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Siliguri
About Siliguri

Siliguri also known as Gateway of North East India is a city in the Indian state of West Bengal. Siliguri is situated on the banks of the Mahananda River and the foothills of the Himalayas, it is a principal commercial, tourism, transportation, and educational center of North Bengal. As of 2011, the city had 6 Lakh residents; the urban agglomeration, which comprises the city and its communities, was home to about 10 Lakhs.

Siliguri has become a significant trade center of West Bengal. The town hosts over 20,000 domestic and 15,000 foreign visitors annually. Siliguri being a commercial center for the North Bengal, it draws migrants from other states who come in search of livelihood. It is also the transit point for air, road and rail traffic to the adjoining countries of Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal, and to the North East.

Siliguri is famous for its four 'T's i.e.; Tea, Transport, Tourism and Timber. As of 2011, Siliguri has been witnessing an economic boom in the organized retail, hospitality and real estate industries due to population growth and its strategic geographical location.

Siliguri is one of the most prominent cities not only for West Bengal, but for many states of North East as well. Siliguri is located at a distance of 600 Km from Kolkata, Siliguri is at an elevation of 400 feet above sea level. This not too high and not too low altitude ensures a perfect climate for tourist activities.

The second largest city of West Bengal after Kolkata, is the gateway to Darjeeling, the the most important tourist attraction of the state. From New Jalpaiguri station one catches the well-known Toy Train to Darjeeling. Siliguri lies at the foot of Eastern Himalayas providing some exceptional views of the snow clad mountains. Apart from visiting pilgrimage attraction like Kali Mandir, Wildlife Attraction like Jaldapara Wildlife Park and nature attraction of Mirik hill station, tourist can indulge themselves in shopping.

 
Climate of Siliguri

Siliguri has three distinct seasons: summer, winter and monsoon. In summer the temperature reaches 35 degree Celsius.Winters are usually chilled and cool when temperature goes down to 2 to 3 degree Celsius. During the monsoons (between June and September), the city is lashed by moderate to heavy rains often cutting access to the hill stations and Sikkim. The city is blessed with natural beauty of flora and fauna. The city has some fault line or uplands nearby it is the reason for most frequent earth quakes. The most dangerous earth quake was recorded in the region on 7 July 1988 which was recorded as 9.7 Richter scale followed by the Earth quake of 18th Sept 2011 which last for 4 minutes 17 seconds as per North Bengal University. The climate is appropriate for growing tea and the surrounding regions have many tea gardens. The winters are becoming shorter year by year due to urbanization.The city has expanded towards hills which leads to destruction of vegetation, due to which the summers are becoming hot and winters are losing their coldness.

 
Culture of Siliguri

Major festivals celebrated at Siliguri include Durga puja, Chhath Puja, Ganesh puja, Laxmi puja, Saraswati puja, Dipawali, etc. Baishaki mela is one of the oldest mela in Siliguri. The fashion week during winters are celebrated for entertainment. Various shows are organized by local clubs, which continues from mid-October to mid-December.

The city has a rich cultural exercise in it. Apart from number group theatres, it hosts many music schools, clubs. In special interest section, there are Automobile club, Laughing club or Cine Club. The city hosts an active and well equipped astronomy club too, Sky Watchers Association of North Bengal

Many fairs and festivals take place in Siliguri. The popular fares in Siliguri are Boishakhi Mela, Hosto Shilpo Mela, Book Fair, Lexpo Fair etc. Most of the fairs happens in Kanchenjunga Stadium.

Shopping in Siliguri

Shopping is undoubtedly an attraction in itself as choices and variety for items here is innumerable. Siliguri being at the border of West Bengal and North East, offers best of both cultures. Darjeeling Tea the most shopped for item here, it is closely followed by Tibetan paintings, wooden handicrafts and woolen garments. The best place for shopping in Siliguri is Hill Cart Road and Sevoke Road. There is a famous electronics market in Siliguri which is famous by the name of Hong Kong market is worth to visit. Also low cost gadgets are available in the market that will compel to grab hold of almost everything.

Bagdogra airport market is one of the shopping hubs in Siliguri. Another important market is at Matigara hut where people from Hills and plains comes for shopping. In recent times, the city has seen the establishment of a number of shopping malls and multiplexes to cater to the growing needs of the population. The organized retail sector has created a large number of jobs in the region. Being a tourist destination, the hospitality sector and tourism sector constitutes an important part of Siliguri's economy.

