Ben: শিলিগুড়ি śiliguṛi
‘Rocky Place’ City, West Bengal.
Ben: śilā, ‘stone’, ‘rock’; (Ben)/Dra: guri, ‘place’.
Siliguri is the third largest city in West Bengal, only 35km from its twin Jalpaiguri.
Historically it has been at the crossroads between Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan, Bangladesh and India. The ‘Silguri Corridor’ or ‘chicken’s neck’, is a narrow stretch of land created by Partition which joins the city and region to the rest of India in the south and to the northeastern states in the east: Silguri is also known as the “Gateway to Northeast India”
Guri is a place-name element found in the northern region of West Bengal [Jalpaiguri, Mallaguri] which many think has a Dravidian origin – it is usually translated as ‘place’.
The rocks/stones/pebbles may be connected to those on the bed of the Mahananda river which flows through the city.
The famous Darjeeling toy train to the tea plantations used to start its 80km journey here and the Silguri became an important trading centre for the tea plantations. The staion is still in operation but the line has been extended to New Jalpaiguri.