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Siliguri [pronunciation (help·info)] is a metropolitan city which spans areas of the Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri districts in the Indian state of West Bengal known as gateway of Northeast India. It is located on the banks of the Mahananda River at the foothills of the Himalayas. Siliguri is the second largest urban agglomeration according to area after Kolkata and third largest according to population in the state following Kolkata and Asansol. The city is popular for three T's i.e. tea, timber, tourism and lies 35 kilometers away from its twin city, Jalpaiguri which both merges up to be the largest metropolis of the region.
TOP TO BOTTOM :
Old view of Siliguri , ISKCON temple(left) , Heritage Toy Train at Siliguri Junction(right) , Ewam India Monastery , Lions clock tower(left) , Science centre Siliguri(right).
|District||Darjeeling (62%), Jalpaiguri (38%)|
|No. of Wards||47|
|• Type||Municipal Corporation|
|• Body||Siliguri Municipal Corporation|
|• Mayor||Ashok Bhattacharya(CPI(M))|
|• Sub Divisional Officer||P Harishanker (IAS)|
|• Metropolitan City / Urban Agglomeration||260 km2 (100 sq mi)|
|• Metro||1,451 km2 (560 sq mi)|
|Area rank||2nd in West Bengal|
|Highest elevation||140 m (460 ft)|
|Lowest elevation||114 m (374 ft)|
|• Metropolitan City / Urban Agglomeration||513,264|
|• Rank||3rd in West Bengal|
|• Density||2,000/km2 (5,100/sq mi)|
|• Additional official||English|
|Time zone||UTC+5:30 (IST)|
734 001-734 015 (city limits), 734 401-734 436(suburbs), 735 133-735 135
|Telephone code||0353, 0354|
|Vehicle registration||WB 73/74|
|Lok Sabha constituency||Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri|
|Vidhan Sabha constituency||Siliguri, Dabgram-Phulbari, Matigara-Naxalbari, Phansidewa|
|1The coordinates given here are in metric system and based upon the Microsoft Encarta Reference Library Map Center 2005 2 The Vehicle Code given here based upon the Siliguri Sub Divisional Court, Darjeeling District Court and Jalpaiguri District Court documentations.|
Siliguri has great strategic importance in West Bengal for its placement in such a place where it connects four international borders i.e. China, Nepal, Bangladesh and Bhutan. Side by side it connects North-East with Indian mainland and connected with all other districts of West Bengal. Located at the foot of Eastern Himalaya, Siliguri blessed by its natural beauty and appeals as an indicative trading and transportation hub. Over time, Siliguri has become a commercially progressive city from a little village. Rise of Siliguri as trading center is an engrossing tale. Siliguri victimed and ruled by some eminent dynasties like Chogyals of the Namgyal dynasty. and its countless strategic offerings realised after independence.
Middle Age history
According to Sailen Debnath, “Siliguri” means a stack of pebbles or stones. Till 19th century this region was called as "Shilchaguri" when there was dense Dolka forest covering the area. As an agricultural village, Kingdom of Sikkim captured Siliguri i.e. the southernmost part of kingdom till the interference of Kingdom of Nepal. Because of it Kirati and Nepalis came to Seattle in this region.
At that time a river (Mahananda) port, South of Siliguri in Phansidewa had an important role in having trade bond with Malda, Bengal and Bihar. This riverine trade line was thus used by the Bhutanese and Sikkimese to bring goods into their mainland.
Siliguri started as a small area i.e. now Saktigarh, southern part of city, on the bank of Mahananda River. Treaty of Sugauli in 1835 signed between Britain-Nepal, changed the prospect of Siliguri. As it became a point of transit with Darjeeling hills and Nepal mainland. From 1835 Siliguri started growing rapidly as a small city due to its importance in treading. Meanwhile, in 1865 British captured Darjeeling & whole Dooars region for tea plantation & its exportation to England. For easy Exportation they introduced Siliguri Town railway station & started up Toy train from here to Darjeeling in 1880 and that magnifies importance of Siliguri. It helped Siliguri to gain Sub Divisional town status by 1907.
Parallelly with Indian independence, "Siliguri Corridor" was formed as Bengal was divided into West Bengal and East Pakistan (later Bangladesh) in 1947 and later Sikkim merged with the Indian territory in 1975. In this point many immigrants came to Seattle here for better facilities which kick increased population of Siliguri. Later in 1950 Siliguri achieved municipal status. Keeping in mind the importance of Siliguri, in 1951 Assam rail link established with newly made (1949) Meter gauge Siliguri Junction railway station. After few years in 1961 all these stations were connected with broad gauge New Jalpaiguri Junction railway station which later becomes the most important railway station in Northeast India.
