Siliguri ls also known as Gateway of North East India is a city in the Indian state of West Bengal. Located on the banks of the Mahananda River and the foothills of the Himalayas, it is a principal commercial, tourism, transportation, and educational centre of Northeast India. As of 2011, the city had 5.09 million residents; the urban agglomeration, which comprises the city and its suburbs, was home to approximately 7.01 million, making it the second-most populous city in North East, after Guwahati and third-most populous city in West Bengal. It is also the transit point for air, road and rail traffic to the neighbouring countries of Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh, and the North East. It is famous for its four 'T's i.e.; Tea, Transport, Tourism and Timber. As of 2011, Siliguri has witnessed an economic boom in the organised retail, hospitality and real estate industry due to population growth and its strategic geographical location.
Siliguri is located in the Siliguri Corridor or Chicken's Neck - a very narrow strip of land linking mainland India to its north-eastern states. The total area of Siliguri City is 272 km2, most of which lies in Darjeeling district, however a part of the city spreads over neighbouring Jalpaiguri district. Siliguri being situated in the plains at the base of the Himalaya mountains, it connects 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 and largest in entire North East. The Mahananda River bifurcates the city.
Siliguri has three distinct seasons: summer, winter and monsoon. In summer the temperature reaches 35 degree Celsius. Winters are generally chilled and cool when temperature goes down to 0 to 2 degree Celsius. During the monsoons (between June and September), the town 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 several fault line or uplands near by it is the reason for most frequent earth quakes. The most dangerous earth quake was recorded in the region on 7th July 1988 which was recorded as 9.7 Ricter scale. The climate is suitable 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. There are some areas which remain chiller then the other parts of the city
Siliguri is described as the gateway to the North East of India, Bhutan, Nepal and Bangladesh. The strategic location of the city makes it a base for essential supplies to the above regions. Siliguri has gradually developed as a profitable centre for a variety of businesses. As a central hub, many national companies and organizations have set up their offices here. The four "T"s - Tea, Timber, Tourism and Transport - are the main businesses of Siliguri.
The Hong Kong market near Khudirampally is the chief hub for buying low-cost Chinese and illegally imported goods. Seth Srilal Market, Sevoke Road and Hill Cart Road are other prominent market places. Bagdogra airport market is one of the shopping hubs in Siliguri. Another important market is at Matigara hut where people from Hills n 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 populace. The organised retail sector has created a large number of jobs in the region. 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.
Being a tourist destination, the hospitality sector and tourism sector constitutes an important part of Siliguri's economy. Siliguri is the headquarters of Federation of Chamber of Commerce and Industry of North Bengal. As a gesture 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 accessible 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 Integreted 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 Developement Authority has taken a initiative to develop Siliguri into an IT/ITES hub. A Software technology park is under construction which will be completed by December 2012. The likes of Acclaris Hinduza and Firstsource are in operation here since 2005.
Places to Visit
Siliguri is blessed with wonderful natural beauty. Siliguri is renowned for its three “T” – the tea, timber and tourism. The other two may be part of economic world but the tourism is the blood vain of Siliguri. The distant view of Kanchenjunga from Siliguri is a clear day is enough to take away the mind to a long journey from the world of reality.
The forest-covered foothills also present a panoramic sight for the visitors of Siliguri. The myriad flora in the Terai to the north and the agricultural flats, along with teagardens to the south combine to form beautiful vistas, thus Siliguri is uncommon around most other cities of India. Siliguri serves as the gateway of 8 northeastern states of India. Its amazing views really charm the visitors to have a look on it.
Places in the city of Siliguri
North Bengal Science Centre:
It is located 5 km north of the city Siliguri alongside the National Highway 31 in Matigara. This Science Museum exhibits many scientific experiments and scientific equipments. The Science city complex encloses a planetarium and a Nature Interpretation Centre. The Science City of Siliguri shows the biological diversity of the region. the visitors can also enjoy the flora and fauna existing in Siliguri range. Another attraction of the place is observing the dialect, customs and traditions and culture of the people living in North Bengal.
It is Located within the Army Cantonment area, which is 8 km from the city Siliguri. The park is well maintained and serve as a picnic spots also. It is the trail of the renowned Sukna forest. There some animals at the park house like rabbit, deer, peacock etc. A wide variety of Butterflies will surely attract the heart of the visitors not only from Siliguri but also the visitors from out side the city Siliguri.
Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary:
The Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary or Reserve is located 8 km from the city Siliguri in the Sukna Forest Range. It is a vast stretch of wilderness with thick foliage stretched along the tributary of the Mahananda River, called the Panchanoi River. Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary is a natural habitat of many varieties of wildlife fauna and flora. The foliage includes thick woody trees and dense bushes. The animals include rare mountain goat, Chetal, barking dear, fishing cat, sambar, tiger, elephant and Indian bison.
