Jalpaiguri

Jalpaiguri district is a district of the Indian state of West Bengal,2. It is situated between 26° 16′ and 27° 0′ North latitudes and 88° 4′ and 89° 53′ East longitudes. The district was established in 1869 in British India.

The headquarters of the district are in the Indian city of Jalpaiguri, which is also the divisional headquarters of North Bengal and has its special importance in respect of tourism, forest, hills, tea gardens, scenic beauty and commercialization and business.

The name Jalpaiguri comes from the Bengali word jalpai meaning “olive” because of the olives which grew in the district and were seen even in the 1900s. The suffix guri means a place. The name can also be associated with Jalpesh (Shiva), the presiding deity of the entire region.

Jalpaiguri district comprises western Dooars and the major part of the eastern Morang; and this area, according to Sailen Debnath, in the ancient time was a part of the kingdom of Kamrup, and since the middle of the seventh century it became a part of the Kingdom of Kamatapur. Sailen writes that three of the five ancient capitals of Kamatapur were geographically in the district of Jalpaiguri; and the three capitals were at Chilapata, Mainaguri and Panchagarh in sequence. According to him, Hingulavas, the first capital of the next Koch kingdom as well was in Jalpaiguri district. Hingulavas has well been identified with Mahakalguri in Alipurduar Sub-Division.

Jalpaiguri is part of monsoon climate zone of South-Eastern Asia. May is the hottest month of this region with average maximum temperature of about 32 °C whereas January is coldest with 11 °C. Highest ever recorded maximum and minimum temperature are 40 °C and 2 °C. The average annual humidity in the district is of 82%. The annual average rainfall is 3160mm. December is the driest month with average rainfall 0.2 mm and July is wettest with 809.3 mm. Number of rainy days are 0 to 1 during November to February and 24 days during July. Thunderstorms are common weather phenomenon during May.

The entire topography is crisscrossed with rivulets, rivers and hills. Jalpaiguri – this narrow stretch of land lying between the Sikkim – Darjeeling Himalayas and Gangetic West Bengal has more than often evoked a sense of both eerie and romanticism in many a heart since the early British Rule. Veined by mighty rivers like the Teesta, Torsa, Jaldhaka, Raidak, Dyna, Neora, Sankosh etc. this piece of land has been aptly named as the land of ‘Tea, Timber and Tourism’. A major stretch of area is bordered in the north by Bhutan and hence the name – Dooars/Duars which mean – Door of Bhutan.

It is well connected by rail, road and air from any part of the country. One can avail train up to Jalpaiguri/Jalpaiguri Road/New Jalpaiguri Stn. By road it is well connected with rest of the country. Air travel is available up to Bagdogra Airport, and from there it is well connected by a 50 km road.

Languages include Bengali, Hindi, Nepali, Bijori- a Munda language distantly related to Khmer and Vietnamese, spoken by about 25,000 people. A vast area on the western part (Salugara) of Jalpaiguri district is habitated by Nepali-speaking people. More numbers of Nepali-speaking people are also scattered in whole of Jalpaiguri district.

It is home to Gorumara National Park, which was established in 1994 and has an area of 79 km2 (30.5 sq mi). Apart from Gorumara National Park, the district contains Chapramari Wildlife Sanctuary.