Due to tremendous growth, Siliguri is now far away from its past outlook as Siliguri is the largest and fastest growing city in eastern India after Guwahati. The growth rate of Siliguri was 57.8% during 1971- 1981 , considering this growth Siliguri came under Integrated Urban Development Project program in 1981. Siliguri touched 46.83% of population growth rate in 1981-1991. Due to signing up a treaty between India & China for starting up trade through Nathu- la - Pass , has increased development and prospects of Siliguri as an international transportation & logistics hub. Later in 1994 Siliguri built up a Municipal corporation which has been responsible for the civic infrastructure and administration of the city of Siliguri. Through these revolutionary way now Siliguri achieved the 2nd largest metropolitan city in West Bengal status after Kolkata.
Based on Census data of 2011, the city has a population of 705,579, while the population of Siliguri UA/Metropolitan is 1,057,438. Males constitute 51% of the population and females 49%. In Siliguri, 10% of the population is under six years of age.
Due to the city's booming economy, it has drawn people from Bihar, Jharkhand, North Bengal, North-East, Sikkim and other parts of India in search of livelihood. Siliguri also has a large population of Tibetans and a notable number of Bhutanese permanently settled in the city.
Siliguri located at the foothills of the eastern Himalayas at a location of Siliguri Corridor, also known as the Chicken's neck. The city is surrounded by dense forests towards north and lifeline of Siliguri, Mahananda River flows through the city thereby bisecting it into two halves. Also Teesta river is not so far from the city. Siliguri has an average elevation of 122 metres (400 feet). As Siliguri is located in the Terai region, the soil is sandy in nature i.e. the ratio of sand and silt is much higher than clay. This region is very prone to earthquake as it owns several fault lines nearby.. This city is spread over an area of 260 sq. km within the
The Siliguri subdivision is surrounded by Himalayan ranges towards north and towards south by the country Bangladesh, Uttar Dinajpur district of West Bengal and the Indian state of Bihar. On the east lies Jalpaiguri district and Kalimpong subdivision and bounded on the west by the country of Nepal , thus strategically so important.
Siliguri falls under the humid subtropical climate (Cwa), when using the Köppen climate classification. Just like any other cities in West Bengal. Siliguri has mainly three distinct seasons:- Summer, Monsoon and Winter.
- As Siliguri is located at the base of Himalayan mountain range, it experiences cooler temperature compared to other cities of West Bengal. In summer, temperatures go above 35°C. However cool wind blowing from mighty Himalaya comes as a respite.
- June marks the arrival of monsoon in Siliguri. It comes with heavy rains. This season lasts till the end of September. July and August receive the maximum rainfall, with an average up to 200 mm rainfall per day. The annual average rainfall ranges from 2600 mm to 4000 mm in Siliguri.
- Winter starts from November and lasts till February. Mercury dropps down to almost 3°C  due to chilly wind from Himalaya. Dense fog and light rain is a characteristic feature of the winter in Siliguri.
|Climate data for Siliguri, India|
|Average high °C (°F)||23
|Average low °C (°F)||3
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||8
|Source: Weather Atlas|
|Climate chart (explanation)|
Flora and Fauna
Siliguri situates in the Terai region ("moist land") , is a belt of marshy grasslands and dense Tropical deciduous moist forests at the base of Himalaya range which is rich in biodiversity , containing numerous rare species of flora and fauna. These forests are characterized by their distinct wildlife variety , as an example Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary near Siliguri is famous for Elephants. Sukna is the gateway to this sanctuary which is 12 km away from Siliguri.
These sub Himalayan forests are home of various types of wild animals like elephant, tiger, Indian bison, barking deer, wild pigs, monkey, civet, snakes, lizard, mountain goat, sambar, Chetal and fishing cat. These forests are also home of about 243 different bird species like Pied hornbill, egrets, kingfisher, drongo, fly catcher, woodpeckers and others. Another common sight is migratory water birds.
Siliguri and surrounding Sub Himalayan forests are rich in fauna diversity, the plains of North Bengal (Siliguri, Jalpaiguri, Cooch Behar e.t.c.) are surrounded by deep forests. These forests are home of various rare and common species of plants.Forest here is moist Tropical and characterized by dense growth of tall Sal i.e. Shorea robusta. Sal occupies about 80% of all vegetation in these tropical forest.
