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Clubs in Darjeeling

Darjeeling Clubs

Darjeeling Club Ltd (established in 1868) and the Darjeeling Gymkhana Club (established in 1909) are the two major clubs in Darjeeling. These clubs are not only part of the history of Darjeeling; if you want to fully understand the culture of Darjeeling, you must at least have a quick look into the ethos of these clubs. Star hotels such as the R. J. Resorts and Windamere also offer club facilities. However, the latter category of clubs neither has any heritage value nor are they as universally acclaimed as the two older clubs are.

Darjeeling Club Ltd

Darjeeling Club was actually born as the Planters’ Club. It happened way back in the 1868, just eighteen years after Darjeeling Municipality was born. By the time, tea gardens in Darjeeling were already flourishing and the planters felt the need of a platform where they could meet and relax. The Maharaja of Coochbehar donated a plot of land and soon enough the club building came up on that very plot. It is said that the grateful planters allowed only his vehicle, which was actually a hand-pulled rickshaw, to be parked inside the premises. Others came on horseback.

Planters' Club on a wintry Morning

It is said that the British planters and their families came to the club every evening riding on their horses. On reaching the club, the men would invariably change into evening dresses and then sit down with their drinks. As the night progressed their voices would be louder and slurred. Of course, there was the billiard room as well as a very well stocked library. They must have used those facilities as well.

However, with change of time, it was felt that the club could not survive if it were to maintain the statuesque. Consequently, membership was thrown open to the general public and the club was renamed as the Darjeeling Club. Moreover, to accommodate the demand of the present age, facilities have been modernized and wings added. However, it did not dilute the heritage value of the club.  Everything has been done keeping in mind the legacy that the club carries till date. Even today, the old Victorian furniture pieces are maintained with loving care; so are the old photographs and artifacts donated by the guests here.

Darjeeling Club Ltd

For instance, one can still find the oxygen cylinders used by the two Everesters Mallory and Irvin. The World War I Maxim Gun donated by Col Young Husband before he went with the British Expedition to Tibet is still on display on the ‘Quarter Deck’. At the same time, along with other necessary changes, a conference room, which can accommodate at least 100 people, has been added. The Table Tennis Room too is very popular with the guests.

The club also offers rooms to the guests and those who have used the facilities here always say that it is a rare experience to stay at the Darjeeling Club. Following is the contact details for the club -

Planters' Club
The Darjeeling Club Limited
7 Nehru Road,
Phone - 0354-225-4349, 
Fax - 0354-225-4348

Darjeeling Gymkhana Club Ltd

Clubs in DarjeelingDarjeeling Gymkhana Club Ltd was established in 1909. It was previously known as Darjeeling Amusement Club.

It is not exactly known when or why it was rechristened as such; but today it is known simply as the Gymkhana Club. 

The club, which is spread over two acres of land, is open from 7 AM to 10 PM. Apart from the usual lounge, bar, banquet hall and restaurant, the club also offer different outdoor and indoor activities.

For example, their skating rink is the biggest in Asia and they have organized many national level championships here.  The rink, which sometimes doubles up as conference room, can accommodate more than 700 people. Other than that, there is also a billiard room and a card room, two squash courts, three tennis courts and three wooden badminton courts and a hard court. They also have a library with a rich collection of books, magazines and news papers.

Gymkhana ClubAnother unique point about this club is that it offers both permanent and temporary membership. They have around 400 permanent members along with 49 special members. The latter category mainly consists of First Class Gazetted Officers posted in and around the town.

His Excellency Governor of West Bengal is the President of this Club while the District Magistrate is an ex-officio executive member of the club committee. Other than these two categories, on an average, more than five hundred visitors take up temporary membership at the club.

Contact Details:
Darjeeling Gymkhana Club Ltd
Mall Road
Near Governor’s House
Darjeeling
Pin - 734101
Phone: 0354-2254342, 0354-225-4341

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