Why you should visit Darjeeling during Christmas

The sprawling tea gardens of Darjeeling.

Bring in Christmas in true Victorian-style in this delightful hill station with its gabled bungalows, the famous Planters’ Club and charming old cafes serving traditional Christmas breakfasts.

All decked up

Everything dons a festive look – mistletoes bloom in the hills at this time. Stores are flooded with north stars, Santa caps, dresses and Christmas trees, restaurants and hotels are ready to serve stuffed turkeys and goose while warm, glowing fireplaces keep the chill away. The Mall has a really tall Christmas tree.

From carols to nativity plays

 

St. Andrew's Church

The town has a range of nativity plays and cultural functions on Christmas. You can spend the day singing hymns and Christmas carols and attend the service at St. Andrew’s Church. The Christian community sings carols at the town’s famous promenade, Chowrasta and local bands have open air performances. Nearby, Kalimpong town also organises a Carol Festival over several days with different organisations and churches participating.

Old traditions

Christmas at The Windamere (from 18th December to 1st January) has been celebrated at the hotel in the same manner since 1939. The food includes old favourites like Planter’s pink gin, roly poly pudding and cheese and onion pie. Their celebrations have been described as “A good old house party – right out of the old Boarding House days of The Raj”. For entertainment, they have brought down well-known entertainers from London’s famous West End Theatre District. At The Elgin hotel, traditional Christmas fare will include roasted lamb and chicken with brandy sauce, plum puddings along with ham and sausages.

Bakeries

Berry tart.
A variety of pies are available during Christmas.
Image courtesy: ©Andrew Montgomery/Lonely Planet

The bakeries in town make special plum cakes, puddings, pies and a range of other delicacies. The most famous one is Glenary’s, where the smell of freshly baked cakes and muffins pervades the air. This is the best place to have a Christmas breakfast – with sandwiches, burgers, tarts, pies, pastries, cakes, all washed down with the famous Darjeeling tea. Have your brekkie seated on their quaint open terrace.

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