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Jalpaiguri, the Capital of the Green Colony (Tea-Garden) and River Trisrota


Jalpaiguri, the capital of the Green Colony

Jalpaiguri district is known as one of the oldest districts in India. It is a town and a municipality in Jalpaiguri district in the Indian state of West Bengal. The simplicity and natural beauty of this district touch the heart and mind. The city is located on the banks of the river Teesta. The Karela River, also known as the 'Thames of Jalpaiguri', flows through the city.

The river Teesta used to flow in three streams south of Jalpaiguri- - Karatoya in the east, Punarbhaba in the west, and Atrai in the middle. Probably the name of 'Trisrota' is associated with these 'three streams', which over time became distorted Teesta. After the devastation in 1787, the Teesta changed its old course and flowed southeast to join the Brahmaputra River. Beautifully described by the famous writer of Bengali literature, Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay, in his novel of the river Trisrota, which is called Teesta. It seems that the barge of Goddess Chowdhurani of Bankim was tied to the bank of this river because the goddess lives in Jalpaiguri. Bankim Chandra, while describing the Trisrota, gave a wonderful description of this area-"The moon is not so bright, so sweet, so dark, like the dreamy covering of the earth. Trisrota river floods full of shores. In the rays of the moon, that rapid motion of the river is burning in the current, in the whirlpool, seldom in small waves. On the shore, water has come to the base of the tree - the shadow of the tree has fallen and the water is very dark there; in the darkness, the trees, the flowers, the fruits, the leaves are flowing; the water on the shore is making a little murmur, but it is dark. ... Innumerable clattering sounds along the shore, the roar of the vortex, the roar of the resisting currents; A solemn, heavenly sound is rising." There is a difference of opinion as to how old the history of the town is in this district where this royal wealth is.


Teesta and Darjeeling-Ancient history of the origin of Jalpaiguri

The Teesta River is a transboundary river between Bangladesh and India. It is a river flowing between the Indian states of Sikkim and West Bengal and Bangladesh and is the main river in the Jalpaiguri district of Sikkim and West Bengal. It is also called the lifeline of Sikkim and North Bengal. The source of this river is the Himalayan mountains of North Sikkim, the river originates from Lake Chitamu at an altitude of 7200 m in the Sikkim Himalayas. It flows through a gorge known as Sivak Gola in Darjeeling. Its estuary- Darjeeling district, Teesta is a wild river in Darjeeling hills and its valley is covered with dense forest. The river Teesta was once connected to the Ganges by the Karatoya river and a part of it is still known as 'Buri Teesta'. The Teesta River is fed by small rivers originating from the Changu, Yumthang, and Dongkia La mountain ranges. Just before the Teesta Bridge (the bridge that maintains the link between Darjeeling and Kalimpong), the Teesta joins its main tributary, the Rangit, from here the Teesta moves south. The Teesta enters the plains of West Bengal by crossing the Sevak Coronation Bridge, 22 km from the city of Siliguri, then the river flows through Jalpaiguri district and Rangpur district of Bangladesh and joins the Brahmaputra river. From the plains of the Himalayas- Boda, Patgram, Pachagarh plains, i.e., the Himalayas on one side of the district, and the Teesta-Karatoya plains on the other. Then the neighbors Bhutan and Tibet, and more importantly - the only way to enter Bhutan, the only way to communicate with the outside world is through Jalpaiguri. Before the formation of the district, there were people of Muslim and Mech tribes in Door’s, there were also people of Toto, Rava, and other tribes. The people of Rajbanshi were less in number. Between 1864-69, a large settlement was formed in Mainaguri, where the immigrants were the majority. Most of the migrants were residents of Pabna, Dhaka, Dinajpur, and Rangpur.

The west bank of the Teesta was an agricultural area and the Dooars were full of forests. The district headquarters was shifted from Mainaguri to Jalpaiguri. Administrative importance increased because the district belonged to the Raj- Shahi division, the headquarters was at Berhampur, it was not possible to rule the area from Berhampur. The biggest reason was that even though Bhutan lost the war, the district headquarters on the west bank of the Teesta was set up to monitor Bhutan's movements. Because the English were afraid if Bhutan invaded again! For this reason, within the seven years of the formation of the district, the headquarters of the Raj Shahi division was changed from Berhampur to Jalpaiguri in 1875. The district was formed but the government did not have much revenue, so the government told the farmers in the surrounding area to come and live in Dooars, waived the three-year rent, and said they would get free fuel.

