Darjeeling is a town and a municipality in the Indian state of West Bengal. It is located in the Lesser Himalaya at an elevation of 6,700 ft (2,042.2 m). It is noted for its tea industry, the spectacular views of Kangchenjunga, the world's third-highest mountain, 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. It is also a popular tourist destination in India.
Darjeeling has a temperate climate subtropical highland climate) with wet summers caused by monsoon rains. The annual mean maximum temperature is 14.9 °C (58.8 °F) while the mean minimum temperature is 8.9 °C (48.0 °F), with monthly mean temperatures ranging from 6 to 18 °C (43 to 64 °F). The lowest temperature recorded was −5 °C (23 °F) on 11 February 1905. The average annual precipitation is 309.2 cm (121.7 in), with an average of 126 days of rain in a year. The highest rainfall occurs in July. The heavy and concentrated rainfall that is experienced in the region, aggravated by deforestation and haphazard planning, often causes devastating landslides, leading to loss of life and property.
Darjeeling is a small town and the salubrious climate means walks around town are an extremely enjoyable means of getting around. For longer trips, taxis are available in stands near the entrance to the Mall.
Taxis and travel agents sell various tour packages based on "points" which are simply the number of attractions covered. A 7-point package includes seven places to visit such as the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute/Zoo, Cable Car, Peace Pagoda, etc and takes about 5 hours to complete with the driver waiting at each attraction. Price in April 2014 was Rs. 1,200 for a dedicated car. Numerous taxis also sell "Local Sightseeing" trips on a shared basis with up to 10 travelers, in a Tata Sumo or Mahindra Bolero SUV.
Point-to-point dedicated taxi rides start at Rs. 150 for even short distances. The most economical way is to flag a shared taxi. Rides are Rs. 10 for short distances and Rs. 20 for longer distances. Traffic jams are common especially around the mall and bus station areas. It may be easier to walk rather than sit in a crowded taxi.
A great way to spend a day is to take a shared-jeep to Ghoom (the next town up the ridge), visit some monasteries there and walk back to Darjeeling via some of the villages.