Darjeeling is one of the beautiful hill stations of the North East part of India. It is located within the North of West Bengal but you will be surprised to see that the culture, people, language and their way of life is no way similar to the rest of the state. Their resemblance is in fact closer to the people of the neighboring state of Sikkim. Beautiful hills, white clouds, gushing trees, snow capped mountains and happy people are few of the things you will notice first when you come to Darjeeling hills. They have a distinct mixed culture here as there are Hindus and Buddhists who have been living together for ages. The cultures of these two communities are almost mixed now and they live a peaceful harmonious life together.
The diverse culture of Darjeeling has a unique blend of all religious activities. People celebrate the popular Hindu festivals here such as the Dusshera (which they call Dasain), Diwali (which they call Tihar), and Christmas, Holi and Ram Navami as well as the local festivals. Such as all ethnic groups here have their traditional festivals, like Lepchas, Bhutias, Gurungs, Tamangs and Sherpas celebrate Lohsar which is their New Year. Other groups like Rai, Mangars, etc. also have their own traditional way of worshipping their ancestral deities. The Hill people also have great faith in the hill deities such as their River Teesta and Rangit, Mount Kanchenjunga, etc.
You will also notice that the food available here are totally different than the ones found in the plains. The most popular beverage here is the
tea, though coffee is available too. You can find ‘momo’ and ‘aludum’, the two most popular dishes here in every nook and corners. People try to warm themselves by chewing hardened yak milk called “churpee’ and by the traditional drink called ‘tongba’ which is a local beverage made from millet. One can enjoy hot thukpas, waiwai along with other international cuisines. Besides these rice and noodles is the staple food here.
Since the hills were once occupied by British you will notice that a lot of old buildings are colonial in nature. Gothic churches, Planter’s club, Raj Bhavan, Municipality office building, etc are some of the points where unique British architectural designs can be watched. There are also many Buddhist monasteries and Hindu temples one can visit. The town has a great love for music and it became the center for musicians and singers.
Hence, playing musical instrument and engaging in some musical activity is the favourite time pass of older and younger generation. People lead a slow life here and they like to have peaceful time with their friends and family. They wear a smile even in the freezing cold and it has to be said that they are quite fashionable. Fashion has taken a center stage in Darjeeling and people like getting dressed and going for a walk around the Mall road. Education here is of very high standard. Few schools here are some of the best in the whole of state. Hospitality and being happy are some of the few features found common among all the people in the hills.