Darjeeling is a town and a municipality in the Indian state of West Bengal. It is located in the Mahabharat Range or Lesser Himalaya at an elevation of 6,700 ft (2,042.2 m). It is noted for its tea industry and the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Darjeeling is the headquarters of Darjeeling district which has a partially autonomous status within the state of West Bengal.The development of the town dates back to the mid-19th century, when the colonial British administration set up a sanatorium and a military depot. Subsequently, extensive tea plantations were established in the region, and tea growers developed hybrids of black teaand created new fermentation techniques. The resultant distinctive Darjeeling tea is internationally recognised and ranks among the most popular of the black teas.The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway connects the town with the plains and has one of the few steam locomotives still in service in India. Darjeeling has several British-style public schools, which attract pupils from India and neighboring countries. The varied culture of the town reflects its diverse demographic milieu consisting of Nepalis, Bhutia, Lepcha and other mainland Indian ethno-linguistic groups. Darjeeling, with its neighbouring town of Kalimpong, was a centre of the Gorkhaland movement (Separate State demand within India) in the 1980s. The town′s fragile ecology has been threatened by a rising demand for environmental resources, stemming from growing tourist traffic and poorly planned urbanisation. The name Darjeeling comes from the Tibetan word dorje, meaning the thunderbolt sceptre of the Hindu diety Indra, and ling, a place or land. Darjeeling is the main town of the Sadar subdivision and also the headquarters of the district. It is located at an elevation of 6,700 ft (2,000 m) in theDarjeeling Himalayan hill region on the Darjeeling-Jalapahar range that originates in the south from Ghum. The range is Y-shaped with the base resting at Katapahar and Jalapahar and two arms diverging north of the Observatory Hill. The north-eastern arm dips suddenly and ends in theLebong spur, while the north-western arm passes through North Point and ends in the valley near Tukver Tea Estate The hills are nestled within higher peaks and the snow-clad Himalayan ranges tower over the town in the distance. Kanchenjunga, the world′s third-highest peak, 8,598 m (28,209 ft) high, is the most prominent mountain visible. In days clear of clouds, Range or Nepal′s Mount Everest, 29,035 ft (8,850 m) high, can be seen. The hills of Darjeeling are part of the Mahabharat Lesser Himalaya. The soil is chiefly composed of sandstone and conglomerate formations, which are the solidified and up heaved detritus of the great range of Himalaya. However, the soil is often poorly consolidated (the permeable sediments of the region do not retain water between rains) and is not considered suitable for agriculture. The area has steep slopes and loose topsoil, leading to frequent landslides during the monsoons. According to the Bureau of Indian Standards, the town falls under seismic zone-IV, (on a scale of I to V, in order of increasing proneness to earthquakes) near the convergent boundary of the Indian and the Eurasiantectonic plates and is subject to frequent earthquakes. Darjeeling is a part of the Eastern Himalayan zoo-geographic zone. Flora around Darjeeling comprises Sal, Oak, semi-evergreen, temperate and alpine forests. Dense evergreen forests of Sal and Oak lie around the town, where a wide variety of rare orchids are found. The Lloyd′s Botanical Garden preserves common and rare species of plants, while the Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park specialises in conserving and breeding endangered Himalayan species. The town of Darjeeling and surrounding region facede forestation due to increasing demand for wood fuel and timber, as well as air pollution from increasing vehicular traffic. Wildlife in the district is protected by the wildlife wing of the West Bengal Forest Department. The fauna found in Darjeeling includes several species of ducks, teals, plovers and gulls that pass Darjeeling while migrating to and from Tibet. Small mammals found in the region include civets, mongooses andbadgers. The nearby Jaldapara National Park consists of semi-evergreen and sal forests. Animals found here include the one-horned rhinoceros, elephant, tiger, leopard and hog deer, while the main bird species include the Bengal florican and herons. As of 2009, work was in progress for setting up a conservation centre for red pandas in Darjeeling. Darjeeling has a temperate climate (Köppen: Cwb, subtropical highland climate) with wet summers caused by monsoon rains.The annual mean maximum temperature is 15.98 °C (60.76 °F) while the mean minimum temperature is 8.9 °C (48.0 °F), with monthly mean temperatures range from 5 to 17 °C (41 to 63 °F).The lowest temperature recorded was −24 °C (−11 °F) on 11 February 1905. The average annual precipitation is 309.2 cm (121.7 in), with an average of 126 days of rain in a year. The highest rainfall occurs in July. The heavy and concentrated rainfall that is experienced in the region, aggravated by deforestation and haphazard planning, often causes devastating landslides, leading to loss of life and property. Darjeeling can be reached by the 88 km (55 mi) long Darjeeling Himalayan Railway from New Jalpaiguri, or by National Highway 55, from Siliguri, 77 km (48 mi) away. The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway is a 600 mm (2 ft) narrow-gauge railway that was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999 for being "an outstanding example of the influence of an innovative transportation system on the social and economic development of a multi-cultural region, which was to serve as a model for similar developments in many parts of the world", becoming only the second railway in the world to have this honour. Bus services and hired vehicles connect Darjeeling with Siliguri and Darjeeling has road connections withBagdogra, Gangtok and Kathmandu and the neighbouring towns of Kurseong and Kalimpong. However, road and railway communications often get disrupted in the monsoons because of landslides. The nearest airport is Bagdogra Airport, located 90 km (56 mi) from Darjeeling. Within the town, people usually traverse by walking. Residents also use two-wheelers and hired taxis for travelling short distances. The Darjeeling Ropeway, functional since 1968, was closed in 2003 after an accident killed four tourists. It was proposed to be reopened in 2007, and finally opened in February 2012.