Siliguri is one of the most important city in the north-east India, located in the Siliguri chicken neck corridor, which is a very narrow land strip (about 10 kilometres wide), connected all seven sister states and Sikkim of north-east India to the main land of India. So Siliguri is also known as the "Gateway to the North-East India". Siliguri is considering as a transit point to the neighbouring countries namely, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal. All the three countries have been located with a maximum 50 kilometres distance from Siliguri. China is another neighbouring country to Siliguri. So Siliguri has a major role in Indian foreign strategic policies as well as trade policies. It is also the commercial capital of the region. Due to business provision, Siliguri is consider as a rapidly growing city and it is the third largest city in West Bengal after Kolkata and Howrah, as well as the fastest growing populated city in India.
|Area||260 km2 (Metropolitan area)|
|Altitude||119.5 m (392 feet) above sea level|
|Location||Darjeeling (62%) and Jalpaiguri (38%) District, West Bengal, India|
|Nearest Cities||Darjeeling (61 km), Jalpaiguri (40 km), Kurseong (34 km) and Islampur (69 km)|
|Distance||558 km from Kolkata (approx)|
|Temperature||Summer: Max. 35°C and Min 16°C
Winter: Max. 16°C and Min 5°C
Rainfall: 362 cm
|Best Season||All over the year.|
|Languages||Bengali, Nepali, Hindi and English|
Hundred year before Siliguri was a small village of Rajbanshi communities and they were mainly involved into agriculture and farming. But after Indian independence on 1947 many migrant people came here from Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and after the liberal movement of Bangladesh on 1971 a huge numbers of Bangladeshi refugee came and settled here. Today Siliguri is the fastest growing cities in India and face a high expansion of population. Not only that, Siliguri gain a business status due to its location and many people come and live here from all over the India. So now days, Siliguri is a real cosmopolitan city with a rhythm of unity in diversity.
In the year of 1880, a Toy train station established in Siliguri to reach at Darjeeling and Siliguri also important for it tea plantation. In 1907 it had got the status of sub-division town. And after independence of India on 1949, Siliguri was conferred as Municipality. Now it is a Municipal Corporation with 47 wards.
Siliguri is the Bengali majority city, with a notable presence of the Nepali, Bihari, Marwaris, Gujrati, Gorkhas, Rajbonshi and others. And the most commonly spoken languages in Siliguri are Bengali, Hindi, English, Nepali, Marwari, Bhojpuri, Assamese, Punjabi, Gujrati, Tibetan and others. According with the census of 2011, total population in Siliguri city was 1,772,374 with a population density of 11,224 persons per sq. km, where 51% was male and 49% was female and 11% of the population was under six year of age.
Siliguri is situated in the foothills of the Himalaya, but in the plain of Darjeeling district. It has a more comfortable weather than the other cities in West Bengal. And mainly three sessions are available here through out the year – summer, monsoon and winter. In summer it has a comparatively low temperature, where it rarely exceeds 35°C. May to mid of June are experienced the hottest time in Siliguri. After mid of June monsoon are arrived here and stay till September. The average annual rainfall may vary from 260cm to 400cm. Heavy rainfall occurs in the month of July and August. After September winter comes here and lasting till January. Sometime temperature may drops bellow 3°C in winter and the foggy environment take place in Silliguri. But overall temperature ranges varies from 5°C to 16°C.
Mahananda, Balashore are main rivers in Siliguri. Teesta river also passes near by the city. Siliguri city is also located in the frienge area of Mahanajhnda Wildlife Sanctuary.
Basically Siliguri is not a tourist spots any way. But one of the “four T’s” is Tourism with other three T’s - Tea, Trade and Timbers, by which one can describe Siliguri in a word. Because, Siliguri is the only junction to connect with all magnificent tourist spots in north-east India by road and railway namely, Hill queen Darjeeling, Sikkim, the Dooars, Bhutan, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and many more. And also a domestic airport is available at Bagdogra of Siliguri. So, when you plan a trip to any tourist destination in the north-east India, you should stay for a night in Siliguri, which will be very energetic for you to visit your destination next day. There have many hotels with various budgets to accommodate you.
If you are very much interested in marketing, then Siliguri is one of the best places for you. An endless street markets are waiting for you on the both side of Hill Cart Road and others. The verity and availability of shops, you just compare it with other five metro cities in India. Bidhan market is very popular to all for Chinese products. It is popularly known Hong Kong market. But you should be alert about duplicate goods to purchase from Hong Kong market.
If you plan to halt a full day in Siliguri, there have some destinations, which may give you a charming filling. And don’t worry about the journey, Cycle-rickshaws, Auto-rickshaws, buses, taxis are easily available with a cheap rate from every where in Siliguri. Some well known tourist spots are:
Salugara Monastery (Great International Tashi Gomang Stupa) , is a Buddhist stupa with a height of 100 feet, was built by the Tibetan Lama late Kalu Rinpoche. It is a very peaceful place for meditation. In November, 2001, it was inaugurated by the Dalai Lama. It is just 7 km distance from the Siliguri bus stand.
Coronation Bridge is an ideal example of modern Indian architecture over Teesta River. It was built by the British before Indian independence. The surrounding atmosphere is very energetic and you can take a scenic beauty of green curvy Himalayas from here. It is located 23 km from Siliguri Junction on way to the Dooars, after cross Sevoke Kalibari.
Sevoke Kalibari at Sevoke is a temple of goddess Kali, the goddess of destruction, and consider as a very sacred place for Hindus. It is situated on the top of hill, near Bag Pool (Coronation Bridge) over teesta river. It is 23 km away from Siliguri Junction.
Iskon Temple is also a religious destination is Siliguri managed by the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON). The temple house is well decorated. Advaita Acharya, Lord Narasimha, Lord Chaitanya and many other idols are placed there with a synchronized way.
Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary is a very beautiful forest in the foothills of the great Himalayas, near by Siliguri city. It is situated on the bank of river Mahananda in Darjeeling district. In 1958, it was declared as wildlife sactuuary to protect Royal Bengal Tiger and Gaur (Indian Bison). Elephant is other animal, which are very frequently available in this forests. Sukna is the entrance to the forests. You can hire a vehicle with a reasonable price to reach there.
Dudhiya is a common picnic spot on the way to Mirik from Siliguri.