Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Tourism      Hill Stations      West Bengal     Darjeeling    


Place : Darjeeling district in West Bengal
Significance : Kurseong is an idyllic hill station, nestled in the serene hills of Darjeeling district in West Bengal.
Altitude : 4,860 ft above sea level
Temperature : Summer 14 to 20°C, Winter -5 to 23°C
Best Time to Visit : April to Mid-June, Mid September to November
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Located at an altitude of 4,860 ft above sea level, Kurseong is an idyllic hill station, nestled in the serene hills of Darjeeling district in West Bengal. It is just 35 kms from Darjeeling. Kurseong barely 5 sq. kms in area in the lap of beautiful Himalayan valleys has a population of less than 50,000.

It's pleasant climate throughout the year makes Kurseong an attractive destination for tourists. Kurseong has a chilly winter but not as severe as Darjeeling.

The town was captured by the British Empire from the Chogyal (monarch) of Sikkim in 1835. So, the town heavily influenced by British Raj and still carries imprints of its colonial past. One can see number of old colonial churches, buildings, luxurious mansions, bungalows, gardens and parks. Kurseong is also associated with the eminent personalities such as include Rabindranath Tagore, Sister Nivedita, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and Mark Twain.

The local name of Kurseong is 'Kharsang' which in the Lepcha language means land of the 'White Orchid'. White orchids grow in plenty around Kurseong and is a perfect backdrop for the town's serene.

Another unique feature of this small town is its famous toy train - one of the highest narrow gauge railway stations in the world. The wonder is that that it has a steam engine. Built between 1879 and 1881, the Kurseong Railway station, still maintains its old world charm. It is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

A trip costs Rs 10/- and is one of the most cost effective ways of travelling.

Kurseong is home to some of the finest tea gardens in the world. Ambootia, Castleton, Jogmaya and Makaibari Tea Estates are the major tea estates in and around the town. One can their factory, where the picked tea leaves are dried and processed into the form.  But one should take prior permission from the manager. It s a wonderful experience to just walk through these beautiful tea gardens.

Eagle's Crag

The popular tourist spot in Kurseong, Eagle’s Crag offers a fabulous view of the Teesta River and the Darjeeling valley. It is a one km trek from Kurseong Railway station. One can also see the the snow-covered peaks of the Kunchenjunga, Jannu, and Kabru from here. The surrounding moountains and forests has quite a few trekking trails which are popular for their natural beauty.

At the top of the Eagle’s Crag is a tourist complex with a lovely garden. There is also an observatory called Netaji Kothi which was once the summer home of the famous freedom fighter Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.

St.Mary's Hill

Situated 4 km away from Kurseong Railway station, it is a scenic area covered with lush green forests all around. Surrounded by deep wood forests is the Eastern Forest Rangers' College (EFRC). Earlier, this was the erstwhile site of St. Mary's seminary.

A statue of Jesus and Mary, St. John Church - a beautiful example of modern architectural excellence are also located on the hill.

Kettle Valley Picnic Spot

Situated at the Dilaram Tea Estate Garden, Kettle Valley Picnic Spot is another popular picnic spot for a day outing with family and friends. Located on the banks of the river Rinchengtong, the surrounding lush green with the clear water of the river flowing along side is most enthralling. The landscape of the place also offers breathtaking snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas in the backdrop.

Dow Hill

The forest museum, deer park and the water reservoir, surrounded by moss-covered conifers are major tourist attractions in Dow Hill.

Ambotika Shiva Mandir & Gidhapahar Mandir

Kurseong has quite a few well known temples in and around the town and the Ambotika Shiva Mandir and the Gidhapahar Mandir are the most popular Hindu temples in Kurseong.