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Alipurduar (Bengali:আলিপুরদুয়ার) is a sub-divisional municipal town of Jalpaiguri district, and is located at the eastern end of the district. Situated on the north bank of Kaljani River on the foothills of the Himalayas, the town is a gateway to Bhutan and North Eastern states of India. This town located in the Dooars region is known for its forest, wildlife, timber and scenic beauty, since the colonial period.
Alipurduar is located at 26.48°N 89.57°E1. It has an average elevation of 93 metres (305 feet). The town is surrounded by deep forest and tea garden. While there are two rivers flowing across the town namely kaljani and nonai.
This place had been a very old trading centre. The region was connected with the famous trading route called Silk Route with Bhutan and Tibet. The remains of the traditional route are still visible in Santalabari, near Alipurduar.
Alipurduar derives its name from the late Col. Hedayat Ali Khan who did admirable service in the Bhutan war and was stationed here as first Extra-Assistant Commissioner. The suffix "duar" (means door or gateway) has been added to the original name Alipur to differentiate it from the more well known Alipore in Kolkata and also because it is located in the Duars region.
As of 2001 India census,2 Alipurduar had a population of 73,047. Males constitute 51% of the population and females 49%. Alipurduar has an average literacy rate of 78%, higher than the national average of 59.5%; with 54% of the males and 46% of females literate. 10% of the population is under 6 years of age.
Travel and Tourism
Although Alipurduar town is not a popular tourist destination by itself, but a number of interesting choices are available within a short traveling distance from the town. Dense forests and hills offering beautiful natural landscape surround the town.
The most important forest in Alipurduar is Buxa Tiger Reserve, which attained much fame all over India for its enormous natural resources in terms of rare flora and fauna. The forest has got the status of a National Park and houses the maximum number of Royal Bengal Tiger Population in North Bengal. The Chilapata Forests provide an elephant corridor between the Buxa reserve and the Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary, another important eco-tourism destination.
The highest peak of Jalpaiguri the Chota Sinchula is located in Alipurduar. Situated at an altitude of 1733m at about 12km from Buxa the peak offers beautiful sights of the impermeable forest covers of Buxa hills and Bhutan valley.
Rajabhatkhawa, Jayanti, Bhutanghat, Raimatang are some other major destinations in Alipurduar. Situated deep inside the forest all of these places offer very good scope for wildlife tourism. Each place having forest rest house offers accommodation for limited number of tourist.
Alipurduar does not deprive the trek lovers. A day trek to Buxa hill through dense forest track reaches Buxa fort and further up to Rovers Point and then leads to Rupam Valley in Bhutan Hill. Jayanti Mahakal trek is another popular route that leads to a stalactite cave near Bhutan border. This trek is also very popular among the pilgrims who visit the cave to offer prayer to their deity.
Alipurduar is the divisional headquarter of North-East frontier railway. It is a very important railway junction that connects Kolkata in the south and New Delhi and Guwahati in the north and east respectively.
Current MLA from Alipurduars assembly constituency is Nirmal Das of RSP, who won the seat in State elections of 2006 and also earlier in 2001, 1996 and in 1991. Manohor Tirki is now MLA & Nani Bhattacharya of RSP was MLA from this seat in 1987, 1982 and in 1977.3 Alipurduars assembly constituency is part of Alipurduars (Lok Sabha constituency).
There are many schools in Alipurduar and some of them are famous like Railway Higher Secondary School, Stepping Stone Model School, Mc William High School, Central School, Rabikanta High School, Newtown Girls' High School, Alipurduar High School, Alipurduar Girls' High School, Gobinda Junior School.Alipurduar College and Vivekananda College which is affiliated under North Bengal University is in the town.4