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Category Places
Allied Category West Bengal
Associated Category City

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Siliguri pronunciation (Bengali: শিলিগুড়ি Shiliguri originally known as Silgarhi,[सिलगढ़ी], a Gorkha fort) is a rapidly developing metropolis in the Indian state of West Bengal. It is located in the Siliguri Corridor or Chicken's Neck — a very narrow strip of land linking mainland India to its north eastern states. It is also the transit point for air, road and rail traffic to the neighboring countries of Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh. The town hosts over 500,000 domestic and 15,000 foreign visitors annually. It is the commercial nerve center of North Bengal. [Inset (Left): Vehicular rush on Hill Cart Road at Siliguri during the Durga Puja celebrations.]

Siliguri is situated in Darjeeling district, and though it is the district's largest city, the district headquarters is located at Darjeeling. Siliguri is a unique city as 15 out of 47 wards of Siliguri Municipal Corporation falls in neighbouring Jalpaiguri district. The Indian army, Border Security Force (BSF), Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Shashatra Seema Bal (SSB) and the Assam Rifles have bases around the town. The Bagdogra Airport is located within the Indian Air Force (IAF) cantonment area. Siliguri has an Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. (IOC) oil depot near the southern edge of the town. Siliguri is the second largest city of West Bengal after Kolkata.


Siliguri is situated at the base of the Himalaya mountains in the plains. It is the largest city in the area (North Bengal) and second largest city in West Bengal and connects the hill station towns of Gangtok, Kalimpong, Kurseong, Mirik and Darjeeling with the rest of India. The Mahananda River(also known as Mahanadi) flows past Siliguri. Siliguri has three main seasons summer, winter and monsoon. Summer temperatures rarely exceed 38°C.It is considerably cooler than the southern and central regions of West Bengal. During this season, tourists from all over India stop in Siliguri en route to the cooler climes of the northern hill stations. Winters are relatively cool and temperatures range from a high of 15°C to a low of about 3°C. Light rain and dense fog are seen during this season. During the monsoon season between June and September, the town is lashed by heavy rains often cutting access to the hill stations and Sikkim. The climate is suitable for growing tea and the surrounding region has many tea gardens. The ancient Baikunthapur Forest is nearby. Siliguri is one of the fastest growing cities of India.


Siliguri is described as the gateway to the North East of India. The strategic location of the city makes it a base for essential supplies to the region. Siliguri has gradually developed as a profitable centre for a variety of businesses. As a central hub, many national companies and organizations have set up their offices here. Recently a number of movie-multiplexes are being planned to be opened in Siliguri. The Hong Kong market located here is a chief hub for buying low cost Chinese goods and illegal imported goods, nearby Seth Srilal Market is a prominent place to buy daily use goods, and is very popular among people from nearby areas. 4 "T" s - Tea, Timber, Tourism and Transport are the main businesses of Siliguri. Recently many hotels had mushroomed up & a very good increment had been seen in this sector at past. Siliguri is the headquarters of FOCIN (Federation of Chamber of Commerce and Industry of North Bengal). The latest development is the mushrooming of shopping malls in the city, though multiplexes are yet to arrive. Some popular shopping malls are the Cosmos, City Style, Sun Flower situated on Sevoke road and Vishal Mega Mart on the Burdwan road.


Siliguri is experiencing a rapid expansion of its population. In a 2001 India census,[1] the number of residents was 420,275. According to estimates for 2008, 559,275 people live in the city.[2]. Males constitute 53% of the population and females 47%. Siliguri has an average literacy rate of 70%, higher than the national average of 59.5%; male literacy is 75%, and female literacy is 65%. In Siliguri, 12% of the population is under six years of age.
Siliguri is a cosmopolitan city with Bengali, Bihari, Nepali, Marwari, and Punjabi people living peacefully. The Rajbanshi people, who originally owned most of the land, have decreased in population. Biharis, Gorkhalis, Marwaris, Punjabis and Bengalis are now the most prominent communities here. Bengali, Hindi and Nepali are the commonly spoken regional languages.
Siliguri has seen waves of massive immigration over the years. Most prominent being the illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, Nepal and migrants from Assam. In addition, people from Bihar and other parts of India are also coming to the city in search of livelihood. The influx has led to an abnormally high population growth.


Local public transport include city buses, cycle rickshaws and auto rickshaws and city buss (tempos) and city autos. There is no metered taxi or auto-rickshaw. While 6-seater City Autos ply between two fixed destinations of about 10-15 km away, one can hire petrol-driven auto rickshaws from auto-stands at a rate fixed by the Municipal Authorities.


