District Location:27 Deg. 13 Min. N to 26 Deg. 27 Min. N Latitude
88 Deg. 53 Min. E to 87 Deg. 59 Min. E Longitude
Area:3,149 Square Km
Altitude(Darjeeling Town):6710 Feet
Temperature (Darjeeling Town):Annual Mean Max. Temperature 14.9 Degree Celsius
Annual Mean Min. Temperature 8.9 Degree Celsius
Lowest Minimum Temperature -5 D. Celsius on 11/02/1905
Rainfall (Darjeeling Town):Average Annual Rainfall : 3092 MM
Best Season for Visit:March to mid June & October to December.
Important Roads:Siliguri-Mirik -Ghum -60 kms
Sevak-Tista bridge –Kalimpong -60 kms
Tista Bazar to Darjeeling -25 kms
Sukna- Pankhabari-Kurseong -25 kms
Siliguri Darjeeling NH 55 -76 kms
Important Rivers:Tista, Great Rangit, Mechi, Balason, Mahananda, Lish, Gish, Chel,Ramman, Murti and Jaldhaka.
Clothing required:Light woollens and tropicals in summer (umbrellas and raincoats are useful) and heavy woollens in winter
Language spoken:Hindi, Gorkha, Bengali, Nepali, Tibetan and English.
Nearest Railway Station:Darjeeling(Meter Gauge) & New Jalpaiguri(Broad Gauge)
Length of International & State Borders:Nepal Border (Partition River Mechi) - 62.75 mile or 101.02 km.
Bhutan Border (Partition River De Chu) - 18.75 mile or 30.18 km.
Bangladesh Border (Partition River Mahananda) - 12 mile or 19.32 km.
Sikkim Border (Partition Rangit, Teesta, Rangpo, River) - 33.75 mile or 54.33 km.
Bihar Border - 30 mile or 48.30 km.
Rainfall((Darjeeling Town):Average Annual Rainfall : 3092 MM.
Average Number of Rainy Days : 126 Days.
Rainfall(Siliguri Town):Average Annual Rainfall : 3620 MM.
Average Number of Rainy Days : 113 Days.
Density:413 Persons Per Square Km.
Birth Rate:2.69% Per Annuam
Death Rate:2.40% Per Annuam
Infant Mortality Rate:67 Per 1000
Geological Layout of Darjeeling:
The Darjeeling Hill area represents a unique geo- environmental perception. The area of study is primarily composed of erosional landforms produced by southerly flowing streams, which have exposed a full cross section of different tectonic units. The form units are, however approximately the same throughout the hill area, having more or less uniform lithology, structure, climate, soil and vegetative covers. According to Mallet (1875), Audent (1935) the tectonic units are found to be in the reverse order of stratigraphic superimposition, and is represented by Siwalik and Gondwana systems. Towards the inner Himalayas, the thrusted sheets of Daling and Darjeeling group of crystalline rocks succeed these. The contact between different groups of rocks is represented by thrusts, dipping at high angles towards north.
A brief description of various formations of the Darjeeling Himalaya is given here under:
A recent to sub recent formation form a fringe along the hills, especially at the confluences of the rivers. These terraces are composed of gravels, pebbles and boulders mixed with sand and clay. The formation is semi-consolidated, stratified along with the evidences of upheaval at places. This type of high-level terraces is also called the Terai. A 40 m high terrace is found in the Tista valley at Kalijhora.
The Siwalik system in the Darjeeling hill areas is comprised of mudstones, sandstones, shale and conglomerates along with the bands of shale and lignite. In the Hill Cart Road and along the Tista River a few stretches of good exposers of Siwalik are found. The general strike of these rocks is NNE-SSW to NW-SE with dips varying between 30º to 60º.
Just after Siwalik, coarse-grained hard sandstone, quartzites, carbonaceous shale and slates belong to Damuda series are found. The Damuda series of Darjeeling hill areas is equivalent to the Gondwanas of Indian peninsular region. The maximum width of the Damuda is about 2.5 km along the Tista valley. The maximum thickness is about 1000m. The general strike of the bed is from ENE to WSW, with a varying dip of 40º to 90º. In this belt coal seams of about 3 mt. are found near Tindharia region, Lish and Gish Rivers.
This series is comprised of chlorite shales, phyllites and schist associated with quartzite, which rest over Damuda series. Well-developed form of Damuda series is found along the Tista River and the stretches along the Tindharia –Paglajhora on the Hill Cart Road. The rocks are occasionally traversed by quartz and feldspar veins. The most important feature of this series is increasing metamorphism upwards, where slates form the lowest bed.
