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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Travel in India: Siliguri - Gateway to North East India

AREA : 6,227 sq. kms.
LATITUDE : 26° North
LONGITUDE : 88° East
ALTITUDE : 400.62 ft. Above Sea Level
Population : 258,000
STD Code : 0353
Best Tourist Season : April to Mid-June; Mid September to November
Best Mountain Views : Mid Sept. - Mid Dec.
Recommended Clothing : Light woollens and tropicals in summer (umbrellas and raincoats are useful) and heavy woollen in winter.
Language Spoken : Bengali, Hindi, Nepali and English
Weather : The weather and climate in Siliguri is fine throughout the year; temperature in summer being an average of 34.8 'C and the winter temperature being around 12.8 'C. The humidity in this region remains high throughout the year with an average of about 81 %.
Best time to visit: The best time to visit the city is throughout the year except for the monsoon season that begins in June and lasts up to the end of September.

Silguri is the main commercial city of North Bengal and its importance comes from its strategic location near international and state borders. It is located on what is called the Chicken's Neck, a small width of territory that connects the main portion of India to its North-Eastern states. Siliguri is situated on the banks of the river Mahananda. The town is located on the foothills of the eastern half of the Himalayas, and is an important transportation, trading and educational center. Siliguri is the gateways to Darjeeling, Sikkim, Nepal, Dooars, Bhutan and most of the North-East states of India.

Siliguri is the commercial capital of North Bengal, Sikkim, Bhutan, Nepal and Bangladesh. There are a large number of tourists in Siliguri at any point of time, with over 5 lakh domestic and 15000 foreign visitors, excluding the people of Bhutan, Bangladesh and Nepal, who visit Siliguri regularly both for business as well as for leisure.

Siliguri is the major trade centre for the North-East and eastern Nepal; cycle-rickshaws dominate the roads and there are large number of buses and jeeps plying to different tourist destinations of the region. The main national highways of this region pass through Siliguri. Bus services to all the neighboring places and states is available from Siliguri. Bus services to Bhutan are also there from Siliguri.

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Siliguri being the junction, accomodation is easily available here with price ranges from expensive to nominal. Restaurants are also available in plenty. Siliguri also gives the pleasure of marketing specially the foreign stuffs. Siliguri apart from being a junction also offers some places in its surroundings to visit and relax. You can visit the tea gardens, monastries, hills, forests and many more..... . You can also visit the different beautiful picnic spots around Siliguri.

How to get there ?
By Road : Siliguri is the main city in the plains by the Tenzing Norgay Road (formerly Hill Cart Road).
By Bus: Bus services between Siliguri and Calcutta are frequent.
By Rail: New Jalpaiguri/Siliguri Junction stations at the base of the Darjeeling Hill areas have direct railway connections with Calcutta, Mumbai, Guwahati, Madras, Lucknow, and Delhi.
By Air: By air to Bagdogra (Siliguri), from where you need to go by road to Siliguri. Indian Airlines as well as private airlines operate on this route.

Places to Visit In and Around Siliguri
1. Nature Interpretation Centre : Mahananda Wild Life Sanctuary Nature is presented as an exhibition. Entry permit for Mahananda weir, Sukna are issued.
2. Mahananda Weir wild life Sanctuary, Sukna : 18 km from Siliguri, a place, deep inside forest & nature a good picnic spot.
3. Madhuban Park : A park, developed by Indian Army, is an excellent picnic spot.
4. Umrao Singh Boat Club, Sukna : Umrao Singh Boat Club, Sukna, a Boat Club, developed by Indian Army. Different size & shapes of boats are available for tourists.
5. Passing through Tea Gardens : The trip passing through tea gardens provides an excellent view which everybody can cherish for a long time to come. One can see tea processing also by making prior arrangements.
6. Salugara Monastery : His Eminence Kalu Rinpoche constructed a one hundred foot stupa, which contains five types of relics and is an object of veneration which will bring liberation to any one who sees it.
7. Kalchakra Monastery : Kalchakra was 1st time organized in Salugara in December '96and is one of the most religious nerve centre of Budhdhist religion.
8. Teesta view Point at Sevoke : The Teesta river is the life line of the Sikkim and Darjeeling Himalayas. One can get a good amount of bird watching at this place.
9. Kali Mandir : Kali Mandir, a Hindu Temple near Sevoke, an abode of the living goddess Kali. The famous Kali Mandir is visited by many newly wedded couples seeking the blessing of the Goddess Kali for a happy married life.
10. Monkey Point : Before reaching Coronation Bridge, you will run into groups of friendly monkeys. These monkeys can be hand-fed items such as bread, bananas etc.
11. Coronation Bridge : Between Salugara & Kalijhora is the Sevoke Bridge, built in 1930, a relic of British Excellence in design & architecture. This is about 23 km from the city on way to Gangtok/Kalimpong and Dooars on the National Highway 31.
12. Consumer Goods Market : Seth Srilal Market and Hill Cart Road have some big consumer goods shops, which stock large varieties of mercantile. The people of North Bengal, Sikkim, Bhutan, Nepal and Bangladesh regularly visit Siliguri for Purchasing. Prices are competitive and bargaining is negligible.
13. Railway Exhibition : For seeing Steam Engines of narrow gauge , a relic of British Raj, one can visit Siliguri Junction.
14. Art Gallery : Regular art exhibitions are being held in Siliguri. The most important and regular site of Art Exhibition is Dina Bandhu Manch.
15. ISKCON Hare Krishna Mandir : A temple dedicated to Lord Krishna. The ISKCON CENTRE in Siliguri is being labelled as the biggest Krishna Centre in the whole of the North East. Lord Krishna had gone into hiding in the jungles of Baikunthapur with Rukmini at one time so Siliguri was the first choice of Iskcon for making this biggest Krishna Centre in the North East.
16. Fulbari barrage: Typically a barrage means that a water body is formed, and the sam is the case over here. Located about 15 km from Siliguri on the Siliguri-Jalpaiguri national highway is a small but beautiful artificial water body - Fulbari. The main attraction here is that, Mahananda, the most important river of Siliguri forms a huge marshy land which provides ideal nestling place for migratory water fouls like Rudy shell, Mallard, open bull stork and much more.

Where to stay in Siliguri ?
You can take your pick from a range of luxury and budget hotels in Siliguri besides star categorized accommodation. The various hotel packages offer the best of facilities. The well-furnished rooms place most of the comforts at your feet.

Hotel Sinclairs, P.O. Pradhan Nagar (link)
Hotel Heritage, Hill Cart Road, Pradhan Nagar
Hotel Gateway, Sevoke Road
Hotel Cindrella, Sevoke Road, 3rd Mile, Box No. 88
Viramma Resorts & Hotels, Hill Cart Road
Hotel Vinayak, Opposite Tourist Office
Hotel Apollo, NH 31, Mallaguri, PO Pradhannagar, Siliguri, India
Hotel Tourist Inn, Opp. P.C. Mittal Bus Terminus, Siliguri 734001, India
Hotel Conclave
Hotel Dolly Inn

Photo Links / Galleries:

1. Djingen Photography: Kolkata to Siliguri by train (link)
2. Siliguri Jn. Railway station (link)
3. Photos of Sikkim and Siliguri (link)
4. sunset on mahananda bridge siliguri (link)
5. Siliguri Photos at (link)
6. Photos of Siliguri at (link)

Videos of Siliguri from


Siliguri City Ride

River-Teesta on way Siliguri to Gangtok

In Siliguri, Life has Symmetry

Siliguri Children's Park: Bringing Out the Child in You

Siliguri Crafts Beauty

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