Darjeeling (Pron: dɑ:ˈʤi:lɪŋ) is a town in the Indian state of West Bengal. A popular tourist destination, it is located in the Mahabharat Range or Lesser Himalaya at an average elevation of 6,710 ft (2,045.2 m). It is noted for its tea industry and the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Darjeeling is the headquarters of Darjeeling district which has a partially autonomous status within the state of West Bengal.
The development of the town dates back to the mid-19th century, when the colonial British administration set up a sanatorium and a military depot. Subsequently, extensive tea plantation was done in the region, and tea growers developed hybrids of black tea and created new fermentation techniques. The resultant distinctive Darjeeling tea is internationally recognised and ranks among the most popular of the black teas. The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway connects the town with the plains and has one of the few steam locomotives still in service in India.
Darjeeling has several British-style public schools, which attract students from India and neighbouring countries. The varied culture of the town reflects its diverse demographic milieu consisting of Nepalese, Tibetan, Bengali and other ethno-linguistic groups. Darjeeling, with its neighbouring town of Kalimpong, was a centre of the Gorkhaland movement in the 1980s. The town's fragile ecology has been threatened by a rising demand for environmental resources, stemming from growing tourist traffic and poorly planned urbanisation.
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