These forests are categorised by their dominating plant species such as 1) East Himalayan Sal Forest present on the lower slopes of Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary contains Sal, Khair, Simul, Sissoo, Riverine grasslands and various rare species of plants like Orchids 2) East Himalayan Upper Bhabar Sal mainly present at Jalpaiguri district which is characterized by dense population of Microstegium chiliatum , Sal i.e. Shorea robusta. Others are Terminalia tomentosa , Schima wallichii And the 3) Eastern Tarai Sal Forest generally found in lower altitudes compared to other two types of forest.This type of forest characterized by various species of Bamboos , Ferns , Sal which is found in Baikunthapur Forest, nearby Siliguri city.
Rapid growth of city causing deforestation , making Siliguri warmer day by day and disbalancing the ecosystem.
NH 27 crosses through the heart of the city which is now a part of AH2 project. Siliguri originates the century-old Hill Cart Road that is NH 110 which connects Siliguri and Darjeeling (77 km) made in British period. Siliguri also originates NH 10 which connects Gangtok, NH 12 which connects Pankhabari-Mirik.Tenzing Norgay Bus Terminus is the main bus terminus serves as bus depot for both Government & private bus service which oparated by NBSTC. It connects to all other districts and cities in west Bengal like Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Jalpaiguri, Cooch Behar, Malda, Balurghat, Raiganj, Berhampore, Kolkata, Asansol, Suri etc. Lots of private buses connect short as well as long distance routes including some cities of Bihar too.Sikkim National Transport bus terminus & P.C. Mittal Memorial bus terminus another two bus terminus which connects Sikkim and many other cities of west Bengal.City buses,Auto facility available to cover the whole city.E-rickshaws also available for covering short distance inside city.
A+ category railway station, New Jalpaiguri Junction railway station under Katihar railway division of Northeast Frontier Railway zone serves the city. Two other stations, Siliguri Junction railway station and Siliguri Town railway station, also serve the city.
Bagdogra Airport is an international airport located towards the west of Siliguri city, operated as a civil enclave at AFS Bagdogra of the Indian Air Force. This airport is a major transport hub in the region with flights connecting Kolkata, New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Guwahati and has international connectivity with Kathmandu, Paro and Bangkok. The airport also has regular helicopter services to Gangtok. Due to its location near Darjeeling hills and Sikkim, Bagdogra airport sees thousands of tourists annually.
Central government of India confirmed customs airport status to this airport in 2002 with limited international operations. Recently in 2014-15 , air traffic at Bagdogra crossed 1 million for the first time with 43.6% growth rate. This is one of the fewest airports in India with zero sales tax on aviation turbine fuel.
Siliguri is not only commercial hub in present days. Due to its location as Siliguri present near four international borders i.e. Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and China. Also it is situated near Bihar and other districts of West Bengal. So demand for educational institutions here is in its peak.
Day by day Siliguri appearing as an educational hub as well. Many students from Bangladesh, Nepal, Assam, Bihar, Bhutan and surrounding districts of West Bengal come here for better educational facilities as Siliguri provides better climate compared to any other cities, better transportation, better safety, low living cost, quality multi cuisine restaurant with lesser price, plenty of shopping hubs, amusement parks and tourist attractions nearby.These factors attracts many students to come here for educational purpose. List of university, colleges and schools are mentioned below:
- University of North Bengal, since 1962
- General degree colleges
- Acharya Prafulla Chandra Roy Government College
- Siliguri College, Since 1950
- Siliguri Mahila Mahavidyalaya
- Surya Sen Mahavidyalaya
- Kalipada Ghosh Tarai Mahavidyalaya
- North Bengal St. Xavier's College
- Gyan Jyoti College
- Munshi Premchand Mahavidyalaya
- Salesian College
- Siliguri College of Commerce
- Vidyasagar College of Education
- Medical colleges
- Engineering colleges
- Siliguri Institute of Technology
- Surendra Institute of Engineering & Management
- Siliguri Government Polytechnic College
- Siliguri Global Engineering Institute
- B.Ed. Colleges
- Siliguri B.Ed Collage
- Other Colleges
- Inspiria Knowledge Campus
- Darjeeling Tea Research & Management Association
- IIAS School of Management
- Bengali Medium Schools
- Siliguri Boys' High School (WBCHSE) , Since 1918
