Kurseong, 32km south of Darjeeling, is the little sister of the Queen of the Hills further up the track. It is a great stopover for those looking for a quiet alternative to the jostling crowds of Darjeeling. Kurseong – its name derived from the Lepcha word kurson-rip, a reference to the small white orchid prolific in this area – is also home to several churches and is surrounded by renowned tea estates. It is the southern terminus for the steam-powered toy trains of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway.
Hill Cart Rd (Tenzing Norgay Rd) – the main thoroughfare from Siliguri to Darjeeling – and its close shadow, the railway line, wind through town passing tea and paneer sellers and tiny cubicles where ‘suitings and shirtings’ are sewn on chattering machines. Here you will struggle to find a souvenir shop.
There are numerous good walks in the area, including one to Eagle’s Crag (2km return) that affords splendid views down the Teesta and the plains to the south. Along Pankhabari Rd, the graveyard at St Andrews has poignant reminders of the tea-planter era, while the organic Makaibari Tea Estates (2330181; Tue-Sat) welcomes visitors to its aromatic factory. Old colonial buildings abound on the ridge above town, and the Forestry Museum, St Mary’s Grotto, and the Kunsamnamdoling Gompa run by ani (Buddhist nuns) are well worth visiting.
You can check your email at Kashyup Computers & Systems (Hill Cart Rd; per hr Rs 30) and Cyberzone (Hotel Delhi Darbar, Hill Cart Rd; per hr Rs 25).
Last updated: Feb 17, 2009
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