Suitcase and World: The Dooars.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Dooars.

Tea estate in the Western Dooars
n case you're wondering about the name of this blog, the Dooars or Duars, pronounced exactly like the word "doors", are the floodplains and foothills of the eastern Himalayas in northeastern India around Bhutan. The region is so named because it forms a natural gateway from the hill stations of West Bengal and Sikkim to Bhutan.

My trip will start in Delhi and from there, I will travel through the Dooars to Bhutan.  The name of this blog reflects the path of my journey. Now you know how the name of this blog came to be.

The Dooars region is divided by the Sankosh river into the Eastern and the Western Dooars, consisting of an area of 8,800 square kilometers (3,400 square-miles). The Eastern Dooars, located in the western Indian state of Assam, comprises a level plain intersected by numerous rivers and is sparesly populated. The Western Dooars lies in the region of eastern West Bengal, India. In contrast to the Eastern Dooars, the region of the Western Dooars is much more populous.

Numerous streams and rivers flow through the fertile plains of the Dooars from the mountains of Bhutan. In Assam, the major rivers are the Brahmaputra and Manas, and in northern West Bengal the major river is the Teesta.

The economy of the Dooars region is based on three T-s: Tea, Tourism and Timber. The main industry of the Dooars region is tea industry - Darjeeling probably being the most well known of the tea producing areas. The region is also known for its national parks and wildlife sanctuaries which attract tourists from around the world.  If I'm lucky, maybe I will get to see a rhino on my trip :-)

The Bala Pass, stormed by the British forces on February 15,1865
The region saw its share of conflict during the Duar War (1864-1865) between British India and Bhutan

In 1826, after the British occupied Assam and made the area part of British India, a longtime frontier dispute erupted with Bhutan.

In the early 1860s, the Bhutanese took strategic portions of the Eastern Dooars from the Assamese and ignored British demand to surrender the lands or give tribute.

In January 1865, a small British force invaded Bhutan, but the Bhutanese successfully resisted and evicted the British garrison at Dewangiri.

Britain declared war on November 12, 1864 and gradually suppressed the Bhutanese, who agreed to peace on November 11, 1865 with the signing of the Treaty of Sinchula. In accordance with the terms of the treaty, the Bhutan government agreed to cede the Assam and Bengal Dooars to the British government as well as the 83 square kilometre territory of Dewangiri, in return for an annual subsidy of 50,000 rupees. As the result of the treaty, 2,750 square miles (7,122 square km) of the total land of Bhutan was ceded to British India.

Though it will be a short trip through the Dooars region, I am certain it will be a memorable experience for me.  I'm really looking forward to seeing this part of the world!