Darjeeling, a hill station and district of British India, in the Bhagalpur division of Bengal. The sanatorium is situated 367 m. by rail north of Calcutta. In 1901 it had a population of 16,924. It is the summer quarters of the Bengal government and has a most agreeable climate, which neither exceeds 80 F. in summer, nor falls below 30 in winter. The great attraction of Darjeeling is its scenery, which is unspeakably grand. The view across the hills to Kinchinjunga discloses a glittering white wall of perpetual snow, surrounded by towering masses of granite. There are several schools of considerable size for European boys and girls, and a government boarding school at Kurseong. The buildings and the roads suffered severely from the earthquake of the 12th of June 1897. But a more terrible disaster occurred in October 1899, when a series of landslips carried away houses and broke up the hill railway.
... Kinchinjunga in Sikkim (28,156ft.) and Everest in Nepal (29,002 ft.), are visible from the town of Darjeeling.
The Lepchas are considered to be the aboriginal inhabitants of the hilly portion of the district. They are a fine, frank race, naturally open-hearted and free-handed, fond of change and given to an out-door life; but they do not seem to improve on being brought into contact with civilization. It is thought that they are now being gradually driven out of the district, owing to the increase of regular cultivation, and to the government conservation of the forests. They have no word for plough in their language ...
The Darjeeling Himalayan railway of 2 ft. gauge, opened in 1880, runs for 50 m. from Siliguri in the plains on the Eastern Bengal line.
The British connection with Darjeeling dates from 1816, when, at the close of the war with Nepal, the British made over to the Sikkim raja the tarai tract, which had been wrested from him and annexed by Nepal. In 1835 the nucleus of the present district of British Sikkim or Darjeeling was created by a cession of a portion of the hills by the raja of Sikkim to the British as a sanatorium.