History of Siliguri

The antiquity of Siliguri is enclosed in mystery. According to Sailen Debnath, Siliguri means a heap of stones or pebbles; and in the nineteenth century often the area was called Silichaguri. Before the Treaty of Sagauli in 1816 between British India and Nepal, Siliguri played as a transit point between Nepal and the hilly areas of Darjeeling (Doreje-liang) and ‘Karseong’. Sailen Debnath points out that before the rise of Nepal as a growing power under Prithvi Narayan Shah (1769-1775), Siliguri area, as belonged to trans-Morang zone (i.e. at the meeting ground of western and eastern Morang), was a part of the southernmost edge of the kingdom of Sikkim. There was a river port just to the south of Siliguri, at Phansideoa having trade relations with Maldah and thereby with other areas of Bihar and Bengal. The Sikkimese and the Bhutanese used the river bank near Siliguri in order to go down the Mahananda with their products to Phansideeoa. Siliguri steadily developed as a small town since 1835 when the British occupied Darjeeling; and more since 1865 when they occupied the whole of the Dooars and Kalimpong. The partition of India in 1947 and the foundation of East Pakistan and afterwards Bangladesh, covered the path of Siliguri becoming an important transit point and strategically important area; and the same incident led to the rise of population because of the coming of immigrants.

The city of Siliguri in its present form started from the bank of Mahananda to Saktigarh, a small village which is now in southern part of the city. When the British East India Company introduced Railway to North East India, it enhanced the significance of the region. The population of the town continuously increased leading to its expansion because of the vast immigrants from Nepal, Southern Bhutan and newarby Indian states apart from eastern Bengal.

Economy

Siliguri is described as the gateway to the North East of India, Bhutan, Nepal and Bangladesh. Siliguri has slowly developed as a profitable center for a variety of businesses. The four "T"s - Tea, Timber, Tourism and Transport - are the main businesses of Siliguri. Recently many hotels had mushroomed up & a very good increment had been seen in this sector at past.

The strategic location of the city makes it a base for necessary supplies to the above regions. As a central hub, many national companies and organizations have set up their offices here. The Hong Kong market near Khudirampally is a chief hub for buying low cost Chinese goods and imported goods, nearby Seth Srilal Market, Sevoke Road and Hill Cart Road is a famous place to buy daily use goods, and is very famous among people from nearby areas. The presence of Indian army, Border Security Force (BSF), CRPF, SSB and the Assam Rifles around the city have contributed to the growth of the local economy.

As a sign of international co-operation and friendship, the road network of Siliguri is being used by the governments of Nepal and Bangladesh to facilitate easy transportation of essential commodities, such as food grains. The Silk Route of India, i.e. trade route between India and Tibet (China) is reachable only after crossing Siliguri through Nathula and Jelepla. There are also business routes to Bhutan.

In order to develop the city in a planned manner and to make arrangement for the exploding population of the city, new townships of Uttarayon. The Kanchanjunga Integrated park and Shushruta Nagar-Kawakhali township have been proposed to be built around the fringes of Siliguri.

Siliguri is one of the three satellite IT hub and township that the Government of West Bengal is developing. Some leading IT companies have shown interest and some of them have already started operating. Siliguri Jalpaiguri Development Authority has taken an initiative to develop Siliguri into an IT/ITES hub

Geography

Siliguri is situated in the Siliguri Corridor or Chicken's Neck - a very narrow strip of land connecting mainland India to its north-eastern states. The total area of Siliguri City is 48 km2, most of which lies in Darjeeling district, but a part of the city extends over adjacent Jalpaiguri district. Siliguri is located in the plains at the base of the Himalaya mountains, Siliguri links the hill stations such as Gangtok, Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Kurseong and Mirik and North East to the rest of India. It is the largest city of North Bengal. The Mahananda River divides the city. The city is enclosed by Forest ranges, which is why it is very much prone to wild animal entrance. It has the distinctive and memorable geographical feature, Nepal lies in the west of the city 10 km from Bagdogra, Bhutan on the North East about 40 km, Bangladesh in the south 0 km from Fulbari.

Tourist Attractions of Siliguri

Madhuban Park
Madhuban Park is a park near the city of Siliguri in Darjeeling district, West Bengal which is about 10 to 12 km from the town center, and on the road that leads to the hill station of Darjeeling. The park hosts animals such as rabbits, deer and peacocks.

Corronation bridge

Corronation bridge was founded in 1930, Sevoke Coronation bridge is still considered among the best architectural wonders in the country. The Coronation Bridge was built by Britishers to link West Bengal to North East India. The Bridge is built over River Teesta and extends from Salugara till Kalihora. Corronation bridge is located about 20 km from Siliguri, the Coronation Bridge gives us magnificent views of River Teesta below and high green mountains on both sides.

