We have influences from the many communities that arrived here from as early as the 1700s…
Not many people know this but Darjeeling is in fact a huge melting pot of cultures. We have all these influences not just from the British colonial period but also from other communities that arrived here from as early as the 1700s. On this hop on, hop off tour we visit a number of historical households; German, Jewish, Parsis, Bengali, Chinese and Tibetan. You’ll meet the elderly gentlemen and women, taste their food, chit chat and learn exactly how their family ended up in Darjeeling. Some of the houses are around 200 years old. The architecture remains the same, but the surroundings have completely changed.
You get a real sense of how previous generations in Darjeeling lived. For example, there’s this Anglo-Indian man that will take you around his colonial-style bungalow and lovely garden and show you old photographs of his great grandfather who built the house with only 5,000 rupees. We’ll also take you to the Planter’s Club, a well-known institution. Like all the tea plantations, the club was owned by the Scottish but now it’s managed by General Ranu from the Indian army who will give you a tour of the property and with whom we have a great relationship.
During my research, I came across many interesting tales as to how people arrived here including that of an exiled Afghan princess who came seeking refuge. Another story that sticks out was about an Austrian prisoner of WWII whose fighter jet crashed in the hill tops. He disguised himself as a bar tender and eventually saved enough money to open a pub, now a restaurant we all know today as Glenary’s. He got married to a Parsis woman with whom he settled. It’s happy stories like that which are most memorable to me.
Your journey will start with one of our UK team – someone like Malcolm, who's travelled extensively in India. They’ll shape your ideas into the trip of a lifetime. But they won't do it alone. They'll draw on the expertise of our contacts on the ground, connecting you to the people who'll make your holiday one you'll always remember.
Freephone an expert 01306 744 656