In the higher reaches of the Darjeeling hill areas, the Dalings gradually grade into the more metamorphosed rocks, which is known as Darjeeling Gneiss. The dips of the rocks are irregular and vary in between 40º – 70º. Darjeeling gneisses are highly foliated due to metamorphism. There are two prominent sets of joints in the Darjeeling gneiss, one running roughly NW-SE and the other NNW-SSE. The general direction of the hill spurs is in accordance with the joint directions.
Climate of Darjeeling:
The amount of rainfall plays a very important role in causing instability of slopes. A very high intensity of rainfall within a short span of time is not uncommon in Darjeeling hill areas. It is found in the old records; that this natural phenomenon has occurred about 42 times during the period from 1891 to 1975 (Chatterjee 1982).
The isohyets, maps prepared on the basis of average annual rainfall during last 25 years in 3 subdivisions in Darjeeling hill areas, shows that the value increases from west to east, a maximum concentration of landslides fall between 210cm and 410cm of Isohyets.
Besides seasonality, another climatic feature in the Darjeeling hills is created by orographic factor; causing the vertical zonation of temperature and decline of precipitation. Thus the mountain front is exposed to heavy rainfall, especially the middle parts of the southern hills. The mean annual temperature fluctuate from 24ºc in the plains and drops below 12ºc on the ridge. During summer month the temperature reaches 16ºc-17ºc on the ridge and during winter drops at 5ºc-6ºc.
There is no distinct relation between total rainfall and altitude. The southern slopes of the ridges get much higher (4000-5000mm) precipitation than the leeward sides (2000-2500mm). The next main ridge with Tiger Hill gets 3000mm while to the north the Great Rangit valley receives about 2000mm of rainfall. The annual total rainfall in Darjeeling town fluctuates between 1870-3690mm.
In respect of landslide hazards, the duration of rainfall is very important. Long duration along with heavy down pour may cause deeper infiltration and overland flow, which ultimately may result into the occurrence of landslides on weaker slopes. The records show some of the long continued down pours. Amongst them the most remembered ones are in 1787,1789, 1827 (493 mm in one day) and in June 1950 (965 mm). The last such rainfall recorded during 1968 (2nd and 5th Oct - about 1780 mm). Thereafter, 358 mm in Oct 1973, 382 mm in June 1983, 457 mm in September 1986 and 350mm in 1990 were recorded.
Forests in Darjeeling Hill Areas:
The principal economy of Darjeeling Hill Area depends on tea production, horticulture, agriculture and forestry. The major portions of the forests are today found at elevations of 2000 mts and above. The area located in between 1000-2000mts is cleared either for tea plantation or cultivation.
The four major forest types according to altitudinal variation found in Darjeeling Hill Areas are:
Tropical moist deciduous forest (300-1000mts)
Tropical evergreen lower montane forest (1000-2000mts.)
Tropical evergreen upper montane forest (2000-3000mts.)
Temperate forest (3000-3500mts.)
Sub temperate forest (above 3500mts.)
About 30% of the forest covers found in the lower hills are deciduous. Evergreen forest constitutes only about 6% of the total forest coverage.
Shora robusta remains the most prominent species of Tropical moist deciduous forest along with heavy under growth. In the slopes on southern portion of the Tista and the Great Rangit valley and in the Goke forests, this type is found. These species cannot thrive in areas of lower precipitation.
Tropical lower montane evergreen forests are found on steep higher slopes, where drainage condition is good; Dhupi (Cryptomaria Japonica) is a known variety. The impact of man on this variety is very conspicuous.
Tropical upper montane evergreen forests are found in the areas where high humidity along with dense fogs and less sunlight is available. Undergrowth is dense and contains Nettles, Raspberries, Ferms and bamboos. On the steep ridges, Rhododendrons and bamboos are abundant.
Present Status of Forests:
Prior to 1863 very little attention was paid to the conservation and afforestation programmes. Darjeeling district had 11,000 hectare of Reserve Forest up to 1879. But, after independence due to rapid urbanization, the upper belt of the forest was taken for commercial use. Much of the natural forests in the Senchal, Ghum-Simana and Takdah ranges have been converted. Some patches of natural forests are still found in Reshop, Bara Senchal, Lopchu, Rongbong and Durbin Gram Panchayats. On the difficult terrains, still a few natural forest patches are found.
The analysis of the deforested areas indicates that landslides are most common in these tracts. Therefore, the areas with intense deforestation may be superimposed on the landslides affected area map in support of this hypothesis.