At that time, the British government came up with the idea of ​​establishing a tea garden in Assam like Darjeeling! In 1876, the first tea garden in the district was established at Ghazaldoba. The tea-garden formula created a new trend in the district's economy, with not only Europeans but also local entrepreneurs gradually joining the tea industry. Bhagwan Chandra Bose, the father of scientist Jagadish Chandra Bose, who was the Deputy Magistrate of the district at that time, encouraged the entrepreneurs to lease the land. Despite the economic changes in the district, the locals were not enthusiastic about it and did not feel the need for it, so workers were brought from Chhotanagpur. After the arrival of these workers, an unimaginable change took place in the demographics of the entire district, not just the Dooars. Jalpaiguri municipality was formed in a decade after Jalpaiguri became the headquarters of the Raj Shahi division.


The town- Jalpaiguri

European clubs, churches, department stores, race-courses were built in the city. It turned out that after Darjeeling, most Europeans started living in this city. In the part of the city where Saheb Para was formed, natives were once banned from traveling to that part. At this time Jalpaiguri was called - 'Capital of the Green Colony' or 'Tea-Town'. The name Jalpaiguri comes from the word ‘Jalpai’, meaning ‘olive’, which grew in the city and surrounding areas, even visible in the 1900s. The suffix 'guri' means - a place. Tea, timber, and tourism are the backbone of the trade industry of the district, but agriculture and animal husbandry are also spread throughout the district. The place is a dwelling place with nature in its purest form who wants to connect.

One of the natural resources of this district is forest, after the formation of the district this forest or jungle becomes an economic resource. Although tobacco cultivation was already in vogue, it expanded commercially, hence the name Tea-Timber and Tobacco District.

A large part of the west bank of the Teesta was part of the ‘Baikunthpur Raikat Zamindari’, known as the ‘32,000 zamindars’ because they paid a revenue of 32,000 rupees to the company. The capital of these Baikunthpur raikats was the Subarnapur region of the Baikunthpur forest. The title of the Baikunthpur kings was Raikat, a branch of the Cooch Behar dynasty. Shishya Singh was the brother of Raja Bishwa Singh of Cooch Behar, who was given the right to rule Baikunthpur in 1526. Lord Narayan was worshiped as Baikuntha in the royal family of Cooch Behar, from which the name Baikunthapur comes. Their first capital was Subarnapur near the river Teesta, but there are differences of opinion. At that time the Morang Ilam region of Nepal was ruled by the Raja Raikatas of Baikunthpur. A prince of Cooch Behar was married to a princess of Morang district and many travelers from Morang district came to Cooch Behar with that princess at that time. Many of those passengers remained permanently in the village of Mathabhanga and Dhupguri in Cooch Behar, and since then there is the village of the same name in Morangnia and Dhupguri in Mathabhanga still exists today. At that time, taking advantage of the weakness of the Cooch Behar- Raj and the Baikunthpur- Raj, the Raja of Nepal took possession of the Terai region along the Siliguri-Mahananda river. From 1760-80 Nepal-Raj occupied the Terai region on one side of Siliguri and Sikkim-Raj on the other side. The British then occupied Darjeeling but they wondered how to get there even if Darjeeling was occupied! Because the Terai was occupied by Nepal, and then the war of Nepal with the British was fought, in that war Nepal was defeated. After the treaty of Nepal with the British in 1816, the king of Nepal moved his territory across the Mechi River and the other side of the Mechi River fell into the hands of the British. Earlier, Raja Darpadev Raikat of Baikunthpur shifted the capital of Baikunthpur to the present town of Jalpaiguri near the river Teesta in 1710 or 1711. On the other hand, monks used to loot various things from the British throughout the Baikunthpur area, and those monks were given shelter in Cooch Behar, which led to a dispute between the English and the Cooch Bihar-Raj. Moreover, the civil war started in Cooch Behar at the same time. In 1773, a section of the royal family became the zamindars of Baikunthpur-Raj after an agreement with the East India Company. Baikunthapur-Raj no longer had that power, and Cooch Behar became part of Bengal, Cooch Behar-Raj received a royal allowance. The Rajbari (Palace) of Jalpaiguri is one of the ancient heritage sites of North Bengal, recently the State Heritage Commission was preparing to work there, this Rajbari (Palace) was under the state of Baikunthapur. The king of Jalpaiguri built a ‘Dighi’(Lake) next to the palace to follow their religious rituals. There is a ‘Dighi’ even today, there is a temple next to the ‘Dighi’ (lake). The last king of the palace was Prasanna Dev Raikat, who was once a minister of state. Places of interest here - Garumara National Park, Baikunthpur Rajbari, Rajbari Dighi, and adjoining temples, Jog Maya Kalibari, Jalpesh Mandir, Devi Chowdhurani's Kalibari, Teesta River Dam, Gosaihat Park, Maa Bhramari Devi Temple, Gayer kata Madhu Bani Park, Teesta Udyan, Jubilee Park, Karela river, etc.

