Darjeeling is the original colonial retreat. Taking its name from the Dorje Ling monastery which once stood quiet and unaccompanied, the area was leased to the British in the early 1800s, who quickly developed Darjeeling into a thriving hill station. The name Darjeeling is of course synonymous with tea: brought to the area 1841, tea planting proved a major success and within a couple of decades the whole area was carpeted in lush emerald green plantations – a sight which dominates to this day. Today the town – spread across several hillsides, linked by tight mountain roads – is a little busier but staying out of the main hubbub in an upmarket plantation retreat can be a truly idyllic addition to a hectic tour.

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