From the map it appears that the followings are the intense deforested areas, which are again landslide-affected area.
a) The forest area within the tea garden areas.
b) The forest area along the principal thoroughfares including NH55.
c) The forest area at the fringe of the urban centers / settlement.
The hill areas of Darjeeling District is divided into 3 forest divisions, viz,– Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong. The growing pressure of population during the last two decades has left clear marks on the forest resources of the region. Marked decline in forest cover were observed in Takdah-Ghoom-Simana- area of Darjeeling Sadar, Sukhna, Pankhabari regions of Kurseong, and Chel, Jaldhaka catchments of Kalimpong division.
Land- Use Pattern in the Darjeeling Hill Areas:
The land use practices play the most important role in determining the stability factors in respect of landslide hazards. The land use map of Darjeeling Hill Areas explains that there are agricultural activities, tea and medicinal plant plantations, construction works along with forests, rivers, jhoras etc.
The main problem in respect of land use in the Darjeeling Hill Areas is related to high density of population. There is very limited scope for extension of agricultural land to cope up with increasing pressure of population. As a result pressure on forested and other restricted areas is gradually increasing.
Another problem related to land use and consequent landslide is that in Darjeeling Hill Areas, roads have never been examined with its carrying capacity respect with geology etc. Along with new road construction the vehicular movements have increased to a great extent with the rapid growth of trade and commerce. Heavy traffic movements along with heavy rainfall are responsible for most of the landslide occurrences especially on the roads. In recent years, it has been observed that there is a constant increase in the vehicular traffic, especially heavy vehicles like trucks and buses. The record reflects that at present, the number of registered vehicles in the hill subdivisions are more than 6500.
According to the District Gazetteer of Darjeeling district (1980) the road lengths (in km) in the district are as follows;
i National Highway------------ 100km
ii State Highway--------------- 80km
iii Major district road --------- 37km
iv Ordinary district road------ 516km
(the figure includes Siliguri subdivision)
During the last 50 years, the length or pattern of the roads in the hill subdivision did not change significantly, though there has been at least 5 to 7 times increase in the number of vehicles, especially goods vehicles like trucks etc. It has been observed that even during night times, the traffic movement on the roads continues. As a result, due to constant lateral vibrations, the weaker geological structure has become unstable. Beside the above-mentioned roads, there are many roads, which are maintained by the Forest Department. Mention should be made about some of them like: (1) the Cart Road from Sukhiapokhri to Maneybhanjan and Batasia, (2) Cart Road from Simkona to Lalkuthi in Darjeeling Forest Division (3) Sukna-Sevok Road in Kurseong Forest Division (4) the Rassium – Labha Cart Road, South Boundary Cart Road, Central Cart Road and Dalgaon Tar Cart Road in Kalimpong Forest Division.
Land Slide in Darjeeling Hill Areas:
The Blockwise landslide affected areas explain itself the comparative intensity of landslides in the blocks. It appears that the Kalimpong I, Kalimpong II and Rangli – Rangliot blocks are comparatively vulnerable or severly vulnerable regarding landslides. The rate of vulnerability is also high in Kurseong and some parts of Bijanbari and Gorubathan blocks. But as a whole the condition is critical in Kalimpong sub-division, where the land under agriculture exceeds that of the area under plantation or forests. Moreover, these areas are cultivated with root crops like potato, ginger, cardamom and onions. These root crops are harvested just after monsoon in the months of September – October. This particular practice changes the cohesiveness of the soil and makes it vulnerable to erosion.
The slope instability factors along the main thoroughfares due to heavy vehicular movements is another big problem that causes frequent land slides along the roads, especially during rainy season.
The problem of quarry operation and their effect on environment is also another threatening problem and was studied thoroughly by Prof. S.R Basu. The illegally operated quarries along the Lish and Gish basin and Tindharia region not only disturbs the slope stability but also overburdens the rivers and their tributaries with excessive amount of load that ultimately leads to massive siltation along the river beds and the adjoining plains. Thus they destroy the ecological equilibrium of the area. Other than coal mining, stone quarrying from the slope especially under the road is another way of human intervention that causes occasional slope failure. The recent landslide near Giddapahar may be attributed to the effect of stone quarrying under the main thoroughfare.
The Critical Area Zonation map has been prepared by examining the geology, soil, and climatic factors along with land use pattern. It appears from the map that the Grid no. E4 under Rangli-Rangliot block, G4 and H5 under Kalimpong II Block are the most landslide prone areas, where human intervention is maximum.
