When we travel, we always like to bring some souvenirs from the areas we visit. The finest mementos are those that you believe are most fitting and will evoke pleasant recollections of your vacation. Your friends and family will be happy to hear about your adventures, and bringing back souvenirs will show them that you remembered them during your stay.
Darjeeling is a combination of colonial legacy and modern times, surrounded by the gardens that produce Darjeeling tea, the "champagne of teas."
Here are five souvenirs that you should bring back when you are in Darjeeling.
Called the "champagne of teas," Darjeeling tea was the first product to get the Geographical Indication (GI) tag in India in October 2004. Known for its unique aroma and taste, the tea takes its name from Darjeeling, the eponymous town and region, where the first bushes were planted in the early 1800s as an experiment with the Chinese variety. According to the Tea Board of India, only the tea grown at an elevation ranging from 600 to 2000 metres above sea level in 87 identified gardens (in Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts of West Bengal), qualifies as "Darjeeling Tea." Some of the estates now offer tea tourism, including a stay, a visit to the garden and factory, tea tasting, and other interesting activities.
For the tea lover and those looking to buy vintage tea, a visit to Nathmulls in Darjeeling is a must. One of the oldest tea trading companies in Darjeeling, they run a store and lounge in Chowrasta (the Mall) in Darjeeling town. Besides stocking varieties of teas from the leading gardens, they sell designer tea accessories, such as tea sets, teapots, cups and saucers, strainers, etc.
Address: The Rink Mall (Opp. GPO), 19, Ladenla Road, Darjeeling
Handmade Woollen Products
If you are looking at stocking up on woollens, then your Darjeeling trip will be a boon. The town is known for exquisite handmade woollen products. Though you will find several places selling them, we recommend visiting Hayden Hall for handmade sweaters, socks, and scarves.
Address: 42, Laden la Rd, Limbugaon, Darjeeling
Handmade Tibetan Products
The Tibetan Refugee Self-Help Centre in Darjeeling is a haven for beautiful handicrafts such as woollen carpets, jackets, and shawls. They have an employee training centre as well as a retail store where these things may be acquired. The centre has so far exported to 36 nations throughout the world. Tibetan carpets, thankas, wood-carved goods such as folding tables, frames, wall hangings, metal items such as bronze and copper pots, prayer wheels, and leather items such as boots and shoes are among the traditional products available here.
Address: Havelock Villa, 119/B, Gandhi Road, Darjeeling. Tiv
More info here.
Traditional Crafts And Curios
From masks to singing bowls, bags and stoles, Darjeeling has a wealth of shops selling traditional handicrafts that you can pick up. Habeeb Mullick and Sons is one such curio shop located on Chowrasta Mall. One of the oldest curio shops in Darjeeling, it was established in 1980. You can pick up Indian and Tibetan artworks as well as wooden crafts.
You can also check out the cosy Life and Leaf Fair Trade Shop, which supports local artisans and environmental projects by selling organic honey and tea sourced from local small farmers, plus jute bags and Assamese silk stoles.
Or visit Dorjee Himalayan Artefacts, a small store full of potential souvenirs like the Tibetan gau (amulets), Buddhas, and silver prayer wheels.
Books On The Himalayan Region
A prominent landmark of Darjeeling for over 60 years, the Oxford Books & Stationery Co. has one of the best collections of books on Himalayan culture and history. Located on Mall Road, it is built along typical hill-style architectural lines with fretwork and a pitched roof. They can even arrange for book delivery all over the world.
Address: The Mall, Chowrasta, Darjeeling