A beautiful hilly town in the Himalayas, Darjeeling is a unique town with a unique history. Its name comes from two Tibetan words: dorje, which is the name of a staff carried by a god named Indira; and ling, which means land.
Yet, it is a very global town.
First of all, the British Raj founded it. There are still remnants of the British culture here, including popular British-style buildings. And because it is only 15 miles (or 24 kilometers) from the Nepali border, the town is home to a large community of Nepalese.
Although there are no direct flights, Darjeeling is accessible by taxi, both private and shared, as well as bus from the nearest airport town, Siliguri.
Although Siliguri is only 38 miles (or 62 kilometers) away, it takes as much as 4 hours to reach Darjeeling. That is because these roads are very narrow, often going up, and there are all types of traffic.
However, it is not a boring trip. On the way you can stop and enjoy village life at any of the tea farms. You can also stop in some of the towns and have a warm meal. There is nothing like having a Darjeeling tea as you look over the beautiful valleys, chill in the air if the cool months.
As the Nepalese say, “Maja linuhos!” (Enjoy!)
AJ Paris is a New York based photographer and the author of the coffee table book Men Around the World.