Darjeeling Highlands in India
Darjeeling – More than just a type of tea
Darjeeling is located in northern West Bengal at an altitude of 2,300 meters just before the border with Sikkim. The term Darjeeling achieved worldwide fame because the highlands around the place Darjeeling in the Front Himalayas offered ideal conditions for tea cultivation and in the 19th century the colonial power of England raised it to the center of tea cultivation in Bengal. But apart from tea, the comparatively cool mountain region has a lot to offer.
Still an insider tip – untouched picturesque landscapes
Although this region has long been a popular holiday destination for Indian residents, it is still an insider tip. The highlands of Darjeeling are ideal as a study trip to get to know the country and its people and to be initiated into the secrets of tea cultivation and tea production. The breathtakingly beautiful landscape is characterized by wide tea gardens, untouched jungle and deep, steep gullies.
Popular resort in Victorian times
According to topschoolsintheusa, the population of the city of Darjeeling comes largely from Nepal, and the common business language is English. In the region around the highlands of Darjeeling one can discover remnants of the Victorian era in many situations – the tea region was a popular holiday resort for the British. We recommend, for example, a ride on the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This drive between the town of Shiliguri and Darjeeling is a pleasant change from the narrow, winding roads.
Breathtaking landscapes, tea gardens and monasteries
There is also a lot to discover outside of the famous tea gardens (Tindharia, Chamong, Puttabong – to name three of the most famous):
– The Bhanu Bhakta Sarani circular route around Observatory Hill offers a wonderful view of Darjeeling.
– The numerous monasteries in the region (Ghoom monastery of the Gelugpa order from the 19th century, Thupten Sangha Chöling monastery with a monumental prayer hall) offer potential for self-discovery.
– Except for the famous shopping street The Mall and the Windamere Hotel, there are hidden relics from the colonial times everywhere.
Calcutta Marble Palace
A study trip through India usually includes a visit to Calcutta. Calcutta’s Marble Palace is one of the most important and architecturally interesting sights. The mansion’s palace, built in 1835, is still a symbol of the glamor and extravagance and power that reached far from the Paris of Asia in the 19th century into the surrounding areas.
Marble wherever you look
The marble palace was built by the wealthy landowner Raja Rajendro Mullick Bahadur, and is still owned and used by the family today. The manor house was named Marble Palace because the building was richly decorated with marble. For the walls of the individual rooms and for the floors, 126 different types of marble were shipped from Italy to Calcutta. In addition to the marble, the selected interior decoration in the baroque style is also important. In addition to statues and antiques from Europe, the palace also houses Ming vases and Belgian glass. The rooms were furnished with wall-high mirrors and high chandeliers as well as elaborately handcrafted furniture based on the model of European mansions. The paintings by Ravi Varma show an illusionistic world and are particularly worth seeing, for example the portrait of a woman whose gaze seems to follow the viewer. The collection also includes works by Peter Paul Rubens, Tizian, Joshua Reynolds and Thomas Gainsborough.
The gardens around the palace
There is a large garden area around the palace. Here the builder had a pond built with an elaborately designed fountain with mermaids and water men. Statues are scattered all over the park between beds and hedges, they are mostly images of lions or Gautam Buddha, but gods from the Hindu religion as well as the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ can also be found here. Another highlight is the zoo, where birds and deer live. This enclosure is considered to be the first animal park on Indian soil.
The city of Varanasi in northwest India is considered a holy place in Hindu beliefs and an eternal city on the banks of the holy Ganges. It is the oldest city in the country and has always attracted thousands of pilgrims and study travelers every year. The steps to the Ganges are known as ghats and, in addition to the almost 1500 temples, serve as a place for rites of faith and as access to the river.
Stairs of the corridor
Varanasi is considered the gateway to eternity. It is said that whoever dies in Varanasi will not be resurrected and thus escape the cycle of death and rebirth. Every year, many Hindu believers make a pilgrimage to Varanasi to die there and to be burned on the stairs on the Ganges. There are a total of 87 stairs in Varanasi, three of these ghats are intended solely for cremation. The god Shiva descended the steps of the Ganges in Varanasi to wash himself away from sins in the water of the holy river. The other ghats are mainly used for cleansing washing in the river. According to Hindu belief, taking a bath in the Ganges in Varanasi can relieve physical, mental and spiritual ailments. Prayers also take place on the ghats, mostly the believers are guided by a brahmin.
The Ghats – the setting for legends
Most of the ghats in Varanasi were built after the 17th century. The cartridges of the ghats include Marathas, Shindes, Holkars, Bhonsles and Peshwes. Many of the ghats are open to the public, but some are also owned by private individuals. The ghats were partly the scene of historical events and are also mentioned in Hindu mythology. For example the Chet Singh Ghat, here an important battle between the Maharaja Chet Singh and the British took place. The most famous ghats include Dasaswamedh Ghat, Manikarnika Ghat, Harischandra Ghat, Kabir Ghat and Assi Ghat.