|— Metropolitan City —|
|• Body||Siliguri Municipal Corporation|
|• Mayor||Gangotri Dutta (Congress)|
|• Deputy Mayor||Sabita Agarwal|
|• Official||Bengali,English,Hindi,Nepali, language|
|Time zone||IST (UTC+5:30)|
|Vehicle registration||WB 74 / WB 73 2|
|Lok Sabha constituency||Siliguri|
|Vidhan Sabha constituency||Siliguri, Dabgram-Phulbari|
|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 documentations.|
Siliguri (Pron: ʃɪlɪˈgʊəri) ( pronunciation (help·info)) is the administrative headquarters of Siliguri subdivision, a part of the Darjeeling district of West Bengal in India. Siliguri is situated on the banks of Mahananda River in the foothills of the Himalayas. It is a principal commercial, tourism, transportation, and educational centre in the northern part of West Bengal. It is also the transit point for air, road and railway traffic to the northeast states and the neighbouring countries of Nepal and Bhutan. Siliguri has been witnessing an economic boom in the organised retail, hospitality and real estate industries due to its strategic geographical location and subsequent growth of population.
The antiquity of Siliguri is shrouded in mystery. According to Sailen Debnath, Siliguri means a heap of stones or pebbles; and in the nineteenth century often the area was called Silichaguri. Before the Sugauli Treaty in 1816 between British India and Nepal, Siliguri played as a transit point between Nepal and the hilly areas of Darjeeling (Doreje-liang) and ‘Karseong’. Sailen Debnath points out that before the rise of Nepal as an expanding power under Prithvi Narayan Shah (1769-1775), Siliguri area, as belonged to trans-Morang zone (i.e. at the meeting ground of western and eastern Morang), was a part of the southernmost fringe of the kingdom of Sikkim. Just to the south of Siliguri, at Phansideoa there was a river port having trade relations with Maldah and thereby with other areas of Bengal and Bihar. The Sikkimese and the Bhutanese (mainly via Kalimpong as it was under Bhutan since the beginning of the eighteenth century) used the river bank near Siliguri in order to go down the Mahananda with their merchandise to Phansideeoa. Siliguri gradually developed as a small town since 1835 when the British occupied Darjeeling; and more since 1865 when they occupied the whole of the Dooars and Kalimpong. The partition of India in 1947 and the creation of East Pakistan, paved the path of Siliguri becoming an indispensable transit point and strategically important area; and the same incident led to the rise of population because of the coming of immigrants. The city of Siliguri in its present form started from the bank of Mahananda to Saktigarh, a small village which is now in southern part of the city. When the British East India Company introduced railway to North East India, it enhanced the importance of the region. The population of the town continuously increased leading to its expansion because of the huge immigrants from Nepal, Southern Bhutan and adjacent Indian states apart from eastern Bengal.
Siliguri is located in the Siliguri Corridor or Chicken's Neck - a very narrow strip of land linking mainland India to its north-eastern states. The total area of Siliguri City is 48 km2, most of which lies in Darjeeling district, however a part of the city spreads over neighbouring Jalpaiguri district. Siliguri, situated as it is in the plains at the base of the Himalaya mountains, connects the hill stations such as Gangtok, Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Kurseong and Mirik and northeast states to the rest of India. It is the largest city of North Bengal. Mahananda River bifurcates the city. The city is surrounded by dense forest ranges and is prone to wild animals straying into populated areas. Nepal lies in the west of the city 10 km from Bagdogra, Bhutan on the North East about 40 km, Bangladesh in the south of Fulbari.
