Welcome to Kurseong

Kurseong – The land of the white orchid

Kurseong rail stationGeneral Information
Area - 5.05 sq. km
Altitude - 1458 Metres (4864 ft)
Population - 35000 (app)
Rainfall - 160 inches (Annual)
Best Season September to mid June
Clothing Summer - Light Woollens Winter : Heavy Woollens
Languages - Nepali, Hindi, Tibetan, English and Bengali

Kurseong is a perfect place for people who want to derive the pleasures of being in an alpine surrounding without worrying about higher altitudes and bone-chilling cold weather. Kurseong does not suffer from severe winters and a healthy, comfortable climate is prevalent throughout the year except the monsoon season. It rains non-stop in the rainy season; infact, Kurseong receives the highest amount of rainfall after ‘Cherrapunjee’ in Meghalaya. Ironically, such heavy amount of rainfall is ideal for white orchids that adorn the hill-slopes of Kurseong in abundance. The natural beauty of Kurseong thrives because of the generosity of the rain-gods.

Kurseong TV towerKurseong was ceded to the British Empire by the king of Sikkim in 1835. Later in 1880, the small hamlet became a tourist destination for the colonial authorities and was a preferred place for sanatoriums where the sick would recuperate. Thereafter, the Kurseong T.B. Sanatorium was built because the climate and environment was healthy and rejuvenating for the sick and elderly.

The serenity and beauty of Kurseong has also attracted and inspired famous personalities like Rabindranath Tagore, Atul Prasad Sen, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and Sister Nivedita. Mark Twain is also supposed to have visited Kurseong in 1885 and spent some time here. It is believed that Rabindranath Tagore was inspired to write a few poems when he visited the hill station while Netaji Subhash Chandra was sent to Kurseong for his internship in 1936; the house he stayed is still restored in Giddapahar, a few kilometers from Kurseong.

Rohini roadAs you leave the small town you can find acres of verdant slopes covered with tea bushes – one of the finest varieties of Darjeeling Tea is found in the tea gardens surrounding Kurseong. The finest teas are produced by Castleton, Makaibari and Ambootia Tea Estate. Visitor can have a first hand experience of how tea leaves are processed and prepared for production by visiting the nearby tea factories.

Even though Kurseong has lagged behind in the race to become a preferred tourist destination compared to its glamorous counterpart Darjeeling, there is tranquility and peace about the place that does not fail to affect a visitor – and that quest for peace and tranquility brings him back again.

Kurseong is connected to Siliguri by two alternative routes; one is the Pankhabari route which is faster but very steep. The other road traverses through Rongtong, Ghayabari, Mahanadi and Gidda Pahar which provides a breathtaking view of the natural surroundings. If you travel through this road in monsoon you can enjoy the magnificent sight of waterfalls cascading from the hills.

What to see

Eagles craig KurseongEagle’s Craig view point – This view point is located near the town seemingly perched on a cliff. One can have a sweeping view of the surrounding mountain, hill, hamlets and slopes from here. It has a cafeteria, a watch tower and a flower garden; this place also houses the water reservoir for the entire town of Kurseong. The place also has a concrete altar built in the park with a khukri on top called shahid smarak; it was built by the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council to pay tribute to the lives that were lost in the agitation of 1988. From here you will get a magnificent view of the plains of Siliguri dotted with bright lights in the distance at night.
Deer Park – The Deer Park in Dow hill area comes under the jurisdiction of the state forest department. It was named such because large numbers of Deers were found in the area before the menace of deforestation and poaching arrived. If you are lucky, you might catch a glimpse of the animal trying to attract your attention by coming out of the wilderness. Venturing inside the forest is prohibited.
Forest Museum – The forest museum is also located in Dow Hill and is overseen by the forest department. You will get to know the types of animals that inhabited the forest area here in the past when you visit the museum.
Nepali girl dancingGiddapahar view point – Giddapahar view point in Giddapahar, a few kilometers from Kurseong, provides a great view of the mountains and is a great place for clicking photographs.
Giddapahar Seti Mata Temple – This temple is carved out of an ancient rock and is dedicated to Goddess Durga. A sacred place of the Hindus.
Ambootia Temple – This temple is located within the Ambootia Tea Estate area. It has an old temple thronged by many devotees.
Dowhill’s Girls School – Provides a glimpse of the British era with its architecture and elegance. This school is well known for its beautiful location surrounded by pine trees and the quality of education it provides.
Victoria Boy’s School – This school was also created by the British and still maintains its Victorian looks and fame.
Grotto – The grotto houses the statue of Virgin Mary and is located in a beautiful surrounding that takes you to another place and time. It is a peaceful place and peace is what you feel when you’re there. Devotees light candles and pray to God here; it is also frequented by young couples because it offers seclusion.
Bhangzang Salamander Lake – It is located 14 km from Kurseong. In the past, it used to be a favorite place for the British and people from the neighboring towns used to hang out here frequently. A relatively unknown getaway among the tourist destinations in Darjeeling brought to you by naturebeyond. It is a beautiful green-tinged lake that shelters the rarest and most endangered species of salamanders – a species under threat of extinction.
Bagora – Bagora is also called zero point because it is the place with the highest elevation in Kurseong. It has also has a base camp of the Indian Air Force with a helipad.

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