- Siliguri Baradakanta Vidyapith (WBCHSE)
- Baghajatin Vidyapith (WBCHSE)
- Siliguri Girls High School (WBCHSE)
- Netaji Girls High School (WBCHSE)
- Tarai Tarapada Adarsha Vidyalaya (Co-ed)
- Matigara Harasundar High School (Co-ed)
- Sri Narashingha Vidyapith (Co-ed)
- Saktigarh Bidyapith (Co-ed)
- Nilnalini Bidyamandir High School (Co-ed)
- Siliguri Vivekananda Vidyalaya
- Kabi Sukanta High School (WBCHSE)
- Siliguri Jagadish Chandra Vidyapith (WBCHSE)
- English Medium Schools
- Don Bosco School (ICSE)
- Delhi Public School (CBSE)
- St. Michael's School (ICSE)
- St. Joseph's High School (ICSE)
- St. Xavier's School (ICSE)
- Margaret (S.N.) English High School
- Nirmala Convent School (ICSE)
- Auxilium convent School
- Modi Public School
- Lincolns High School (ICSE)
- Royal Academy
- Isabella School, Siliguri (ICSE)
- Techno India Group Public School
- IICE Educational Academy
- D.A.V.School, Fulbari, Siliguri
- Scared Heart High school (ICSE)
- Birla Divya Jyoti School
- G.D. Goenka Public School
- North Point Residential School, CBSE
- Shri Ram Centennial School<
- Narayana School
- Baribhasa Central School (CBSE)
- Champion International School (IGCSE)
- Hindi Medium Schools
- Siliguri Hindi High School
- Bharati Hindi Vidyalaya
- Hindi Balika Vidyapith
- Dr. Rajendra Prasad Girl's High School
- Nepali Medium Schools
- Dr. I.B. Thapa Nepali Vidyalaya
- Ravi Ratna Dhungana School
- Muslim Schools
- Shamsia High Madrasah (Co-ed)
- Army Schools
- BSF Senior Secoundry School Kadamtala
- Kendriya Vidyalayas
- Army Public School, Sukna
- Army Public School (Bengdubi & Khaprail)
- Railway Schools
- Bani Mandir Railway H.S. School (Co-ed)
- New Jalpaiguri Railway Colony H.S. (Co-ed)
- Railway Girls High School
There are many more schools in the city.
Siliguri hosts numerous sporting events and matches to influence and build up young athletes from the city. Some of the important sports enthusiast local clubs in Siliguri organise several cricket, football, volleyball, swimming competition, TT matches etc. S.A.I or Sports Authority of India in Kanchenjunga Stadium conducts football and athletics. With the provision for an international outdoor and indoor stadium, Siliguri has enough opportunities to host national level matches. This has also led to Siliguri being a prominent city to produce national champions like Mantu Ghosh, the Gold Medalist winner in the bi-annual South Asian Games (SAF) for table tennis, Ankita Das, Nandita Saha and Soumyajit Ghosh another internationally acclaimed table tennis player and Wriddhiman Saha – Indian international cricketer who plays Test matches for Indian national team. Siliguri has done a tremendous job for Indian table tennis. Also there is Bikash Ghosh Memorial Swimming Pool beside Kanchanjunga stadium in city which conducts swimming competitions there. White water rafting also done nearby the city in Teesta river.
This is the main stadium in Siliguri, a multipurpose stadium, mainly used for football matches although it hosted several cricket matches till date. It has a capacity of 30,000 people at a recently this stadium is all set to get a facelift.
- This stadium hosted Federation Cup 2012 matches of India . The first ever Federation Cup played on this ground was between Mohun Bagan AC and Churchill Brothers S.C. in 2012.
- Final match of the 2013–14 Santosh Trophy was played at the stadium in March 2014.
- Seven rounds of 2015 I-League 2nd Division match was played on this ground.
- It also hosted two kolkata derby matches in 2016 I-league.
- All the matches of 2016 SAFF Women's Championship were played in the Kanchenjunga Stadium in Siliguri, West Bengal.
- Third I-League derby matches was held in this stadium ground in 2017.
- This stadium has hosted 11 Ranji Trophy matches.The first ever Ranji Trophy played on this ground was between Bengal and Punjab in 2010.
- Two Celebrity Cricket League matches were played here. The first ever Celebrity Cricket League played on this ground was between Veer Marathi vs Karnataka Bulldozers and Telugu Warriors vs Bengal Tigers in 2013.
Municipal corporation indoor stadium
Indoor sports including Table tennis, Badminton, Taekwon-do, Lawn tennis and Chess are being played here.In fact Siliguri is renowned for being the training grounds of table tennis players.This stadium can hold 5000 people at a time. Senior National Table Tennis Championship was recently organized here. Sports festival, 2017 also held in this indoor stadium.
- Coronation Bridge
- An example of stunning architecture, also known as Sevoke bridge situates on lower Himalaya about 20 km from Siliguri made up of steel in year 1930. This bridge spans across Teesta River. One can experience mesmerizing scenic beauty of river Teesta and surrounding forests.