Siliguri has a humid subtropical climate, with three distinct seasons observed, summer, winter and monsoon. The summer starts in late March, with the monsoon season starting in late May. The monsoons subside by early October. Winters in Siliguri start in November and last until early March, with very mild temperatures in the day, although with chilly nights. July is the hottest month with an average maximum temperature of 35 °C, whereas January is the coldest month with an average minimum temperature of 3 °C. The months of October-November, and February-March are the best time to visit Siliguri.
|Climate data for Siliguri|
|Average high °C (°F)||23
|Average low °C (°F)||3
|Precipitation mm (inches)||8
Siliguri is described as the gateway to the North East of India, Bhutan, Nepal and Bangladesh. The strategic location of the city makes it a base for essential supplies to the above regions and it has gradually developed as a profitable centre for a variety of businesses with many national companies and organisations setting up their offices here. The Hong Kong market near Khudirampally is a chief hub for buying low-cost Chinese goods and imported goods, nearby Seth Srilal Market, Sevoke Road and Hill Cart Road is a prominent place to buy daily use goods, and is very popular among people from nearby areas. The four 'T's - Tea, Timber, Tourism and Transport - are the main businesses of Siliguri. Siliguri is the headquarters of Federation of Chamber of Commerce and Industry of North Bengal.
Bagdogra airport market is one of the shopping hubs in Siliguri. Another important market is at Matigara hut where people from Hills and plains come for shopping. In recent times, the city has seen the establishment of a number of shopping malls and multiplexes to cater to the growing needs of the populace. The organised retail sector has created a large number of jobs in the region. The presence of Indian army, Border Security Force (BSF), CRPF, SSB and the Assam Rifles around the city have contributed to the growth of the local economy.
Being a tourist destination, the hospitality sector and tourism sector constitutes an important part of Siliguri's economy. Siliguri has a number of hotels and guest houses and the hospitality sector has seen good growth. Siliguri also has branches of almost all banks.
The latest development is the development of malls like COSMOS and ORBIT. The city recently also witnessed the arrival of its first set of multiplexes, CINEMAX in early Dec'09 and INOX at ORBIT on Christmas of 2009 and City Centre Mall in 2011.
The road network of Siliguri is used for commerce with neighbouring hill state of Sikkim and with Bhutan, Nepal and Bangladesh. The trade route between India and Tibet through Nathu La and Jelep La passes through Siliguri.
In order to develop the city in a planned manner and to make arrangement for the exploding population of the city, new townships of Uttarayon. The Kanchanjunga Integrated park and Shushruta Nagar-Kawakhali township have been proposed to be built around the fringes of Siliguri.
Siliguri is one of the three satellite IT hubs and townships that the Government of West Bengal is developing. Some leading IT companies have shown interest and some of them have already started operating. Siliguri Jalpaiguri Development Authority has taken an initiative to develop Siliguri into an IT/ITES hub. A software technology park is under construction which will be completed by December 2012.
Public transport includes cycle rickshaws, auto rickshaws, local buses and tempos. There is no metered vehicular transport. While 6-seater city autos ply between two fixed destinations of about 10–15 km, one can hire petrol-driven auto rickshaws from auto stands at a rate fixed by the municipal authorities. A total of 16,000 rickshaws licensed by the municipal corporation and an additional 55,000 illegal ones ply in this increasingly congested city.
Siliguri has three important railway stations.
- Siliguri Town - This is the oldest station in the area. Opened on 23 August 1880 during the British Raj, this station used to be the terminus for the trains coming from Calcutta (now spelt as Kolkata) and the starting point for the world-famous Darjeeling Himalayan Railway for journey to Darjeeling. It is this station where such world-renowned personalities as Rabindranath Tagore, Chittaranjan Das and Subhas Chandra Bose set their feet on their way to Darjeeling and other places.
- Siliguri Junction - This station was opened in 1949 and used to be the point of departure of all trains to the north-eastern states until the broad gauge was extended to New Bongaigaon. Siliguri Junction was the only station in India with tracks of all the three gauges used in India. Now metre gauge track does not exist as all the long-distance tracks from Siliguri have been converted to broad gauge under Project Unigauge.
- New Jalpaiguri Junction - Opened in 1964 as a totally greenfield project 2.5 km south of the Hasmi Chowk. Initially named New Siliguri (but later renamed New Jalpaiguri as it is located in Jalpaiguri District), this is now the most important station in the region. It is also known as NJP. This station connects Siliguri to every nook and corner of the country by railway. The city has now been expanded and included New Jalpaiguri as one of its ward of Siliguri Municipal Corporation. The Darjeeling Himalayan Toy train is the main attraction of this station. The station is the largest railway station in entire North East with wide parking area and has awarded as cleanest railway of India in the year 2011.
