Chogyal of Sikkim and later discovered that the area was particularly well suited for tea plantation.
While you can admire the beautiful Khangchendzonga (8598 m), you can also explore the colonial-era architecture, visit Buddhist monasteries and spot snow leopards and red pandas at the nearby zoo. The steep and narrow streets bustle with an array of Himalayan faces from Sikkim, Bhutan, Nepal and Tibet, and the Darjeeling tea is there to spruce you up for more adventure.
Best time to visit is after monsoons (October and November) and during spring (mid-March to the end of May) when skies are dry, panoramas are clear and temperature is pleasant. This is considered high season. Winters can be cold here, so bring an extra jumper if visiting between December and February.
Darjeeling sprawls over a west-facing slope in a confusing web of interconnecting roads and steep flight of steps.The two main squares are Chowrasta, near the top of town, and Clubside junction, which are linked by pedestrianised Nehru Road (aka The Mall), the main shopping street. Hill Cart Road (aka Tenzing Norgay Rd) runs the length of the bustling lower bazaar and is Darjeeling?s major vehicle thoroughfare.