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Sight Seeing

Kurseong

Kurseong is a hilly resort in the Darjeeling hills, few hundred miles away from Kolkata which can be reached in over night journey by train or by road. Go by Train or Air from Kolkata and take a bus or cab to reach Kurseong in two hours time. You can take the heritage Toy train from Siliguri / New Jalpaiguri.


When the toy train reaches the town of Kurseong at around mid-day, you will see the area around the station bustling with activity. Crowd thronging around shops, tea-vendors and restaurants, travellers on the

way to Darjeeling settling down for a quick lunch, porters unloading luggage, taxi drivers getting ready for passengers. Meanwhile, the engine is de-linked from the train and shuttled out on a different track to the yard at one end of the town. Then it comes back and is re-attached to the train from the opposite end emitting white steam scarcely different from the wisps of fog swirling all around the place. There is a chill in the mountain air and if the sun is visible, it is pleasantly warm.

If you walk a little distance away from the station to the roadside or up the steep road to Downhill, you get a view of the plains far below stretching to the horizon like a great carpet laid out at the feet of the majestic mountains. During the season just before the monsoon, it is a pleasure to watch rain clouds cling to the blue-green slopes and accumulate at the top the mountain ranges.



It is perhaps this vintage point that made Kuseong, "the place of White Orchids", popular among many great personalities, especially writers and poets. Mark Twain spent some days here in 1885. Rabindranath Tagore often visited this place and is said to have composed many poems here. His elder brother, the painter Abanindranath Tagore, who was the founder of the Bengal School of Painting was inspired a great deal by the beautiful spots around this town. Sister Nivedita, the famous disciple of Swami Vivekananda also settled down for some time in Kurseong.

During India's struggle for Independence, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose was interned at Giddapahar by the British government for two months.

All around the town, the slopes are covered with tea bushes which yield some of the finest varieties of Darjeeling tea in the world: Castleton, Makaibari, Ambootia...

The most prominent feature of the town is the TV tower at Eagle's Crag dominating the western skyline. A short walk from the station takes you to Eagle's Crag viewpoint form where there is a breathtaking view of the plains below. In the north, you will see the snow-capped Kanchendzonga beyond the Ghoom ridge for the first time on your way to Darjeeling.

Sunset hour is an unforgettable experience in these slopes. Each day when the sun goes down below the opposite ridge, the sky is aflame with colours that only nature's pallette can conjure. At night, lights from distant settlements in the

plains are visible in the south glowing like fireflies in the dark. If you love nature and peaceful surroundings, if you like lazy afternoons and splendid nights illumined by starry skies, you might not want to say goodbye to Kurseong at all.

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