Darjeeling region is famous throughout the world for the tea it grows. It is also known for its richness in cultural & natural heritage and the famous Toy train that has been declared an UN heritage. The two most significant contributors to Darjeeling's economy are tourism and the tea industry. The hills rise from the 'Terai' and 'dooars' plains of Bengal and reaches an altitude of more than 12,000 feet. Three divisions of the Darjeeling district, namely Darjeeling, Kalimpong, and Kurseong constitute the hilly areas of Darjeeling Himalaya. Darjeeling Himalaya is famous for its richness of flora and fauna. There are two national parks (Neora Valley NP and Singalila NP) and one wild life sanctuary (Mahananda WLS) in the area. Singalila national park is famous for red panda, a very rare and endangered species. Neora valley - a beautiful tropical forest, large part of which is still virgin - offers great attraction to the tourists.
The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway one of the major attractions of Darjeeling is lovingly called the "Toy Train". The Toy Train ride is a romantic approach to the Himalayas, a mysterious region. The landscape can only be described as spectacular and the views of the Himalayan peaks breathtaking. The Darjeeling Toy Train is one of the most famous narrow (2 feet) gauge trains. The 80 km long Darjeeling Himalayan Railway was established in 1881 runs from Siliguri to Darjeeling on a narrow-gauge rail. This slow train takes 8 hours to make the total run lumbering at 10 mph. It's much more of a tourist ride or for rail enthusiasts than functional since shared jeeps are the fastest way to get around.
The average temperature of Darjeeling varies between 200 and 250 near the foothills and goes down sharply as the altitude increases. In the town of Darjeeling, temperature may range from 80 to 150 centigrade in summer and from 10 to 60 centigrade in winter. It can get very cold in winter. Darjeeling truly has a diverse community of people consisting of the Lepchas (the original inhabitants), the different dialect groups of Nepali Gorkhas who form the majority, Tibetans, Bengalis, Biharis and Marwaris to name a few. These diverse communities create a lively cultural environment with their sumptuous food, colorful festivals, music and dances.