Why in news?
Dekho ApnaDesh webinar on 2nd May 2020 was titled: ‘Bengal by the Himalayas’.
Highlights were: attractions of Darjeeling, the history of Darjeeling Tea, story Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR).
Darjeeling tea is a tea grown in the Darjeeling district, Kalimpong District in West Bengal, India, and widely exported and known.
Darjeeling tea became the first Indian product to receive a GI tag, in 2004–05.
Darjeeling in history:
- Up until the early 18th century, Darjeeling was a part of the Kingdom of Sikkim.
- Sikkim was ruled by the Chogyals of the Namgyal dynasty who were hereditary monarchs.
- In February 1829, Captain Lloyd spent a few days in Darjeeling which was then known as the ‘Old Gorkha station of Darjeeling’.
- Darjeeling was then a deserted place with hardly any inhabitants. The cool climate of the region impressed Captain Lloyd of the suitability of the place to be converted into a sanatorium (a place where ailing officers could go to recuperate).
- Lord Bentinck, when apprised of the proposal by the now General Lloyd, asked him to negotiate with the ruler of Sikkim.
- General Lloyd negotiated with Sikkim’s monarch and as a friendly gesture, Darjeeling was given to the Company.
- New crops were introduced like orange, potato, cardamom, cinchona and most famously, tea.
- It was Dr. Campbell who discovered that tea did well in this climate, and from 1847 tea nurseries were established by the government.
- Several tea plantations came up and today, Darjeeling Tea is famous throughout the world.
- Darjeeling is today a part of West Bengal state. Darjeeling District has a partial autonomous status within the state.
- It is one of the main epicentres of the Gorkhaland movement.