- Darjeeling Himalayan Railway
- DHR or toy train that runs between New Jalpaiguri, Siliguri and Darjeeling which was built between 1879 and 1881.This rail route is designated as UNESCO World Heritage Site. Anyone can ride toy train to enjoy the heritage route & beauty of the Himalaya.
- Bengal safari
- Its about 8 km away from Siliguri. North Bengal Wild Animals Park offers visitors an impressive opportunity to experience the wild and the untamed life closely (such as Jungle fowl, Sambar deer, Royal bengal tiger, Wild boars, Spotted deer, Wild bear, Rhinoceros etc).It is fundamentally a part of the Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary, spread over an area of 700 acre.Park conducts herbivore safari, carnivore safari, elephant safari etc.
- Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary
- Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary is located 13 km away from Siliguri on the foothills of the Himalayas,between Teesta and Mahananda.The sanctuary spans over 159 km2 of reserve forest. In 1959, it got the status of a sanctuary mainly to protect the Indian bison and Royal bengal tiger. This sanctuary is home to rare Mountain goat, Chital, Barking dear, Fishing cat, Sambar deer, tiger, elephant and Indian bison and migratory birds. It offers mild to medium trekking challenges at some points.
- North Bengal science centre
- One and only science Centre of North Bengal established in 1997. The main attractions are Digital Planetarium, Science Shows (Super Cold Show-Showing low temperature properties of matter, Amazing Chemistry, Unexpected Science etc.), 3D Theater, Taramandal Shows, different science topic galleries and its green Science Park with T-Rex dinosaur statue at entrance.
- Salugara monastery
- located 6 km away from Siliguri. Main attraction is the 100 ft stupa, which is believed to be founded by the Tibetan Lama, Kalu Rinpoche. The ideal tranquil location for meditation was established by Tibetan monks and followers of Dalai Lama.
- ISCON temple
- Also known as Sri Sri Radha Madhav Sundar Mandir, one of the biggest Krishna centres in the North-Eastern region of India. This temple was built by ISKCON, which stands for International Society for Krishna Consciousness. With a grand temple, beautiful campus and soothing ambience.
- Ewam India Buddhist monastery
- located about 11 km from Siliguri. Placed in the lap of nature nearby Bengal safari.this monastery has its stunning art work, beauty, peace and positive vibes.
- Sed-Gyued monastery
- located nearby Salugara monastery. It is a breathtaking monument which was destroyed by the Army of China, and then rebuilt. The monastery is home to more than 90 monks of the Gelukpa divison, and is presently used as a research centre.
- Sevoke kali temple
- An ancient temple on Teesta banks,in the lap of Himalaya, close to the Coronation Bridge.This temple dedicated to Maa Kali, the Goddess of Destruction and believed to be extremely powerful and divine.
- Hong Kong market
- Hong Kong Market, apparently the Chandni Chowk of Northeast India, is a street market with variety of shops popping out on the alleyways.It is the only place where anyone can get all imported (mainly China and southeast Asia) and branded products in low price.To get a great deal make sure you bargain big.
- Dreamland amusement park
- located near Fulbari, 12 km from Siliguri junction, is a agricultural land converted in a fun house. It has 5-6 usual rides with a mini Ropeway also.
- Savin kingdom
- It is an amusement & water Park which is located near Dagapur in Siliguri. The park is a great place for fun and leisure in the nearby. The water park has pool, slides, artificial wave, rain dance etc. It also has various joy rides like adrenalin junkeis, sky train, break dance, go-carting, artificial bulls, etc. Multiplex, kids zone, restaurent are also out there.
- Gajoldoba view point
- Located about 28 km from Siliguri, famous for the huge reservoir formed by Teesta barrage. This reservoir is home for variety of migratory birds (like River lapwing, Great Crested Grebe, Indian Cormorant, Purple Heron , Eurasian Wigeon, Common Shelduck , Cotton Teal, Tufted Duck, Little Ringed Plover, Great Cormorant etc). Due to shuttling of migratory birds, Pakhibitan sanctuary established here. One can spend time amidst the nature. Boating facility also available here.
- Wriddhiman Saha – Indian international cricketer who plays Test matches for Indian national team.
- Soumyajit Ghosh - The youngest Indian player to qualify for the London, 2012 Olympics. He also became the youngest national champion at the age of 19.
- Ankita Das - Represented India at the 2012 Summer Olympics in Women's singles event.
- Nandita Saha - She was a part of Indian trio, defeated Canada in Common wealth 2006 at Melbourne and won Bronze medal for India.
- Sailendra Nath Roy - Guinness Book of World Record holder for the farthest distance travelled on a zip wire and pulled 40 tonnes DHR toy train using hair.
- Charu Majumdar – communist revolutionary from India
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