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For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni
For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni 

Things to do in India

Exploring Darjeeling’s many, many cultures

We have influences from the many communities that arrived here from as early as the 1700s…

By Anirban Dutta
Founder of Darjeeling Walks

Not many people know this but Darjeeling is in fact a huge melting pot of cultures. We have all these influences not just from the British colonial period but also from other communities that arrived here from as early as the 1700s. On this hop on, hop off tour we visit a number of historical households; German, Jewish, Parsis, Bengali, Chinese and Tibetan. You’ll meet the elderly gentlemen and women, taste their food, chit chat and learn exactly how their family ended up in Darjeeling. Some of the houses are around 200 years old. The architecture remains the same, but the surroundings have completely changed.

You get a real sense of how previous generations in Darjeeling lived. For example, there’s this Anglo-Indian man that will take you around his colonial-style bungalow and lovely garden and show you old photographs of his great grandfather who built the house with only 5,000 rupees. We’ll also take you to the Planter’s Club, a well-known institution. Like all the tea plantations, the club was owned by the Scottish but now it’s managed by General Ranu from the Indian army who will give you a tour of the property and with whom we have a great relationship.

During my research, I came across many interesting tales as to how people arrived here including that of an exiled Afghan princess who came seeking refuge. Another story that sticks out was about an Austrian prisoner of WWII whose fighter jet crashed in the hill tops. He disguised himself as a bar tender and eventually saved enough money to open a pub, now a restaurant we all know today as Glenary’s. He got married to a Parsis woman with whom he settled. It’s happy stories like that which are most memorable to me.

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Alfred & Anirban Dutta

Day by day, Anirban follows his love for travel by seeking out undiscovered experiences for his guests. His team are a group of passionate explorers who ensure every trail is unique. Besides travelling, he is an internationally acclaimed filmmaker, among his credits ‘Jahnabi, Ghumjeeling: A Meeting by the Railways’ and ‘We and Our Time, Home & Ahead.’ His travel work is featured in media such as National Geographic Traveler, Conde Nast and The Guardian.