With the extension of broad gauge railway track to the Siliguri Junction station, people can now travel directly to the heart of the city without having to alight at New Jalpaiguri. This new broad gauge track extends to the old Dooars metre gauge track up to Alipurduar and beyond.
Siliguri Urban Agglomeration also has another railway station Bagdogra situated at Bagdogra, 15 km from the city, adjacent to Bagdogra airport.
Naxalbari railway station is situated west of Bagdogra in the heart of Naxalbari. The railway station has strategic importance as it facilitates not only the people of Naxalbari and Panitanki to connect with the other parts of the country but it also facilitates the people of Nepal (of places like Kakarvita, Dhulabari, Bittamore, etc.) to utilize the railway station as the means of communication with rest of India. The Siliguri-Bagdogra-Naxalbari-Thakurganj (Bihar)-Aluabari Road (Islampur, Uttar Dinajpur) railway line was metre gauge until it was converted to broad gauge in 2011.
Bagdogra International Airport (IATA code IXB) situated about 15 km away from Siliguri city, is the only airport in the region. The airport is connected to Bangalore, Chandigarh, New Delhi, Kolkata, Guwahati, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangkok, Thailand and Paro, Bhutan.
The Tenzing Norgay Central Bus Terminus situated next to the Siliguri Junction Railway Station is a major stop for most private and state-owned buses in the region. The Royal Government of Bhutan also operates buses from Siliguri to its border town Phuentsholing. Air conditioned sleeper coach bus service is available from Siliguri to Kolkata, Patna and Assam. Jeeps also link Siliguri to neighbouring hill towns of Darjeeling, Gangtok, Kurseong, Kalimpong, Mirik, Jorethang, Namchi, etc.
The Sikkim Government buses run to various destinations of Sikkim from the Sikkim Nationalised Transport (SNT) bus station near the Tenzing Norgay Bus Terminus. There is another bus terminus named P.C. Mittal Bus Stand on Sevoke Road. All buses heading for the Dooars region via the Sevoke Coronation Bridge start from here.
The bus service from Siliguri Court Mor interconnects the different parts of the city such as Sivmandir, Bagdogra, Naxalbari, Panitanki, Medical, and Chatterhut. The Bus service from Howrah Petrol pump and Jalpaimore connects the city with lower parts of Jalpaiguri district and Cooch Behar district.
As of 2011 census, Siliguri city had a population of 509,709 (compared to 472,374 in 2001) showing 8% growth in 2001-11 decade. Males constituted 51% and females 49% of the population. The overall sex ratio was 951 females per 1000 males compared to national average 940. Siliguri had an average literacy rate of 85%, higher than the national average of 64.3% for entire population in 2011. Male literacy was 89% and female literacy was 82%. Population of children under six years of age was 48,250 (9.5% of the total population) and there were 928 girls per 1,000 boys in this age group compared to national average 918.
While Siliguri's population in 2011 was 509,709 in municipal corporation jurisdiction, it was 701,489 in Siliguri urban agglomerate.
Siliguri has a majority Bengali population. Other communities include Gorkhas, Marwaris and Biharis. Most of the languages spoken in Siliguri are Hindi, Bengali, Nepali(Gorkhali), English, Assamese, Marwari, Bihari, Bhojpuri, Punjabi, Gujarati and Tibeten languages.
Siliguri has seen waves of massive immigration over the years, most prominent being the migrants from the erstwhile East Bengal during the Partition of India, Nepal and Bihar. In addition, people from Jharkhand and other parts of India have also come to the city in search of livelihood. In recent times, due to the economic boom in the city, a lot of the hill population (Gorkhas) from neighboring towns of Darjeeling, Kurseong, Mirik and Kalimpong have started migrating to Siliguri in search of work and to enjoy city life
Major festivals observed at Siliguri include Durga puja Dasain, Ganesh puja, Laxmi puja, Saraswati puja, Dipawali, Bhai tika etc. Baishaki mela is one of the oldest mela in Siliguri. The fashion week during winters is celebrated for entertainment. Various concerts that continue from mid-October to mid-December are organised by local clubs.
