Nep: दार्जीलिङ dārjīliṅa

‘Thunderbolt Land’    Hill Station/TownWest Bengal 

From Lep: dor-je, ‘thunderbolt; and lyan(g), ‘abode’.

The do-rje [Skt: vajra, ‘thunderbolt] is a bronze ritual object with lotus-tipped spokes symbolising rapid enlightenment in a single ‘flash’ or ‘bolt’. It is an important aspect of Tibetan Buddhism, particularly the Vajrayana school. According to this derivation Darjeeling is named after Dorje-Ling, the Buddhist monastery,  founded in 1765 and built on the observatory hill where the Mahakal Hindu temple now stands.

Darjeeling is situated in the Lesser Himalayas, more than 2,000m above sea level with views of Kanchenjunga, the world’s third highest mountain. 

The British bought Darjeeling in 1835 and first used the site as a sanatorium. aIt later developed into a hill station and a summer retreat for the Bengal Residency. The ‘toy’ train service started in `1880 and replaced the original tonga carts and pack animals.

From the mid 19thC Darjeeling became a centre for extensive tea plantations. Darjeeling is now one of the world’s most famous black teas.

For related place names see Indian Place names and West Bengal place names.