View of TV Tower
|Nickname(s): The School Town|
|• Body||Kurseong Municipality|
|• Chairman||Samir Dip Blon|
|• Vice Chairman||Kalpana Pradhan|
|• Total||5.05 km2 (1.95 sq mi)|
|Elevation||1,500 m (4,900 ft)|
|• Density||16,000/km2 (41,000/sq mi)|
|• Regional||Nepali, English|
|Time zone||IST (UTC+5:30)|
|Lok Sabha constituency||Darjeeling|
|Vidhan Sabha constituency||Kurseong|
Kurseong is 47 kilometres (29 mi) from Siliguri and is connected to the city by road and the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway. The nearest airport is at Bagdogra and the nearest major railway station is New Jalpaiguri [NJP], which is about 53 kilometres (33 mi) from the town. The economy is based primarily on education and tourism.
- 1 Etymology
- 2 History
- 3 Sights
- 4 Civic administration
- 5 Education
- 6 Transport
- 7 Demographics
- 8 Media and communications
- 9 Notable Residents
- 10 References
- 11 External links
The origin of the name is unclear; stories suggest it comes from the Lepcha language word for "small orchid", kurson-rip because of the little white orchids (Coelogyne cristata) dotting the valleys, or perhaps the term for a stick made out of a local cane.(O'Malley 1999, p. 216)
The original inhabitants were the Lepcha people, who named their home "Kurseong", because every spring it was alive and bright with Kurson-Rip orchids. In the remote past, Kurseong was a part of the Kingdom of Sikkim, even before the British came to India. However, in around 1780 the Nepalese conquered and annexed Kurseong and its surrounding areas. Then came the Gurkha War, which the Nepalese lost. The 1817 Treaty of Titalia restored Kurseong to Sikkim.
With its mountains providing a cool and dry environment in the summer, Kurseong was a favourite of the British. Nevertheless, they found travelling there from the plains of Bengal difficult, even on warm sunny days because of the mountains. Although a road was built from Kurseong to Darjeeling from Titalia in the 1770s and 1780s, its irregular maintenance soon made the new route, the Military Road, almost useless. The next route, Hill Cart Road (now Tenzing Norgay Road), opened in 1861 and fared better.
Nevertheless, in 1835, the British decided that Darjeeling would make an excellent sanitorium and summer residence for their military and civilian officers along with their families. Negotiations with the Chogyal of Sikkim, Tshudpud Namgyal, provided them a strip of hill territory in Kurseong for an annual fee. As one of the hill stations on the road to Darjeeling, Kurseong began to develop.
Kurseong is home to one of the oldest municipalities in the state of West Bengal. Established as an independent Municipality in 1879, it did not become a Sub-Division until 1890, when the District of Darjeeling was formed. Kurseong and the District were added to the Rajshahi Division (now West Central Bangladesh) by the British Raj for the Bengal Presidency. In 1908, they were transferred to the Bhagalpur Division in the same Presidency.
Before Independence, there were 12 ward commissioners. Four of them were appointed by the British Raj and it also appointed its own man, the Sub-Divisional Officer (S.D.O.), as their Chairman. In 1939, when Bengal became a province of British India, Kurseong was allowed to elect its own member to be the chairman but the Raj continued to send ward commissioners until India gained independence. Nevertheless, between 1939 and 1942, Kurseong grew rapidly. As of today Kurseong has 24 commissioners.[when?]
Kurseong is surrounded by a myriad of tea gardens. These include Castleton, Makaibarie, Ambotia and Goomtee, all of which can be visited.
The toy train station is the nucleus of the town. The train tracks run through the length of the town and are used for a sight seeing tour.
- The Ambootia Shiva Temple.
- Giddha Pahar Sita Ram Mandir
- Giddahpahar Durga Mata Mandir.
- Jagdish Mandir
This temple has very old idols (almost 300 years old) of Lord Jagannath (Lord Krishna). The speciality of this temple is that there are two idols of The Lord and both are of Lord Jagannath (Krishna). In other temples of Lord Jagannath there are three idols - Lord Krishna, Lord Balram and Devi Subhadra (Sister of Lord Krishna and Lord Balram). But in Jagdish Mandir - Kurseong both the idols are of The Lord.
- St. Pauls Church on Hill Cart Road, near St. Joseph's School.
