About the town
Siliguri is the most important town in the Sikkim-Darjeeling-Dooars region. This is where you are most likely to start your tour if you are travelling to this region. Both the major railhead NJP Station and the Bagdogra Airport are here. The town is not a traditional tourist destination, but it is the most important and sensitive city in the entire Eastern Himalayas due to its geographical location. Over the years the city has also come up with several tourist attractions of its own and is now a tourist hub.
The two most important roads in the city are Hill Cart Road and Sevoke Road. The Hill Cart road connects Siliguri with Darjeeling whereas the Sevoke Road connects Siliguri with Sikkim. The two roads meet at Sevoke More which is also one of the busiest areas for tourists. The main markets of the town, named Bidhan Market, Seth Srilal market and Hongkong market are adjacent to the area. North of Sevoke More is Airview crossing which is the starting point of Bardhaman road that goes towards Jalpaiguri town. To the south of Sevoke More is Venus More which connects to the office and education area of the city.
Traditionally it is a Bengali-majority city with the Bengali population concentrated on the two sides of Siliguri town station. The Non-Bengali population is mostly concentrated in Khalpara and Punjabipara areas. The people from the hills mostly live in the Gurung Busty and Pradhan Nagar areas. In the last couple of decades, the city has expanded in all directions. Presently the city outskirts have expanded to Sukna and Salugarah in the North, Bagdogra in the East and Fulbari area in the south.
Today you can find people from all over the country and the world settling in this burgeoning city. It has become not only the trading hub of the region but also an education, shopping and medical hub.
Humro Group is proud to have its central office in this city.
History of the town
Just a century back Siliguri was a small village inhabited by a few. The only importance of the town was as the originating point for the train travelling to Darjeeling. After Independence and the division of the country, the small town found its geographical position unique. That it is located in an area commonly referred to as the “Chickens neck” and it becomes almost impossible to reach the Northeast without travelling through this town. The map below explains this, as can be seen easily the 10 km wide Siliguri corridor is the only way to connect North East India with the rest of the country.
During the 19th century, Siliguri was a small village with little history to write about. When Rail connected Siliguri with Kolkata, it started development in the city. Darjeeling Himalayan Railway also connected Siliguri with Darjeeling town. The real impetus to growth came after the independence of India when the border with Bangladesh was drawn just a couple of miles from the city. After partition refugees from Bangladesh started pouring into the city and the city grew by leaps and bounds.
Siliguri became part of the Chickens’ neck, a small stretch of land that connects the North East of India with the rest of the country.
The result of its unique geographical location coupled with other factors such as migration and immigration, lack of job opportunities in the hills etc. lead to high growth in Siliguri and within a few decades after India’s Independence, the town became one of the most important cities in North East India. Today the city has become a modern cosmopolitan and is known for the three 'T's - Tea, Timber, and Tourism.
Due to its unique location, it became the trading hub supplying goods to Sikkim, Bhutan, Dooars, Bengal hills, Eastern Nepal, Part of Bihar and Assam. The commercial interest started to bring in people from all over the country to Siliguri and soon it became one of the larger cities in Bengal. Today Siliguri is the undisputed Capital of the Northern part of Bengal and one of the largest cities in Eastern India.
Being a trading hub, Siliguri offers the largest choice of products to people from the region as well as tourists. The tourists would find the Bidhan market, Seth Srilal market and Hong Kong market area interesting and offering a variety of choices in terms of clothing and souvenir.
Restaurant and NightLife
Hill cart road, Sevoke road and Pradhan Nagar area are popular for restaurants. The most common cuisine here is the North Indian cuisine, also you can get good quality Bengali and Nepali cuisine in town. In recent years international cuisine has also made its place in town. There are Japanese, Korean, French and other varieties of restaurants now available in town. The town has also seen a surge in its cafe culture, especially since the covid times. You can also try the street foods of Station Feeder road (SF Road).
There are several discos, nightclubs, bars, pubs and restaurants all over the city. Sevoke road is the hub for nightlife and disco. Planet mall on Sevoke road and its surrounding area is one such area where tourists can enjoy their evening till late at night.
Although the nightlife in Siliguri is the most happening in the region, do not compare the nightlife of Siliguri with metro cities. All nightlife activities begin to wane down by midnight and there is hardly any place open overnight.
Things to see in the town
The main attraction of Siliguri for the traveller used to be the Hong Kong Market. The market was known to sell foreign goods mostly brought in through illegal channels. As the Indian economy opened up and foreign goods became available through legal channels, the Hong Kong market also reinvented itself and today it is known as the market for electronic goods. The market remains quite popular with locals as well as with tourists.
