Kurseong is a city and a municipality in Darjeeling district in the Indian state of West Bengal. It is the headquarters of the Kurseong subdivision.
Located at an altitude of 1,482.55 metres (4,864.0 ft), Kurseong is 32 kilometres (20 mi) from Darjeeling and has a pleasant climate throughout the year.
Kurseong is 34 kilometres (21 mi) from Siliguri and is connected to the city by road and the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway. The nearest airport is at Bagdogra and the nearest major railway station is New Jalpaiguri, which is about 45 kilometres (28 mi) from the town. The economy is based primarily on education and tourism.
The original inhabitants were the Lepcha people, who named their home "Kurseong", because every spring it was alive and bright with Kurson-Rip orchids. In the remote past, Kurseong was a part of the Kingdom of Sikkim, even before the British came to India. However, in around 1780 the Nepalese conquered and annexed Kurseong and its surrounding areas. Then came the Gurkha War, which the Nepalese lost. The 1817 Treaty of Titalia restored Kurseong to Sikkim.
With its mountains providing a cool and dry environment in the summer, Kurseong was a favourite of the British. Nevertheless, they found travelling there from the plains of Bengal difficult, even on warm sunny days because of the mountains. Although a road was built from Kurseong to Darjeeling from Titalia in the 1770s and 1780s, its irregular maintenance soon made the new route, the Military Road, almost useless. The next route, Hill Cart Road (now Tenzing Norgay Road), opened in 1861 and fared better.
Nevertheless, in 1835 the British decided that Darjeeling would make an excellent sanitorium and summer residence for their military and civilian officers along with their families. Negotiations with the Chogyal of Sikkim, Tshudpud Namgyal, provided them a strip of hill territory in Kurseong for an annual fee. As one of the hill stations on the road to Darjeeling, Kurseong began to develop.
Kurseong is home to one of the oldest municipalities in the state of West Bengal. Established as an independent Municipality in 1879, it did not become a Sub-Division until 1890, when the District of Darjeeling was formed. Kurseong and the District were added to the Rajshahi Division (now West Central Bangladesh) by the British Raj for the Bengal Presidency. In 1908, they were transferred to the Bhagalpur Division in the same Presidency.
Before Independence from the British, there were 12 ward commissioners. Four of them were appointed by the British Raj and it also appointed its own man, the Sub-Divisional Officer (S.D.O.), as their chairman. In 1939, when Bengal became a province of British India, Kurseong was allowed to elect its own member to be the chairman, but the Raj continued to send ward commissioners until India gained independence. Nevertheless, between 1939 and 1942, Kurseong grew rapidly. As of today Kurseong has 20 commissioners.
Kurseong is surrounded by a myriad of tea gardens. These include Castleton, Makaibarie, Ambootia and Goomtee, all of which can be visited.
The tracks of the 'Darjeeling Toy Train' run the length of the town, and the station is the nucleus of the town.
Rock garden . the tip of the beautiful valley, where we can see the natural gift of nature and landscape.
Deer Park - now known as Dowhill Park, on the Dowhill Road.
The Kholas (Water Falls - Springs) like Whistle Khola (named by the British, as there is a bend and the toy train whistles when passing through it). It is also known as Hussel Khola (means river in the local language). Although relatively dry during the dry months of winter, it comes alive during the monsoon season. There is a story called the "gadiman" (bullock cart driver) by a famous local writer and is a staple story in the local school syllabus. Everyone who has been raised in those parts knows the story of the gadiman and hence the Khola (river).
The Kettle Valley.
Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Museum and NSC Bose Institute of Asiatic Studies, hosted in the house of his elder brother, Sarat Chandra Bose, are situated in the Giddhapahar area (5 to 10 minutes drive from the Railway station). Netaji was interned in this house by the British government in the late thirties. The house now displays priceless artifacts depicting the life of the freedom fighter. These include 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.
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.
Naya Busty Park: Located just above the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Museum.
Kurseong is considered as Mid Point between Siliguri and Darjeeling. The nearest airport is the Bagdogra Airport and nearest major railway hub is New Jalpaiguri railway station. Kurseong is well connected to Siliguri, Darjeeling and Mirik. Several prepaid vehicles run from Kurseong to Darjeeling, Siliguri and Mirik. But Kurseong does not have a strong transport connection to Kalimpong and Gangtok. Only 2 vehicles to Gangtok and 1 vehicle to Kalimpong run from Kurseong everyday. Taxis also run to Pankhabari, Ambootia, Mahanadi, Tindharia, Latpanchor. North Bengal state buses also run from Darjeeling to Siliguri and NJP Station via Kurseong.
Kurseong also has a railway station where Toy Train runs to New Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling. Kurseong Station is a part of Darjeeling Himalayan Railway and comes under Katihar Division of Northeast Frontier Railway.
There are three roads between Kurseong and Siliguri: National Highway, Pankhabari Road and Rohini Road.
Distance from Kurseong to Various Places :
Giddha pahar -4 km
Mahanadi - 8 km
Sonada - 16 km
Tindharia - 22 km
Ghoom - 24 km
Darjeeling - 34 km
Siliguri - 35 km
Mirik - 35 km
Teesta Valley - 50 km
Kalimpong - 70 km
Rangpo - 80 km
Gangtok - 120 km