Road from the past was the prestigious residential area for the elite of
Darjeeling, the same was considered for their visitors, and it still
happens to be a VIP area of present Darjeeling. The location of Gandhi
road is such that it connects the whole of Darjeeling very easily,
specially the Mall Road, where still all residents and visitors assemble
throughout the day.
Taking from the old hotels, the
Swiss too is almost a 96 years
old property as said by some of the residents of Gandhi road. They
confirm that it was started by a Swiss couple as a bakery. This became
so popular that they had to start with a few rooms for accommodation and
because of demand; the bakery was gradually transformed into a hotel.
They called it the Swiss Inn. The Inn changed several hands and in the
process graduated to ‘The Swiss Hotel."
Hotel has 12 well appointed rooms, 08 of them being in the
double storied building and 04 in the cottage section.. The garden and
the lawns are an asset. Looking north from the
Swiss, the snow capped ranges
of Mt. Kanchenjunga and 13 other well known peaks of the East Himalaya
can be seen on any clear day. All rooms are spacious with attach toilet
and bath. There are 02 family rooms accommodating four guests in each
room, 02 suit rooms and 08 deluxe rooms. The rooms are set in the old
charm with functional fire places. The rooms and cottages are named
after the famous mountaineers from Darjeeling, the world’s highest peaks
seen from Darjeeling and the flowers found in Darjeeling. The dining
hall too has the same charm and has an elaborate menu from past to the
present. The Dining Hall is named
‘The Whistling Steam’.
The Darjeeling Railway Station that houses
the World Heritage Site, Darjeeling Himalayan Railway is only 03 minutes
walk down from The Swiss Hotel and the Mall is a 15 minutes easy walk.
For guests staying with The Swiss Hotel, a nostalgic walking trail is
offered to the Peace Pagoda Also a nostalgic pony trail for half a day
to Tiger Hill, via Jalapahar is organized on regular basis for guests.
Our trained local guides take guests through the old lanes of Darjeeling
The first most popular hotel of Darjeeling
is The Mount Everest Hotel; the Heritage Landmark of Darjeeling is on
the Gandhi Road just above ‘The Swiss
Hotel’. The popularly known Oberoi Mount Everest Hotel was
started in 1914 by Mr. Aratoon Stephen and was named ‘The Darjeeling
Family Hotel’. In 1950, the same was leased out to Mr. Oberoi of East
India Hotels, Kolkata for a period of 100years. The deed was then
supervised by Mr.N.C.Bose, whose residence can be seen in the site at
the end of the abandoned complex. Local residents say that the hotel had
caught fire and stopped functioning since 1984. We may see the same back
to action in a few months.
Places of Interest
Heritage Sites - There are
several happening heritage sites in Darjeeling: natural, cultural,
mechanical, rural, historical etc, which needs to be experienced while
in the Darjeeling Hills. It is an incomplete heritage experience
without adding the West and South districts of Sikkim. The same is
being discussed in brief. The first to mention would be the World
Heritage Site, Darjeeling Himalayan Railway.
Hikes & Adventure - Darjeeling
Hills with Nepal in the west, Sikkim in the north and Bhutan in the
east, makes it the hub for adventure seekers. Trekking,
mountaineering, rock climbing, white water sports, camping and
mountain biking are the major adventure sports presently being
organized from the Swiss Hotel against prior information and booking.
All these activities are supported by well trained personnel from the
High Tea - “If the stranger says
unto thee…..that thirsteth, give him a cup of tea. This is what
Confucius had said. Darjeeling Tea cannot be produced anywhere else
except the Darjeeling Hills. Because of its geographical location,
this tea has its own delicate ‘muscatel’ flavour, fine aroma and
exquisite bouquet. The tea gardens are situated between 1800ft to
7000ft above msl and the result of the combination of plant genes,
soil chemistry, elevations, temperatures, rainfall and the more than a
century old tradition of the people, Darjeeling produces the best tea
in the world. Every garden is a wonder in itself and one must spend
some time in the tea gardens of Darjeeling Hills to discover the
secret behind this cup of tea. Help Tourism from Darjeeling also makes
arrangement for discovering this age old tradition.
Happy Communities - The genesis
of Darjeeling has been such that it has evolved as a melting pot of
several communities. Local inhabitants of Nepali, Sikkimese and
Bhutanese origin were already there; the English came in and their
imperialistic entrepreneurship forced them to bring in a lot of labour
and clerical man power; also Chinese found a place through the trade
routes; and European missionaries, all found their home in Darjeeling.
The village folk consist of the most simple and the ever smiling happy
people. They are hardworking people and spend most time of the day in
their agricultural work. They have a rich tradition of living with
nature and can be discovered only in villages. As the British were in
Darjeeling for quite a long time, the culture of going to school
developed very early among the local inhabitants and settlers, most of
the time the children traveled miles to reach school.
Holy Spirits - Darjeeling with
the presence of several communities have a diversified culture of
beliefs, from the culture worshipping nature to worshipping in
temples, monasteries, churches, mosques, gurudwara etc; all very well
established in the very style of Darjeeling. There has never been any
religious conflict as there is an aroma of Holiness in the air of
Darjeeling itself and any effort to make connections with ones own
inner self there couldn’t be a better place.
Himalayan Newt - The Himalayan
Newt, commonly known as the Salamander, is a living fossil which has
lived the age of the dinosaurs. It is also said to be the missing link
between the Reptiles and the Amphibians. The animal not being very
colourful or big in size or not having the capacity of any displays,
it almost goes unnoticed and does not attract local people’s
participation in conservation, without which it cannot be saved. The
best part is that any conservation effort of this animal will come
only through conservation of its habitat, which is unique only to the
Darjeeling Hills. If this habitat is lost, the attraction of
Darjeeling will be lost forever.
Landscape - The most dominating
character of the landscape in the Darjeeling Hills is the mighty,
mysterious and legendary Mt. Kanchenjunga. Hence, the land here is
called the ‘Kanchenjunga Landscape’. Rolling down from the glaciers of
28,000 feet to a height of about almost sea level, this land houses
the most diverse nature. This is mainly because of the magic monsoons
of the region and the saline moisture which rises from the nearby Bay
of Bengal, making the area the ‘biodiversity hotspot’ of the world.