Kurseong, the name in Lepcha means small white orchid and the place is often referred to as the land of the white orchid which grows in abundance throughout the year. Kurseong is located at a distance of 32 kilometers to the south of Darjeeling and is often referred to as the young sister of the Queen of Hills that is Darjeeling. Kurseong stands at an elevation of 1458 meters and experiences a pleasant climate throughout the year. It is also known as the gateway to north Bengal and is surrounded by beautifully trimmed tea estates attracting tourists all the year round.
Attractions in Kurseong
Kurseong is a popular destination where lots of eminent personalities have spent a considerable time of their lives. Among them were Rabindranath Tagore, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Sister Nivedita and also Mark Twain. One of the highlights of Kurseong is the Makaibari Tea Estate. Visitors are allowed to see the organic procedure of processing tea here. Trips are free and mornings are the best time to visit.
The Ambootia and Castleton Tea Estate also welcome visitors to their aromatic factory. There is an old graveyard of St. Andrews as a poignant reminder of the era of tea planters. Walk down to Eagle’s Craig or trek to Deer Park to enjoy your day. From Eagle’s Craig you can witness the golden rays of the sun on the Himalayan range which is a visual treat. Visit the Museum of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and also the Forestry Museum to gather knowledge. On the way there are several religious temples, churches, Buddha gompa and mosques. Do not forget to trek to the Balason River and visit Chimney village which is home to a 100 year old gigantic chimney.
You will be able to enjoy your trip to Kurseong if you visit during March through Mid June and September through December.
How to reach Kurseong
Getting in the little town of Kurseong is easy as it is nicely connected with the rest of north Bengal through railway and road. Shuttle jeeps are available from New Jalpaiguri station to Kurseong which approximately takes 2 hours by Hill Cart Road and 1 hour by Old Army Road or Pankhabari Road. The route through Hill Cart Road is often preferred by tourists because they can relish on the visual treat provided by the Himalayan range. The jeeps normally charge 40 INR for 1.5 hours from Darjeeling. Traveling by the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway’s steam toy train is the best experience you can have enroute to Kurseong. Leaving at 6 in the morning it provides ample opportunity for the tourist to capture the pretty sight while moving up the winding railway track.
Where to stay in Kurseong
Accommodation in Kurseong is aplenty. Right from tourist lodges to hotels are available for the visitors. However, if you want to experience the lifestyle of the residents, then homestay facility is the best option. Many families of the Makaibari tea estate offer this facility which includes rooms, typical Kurseong meals, exploring the tea garden and also taking part in the local development programs. They usually charge 800 INR for rooms and meals.