Monuments in JalpaiguriCovered with riverine grassland and dense forests, the district of Jalpaiguri has been an ancient name with its territories under the rule of several dynasties and even countries like Coochbehar and Bhutan through different phases in Indian history. The name Jalpaiguri itself is said to have evolved from the Bhutanese term “je-le-pe-go-ri” which literally means a center for barter or exchanging warm clothes, including blankets and other essential commodities.
Historical Background of JalpaiguriA large part of present day Jalpaiguri is said to have been a part of the Kamrupa Kingdom whose territorial limits extended till the river Karatoya situated in the west. This land has often been known as the Duars, meaning doors or passages. These passages were believed to have been used by the Bhutanese people to contact the people of the southern riverine grasslands for purposes of trade and commerce. The British captured it from the Bhutanese in 1864 and divided it into two parts, the eastern Duars merged with present day Assam while the western part became today’s Jalpaiguri.
Historical Monuments in Jalpaiguri
As Jalpaiguri had been under the control of different kingdoms and dynasties since ancient age, they have all left their mark through some memorable historical monuments which are dispersed in Jalpaiguri and Coohbehar. Some of the famous Jalpaiguri historical monuments attracting tourists are:
- Buxa Fort - The Buxa Fort is situated within the Buxa Tiger Reserve in Jalpaiguri district. Located about 30 km from Alipurduar, the Buxa Fort was used by the Bhutan king to protect his control over the part of the famed Silk Route which connected Tibet with India through Bhutan. During the Occupation of Tibet unrest, many Tibetan refugees took shelter in the abandoned fort. The British captured the fort later on the request of the then Cooch King and reconstructed it from bamboo to a stone structure. It became eventually an infamous prison and detention camp used by the British to imprison high profile political prisoners after the Cellular Jail in the Andamans. Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose is said to have been kept here for some time.
Buxa Fort Ruins (Source: Flickr)
Situated at a height of 2600 ft, the Buxa Fort is rapidly emerging as a trekking destination for tourists. Most of the popular treks start from Santrabari to Buxaduar. While homestay accommodations have developed within the fort’s vicinity, there is also a forest bungalow in Buxa. Several sightseeing options are available here for the trekkers; the Rover’s Point situated at 4500 ft. is known for its rare bird species. The trekking journey to the nearby Rupam Valley in Bhutan gives a bird’s eye view of the breathtaking Jayanti River valley with its green forest canopy, colourful orchids and glimpses of rare fauna.
Jalpaiguri Rajbari (Source: flickr)
- Jalpaiguri Rajbari (Palace) - The remains of the Jalpaiguri Rajbari has emerged as a popular place for sightseeing for locals and tourists. The palace was the residence of the Raikats who ruled the Baikunthapur estate. With remarkably rich architecture, the palace has two two temples, portico and a main building. Apart from this the palace garden is adorned with a beautiful “dighi” or pond. Surrounded by flowers and shrubs, the dighi is an admirable water body to rest your eyes. The palace gate is especially admired as an example of a building with unreinforced concrete structure.
Nal Rajar Garh (Source: flickr)
- Nal Rajar Garh (The fortress of the Nal King)- Carrying immense historical and archaeological significance is the Nal Rajar Garh, situated in Chilapata forest within Jalpaiguri district. The remains of this ancient fort within the dense forests of Chilapata, along on the east side of the Torsa river belongs to the Gupta Period. The British named it as the “Mendabari ruins”. Excursions undertaken by the archaeology department have identified them to be the region’s frontier fortifications which at that time were known as “Pundrabardhan Bhukti”. These historical monuments in Jalpaiguri are testimony to the region’s rich cultural and historical heritage and must not missed out by tourists who come for sightseeing in the Dooars region.
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