Siliguri has three important railway stations:

  1. Siliguri Town - This is the oldest station in the area. Opened on 23 Aug, 1880 during the British Raj, this station used to be the terminus for the trains coming from 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 Subhash Chandra Basu set their feet on their way to Darjeeling and other places.
  2. Siliguri Junction - This station 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 Dibrugarh. Siliguri Junction is the only station in India with tracks of all the three gauges used in India.
  3. New Jalpaiguri - Opened in 1961 as a totally greenfield project 6 km south of Siliguri. 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. 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.

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. Travelling over this railway line is a beautiful experience as it passes through the picturesque tea gardens of the Dooars area in the backdrop of Darjeeling and Bhutan hills.


Bagdogra airport, situated about 15 km away is the closest airport. The airport, since falls within Air Force area (having some restrictions over length of runways and time of flight, etc.), is not well connected to most Indian cities. However, daily flights are available for the state capital Kolkata, Guwahati, and New Delhi. The Bagdogra airport is poised to become an international airport in the near future. Only then people of this region will be able to visit neighbouring capitals like Kathmandu, Dhaka, Thimphu which will in turn boost tourism in North Bengal and Sikkim. A regular helicopter service links Siliguri to Gangtok.


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. Jeeps also link Siliguri to neighbouring hill towns like Darjeeling, Gangtok, Kurseong, Kalimpong, Mirik, Jorethang, Namchi.

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 originate here.


City Auto

A new four-lane road, named Vivekananda Road, has been rebuilt connecting Burdwan Road to Mahabirsthan bringing much relief to the chaotic section of the city. The road is planned to join to the west with Matigara, through the proposed 4th Mahananda Bridge which is scheduled to come up by March,2010. The eastern wing of the Vivekananda Road will connect the Eastern by-pass, thus fulfilling a major demand of the vehicular traffic. Also a newly constucted fly-over over the Rail Gate connecting Hashmi Chowk to Mahabirsthan, provide seamless communication from the Station Feeder Road in the South and Deshbandhu Road in the East to the Hill Cart Road in the central part of the city.


Ashok Narayan Bhattacharya of CPI(M) has won the Siliguri seat four times in a row, defeating his nearest rivals, Nantu Paul of INC in 2006, Prasanta Nandy of AITC in 2001, Sankar Malakar of INC in 1996 and Prasanta Nandy of INC in 1991. Gour Chakraborty of CPI(M) defeated Prasanta Nandy of INC in 1987. Biren Bose of CPI(M) defeated Krishnendra Narayan Choudhury of INC in 1982, and Arun Kumar Moitra of INC in 1977.

Ashok Bhattacharya is now the Minister-in-Charge, Urban Development & Municipal Affairs, Government of West Bengal. Siliguri assembly constituency is part of Darjeeling (Lok Sabha constituency).

Mr. Bikash Ghosh of CPI(M) was the Mayor of Siliguri for his third consecutive term but unfortunately he died just a few days back.


Table Tennis, Cricket, Taekwon-Do, Chess and football (soccer) are the five most popular sports here. People are football crazy and support the local clubs. The Kanchenjungha Stadium is the city's only outdoor stadium and matches are regularly held here. The Stadium houses the Sports Authority of India (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 many Table Tennis players. Siliguri has produced quite a few National Champions like Maantu Ghosh, the Gold Medal winner in the 1996 and 1999 SAF Games, Subhajit Saha (2007), Nandita Saha (Juniors,2000). In recent years the close proximity of the Teesta river has made Siliguri a destination for the adventure sports (White Water Rafting) enthusiasts.Wriddhiman Saha (cricketer) celebrated his fist class debut for Bengal with a century on debut in the Ranji Trophy against Hyderabad. This wicket-keeper from Saktigarh, Siliguri in North Bengal possesses an extremely safe pair of hands and his performances for Bengal have been rewarded with a place in the East Zone teme. He has also been selected for Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League.

Bikes / Motorcycles too are a favorite sports of the young generation of Siliguri. To cater the needs An Indian Bikers Community runs an offline Base to bring all the bikers from all over Siliguri and neignbouring cities together and spread the news of Biking. Teach traffic Rules, Group Riding, Touring, Stunts and teaching how to ride is their activity. Its a non-profit organisation. All Boys and Girls who are really interested in the motorcycles/bikes/scootis or any too wheelers are always welcomed.


