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DEKHO APNA DESH: ‘BENGAL BY THE HIMALAYAS’

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).

Background:

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.
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