- Buddhist Gompa in Monteviot.
- Kunsang Choiling Monastery at Upper Naya Busty.
- Juma Mosque in Hat Bazaar.
- Goretto and Catholic church in St. Mary's Hill.
- Eagle's Craig
- Deer Park - now known as Dowhill Park, on the Dowhill Road.
- The Kholas (Water Falls - Springs) like Whistle Khola (named by the British, as there is a bend and the toy train whistles when passing through it). It is also known as Hussain Khola (means river in the local language). Although relatively dry during the dry months of winter, it comes alive during the monsoon season. There is a story called the "gadiman" (bullock cart driver) by an famous local writer and is a staple story in the local school syllabus. Everyone who has been raised in those parts knows the story of the gadiman and hence the khola (river).
- The Kettle Valley
- Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Museum and NSC Bose Institute of Asiatic Studies, hosted in the house of his elder brother, Sarat Chandra Bose, are situated in the Giddhapahar area (5 to 10 minutes drive from the Railway station). Netaji was interned in this house by the British government in the late thirties. The house now displays priceless artifacts depicting the life of the freedom fighter. These include photocopies of the exchange of letters between Netaji and his would-be wife, Ms. Emilie, many rare photographs of his Indian National Army (INA), other memorabilia of the Indian Freedom Movement and a few personal belongings of Netaji and the Bose Family.
- Chimney: A walk or ride through the forest of Cryptomaria Japonica on the road, now called Aranya Sarani, leads to the vast open meadows at Chimney. The curious name of the place is reminiscent of the days when there was a bungalow here on the only road (Old Military Road) leading to Darjeeling. A long, dilapidated chimney, standing all alone, is the only remnant of the bungalow now.
Naya Busty Park: Located just above the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Museum.
Kurseong Municipality, which is over 125 years old (one of the oldest in the country), is the main civic administration body for the town of Kurseong. It is located at 13 Dowhill Road. The Municipality is divided into 20 wards [originally 12 wards] and each of the wards has its own ward commissioner. The current Chairman of the Municipal Committee is Mr. Samir Deep Blon, in office since 21 December 2011
The previous Chairman, until 2008, was Mr. P. C. Agarwal. But in early March 2008 his political party, the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF), lost the control of the Committee in a no-confidence vote to the other Gorkha political party, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJMM). Since 2007, the GJMM has been campaigning for the creation of a separate state for the Indian Gorkhas, the original goal of the GNLF. Because of the no-confidence vote, Mr. Agarwal was forced to resign and the Municipal Committee was suspended.
Kurseong has its own Munsif Magistrate Court and has the Police Station and Town Out Post in P B Road. The S.D.O. (Sub Divisional Officer) is the head of the administration for the Town.
Hospital and Health Care in Kurseong : Kurseong has a Sub Divisional Hospital and no private nursing homes or clinics unlike Kalimpong and Darjeeling.
Gorkha Public Library
Gorkha Public Library or Gorkha jana pustakalay was established in the year 1913, as an initiative of the Indian Gorkhas to develop their culture, language and literature in the small town of Kurseong . It was probably the first Nepali public library project. This small initiative played a vital role in the development of Indian Gorkha culture, language and literature. The library still exists today, and among other things is used as a polling station in local elections.
Bloomfield Library: A well stocked library opposite of the post office. The timings are fairly convenient and there is a minimal fee.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (June 2015)|
Among the towns of Darjeeling District, Kurseong was nicknamed as "the school town" due to the emergence of many new schools in the town. Like the other hill stations within the District of Darjeeling, Kurseong also has its fair share of renowned schools established during the British Rule in India viz St. Alphonsus High School, St Helens Convent, Goethals Memorial School, Dowhill Girls School and Victoria Boys School.
The schools can be classified into two distinct groups. The English Medium and the Nepali Medium. The English medium schools are mostly affiliated to the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education, Delhi while the Nepali Medium Schools are affiliated to the State Education Board i.e. West Bengal Board of Secondary Education, Calcutta. Only one school Godwin Modern School is affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary Education, Delhi in Kurseong Town.
