IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis

Cemeteries give a peek into history of Darjeeling hills

10th November, 2020 Art & Culture

Context: The Archaeological Survey of India has come up with a publication on two European cemeteries in Darjeeling that throws light not only on the rich colonial history of the hills but also talks about the contribution of early European settlers who discovered the hills.


  • The Old Cemetery of Darjeeling is the resting place of those early European settlers who turned the densely forested mountains here into one of the world’s most renowned tea producing estates.
  • This cemetery extends over in two strata of the hills and there are probably 100 graves in this cemetery.
  • But now it is difficult to ascertain the exact number because some grave tombs have got destroyed over time.
  • The inscriptions on many of the graves are now barely eligible,”.

Key connection

  • Graves of two Europeans had important connection to the hill station.
  • These were graves of Lt. General George Alymer Lloyd, who discovered the Darjeeling town and another was great Hungarian linguist Alexander Csoma de Koros, who compiled the first dictionary and grammar in Tibetan language.
  • Both these graves were notified as centrally protected monuments under the ASI, Kolkata Circle.
  • General Lloyd was an East India company official, was deployed by the East India company in Darjeeling to negotiate a deed with Raja of Sikkim.
  • It was signed on February 1, 1835 granting permission of Darjeeling hills to the East India Company.

Employed as librarian

  • De Koros, who travelled to Kolkata in 1831 where he was employed as a librarian, cataloguing Tibetan books and learning on his dictionary.
  • Regarded as the founder of Tibetology in 1833, he was conferred honorary membership of the Asiatic Society.