Siliguri has always been the “hub” of education in the Terrai as well as the Dooars region. Apart from the residents of the town, students even from states like Sikkim, Nagaland and Assam come here to pursue education. While previously there had been just a handful of schools, of late, there has been a spurt in the same, with schools coming up in every nook and corner, catering to the ICSE, ISC, Central and West Bengal Secondary and Higher Secondary courses. However, the ones that have stood the test of time and worth mentioning out here are:

  1. Siliguri Boys High School1
  2. Tarai Tarapada Adarsha Vidyalaya
  3. Siliguri Girls High School
  4. Hindi High School
  5. Army School(Bengdubi & Khaprail)
  6. Margaret (S.N.) English High School
  7. Don Bosco School (for boys)
  8. St. Joseph’s School (for girls)
  9. Lincoln High School.
  10. St. Joseph's Convent, NJP
  11. Nirmala Convent School(for girls)
  12. Mahbert High School
  13. Kendriya Vidyalayas(4 in no.)
  14. Royal Academy
  15. Modella Caretaker School
  16. Saktigarh Bidyapith|Saktigarh Vidyapith (H.S)
  17. Delhi Public School
  18. New St. Johns High School
  19. Auxilium convent School
  20. Isabella high School
  21. Techno India Group Public School
  22. Techno Model School(H.S)2

In and around Siliguri, there are a number of colleges, viz., Siliguri College, Siliguri College of Commerce (classes held at night in the premises of the Siliguri College), Siliguri Women’s College, Surya Sen College. All these deliver general degrees as well as specialization (Honours) in the fields available under the University of North Bengal.

The University of North Bengal, located in a serene backdrop of the Terai foothills and tea gardens, was established in 1962, 10 km away from the main Siliguri town, in Raja Rammohan Pur. Approximately 80 colleges are affiliated to the University, with approximately 36,000 and 1,500 students enrolled in graduate and post graduate courses respectively, every year. A sprawling campus, this University boasts having the second largest campus in the country. Huge stretches of green, in the form of quite-dense vegetation, lakes, and seasonal flowers are woven in between the buildings housing the departments.

The North Bengal Medical College, located in Sushrutnagar is the sole medical college in the region and is connected to the main city through the 3rd Mahananda Bridge. Students from across the state as well from neighboring sates come to study here, after having cleared the West Bengal Joint Entrance Examinations for engineering and medicine. The recently set up Siliguri Institute Of Technology (SIT) located at Sukna, a few kilometers away from the city has fast become one of the major and regular centres for the state’s corporate houses to recruit fresh engineers.

Various all India reputed Management Colleges have their centre in Siliguri. ICFAI offers MBA courses and their campus is located at Mallaguri area. IIAS offers mainly Hospitality Management courses and is a very renowned name with their alumni working worldwide, IIAS is situated beside Hill Cart Road 2 km from Darjeeling More in Siliguri towards Darjeeling.


Newspapers in Siliguri include the English language dailies, The Statesman and The Telegraph, both of which are printed in Siliguri. The The Economic Times and the Times of India Kolkata editions are available in the same evening. Several Hindi and Bengali newspapers, including Uttarbanga Sambad, Anandabazar Patrika, Bartaman, Ganashakti, Aajkal,Dainik Jagran, and Janpath Samachar' are also available.

In addition to All India Radio, Siliguri has three private FM radio stations: Radio High 92.7FM ,Radio Misty 94.3, and FM 91.9.

Siliguri receives almost all the television channels that are received by the rest of the country. Apart from the state-owned terrestrial network Doordarshan, cable television serves most of the homes in the town, while satellite television is common in the outlying areas and in wealthier households. Besides mainstream Indian channels, the town also receives Nepali Television Channels and Bangladesh Television Channels. Local news broadcasts, sporting events, and concerts are broadcast live or delayed via cable to many households. DTH services both by Government and private companies are also available.

Internet cafés are well established in the main market area, served through broadband services provided by BSNL and other private companies like Sinet(CCN). The area is serviced by local cell phone companies such as BSNL, Reliance Telecom, Reliance Infocomm, Vodafone, Aircel, Tata Indicom and Airtel.


^ "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 on 2008-11-01.
^ 2007 population figures from World Gazetteer
^ "IRFCA Trivia:Does any station have all three gauges present?".
^ "25 Siliguri Assembly Constituency". Partywise comparison since 1977. Election Commission of India. Retrieved on 2008-02-01.
^ "General election to the Legislative Assembly, 2001 – List of Parliamentary and Assembly Constituencies". West Bengal. Election Commission of India. Retrieved on 2007-10-08.



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