Mahananda wild life reserve
Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the Darjeeling district of West Bengal, India. It comes under Darjeeling Wildlife division and can be reached from Siliguri in 30 minutes. Sukna, the gateway to the sanctuary, is only 13 km from Siliguri and 28 km from Bagdogra airport. The sanctuary spreads over 159 km˛ of reserve forest and was started as a game sanctuary in 1955. In 1959, it got the status of a sanctuary generally to protect the Indian bison and Royal Bengal Tiger, which were facing the threat of extinction.

Kali Mandir
Kali Mandir of Siliguri is a prominent temple for Hindus which is located near Sevoke. The temple is said to be the abode of living Goddess Kali. The temple is visited not only by locales but by pilgrims from adjacent areas as well. However, it is most famous among newly weds who come here to attain blessings of Goddess Kali for happy married life.

Basil fun world
The project has been conceived as a means of flourishing the recreational facility of the region in terms of Amusement, Education, Fun and Frolic, Culture and Arts. Based on recent trends and demands, the parks are developed in phases on various themes like Land Amusement Park Water and Ocean Park Snow Park

ISKCON Temple
International Society for Krishna Consciousness, more popularly known as ISKCON Temple, is one of the important places of interest in Siliguri. Located at Gital Para, ISKCON Temple Road, the temple is characterized by purity, calmness and magnificent beauty. Also known as Hare Krishna Movement, ISKCON temple in the city is the biggest Krishna centre in the whole of the Northeast India. Completely dedicated to Lord Krishna, the temple attracts thousands of devotees from all over the country.An embodiment of peace and beauty, ISKCON Temple enshrines Radha Madhav idol and an image of Lord Krishna with Radha.

Savin Kingdom
Savin kingdom can be found in the modern city of Siliguri, comfortably located at the foothills of Himalayas and the banks of Mahananda river.

Salugara Monastery
The Great International Tashi Gomang Stupa is about 6 km from Siliguri, West Bengal, India, it comprises a one hundred foot stupa which was founded by Kalu Rinpoche, a Tibetan Lama. It contains five types of artifacts, and is maintained by the Drodon Kunchab Chodey Buddhist Association.

Mahananda barrage
The Mahananda River is a trans-boundary river that flows through the Indian states of West Bengal and Bihar, and Bangladesh. Right bank tributary Mechi forms part of Nepal's eastern boundary with West Bengal and the Kankai crosses out of Nepal.

Mirik
Mirik is a perfect option for excursion from Siliguri. Mirik is located about 55 Km from here, it takes nearly an hour and a half to cover the distance. Mirik is a scenic hill station which has in recent years, become a must visit destination in West Bengal. The main attraction of this charming hill station is a centrally located natural lake called Sumendu Lake. Tourist can indulge in boating and fishing in the lake which is about 1 Km long. While boating, enjoy the views of wonderful green hills that surround the lake from all sides. Mirik is an important pilgrimage destination with honored Hindu Temple of Sangla Devi being present on the western side of the lake. This hill station is dotted with many apple orchards and tea gardens.

Suryasen park
The Surya Sen Park is a park in Mahakal Pally, Siliguri, West Bengal, India. It contains a bust of freedom fighter Surya Sen, children's park and an exhibition on alternative energy in West Bengal. Well-known Bengali songs can be heard from everywhere and in the evenings fountains are working and the whole park is lit.

 
How To Reach Siliguri

By Rail
New Jalpaiguri station is the nearest railway head to Siliguri which is located just 16 Km south of Siliguri. Jalpaiguri Station is linked to all major stations in the country like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore with regular train service.

By Road
Siliguri is about 600 km away from the capital city Kolkata. There is regular bus service to Kolkata and to many other important places in West Bengal like New Jalpaiguri and Kharagpur. Private coaches as well as transport buses are operational between the cities. It is also connected to cities in North East India as well like Gangtok.

By Air
Siliguri has its own domestic airport which is located in Bagdogra at a distance of 12 Km from city center. Jet Airways, Indian Airlines and Kingfisher Airlines are the main flight operators to Siliguri. There are flights connecting Siliguri to Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and all other major airports in India. There is a regular helicopter service as well to Gangtok.

Local Transportation
Along with superb bus facility inside the town, there are numerous jeeps as well that cater to locales and tourists. These jeeps usually run on shared basis.

 
 


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