Kurseong: An Interesting Trip to the Land of White Orchids
Away from the clutches of bustling city life, we often wish to visit some quaint and serene place in search of some seclusion and tranquillity. What can be better than a small and uncharted hill station that is safely away from the cityscape and yet remains well connected with the other important destinations? Kurseong, a small and pristine hill station in the state of West Bengal makes for an ideal trip for mountain lovers and solitude seekers. Located around 32 km from Darjeeling, this tiny hill station, in the beautiful Himalayan valleys of West Bengal, serves as an ideal respite for travellers who want to enjoy the rustic beauty of the mountains. Nestled on the Siliguri – Darjeeling highway, Kurseong derives its name from the Lepcha word which means “Land of White Orchids”. True to its name, the place displays exclusive range of flora and fauna.
The sparsely populated hill town of Kurseong is famous for its prismatic views, manicured tea gardens, waterfalls, orchid nurseries and Buddhist gompas. Perched at an altitude of 1,458 m, Kurseong enjoys a milder and pleasant climate round the year. During monsoon, the place receives abundant rainfall and the surrounding environ turns verdant and rejuvenating. Pertaining to its cool weather, British officials were contemplating to make Kurseong their summer capital of the east. But lack of proper roadways dissuaded them from their plans and made them opt for Darjeeling instead. However, you will be able to trace some British remnants in the form of schools and churches.
Being a quaint and small hill town, don’t expect to have remarkable monuments and architectural works for sightseeing in Kurseong. The exquisiteness of the place lies in relishing its immaculate and untampered natural beauty. Eagle’s Craig, as the name suggests, is a belvedere perched on a cliff that offers a spectacular view of the undulating plains below. The Ani Gompa, also known as KunsamnamdolingGompa, is administered by the Buddhists nuns and is a great place to seek serenity. The Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Museum is another place worth visiting as it contains some valuable information and relics of the legendary freedom fighter. A trip to some of the picturesque tea gardens and tasting fresh tea would be an experience worth attempting. The Makaibari Tea Estate and Ambootia Tea Garden are among the famous ones that offers guided tours to visitors. Villages around the region like Chimney, Chatakpur and Bagora are witnessing a boost in village tourism and are gradually included in the tourism map of India.
The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway connects Kurseong to Siliguri, New Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling and is one of the most fascinating part of this place. Travellers can enjoy the historic Toy Train ride which is fun and enthralling at the same time. The train tracks run the length of the town and the Kurseong station forms the nucleus of this hill station, thus enhancing the old-world charm of the place. You may book tickets for the Toy train online or from the stations. However, due to limited capacity in these trains, the tickets often get sold out. So do your train ticket enquiry in advance and if you are not lucky enough to get a confirmed ticket, you can always checkpnr status and track where is my train through the ixigo website.
Your pnr status gets updated after every cancellation. During monsoon, due to heavy rainfall, the trains often get suspended, so stay informed. The tiny hill town makes for a great halt for those who seek for a more peaceful and less commercialised alternative to Darjeeling. So if your next vacation is in the Himalayan districts of West Bengal, do stopover at Kurseong to cherish some solitary moments.