English Medium Schools
Saint Alphonsus School a leading school of the town. This school has a very good name in the area. The speciality of this school is that in the years when basic facilities were not available in the schools of large towns this school use to have the best of facilities like Green Glass Boards, Direct Announcements Systems in each class and general announcements. The school use to have a stadium looking play ground. To support the poor students of the school, the school use to have poultry farm. The poor students could work in the farm. The fees and all other expenses were born by the school. The students could sell eggs as well to support the family and their studies. The school used to serve free mid day meal to all the students. The best part of the school was that rich students were not allowed to bring lavish things to the school and all the students use to wear the cheapest possible Khakhi Dress.
St Helens Convent, Goethals Memorial School, Dowhill Girls School Alumni Association, Victoria Boys' School Alumni Association, Himali Boarding School, Glenhill Public School,Daisies Boarding School, St Anthony's School, Cambridge English Boarding School, Dawn Boarding School, St Augustine's School, Jyaneshwar Memorial Academy, Bellevue Boarding School.
Godwin Modern School, Tiny Tots School was the first English Medium nursery school opened in 1970. It is a private school
Nepali Medium Schools
WBBSE, Pushparani Boys High (now english midium) School, Scottish Mission Girls School, Rama Krishna Girls School (NOW English midium), Schools that provides secondary [year 10] as well as higher secondary education [year 12]
Teachers of Dowhill Girls and Victoria Boys' School are recruited through W.B Public Service Commission. Both boys and girls are in Dow Hill School from KG till class III. Thereafter, it is only for the girls. The other school is for boys and from class IV. Both the schools set in picturesque natural surroundings, have hostel facility. While tuition fees are not needed in Govt. schools, moderate fees' for boarding facilities are charged and the amount is less than half of what is required in other schools of the category. These two schools, established between 3 and 17 August 1879, are among the old schools in the country. Sir Ashley Eden the then Lt. Governor of Bengal, had conceived the idea of establishing the school for the children of those in the lower ranks of Government service. When the school was started, it only used to admit children of European origin, and the environment as well as the ideals of the school were that of a typical British Public School. Since then, the educational facilities were extended to others. They are not a Church School. The ideals of the schools changed with Independence, and at that time the very existence of the schools was in jeopardy. But with the timely interference by the Education Department of the Government of West Bengal, the schools quickly adjusted to the new social atmosphere. Soon was a great influx of students of Indian origin and the number of European students decreased. At present almost all are Indian, barring a few from the neighbouring countries of Nepal and Bhutan. Students from states other than West Bengal are also admitted without any restriction thus maintaining the cosmopolitan atmosphere. Though the medium of instruction is English, students are made aware of their rich Indian heritage in the classrooms, sports field and on the stage. They are the only schools under the Government of West Bengal, which are affiliated to I.C.S.E and they have produced many distinguished students settled in all parts of the world, who have excelled in different spheres and continue to excel.
Scottish Mission Girls School established in 1909 is celebrating its centenary in 2010. The building and the century old furniture makes the school a Heritage monument.
On 16 May 2005 Himali Boarding School has been appointed as the first Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) centre in north-east of India. The students have the option of sitting for the globally recognised, A and AS [equivalent to year 12 school board examination] level examinations of CIE or the school's own year 12 school board examination [I.S.C].
Kurseong has one college Kurseong College which is affiliated to the University of North Bengal. It provides undergraduate studies - Bachelor of Arts (General and Honours), Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Commerce (General). The institute is fast developing and is offering bachelor degrees in various fields of Science, Commerce and especially with the introduction of Economics Honours. The institution is looked after by a general body which comprises the Principal of the college, the SDO of Kurseong, appointed Members for the General Body and the most important personnel being the General Secretary of the college who is nominated or elected through a free and fair election. There have been plans that have been undertaken and initiated and recently the college is under expansion, utilisation and construction of the premises. The college also offers diploma courses on various fields and computer education has been made mandatory now.
Darjeeling Polytechnic college offers grades in Civil, Computer, Electrical and Mechanical Engineering. The polytechnic college of Kurseong was one of the first and the best engineering colleges in the past, however the institution has been facing a lot of discrepancy and has not been maintained by the authority and the authorities in turn lack support from higher levels.