Possible causes of Landslide hazards in the Darjeeling Hill Areas
1.The trends of evolution or rising of young mountains is the basic reasons for frequent landslide hazards in the Himalayan region. This includes unstable geological structure, tectonic disturbances, parallel subsidence of Himalayan fore deep of slopes.
2. Soil erosion and its conservation play an important role in the hill areas. Because of the presence of very thin soil cover plays an important role in the socio economic development of the hills and its people. All India Soil and Land use Survey under the Ministry of Agriculture, Govt. of India had carried out studies in some specified watershed areas. Otherwise, no systematic soil mapping has been carried out in the region. As such, there is no database, of how much soil cover has been destroyed.
3. The soils of Darjeeling hill areas have developed mainly Darjeeling gneiss, schists and Phyllites. Due to heavy deforestation and excessive cultivation of root crops like ginger, potatoes, onions, cardamoms etc. the extent of soil erosion has increased considerably in the recent times. It is a fact that the entire Darjeeling hill areas do not get any soil deposition. Deposition of soil is only found in the river valleys. Thus, the prevention of soil erosion and conservation of soil is very necessary in the hills.
4. By examining the land use pattern and changing characteristics since the last 150 years, it may be commented that the forest cover is in a precarious condition due to the rapid increase in cultivated land (with the exception of tea gardens), expansion of settlements, construction of roads. The rapid depletion of forest cover is noticeable in the tea plantation area. In most of the tea gardens in the hills, any type of shade tree or trees along the fringe line of the garden for the protection of the soil is more or less insignificant.
5. Rapid expansion of settlements and towns especially along the roads is one of the important causes of frequent landslide hazards in the hills. Multi storied buildings without proper planning along the roads and on the steeper slope increase the load on the already deteriorated slopes.
6. In the rural and inaccessible high hills. Demand for fuel is another important factor, which may be treated as an important cause for slope failure. Unscientific mining of low energetic coal seams and illegal felling of trees to meet the demand of firewood is practically unavoidable in the hills.
7. During the last 2 decades there has been an unprecedented growth of population in the hill areas, especially in the towns. The explosion has been followed by the rapid increase in vehicular movements. The continuous horizontal vibration along the roads gradually destabilizes the already unstable slopes and geological formations.
8. Lastly the demand of water for domestic and commercial purposes has also increased. The forest clearance, dissection of the upper portions of the slopes are reflected in the decrease in ground water level and consequent drying up of the streams during most part of the year.
9. Examining the above mentioned analysis, the future of the Darjeeling hill areas does not look very bright. Systematic and scientific utilization/management of the natural resources is required.
Accommodation in Darjeeling:
There is no dearth of places to stay in Darjeeling - from charming mansions and modern hotels to homely Tibetan affairs and a youth hostel for budget travellers. Tariffs vary greatly depending on the season and the type of accommodation, but do remember to check the water situation!. You can know more about of place to stay in Darjeeling at
Weather & Best Season of Darjeeling:
Darjeeling has a moderate climate with all five distinct seasons in a year.
1. Summers (April to June) are mild with maximum temperature never crossing 25 °C. the pleasant climate attracts lots of tourists during this season.
2. Monsoons (July to August) are accompanied with intense torrential rain causing roadblocks.
3. Autumn (September to November) is accompanied with intermiottent showers and Darjeeling looks marvelous during this period.
4. Winters (December to January) have a cool climate within the average range of 5 °C to 7 °C. Minimum temperature this season can be freezing –2 °C. Snowfalls are not common during winters.
5. Spring (February to March) is charming with moderate climate. This season is best with scenic beauties
Best season to visit Darjeeling is from September to June, take woolen clothes in winters and may avoid chilly days in January.
2. December to January is perfect for those like chilly climate and is best period for honeymooners.
3. February to June is ideal for all tourist activities in Darjeeling.
Events & Festivals in Darjeeling:
1. July is the month for celebrations of Buddha Jayanthi, the birth anniversary of Lord Buddha. It is celebrated at various Buddhist monasteries in Darjeeling.
2. October - November is the period of Durgapooja festivals. The festival accompanies with many fairs, celebrations and illuminations.
Flora and Fauna in Darjeeling Hill Station:
The forests in and around Darjeeling have delightful flora and fauna. It is a plantlover's paradise. Four thousand species of flowering plants, three hundred varieties of ferns, including tree fern and countless types of flowerless plants, mosses, algae, fungi, birches, and of course, the prize orchids, wild and cultivated. There are oaks, chestnuts, cherry, maple, birch, alder-all fine and large trees of excellent growth. In the upper hills areas and the alpine zone are the magnolias, buck-landias, pyrus and conifers such as webb, Himalayan firs, English yews, Sikkim spruces, larch, which is the only deciduous conifer, weeping tsuga brunoniana and junipers lvy is common.
