Kurseong is a quiet township on the Siliguri - Darjeeling highway. Parched at an altitude of 1458m (4860 ft.), the small town is noted for its secluded charm and Eagle's Crag, which offers a commanding view of the undulating plains below. The word 'Kurseong' means - the place of White Orchid.
Because of its lower elevation, Kurseong enjoys a milder and healthy climate throughout the year.
The total area of the town is about 5.05 sq Km. The peace, serenity and healthy climate attract many people here. Some of the famous poems and songs of Guru Rabindranath Tagore were composed in Kurseong. The magic painter Abanindranath Tagore and great composer Atul Prasad Sen got the inspiration for some of their famous works around the town.
Sister Nivedita, the great disciple of Swami Vivekananda made Kurseong her home. It is learned that Mark Twain spent some time here in 1885, and Fazlul Haque the Prime Minister of undivided Bengal also stayed here. Netaji Subhash Bose was interned by the colonial government for a couple of months in 1936 in a house at Giddapahar nearby.
Where to Stay
There are several good tourist accommodations available at Kurseong. WBTDC (West Bengal Tourism Development Corporation) has its tourist lodge on the highway. This offers rooms with excellent views. The tourism lodge is also famous for the good food and the excellent Darjeeling tea that it serves. Even if you are not staying in Kurseong, you should stop over at the tourist lodge and spend a few minutes over a cup of tea.
The other accommodation that we prefer here is Cochrane Place. This is a boutique hotel on the outskirts of the town on Pankhabari road. The hotel has Tea and Toy train as its theme. The interiors of the hotel are created with personal care and are sure to impress anyone interested in the hills and their history.
As the name suggests, The Eales Craig is a viewpoint on a perched cliff about two kilometres walking distance from the Kurseong Market. The Kurseong TV tower, which can be seen from far and wide, is located just behind the Eagles Craig.
The formal name of this monastery is Kunsamnamdoling Gompa, but it is more popularly called Ani Gompa, as the Buddhist nuns (ani) run the monk here.
Makaibari Tea Garden
The Makaibari Tea Garden is famous throughout the world for its organic tea and the unique management practice of its owner Mr Raja Banerjee. Although Mr Banerjee no longer owns the garden, his legacy still runs strong in the garden. The Makaibari Tea Garden can be located through Pankhabari road. The garden also offers tea tourism options for visitors.
Netaji Subash Chandra Bose Museum
This Museum is located a few kilometres before Kurseong on the Hill cart road towards Siliguri at a place called Giddapahar. The Museum is located on a bungalow where Netaji Subash Bose stayed at one time and the house used to belong to the elder brother of Netaji Subash Bose.
Ambootia Tea Garden
Ambootia Tea garden can be reached through a road that starts near Cochrane place. There is a temple in the garden that offers a beautiful view of the surrounding hills. You can continue to drive on the same road for a few more kilometres to reach the Balasun river.
Like most other places in the region, the New Jalpaiguri is the rail station and Bagdogra is the airport through which you can reach here. From Siliguri, there are several ways to reach here. The main road connecting Kurseong with Siliguri is National Highway 55 which is officially named Tenzing Norgay road but is still commonly referred to as the Hill Cart Road. The distance is about 47 km through this route. Another option is the Pankhabari road, which used to be a scary steep ascent through a narrow road. The road over the years has been widened and now this route is mostly used for one-way traffic between the hill and the plains. The third route is through Rohini and is a recent addition to the road map of the area. This is one of the best and fastest routes to reach Kurseong. From Kurseong the hill cart road continues to Darjeeling.
The other important road around here is the Old cart road. This road originates at Kurseong town and goes straight up to Dowhill and then runs almost parallel to the Hill cart road till Bagora, at Bagora the old cart road again comes down and meets Hill cart road at a place called Dilaram. Very few vehicles ply through this route and it is an excellent area for tourists’ activity. You can take a walk among the fir and birch trees through peaceful villages enjoying excellent views of the plains as well as the Kanchenjunga. Villages in this area are also witnessing a boost in village tourism as a number of the village such as Bagora, Chatakpur and Chimney have come into the tourism map.