Other attractions for tourists in the city include its shopping malls, temples, parks etc. the town has several shopping malls which are some of the largest and the best in North East India. The shopping malls in Siliguri include City Centre, Cosmos shopping mall, Orbit Mall, Kolkata Bazar and many others. The ISCON temple is the largest temple in the area and is a tourist attraction.
The Bengal Safari park created during the last decade is a common attraction for tourists and locals alike. It is a unique safari park with a wide variety of wildlife available in the natural surroundings.
Things to see near the town
Siliguri is the gateway to 8 northeastern states and also Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, and Tibet. With the Balasun and Mahananda rivers flowing through it, the town is not devoid of natural beauty. The distant view of Kanchenjunga on a clear day is very attractive. The forest-covered foothills also present a panoramic sight. The myriad flora in the Terai to the north and the agricultural flats, along with tea gardens to the south combine to form beautiful vistas, uncommon around most other cities of India. Half an hour's drive in any direction from Siliguri will lead you to the natural environment, be it hills, forests or tea gardens.
Gajoldoba on Tista Barrage: An hour's drive from Siliguri through the Baikunthapur forests will take you to Gajoldoba (25 km) an ideal place for bird watchers.
The place has been a boon to the migratory water fouls after a dam was constructed for irrigational purposes on river Tista. The reservoir, surrounded by the dense forests of Baikunthapur, invites a large collection of water birds from Ladakh and Central Asia. Spend some leisurely hours on the spur with a binocular and watch the Brahmini ducks, Bar-headed geese, Poachards, Pintails, Shovelers, mallards, black Ibis, and many species of storks, cormorants, and ducks.
Fulbari barrage: 15 km away on the Siliguri-Jalpaiguri highway is a lesser-known artificial water body - Fulbari. Here Mahananda, the most important river of Siliguri forms a huge marshy land which provides an ideal nesting place for migratory water fouls like Rudy shell, Mallard, open bull stork and much more. The best time to visit the place is December - February.
The Bengal Safari Park: Just 15 minutes drive on NH31 towards Gangtok lies a recently established eco-tourism centre and zoo. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in town now, rides are available in vehicles which will take you inside the forest where the wildlife roams freely.
Recreation Center (Madhuban): A popular picnic spot and lovers' point, Madhuban is 15 km north on the way to the Mirik-Siliguri highway. A park is created in the natural environment of Mahananda wildlife sanctuary. A large number of city dwellers visit the park, which also holds a small zoo inside.
Sevoke, Kalijhora, Mongpong: A popular day out for tourists in Siliguri combines Sevak, Kalijhora, and Mongpong. The places are within 8-10 km of one another and are about 30 km from the city. Situated on the foothills of Kalimpong and surrounded by forested hills and vast river basins, all three places provide a much-desired break from the chaotic urban life. The coronation bridge of Sevoke, built by the British before independence, is a piece of unique architecture. The Sevoke Kali temple, placed on top of a steep rock, provides a granted bird's eye view of Tista. Surrounded by Sal and Teak forests, the Mongpong forest rest house presents a great panoramic view of Tista valley and Mahananda forests.
Rohini: 25 km on the way to Mirik, Rohini is another attractive tourist spot. There is a tourist accommodation at Rohini where tourists can spend a night among nature. More
Dudhia: A common tourist spot on the Siliguri-Mirik highway.
Panighata and Lohagarh: About 25 km from the town, both places are located on the bank of river Mechi on the Indo-Nepal border. A nice camping place, with a beautiful landscape combining forests, low hills, rivers, and tea gardens. Dhulabari, a famous foreign goods market in Nepal, is only half an hour's drive from here.
Every day thousands of people visit the city. To accommodate them all, there are hundreds of hotels around the city. From high-end resorts to bare minimum budget hotels, they are spread all over the city. The high-end accommodation is mostly on the outskirts of the city amidst the natural ambience. There are a few located right on hill cart road or Sevoke road as well. The budget utility accommodations are concentrated either on the Pradhan Nagar / Siliguri junction area, Bidhan market area or Sevoke road area. Depending on your unique requirement, you can find accommodation here. Consult travel experts of Humro Tours to book an accommodation of your choice. There are other options such as homestays available in town.
Siliguri is well connected with the rest of the country by rail, air, and road. Bagdogra airport nearby is the major airport catering to North Bengal and Sikkim region. New Jalpaiguri rail station, the main railhead for the region is just 8 km from the town. It is perhaps the only station having all three types of rail track network (broad gauge, meter gauge and narrow gauge) and directly connects New Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Mumbai and most other important cities of the country.