ISKCON Temple - Siliguri
Gateway to North East India
Siliguri is one of the most important cities not only for West Bengal, but for many states of North East as well. Situated at a distance of 600 Km from Kolkata, Siliguri is at an altitude of 400 feet above sea level. This not too high and not too low altitude ensures a perfect climate for tourist activities. The second largest city of West Bengal after Kolkata, is the gateway to Darjeeling, the the most important tourist attraction of the state. It is from New Jalpaiguri station that one catches the famous Toy Train to Darjeeling. Siliguri lies at the foot of Eastern Himalayas providing some exceptional views of the snow clad mountains. Apart from visiting pilgrimage attraction like Kali Mandir, Wildlife Attraction like Jaldapara Wildlife Park and nature attraction of Mirik hill station, tourist can indulge themselves in shopping.
Shopping is undoubtedly an attraction in itself as choices and variety for items here is innumerable. Siliguri being at the border of West Bengal and North East, offers best of both cultures. Darjeeling Tea the most shopped for item here, it is closely followed by Tibetan paintings, woolen garments and wooden handicrafts. The best place for shopping in Siliguri is Hill Cart Road and Sevoke Road. Do not forget to take a look at the electronics market here which is famous by the name of Hong Kong market. You will find surprisingly low cost gadgets that will compel you to grab hold of almost everything.
Attractions - Nature At Its Best
Though Siliguri is not as famous as Darjeeling for its tourist attractions but one can not skip Siliguri as few attractions that are there, are simply outstanding. Jaldapara Wildlife Park is the most widely visited attraction of this town.
Kali Mandir of Siliguri is an important temple for Hindus which is situated near Sevoke. The temple is said to be the abode of living Goddess Kali. The temple is visited not only by locales but by pilgrims from adjoining areas as well. However, it is most famous among newly weds who come here to attain blessings of Goddess Kali for happy married life.
Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary
Spread in an area of nearly 216 sq. Km, Jaldapara Wildlife Park is at a distance of 140 Km from Siliguri and is situated in the Jalpaiguri District. The wildlife park is famous for the endangered one horned rhino. Jaldapara Wildlife park is cut by passing River Torsa making a large part of the park a marshy land, a perfect setting for thriving of one horned rhinoceros. Jaldapara park holds the most number of one horned rhinoceros after Kaziranga National Park in Assam, though the difference between the numbers is mind boggling. Royal Bengal Tiger, leopard, spotted deer, elephants and gaurs are the other main attraction of the park. When visiting the park, do not forget to carry along a binoculars, as Jaldapara is a magnificent spot for bird watching. Famous for Bengal Florican, other birds that can be seen here are paradise flycatcher, crested eagle, fishing eagle, peafowl, racket tailed dongo and many more. The best way to explore the wildlife of the park is by taking an elephant safari deep into the jungle. Jeep safaris are also organized inside the park but not many parts of the park can be covered by jeep because of the marshy nature. During monsoons, that is from June 15 till September 15, the park remains closed to the visitors. On general days, the park is open from 9 AM till 4 PM.
Mirik is a perfect option for excursion from Siliguri. Situated around 55 Km from here, it takes nearly an hour and a half to cover the distance. Mirik is a picturesque hill station which has in recent years, become a must visit destination in West Bengal. The main attraction of this quaint hill station is a centrally located natural lake called Sumendu Lake. Tourist can indulge in boating and fishing in the lake which is approximately 1 Km long. While boating, enjoy the views of magnificent green hills that surround the lake from all sides. Mirik is an important pilgrimage destination with revered Hindu Temple of Sangla Devi being present on the western side of the lake. This hill station is dotted with many apple orchards and tea gardens.
Built in 1930, Sevoke Coronation bridge is still considered among the best architectural wonders in the country. The Coronation Bridge was built by Britishers to connect West Bengal to North East India. The Bridge is built over River Teesta and stretches from Salugara till Kalihora. Situated around 20 km from Siliguri, the Coronation Bridge gives us breathtaking views of River Teesta below and high green mountains on both sides.
Accommodation in Siliguri
Siliguri is one of the most important cities in West Bengal as it is virtually the gateway to many tourist places in the state like Darjeeling and Kalimpong. Siliguri is also one of the most developed cities of the state. Therefore it receives both tourist as well as business travelers. To cater to the needs of both categories, Siliguri has good luxury and budget hotels with splendid leisure and business facilities. The appealing feature of Siliguri hotels are that even luxury hotels are quite reasonably priced. Hotel Sinclairs, The Cinderella Hotel and Viramma Resort are the major hotels in the Siliguri.
How To Reach Siliguri
Siliguri has its own domestic airport which is situated in Bagdogra at a distance of 12 Km from city center. Jet Airways, Indian Airlines and Kingfisher Airlines are the main flight operators to Siliguri. There are flights connecting Siliguri to Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and all other major airports in India. There is a regular helicopter service as well to Gangtok.
New Jalpaiguri station is the nearest railway head to Siliguri, situated just 16 Km south of Siliguri. Jalpaiguri Station is connected to all major stations in the country like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore with regular train service.
Siliguri is nearly 600 km away from the capital city Kolkata. There is regular bus service to Kolkata and to many other important places in West Bengal like New Jalpaiguri and Kharagpur. Private coaches as well as transport buses are operational between the cities. It is also connected to cities in North East India as well like Gangtok.
Along with splendid bus facility inside the town, there are numerous jeeps as well that cater to locales and tourists. These jeeps generally run on shared basis.
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