The hill station of Darjeeling is often regarded as one of the most picturesque locations in all of India. From Calcutta, it is a difficult trek that is 246 km long. In order to get there, you will have to go from the blistering heat of the lowlands, through the thick forests of the tropics, and up into the mountains that are the highest and coldest in the world.
This is an excellent region for growing tea, and many of the steep mountain slopes have been levelled so that plantations may be established there. There are over two hundred major plantations located in the Darjeeling area. Each of these farms employs between one and two thousand workers and produces approximately twelve million pounds of tea each year.
The mountains that can be seen from Darjeeling are, without a shadow of a doubt, the most spectacular ones that can be seen anywhere on the surface of the world. It is possible to go 200 miles in any direction and encounter a continuous chain of mountains with peaks that are at least 22,000 feet high and some that are higher than 25,000 feet. The tallest mountains in the world may be seen nearby and are located in close proximity to one another. Everest, the highest peak in the world at 29,200 feet, is just 80 miles away; Kinchinjunga, the second highest mountain in the world, is 45 miles away and is 28,156 feet high.
Additionally, the following mountains are located in the near area:
There is an almost unbroken chain of snow fields and glaciers that cannot be compared to anything else in the world between these mountain summits. In the middle of summer, the snow line is at 17,000 feet, but during the winter it drops down to between 12,000 and 15,000 feet; once you reach that level, the snow is continuous and it is impossible to walk through it. The whole of all other mountain ranges cannot compare to the height or size of this one. It is the most formidable natural boundary in the world, with no point lower than 17,000 feet, and it is impassable for armies the entire distance, with the exception of two gateways: the Jeylup Pass, which is located here, and the Khyber Pass, which is located there. It stands like a vast hedge along the northern frontier of India for 2,000 miles. There are passes over the snow, but their elevation is rarely lower than 16,000 feet. The average elevation of the watershed is higher than 18,000 feet, and the great plateau of Tibet, which lies on the other side, is between 15,000 and 16,000 feet above sea level. Passes can be found over the snow, but their elevation is rarely lower than 16,000 feet.
This plateau, which is frequently referred to as the “Roof of the World,” is 700 miles long and 500 miles broad, and it is impossible for an army to traverse it not only due to the winds and the cold, but also due to the fact that there is very little water, no fuel, and no supplies. If these passes were defended, it would be impossible for an invading force to enter India from the north. The inhospitable climate of Tibet would not be able to support an army, and the enormous distance and altitude would make it practically impossible to transport supplies for any significant force. When winter arrives, the shepherds move their flocks and herds into the foothills, where they may find protection from the harsh weather. In the summer, the plateau is filled with flocks and herds. It encompasses every possible kind of climate, vegetation, and natural products, and it is a vast reservoir from which four of the greatest rivers in the world flow across the plains of India, carrying the drainage from the melting snows. Without this reservoir, northern India would be a hopeless and dreary desert. The width of the main range of the Himalayas will average about 500 miles between its northern and southern foothills.