From 1889-1971 there was even a theological college training Jesuit seminarians to the Catholic priesthood on St. Mary's hill (2 kilometres (1.2 mi) north on the way to Darjeeling. St. Mary's College was shifted to Delhi where, from 1972 onwards (and under the new name of Vidyajyoti College of Theology) it is still flourishing. The old Theologate's building now hosts the Eastern Forest Rangers College, which provides training courses to the would-be Forest Rangers of India. There is a West Bengal Forest School near Deer Park and Victoria Boys School, Dowhill which also provides training for foresters as well. About 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) north on the way to Darjeeling at Tung, there is an Industrial Training Institute (ITI) which offers various vocational course in plumbing, motor mechanics, and book binding.
Also in St. Mary's Hills, Holy Cross Institute offers higher secondary courses in Commerce via the vocational stream.
Bagdogra Airport, Siliguri, is 60 km (37 miles) away. Taxis/buses are available at the airport for transit to Kurseong. Siliguri, 50 km (31 miles) and New Jalpaiguri, 57 km (35 miles) are the nearest main stations. Siliguri to Kurseong current share for taxi rental is maximum of Rs. 100 per person. It is an important station on the Toy Train route from New Jalpaiguri to Darjeeling. The Toy Train takes a little over 5 hours from New Jalpaiguri to reach Kurseong. Kurseong is also well connected by roads. There are three roads from Siliguri to Kurseong. The shortest one is called Pankabari Road. Taxis are available and it takes 45 minutes to reach Kurseong from Siliguri.
As of 2001[update] India census, Kurseong had a population of 40,067. Males constitute 51% of the population and females 49%. Kurseong has an average literacy rate of 84%, higher than the national average of 59.5%: male literacy is 88%, and female literacy is 80%. In Kurseong, 6% of the population is under 6 years of age.
Media and communications
All India Radio has a local station in Kurseong which transmits various programs of mass interest. Which was established in the year 1962.
- Jung Bahadur Rana (1816-1877), the Prime Minister of Nepal and the founder of the Rana dynasty of Nepal.
- Sister Nivedita (1867–1911), Scots-Irish social worker, author, teacher and a disciple of Swami Vivekananda
- Subhas Chandra Bose (1894–after 1945), Indian nationalist leader
- Sri C. S. Gurung, who won gold for India in men’s field hockey at the 1952 Summer Olympics
- M. Fazlul Haque (b. 1938), High Court Justice of Bangladesh
- Ferdinand Perier (1875–1968), 3rd Archbishop of Calcutta (now Kolkata), for three years of his retirement (1962–1965)
- Pandit Rawatmal Purohit (1888-1976) from the family of founders of Jagdish Mandir, a renowned astrologer.
- Vijay Kumar Gupta (1 March 1987). Tourism In India. Gyan Publishing House. pp. 213 ff. ISBN 978-81-212-0124-7. Retrieved 1 November 2012.
- M.S. Kohli (1 April 2004). Mountains of India: Tourism, Adventure, Pilgrimage. Indus Publishing. pp. 172 ff. ISBN 978-81-7387-135-1. Retrieved 1 November 2012.
- Kurseong Municipality, "History" [of Kurseong]. Retrieved 2 February 2013
- "GNLF loses control over Kursong civic board", OutlookIndia.com, 18 March 2008. Retrieved 2 February 2013
- Chalmers, Rhoderick (2009). "Education, institutions and elites building and bounding Nepali public life in early Twentieth Century India". In Tanka Bahadur Subba. Indian Nepalis: Issues and Perspectives. Concept Publishing Company. p. 127. ISBN 9788180694462.
- Information Booklet. Gorkhaland Territorial Administration Sabha Election - 2012
- "Census of India 2001: Data from the 2001 Census, including cities, villages and towns (Provisional)". Census Commission of India. Archived from the original on 2004-06-16. Retrieved 2008-11-01.
- O'Malley, Lewis Sydney Steward (1 January 1999). Bengal District Gazetteer : Darjeeling. Concept Publishing Company. ISBN 978-81-7268-018-3.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Kurseong.|
- Official Website of the Kurseong Municipality
- Kurseong Social Network
- Kurseong Online @ KURSEONG.COM
- Information on Kurseong at West Bengal Government Website
- Information about Kurseong
- Photographs of Kurseong
- Discussion Forum for Kurseong
- Kurseong Map
- "Kurseong – the Land of the White Orchids", Nature Beyond for Tourism Alternatives, a website for travelers
- "Welcome to Kurseong", with an interactive map of the area, Eastern Himalayas, a website for travelers