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About Kurseong

Kurseong is a hill station (and sub-divisional town) situated in Darjeeling district of West Bengal, India. Located at an altitude of 1458 metres (4864 ft), Kurseong is just 30 km from Darjeeling. It has a pleasant climate throughout the year and the winters are not as severe as Darjeeling.

The local name of Kurseong is called "Kharsang" which in the Lepcha language means "Land of the White Orchids". Kurseong is 47 km from Siliguri and is connected to the city by road and the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway. The nearest airport is at Bagdogra.The nearest major railway station is New Jalpaiguri [NJP], which is about 53 kilometers from Kurseong. The town is based mainly on schools and tourism. The best times to visit Kurseong are between March end and May and between the end of August and October.

Kurseong was ceded to the British Empire by the chogyal (monarch) of Sikkim in 1835. Later in 1880, the small hamlet became a tourist destination for the colonial authorities and was a preferred place for sanatoriums where the sick would recuperate.

Tourist destinations

Kurseong is developing as a quiet hill station. Tea gardens include Castleton, Makaibarie, Ambotia and Goomtee. These tea gardens also offer 'bed and breakfast' type accommodation in workers quarters, etc. Kurseong was a rest town and medical town during the British days, with a TB Sanatorium and various villas and bungalows.

The toy train station is the nucleus of the town. The train tracks run through the length of the town.

Religious sites: 1. The Ambhotia Shiva Temple.
2. Giddapahar Durga Mata Mandir.
3. Jagdish Mandir on Bank Road (on way to the Eagle's Craig). This temple has very old idols (almost 300 years old) of Lord Jagannath.
4. St. Paulseak Church on Hill Cart Road, Near St. Joshephs School.
5. Buddhist Gompa in Montieviot.
6. Buddhist Gompa in Dowhill Road.
7. Juma Mosque in Hat Bazaar.

Natural sites: 1. Eagle's Craig.
2. Deer Park - Now known as DowHill Park, on the DowHill Road.
3. The Kholas (Water Falls - Springs) like Whistle Khola (named by the Britishers, as there is a bend and the toy train whistles when passing through it.)

Museums: 1. Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Museum and N S C Bose Institute of Asiatic Studies, hosted in the house of his elder brother, Sarat Chandra Bose, are situated at the Giddhapahar Area. Netaji was interned in this house by the British Govt. in the late thirties. The house now displays 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.

Other Sites: 1. 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.

 

Civic administration

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 [from 12 wards] and each has a ward commissioner who is in charge of the individual ward. After agitation by GJMM, Mr. P.C. Agarwal (the last elected Chairman of the Municipal community) has resigned from the post of Chairman (as he was associated with the political party GNLF). Presently[when?] Kurseong is facing a political movement from Gorkha JanMukti Morcha for a separate state. Due to this agitation the Municipal Committee is suspended[citation needed] Kurseong has its own Munsif Megistrate 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.

In 1957 the election was held for 12 seats from 12 wards Mr.P.T.Lama served from 1957 to 1977 (Till super seeded) as its Chairman for 20 long years. Another note worthy person Sri C.B.Gurung served as Vice Chairman from 1964 to 1977 and Chairman from 1984 to 1994. For the first time in the year 1994 , the Municipal Elections were fought by the Political Parties. In the year 1999  only when the Reservation of seats was introduced and the Municipality was delimited into 20 Wards and which is still continuing .

Transport

Bagdogra Airport, Siliguri, is 60 km away. Taxis/buses are available at the airport for transit to Kurseong.

Siliguri, 50 km and New Jalpaiguri, 57 km are the nearest main stations. 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 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.

Demographics

As of 2001 India, 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.

Education

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 [ICSE], Delhi while the Nepali Medium Schools are affiliated to the State Education Board i.e. West Bengal Board of Secondary Education [WBBSE], Calcutta. Some of the schools are also affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary Education [CBSE], Delhi.

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