Elephant Saffari and jeep Saffari are to wonderful option to enjoy the wild beauty very closely. It is a nice place for trekking nearby the city of Siliguri.There some mild to medium options for trekking lovers to meet their charm for it. It is Really a good place near to Siliguri to be part of the wild and enjoy it thoroughly.
Surya Sen Park:
It is located at Mahakalpally in Siliguri, alongside the Mahananda River. The Surya Sen Park, a favorite picnic spot among the local people of Siliguri. The park is a eco-friendly pace as it exhibits different alternative energy source. This park in Siliguri is named after the renowned freedom fighter Surya Sen. The park facilitate the children of Siliguri with different equipment of enjoyment. The beautiful decorations, the lush green lawn, picturesque view of the fountains will definitely the steal the heart of anyone weather from Siliguri or not. The night lighting of the Surya Sen Park, Siliguri is another thing that should not be missed.
North Bengal University:
The North Bengal University is located 9 km away from Siliguri with a great campus stretched along an area of 330 acres. It is the educational centre for the North Bengal region along with the state of Sikkim. This University situated at Siliguri was established on1962. It enrolls over 36,000 undergraduates and 1500 graduates at different courses under its affiliation every year. There are 23 post graduate departments, 18 centres and 19 administrative departments other then the researchers centers and officers quarter at Siliguri. Student not only from Siliguri and its surrounding area , Darjeeling, Cooch Behar, Jalpaiguri, North Dinajpur, South Dinajpur, Malda and the states of Sikkim choose this university for their study. Again students from neighboring Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal like to this university as the way to get the successes.
Sed-Gyued Monastery, Salugara:
The Sed-Gyued Monastery, Salugara, is a sacred Buddhist destination near to Siliguri. It is located in Salugara, belonging to the Gelugpa. Siliguri. It was inaugurated by the Dalai Lama in November, 2001. Here is also a researcher center for the Buddhist studies. It is believed that the original Monastery was first destroyed by Chinese when they invaded Tibet. Dalai Lama wished to rebuilt it at Salugara, Siliguri. The main attraction was the 100 feet high Stupa founded by the Tibetan Lama, Kalu Rinpoche. The stupa at Slugara, Siliguri brings out five kinds of relics and is really worth to be revered.
The Kalchakra Monastery at Siliguri was also inaugurated by the Dalai Lama when he visited Salugara, a suburb in Siliguri, for the Kalchakra ceremonies in 1996.
International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), also known as Hare Krishna Movement manages the ISCKON temple, Siliguri The temple houses many beautiful idols of Advaita Acharya, Lord Narasimha, Lord Chaitanya and many more. This temple attract thousand of people every year.
Places around Siliguri
Gajoldoba on Tista Barrage
Gajoldoba on Tista Barrage is 25 km away Siliguri is a perfect place for bird watcher.The place has been a boon to the migratory water fouls after a dam was constructed for irrigational purposes on river Tista. The water reservoirs are surrounded by dense forest of Baikunthapur that invites a number of water birds from Ladakh and Central Asia. This place is a wonderful place near to Siliguri to enjoy the beauty Brahmini ducks, Bar headed goose, Poachards, Pintails, Shovlers, mallards, black Ibis, and many species of storks, cormorants and ducks.
It is located 15 km away from Siliguri on Siliguri-Jalpaiguri highway is lesser-known artificial water body – Fulbari. The most important river Mahananda provides a wide marshy land that is an ideal nesting place for the migratory birds like Rudy shell, Mallard, open bull stork and much more during December to February.
Shorea Forest Recreation Center
It is located at Siliguri on NH31 towards Gangtok. It is a recently established eco-tourism center – Shorea.It is name after botanical name of Sal tree 'Shorea Rubusta' as the place is situated amidst the dense high sal forests of Baikunthapur division of Mahananda Wild Life Sanctuary, Siliguri. A nice and unique tree top restaurant is situated here to provide the visitors of Siliguri with a wonderful experience.
Sevoke, Kalijhora, Mongpong:
Sevoke, Kalijhora, Mongpong combines a popular visit place for the people of Siliguri. These are 8-10 km away from each other and 30 km away from the city Siliguri. these beautiful places are situated at the foothill of Kalimpang surounded by dense forest and wide river basin.
The Corronation Bridge at Sevok near Siliguri is a unique example of architecture. It was built by the British before the independence of India. Sevoke Kali mandir is situted on the hill top which provide a wonderful view of river Tista. Mongpong is surrounded by dense forest providing a panaromic view of Tista valley and Mahananda forest.
Rohini is a famous tourist place 25 km away from Mirik. There is good accomodation arrangement so that visitors can have a night long view Mirik.
A common tourist spot on the Siliguri-Mirik highway.
Panighata and Lohagarh
Both the places are situated at Indo-Nepal border on the bank or river Mechi. We can find the places 25 km away from the Siliguri city. This places is famous for campaigning composed of forest, low hills, rivers and teagardens.
There is a market named Dhulabari famous for foreign goods from Nepal is only half hour drive from this tourist place.