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HISTORY OF DARJEELING

The District was part of the dominions of the Raja of Sikkim. In 1706 what is now the Kalimpong subdivision of the District was taken from the Raja of Sikkim by the Bhutanese. The Rajas later became engaged in unsuccessful struggles with the Gurkhas who had seized power in Nepal and invaded Sikkim in 1780. During the next 30 years they overran Sikkim as far east as the Tista and conquered and annexed the Terai. In the meantime war broke out between the East India Company and the Nepalese at the end of which in 1817 by the treaty of Titaliya the tract which the Nepalese had wrested from the Raja of Sikkim was ceded to the Company. The Company restored the whole of the country between the Mechi and the Tista to the Raja and guaranteed his sovereignty. Sikkim was thus maintained as a buffer State between Nepal and Bhutan. This paragraph is from the Bengal District Gazetteers-Darjeeling by A. J. Dash.

Historically, not much is known about the probably Sikkim village, Dorje-ling. This was the place which J.W.Grant and G.W.A.Lloyd inspected in 1829 was an old and deserted Gorkha Military Station. The reports were favourable, and accordingly a second survey was ordered, which was undertaken by Deputy Surveyor General, Capt. Herbert in 1830. His account was equally enthusiastic and Col.Lloyd was ordered to start negotiations with the Rajah of Sikkim for acquiring the hill site.

The major idea of acquiring Darjeeling was to develop the place into a Sanatorium, a health resort for the ailing soldiers and the East India Company officials, who would be able to escape the heat and moisture of the lower Bengal and Gangetic plains. By 1864, formation of Darjeeling district was complete. The Darjeeling ridge had direct connections with Jalpaiguri and Purnea. The journey from Calcutta was rather long and almost impossible, physically and economically. It was only in 1881, when the world’s most unique railway, the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway or Toy Train started.


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