A collection of images of mountains and tea hills as seen in Darjeeling.

IT DOESN’T MATTER whether the introduction came from The Darjeeling Limited, the British Raj, or the enjoyment of afternoon tea — Darjeeling, a hill station in the Indian state of West Bengal, has a famous name.

Set in the foothills of the Himalayas, looking onto Nepal, Bhutan, and Sikkim, Darjeeling is home to 80 emerald-colored tea estates, producing some of the finest teas in the world, including Makaibari, the most expensive tea ever sold at auction. There’s also the peak of Kangchenjunga, the world’s third highest mountain, and a traditional Buddhist culture that resembles that of Tibet.

Here’s some of what you might see there.


Tea pickers, India

1. Tea is picked by hand, and the majority of tea pickers are women, thanks to their speed and dexterity.



2. A black admiral butterfly pauses for an instant on the veranda of a colonial bungalow.


Tea picker, Darjeeling

3. A tea picker carrying her wicker basket trails between bushes on Margaret’s Hope Tea Estate.


Tea sorters, India

4. Ladies hand-sort tea. Large leaf teas command a premium and the smallest grade (known as fannings or dust) goes into teabags.


Darjeeling tea for sale

5. Darjeeling tea is known as the "champagne of teas" because of its quality and because it can only be produced in a specific geographical area.


Buddhist statue, India

6. Darjeeling is home to a large number of Buddhists who have been exiled here from nearby Tibet.



7. Mount Kangchenjunga is the third highest mountain in the world, after Everest and K2. Its name translates as "Mountain That We Offer Greetings To."


Young Buddhist monk, Darjeeling

8. Young monks join the Buddhist monasteries at the age of 6. They receive a rigorous education and then, once they’re 18, can decide to remain monks or return to secular society.


Tiger Hill, Darjeeling

9. Tiger Hill is a favorite spot to watch the sun come up over the Himalayas’ peaks.


Young monks drinking tea

10. Tea with salt and butter may be an acquired taste, but it offers a nutritious and welcome break during a day of chanting and prayer.

What did you think of this article?