Saturday, 10 December 2011

Jalpaiguri, West Bengal

Situated in the Terai region of Himalayas, Jalpaiguri is one of the most important districts in West Bengal. The name of the place has been under contention for quite some time now. Some believe that the name Jalpaiguri came from the amalgamation of two words - jalpai meaning ‘olive’ and guri standing for ‘place’, thus meaning 'place of olives'. There are others, who think that the place was named after Jalpesh, the presiding deity (Shiva) of the entire region. Yet others are of the opinion that the name Jalpaiguri comes from the Bhutanese term je-le-pe-go-ri, which means 'a place where warm clothes are bought and sold'.

Talking about the geographical location of Jalpaiguri, the district is situated in the northern part of West Bengal, sharing international borders with Bhutan and Bangladesh in the north and south and with Assam and Darjeeling hills in the east, west and northwest, respectively. The district was once a part of the Duars area of the old Kamarupa and later, the Bhutanese kingdoms. In 1864, with the British annexation, Jalpaiguri came under the British rule, who divided the area into two parts. While the eastern half was known as the Goalpara district (now, in Assam), the western half became recognized as Western Duars. 

In 1869, the district was reorganized and renamed as Jalpaiguri, with Jalpaiguri town becoming the district headquarters. The topography of the place is such that it is crisscrossed with rivulets, rivers and hills. Situated at an elevation of 75 meters above sea level, Jalpaiguri lies in the middle of the vast fertile plains (Terai), to the south of the Himalayas. Teesta River, the second largest river in West Bengal after the Ganges, flows through the town. The district extends a panoramic vista to the tourists, what with the magnificent hills and the roaring rivers enthralling the area. 

Jalpaiguri serves as the gateway to the Northeastern region of India. Due to its strategic location and inviting climate, the district has been home to various cultural groups, including Ranjbanshi, Ravas, Totos, Metch, Santhals, Madasia and Oraons, which have created a unique cultural harmony. While cultivation of tea is its main industry, small scale industries like making woolen garments and wooden furniture also thrive herein. Jalpaiguri forwards tourists a plethora of attractions, such as Rajbari, Jubilee Park, Jogmaya Kali Mata Temple, Kali Temple at Paharpur and Jalpesh Temple. With so much to see, Jalpaiguri surely makes way to be one of the favored destinations in West Bengal.

Places To See:

Rajbari Palace

A reminiscence of the yesteryears, Rajbari Palace marks excellence in architecture and designing. The palace comprises of a large palace building, portico, bushy garden and two temples. The palace gate at Rajbari is assumed to be the world's largest un-reinforced concrete arch structure. The palace once served as the residence of the Raikats, the kings of Baikunthapur estate. The garden of the palace boasts of a beautiful pond, Rajbari Dighi. Surrounded by the pond is a lovely garden filled with flowers and shrubs, making it place a worth watching. 

Jogomaya Kalibari

On the temple street of Jalpaiguri stands tall the famous Jogomaya Kalibari - a famous temple dedicated to Goddess Kali. The temple is believed to be the abode of Maa Kali. The temple complex also houses a shrine of Baba Loknath. The deity is believed to be extremely powerful and divine. People flock to the temple in great numbers, especially during the Kali Puja time. 

Sarojendra Deb Raikat Kala Kendra

One of the popular tourist places in the district, Sarojendra Deb Raikat Kala Kendra is a haven for people with an artistic bent of mind. This art gallery showcases the age-old art of the region. One can also get glimpses of the place’s history, the conventional era that has faded and given way to the contemporary or modern times. Located opposite the Town Club Stadium, the gallery is easily accessible. 

River Karaya

With its scintillating beauty, Karaya River qualifies as the perfect place to unwind and relax. The river slices the township into two halves, thus earning the sobriquet of being the 'Thames of Jalpaiguri'. The two parts of the river are well connected by a few small beautifully laid bridges. Tourists can either indulge in boat ride up the gentle Karala River or enjoy the splendor in the park, at the side of the river. 

Jubilee Park

Sited on the banks of River Teesta is the picturesque and the beautiful Jubilee Park. The park is one of the must-visits places in Jalpaiguri, as it forwards a compelling and striking charm to the visitors. For those looking forward for a picnic spot by the river side, adorned with the pleasant beauty of nature, Jubilee Park is the best bet. The park is a popular option not only amongst tourists, but also with localites.

Home to a large number of wildlife and plants species, Buxa National Park is one of the most interesting places in Jalpaiguri, for travelers with an adventurous mindset. Sprawling over acres of land in the Alipurduar sub-division of Jalpaiguri district in West Bengal, Buxa Tiger Reserve (BTR) is located inside the national park and spreads over 760 square kilometers.

Located in the Terai region of the Himalayan foothills, Gorumara National Park offers its tourists exquisite splendor and the scenic beauty of the unperturbed nature in the region. Deemed as a wildlife sanctuary in the year 1949, this medium-sized park, with grasslands and forests, rose to become a national park in the January of 1994.


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