The wooden houses


My birthplace, my roots-

Finally, some memories of my childhood, my place of birth, my roots-Our house was in Raikatpara, which is named after the 'Raikats', if I close my eyes, I can see the front porch of the bleeding-hearted tree decorated with flowers, when I was going to Jalpaiguri during the holidays in my childhood, I thought how long it would take me to get home from the train and get on the rickshaw, my grandparents- my elder cousin sister are waiting on the porch! Sitting and eating in a circle on a wooden stool with my cousin brothers and sisters, take a morning walk with Chanupisi (my auntie) and go to Rajbari Dighi to pick flowers, picking hyacinth flowers in the back garden with grandmother, going to see the pandals in rickshaws during the Durga puja festival, the pomp of Lakshmi Puja (festival), Narayan puja(festival) of the house every month, the story of the British king, the story of the title 'Talukdar', the story of Gopal(Lord Krishna) of our dynasty, which did not disappear in the 1968 floods, my grandmother handed that Gopal over to me, the edge of that beautifully built well, three bathrooms - a bath, a toilet, and a ‘loo’ at the other end of the house, how scientific was the practice then, The kitchen in the backyard, the aroma of betel leaves, shell-lime-paste, betel nuts and manifold flavored dusts in every room, playing Holi together on ‘Holi’ holidays, going to the cinema with siblings together, climbing wooden stairs to the attic with grandmother, wooden houses on the streets, collecting colorful stones by the side of the road, marrying dolls - how much more I will write, that will not be the end. That beautifully decorated town is my birthplace, my roots. In today's era of flat culture, it was a dream world, and I spent my childhood in a dream world...

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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Tulii Banerjee


Tulii Banerjee (author) from Kolkata on March 10, 2021:

Thank you so much, DDE. Happy to know that you liked it. Thank you again...

Tulii Banerjee (author) from Kolkata on March 10, 2021:

Thank you so much, Chitrangadaji. I am so happy that you liked it. Thank you again...

Tulii Banerjee (author) from Kolkata on March 10, 2021:

Thank you so much, Ravi. Images were clicked by one of my brothers who lived in Jalpaiguri. Happy to know that you liked it. Thanks again...

Tulii Banerjee (author) from Kolkata on March 10, 2021:

Thank you so much, Vanita. Happy to know that you liked and enjoyed it. Thanks again...

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on March 10, 2021:

A natural beauty indeed! I like the photo and sounds an unspoiled place. Thank you for sharing

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on March 10, 2021:

Jalpaiguri sounds like a beautiful place. I have heard about this wonderful place, and your description makes it so interesting.

Would like to visit it sometime. Thank you so much for sharing the detailed information, with wonderful pictures.

Ravi Rajan from Mumbai on March 10, 2021:

Wonderfully written Tuli and the images really bring this place alive.I had always wanted to go to Jalpaiguri. Perhaps your article has inspired me to have a shot at fulfilling my dream. Thanks for sharing.

Vanita Thakkar on March 10, 2021:

Good information. Great memories.

I have been to (via) Jalpaiguri, on my way to Darjeeling during my childhood.

I could relate to some of them, as I have spent a good part of my childhood in Assam, like Durga Pooja celebrations, playing with dolls and doll marriages .... We used to love eating Jalpais and Jalpai pickles were very tasty ....

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