Darjeeling is a town in India’s West Bengal state, in the Himalayan foothills. Once a summer resort for the British Raj elite, it remains the terminus of the narrow-gauge Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, or “Toy Train,” completed in 1881. It’s famed for the distinctive black tea grown on plantations that dot its surrounding slopes. Its backdrop is Mt. Kanchenjunga, among the world’s highest peaks.
Kalimpong is an east Indian hill town in the Himalayan foothills of West Bengal. Perched on a ridge above the Teesta River, it’s home to colonial-era buildings like MacFarlane Memorial Church, named after a Scottish missionary. South, the hilltop Durpin Monastery, or Zang Dhok Palri Phodang, contains sacred Buddhist scriptures. Deolo Park has landscaped gardens and offers views of the town and surrounding hills.
Gangtok is the capital of the mountainous northern Indian state of Sikkim. Established as a Buddhist pilgrimage site in the 1840s, the city became capital of an independent monarchy after British rule ended, but joined India in 1975. Today, it remains a Tibetan Buddhist center and a base for hikers organizing permits and transport for treks through Sikkim’s Himalayan mountain ranges