Malbazar is a major town in Dooars. It is located in the Jalpaiguri district and is surrounded by tea gardens. The Bazar proliferated by serving the tea gardens around it and thus the town came into existence. The town grew by leaps and bounds after independence with a huge influx of refugees from Bangladesh (then east Pakistan).
The town is bound by the National Highway on its North, the Mal river on its East and several tea gardens towards its south and west. Major offices and commercial establishments are situated in the Northern fringe of the town around the National Highway. Two southbound major roads enter the town from the NH, one is the station road originating at NH at Subhash more and the other is Lataguri Malbazar road originating from Caltex more. The local market and offices are all situated mostly in and around these three roads.
In recent times, the town has expanded way beyond its old limits. Most trains to Malbazar now stop at the New Mal Junction which is about 4 km from the town centre. Malbazar college is also situated on the eastern periphery of the town on the other side of the Mal river. More construction is expected in the 7 km zone between Malbazar and Chalsa in the future.
People and Culture
The town has a population of about 30,000, there is migration into the city from the surrounding rural areas and tea gardens, and there is also an outflow of people from the town to larger cities like Siliguri and Kolkata. The population consists of Bengalis, especially second or third generation of Bangladesh war refugees. But there is a substantial population of a variety of other people, a good number of Nepali people reside here so does the Adivasis, and there is also a population of Rajbanshis or the Coach people who live here.
People of different faith live here in peace, most of the residents of the town are Hindus and their places of worship include NBS Kalimandir and Hanuman temple near the Caltex more. There is a substantial population of Christians among the tribals who pray in the churches such as St. John Paul's Catholic church, Living Hope church and The Light church spread across the town. There are at least 3 mosques for Muslims and a Buddha temple for Buddhists. People of different religions live in the town in complete peace and brotherhood.
The Mal river flowing through the eastern border of the town is the lifeline of the town. This small river is a tributary of the Neora river. The picturesque river can be crossed on foot during most of the year, but during Monsoon it can become dangerous, even during other months, sudden rain in the hills may lead to Harpa or flash floods in the river. Such a flash flood led to the death of 8 people during the emersion of the Durga idol in the Mal river in 2022.
The Malbazar town is like any other town in the Dooars area, the small town has only limited attractions for tourists within its city limits. The major attraction is the Mal Udyan or the Malbazar Park. The park is maintained by the West Bengal forest department and is a good place to spend an hour or two. Adjacent to the Park is a West Bengal Tourism property known as Malbazar Tourist Lodge, it is the best place to stay in town. The main bus stand of the town is also adjacent. Most tourists visiting Malbazar can be found in the vicinity of this area.
Due to its strategic location of Malbazar on the national highway, you can stay at Malbazar and visit the important tourist destinations of Eastern Dooars and Kalimpong hills.
Gorumara National Park (16 km), Chapramari Wild Life Sanctuary (10 km), Jhalong - Bindu (an hour's drive), and Samsing - Suntalekhola (20 km) are the famous tourist spots in this area. Kumlai is a famous picnic spot near Malbazar. Gorubathan - Phaparkheti area can also be reached very easily from here.
Due to its proximity to Gorumara National Park, the Malbazar area has also become increasingly important as an extended area for resort development. Many medium and small resorts have come up in the vicinity during the last few years. The Barodighi - Tesimla area to the south of Malbazar has gained popularity in this direction.
At a distance of 57 km from Siliguri and 65 km from Jalpaiguri, Malbazar is easily accessible by road. The condition of National Highway 12 passing through the city has improved substantially over the years as it has now become part of the famous Asian Highway. Hence travel time from Malbazar to other destinations has reduced and been reducing even further.
By far the most popular tourist accommodation is the West Bengal Tourism maintained tourist lodge. The Malbazar Tourist Lodge at one time used to be exemplary in terms of its service and amenities. Today although the property is past its prime, but can still be considered a very good choice. There are also a few private accommodations around which are mostly in the basic category. The Malbazar Municipality maintained accommodation is named Udichi.