Siliguri has always been the hub of education in the Terai as well as the Dooars region. Apart from the residents of West Bengal, students from neighbouring states of Sikkim, Bihar and Assam and neighbouring countries of Bhutan, Nepal and Bangladesh come here to pursue education.
Siliguri has public (state government) and private schools. Bengali and English are the primary languages of instruction; Nepali and Hindi are also used. Schools in Siliguri follow the "10+2" plan and affiliated with West Bengal Council of Higher Secondary Education, CBSE or ICSE. Vocational courses are also available. Siliguri Boys High School (SBHS) is the oldest school of the city founded in 1918. Other schools include Isabella School.
Siliguri has two engineering colleges, viz., Siliguri Institute of Technology and Surendra Institute of Engineering & Management. Siliguri College established in 1950 is the oldest higher educational institution in the city. Other colleges are Suryasen Mahavidyalaya, St. Xaviers College, Salesian College, Acharya Prafulla Chandra Roy Science College,Bagdogra College, Naxalbari College, Gyan Jyoti College.
The North Bengal Medical College, located in Sushrutanagar, is the sole medical college in the region and is connected to the main city through the 3rd Mahananda Bridge. University of North Bengal was established in 1962, 10 km away from the main Siliguri city in Raja Rammohanpur. Approximately 80 colleges are affiliated to this university.
English-language newspapers in Siliguri include the Times of India (Kolkata editions), The Economic Times, The Asian Age, The Statesman and The Telegraph are widely circulated. Several Bengali newspapers, including Uttarbanga Sambad, Bartaman, Ganashakti, Aajkaal and Pratidin are also available. Leading Hindi daily Prabhat Khabar is also being published from here. International news agencies like Reuters, AFP and AP also have correspondents here.
Kanchenjunga Stadium is the city's only outdoor stadium and have hosted national and international level matches. The stadium houses the SAI sports hostel for athletes. There is an indoor stadium at Deshbandhupara in the southern part of the city. This new stadium has facilities for lawn tennis, badminton and table tennis as well as other indoor sports. However, the city is best known for being the training grounds for table tennis players. Siliguri has produced a number of national champions like Mantu Ghosh, the Gold Medal winner in the 1996 and 1999 SAF Games, Subhajit Saha and Nandita Saha. In recent years the close proximity of the Teesta river has made Siliguri a destination for the white water rafting enthusiasts.
Visitor attractions 
- North Bengal Science Centre, Matigara
- Salugara Monastery with a high stupa
- Madhuban Park of Indian Army
- Teesta Canal
- Mahananda Barrage
- Coronation Bridge
- Suryasen Park
- Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary
- North Bengal University
- Iskcon Temple
Notable people 
- Charu Majumdar
- Ankita Das
- Ashok Bhattacharya
- Bharat Chettri
- Debabrata Das
- Sailendra Nath Roy
- Soumyajit Ghosh
- Subhajit Saha
- Wriddhiman Saha
See also 
- Sailen Debnath, The Dooars in Historical Transition ISBN 9788186860441
- Sailen Debnath, The Dooars in Historical Transition, ISBN 9788186860441
- climate stats
- "IRFCA Trivia:Does any station have all three gauges present?".
- "Bangla immigrants to be pushed back". The Times Of India. 5 November 2001.
- "Lexpo". The Telegraph. Retrieved 15 January 2012.
- "Annual Report 2007––2008" (PDF). Department of School Education, Government of West Bengal. p. 69. Retrieved 10 December 2011.
- "List of schools in Kolkata". West Bengal Board of Secondary Education. Retrieved 10 December 2011.
- Siliguri Radio Stations
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- Siliguri Municipal Corporation
- Siliguri Jalpaiguri Development Authority
- Information on Siliguri at West Bengal Government website
- Siliguri travel guide from Wikivoyage