The fauna is similarly varied-monkeys, wild cats, tigers, leopards, civets, jackals and foxes, wild dogs, bears, otters, martons, weasels, squirrels(including the Himalayan flying and Assam giant varieties), porcupines, hares, barking deer,sambhurs, chitals and the very rare pangolin. In the foothills and the teria forests, in the sanctuaries (Jaldhapara and Gorumara in the neighbouring Jalpaiguri) can be seen the gaur or Bison, elephants and the single horned rhinoceros.
Darjeeling is the home of six hundred varieties of beautiful birds like flycatchers, fairy bluebirds, orioles, finches, sunbirds, long-tailed broadbills, woodpeckers, rufous piculets, emerald cuckoos, three-toed kingfishers, long-legged falcons, Hoogson's imperial pigeons, emerald doves, besides a large number of seasonal migratory birds on their way to the plains. You can know more about Darjeeling at http://tourismofdarjeeling01.blogspot.com.
Floriculture in the Darjeeling hills:
Darjeeling hills are the natural home for countless orchid species like Cymbidiums, Vandas, Dendrobiums, Paphiopedilums, Lycaste, Odontoglossum, Phaius, Arundina etc. the list being endless.
In the past several decades the nurseries of Kalimpong area was very much involved and buzzing with floricultural activities and developed their own techniques in tissue culture propagation of orchids and other related floricultural plants. In Kalimpong itself we have about four nurseries propagation. Exports from these hills also started 5-6 decade back. For the unlimited scope in the present multi-million dollar floriculture industry, these hills are the natural habitat for innumerable plant species and thus much has been achieved till date by our floriculturists. However, this region still has enormous potential. With the global floricultural trend these hills have limitless scope for production of Gladioli cut flowers to cater to the demand of both the domestic as well as the export market. Cut flower started trade over three decades back. Today other cut flowers, besides Gladioli are anthuriums, Orchids particularly Cymbidiums, bulbous flowers of lilies, ornithogalum and other flowers like gerberas, carnations and greens like ferns are under production.
56 km from Kalimpong and situated at an altitude of 5500ft. panoramic views of Kanchanjunga can be obtained from this point. Fabulous view of Sunrise over Kanchanjunga can be seen from Jhandi Dara. You can know more about Darjeeling at http://tourismofdarjeeling01.blogspot.com.
Darjeeling Tea occupies a place of pride for the whole of India. The aroma and taste of Darjeeling orthodox tea is unparalleled in the world. There are a total of 78 tea estates in the hills which have been accorded the status for its produce, as Darjeeling Tea by the Tea Board of India. These estates cover over 17,500 hectares producing over 9 million kg of tea engaging about 50 percent people of the district.
The Darjeeling Tea industry is the mainstay of the economy up in the hills and provides a rewarding life to its workers by way of a steady livelihood and other facilities like housing, statutory benefits, allowances, incentives, creches for infants of working monthers, children's education, integrated residential medical facilities for employees and their families and many more. You can know more about Darjeeling Teas at
Trekking In Darjeeling:
One of the famous Darjeeling trekking route taken by the trekkers is that of the Darjeeling-Sandakphu / Phalut trek. This trekking route is best during the months of April, May, October and November. As during these seasons the visibility is clear and the weather is also hospitable. For trekking on this route one does not have to carry much luggage as the Gorkha Hill Council has provided trekkers hut and other facilities all along the route. But it is advisable to carry your own sleeping bags. On this route the trekker must be prepared for all kinds of weather and high altitude mountain sickness. The trek passes through low areas and very high ridges so temperature varies a lot be prepared for all types of weather. There surroundings may be very attractive but there are some areas which have long stretches without any water, so carry water with yourself. Regular meals are available. Guides and porters can also be arranged.
Phalut is also called the view point of the Himalayas and is one of the most important & famous treks in the region. The trek starts with a small bus trip to Manaybhanjang. From here the trek passes through the mountains to Sandakphu. From here you can proceed further up or you can return via Rimbik then to Darjeeling by Bus. One can also take a short cut and not go to Ohalut. From Sandakphu backtrek to Bikhay Bhanjang and cut across to Rimbik. But keep in mind that this trek is a difficult one with no water or food in between. You can know more about Darjeeling treak at