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Home | Destinations | Kalimpong

KALIMPONG (INDIA)

STATE :- WEST BENGAL

 

DISTANCE

 

CONNECTION
  • By Air : Kalimpong doesn’t have an in-house airport, Bagdogra Airport is the nearest to Kalimpong at a distance of 80 km.
  • By Rail : The nearest railway stations are Siliguri Junction at a distance of 68 km and New Jalpaiguri at a distance of 77 km.
  • By Road : Kalimpong is well connected by road network to Darjeeling and Gangtok. North Bengal State Transport Corporation and private operators run frequent bus services to Kalimpong.

 

ABOUT KALIMPONG

KALIMPONG a beautiful place in west Bengal is situated at 4000 ft above sea level in the beautiful hills of Darjeeling which shares its border with Sikkim, Bhutan, Nepal and Bangladesh all within a few hours’ drive from the place. To the North are Tibet and China with whom Kalimpong had historic trade relations as a Trading Hub during the Victorian era.

Kalimpong is also known for its flora and fauna and is the home of World Famous Orchids and Cacti. Some of the finest and the rarest specimens of Flora and Fauna are found here, a visit to Kalimpong is incomplete without visiting the Floral Nurseries. The virgin forests and the unchartered villages with the majestic Eastern Himalayas as the back drop Kalimpong has always been synonymous with Tourism. Kalimpong since ages has been the epicenter of School level education since 130 years ago and houses many of India’s finest Schools.

 

PLACES OF INTERESTS IN KALIMPONG
  • Kalimpong Arts and Craft Centre : The Kalimpong Arts and Craft Centre are within a walking distance from the motor stand. The handicrafts of this Co-operative Handicrafts Centre received wide recognition all over the country. Some of the things made are tapestry bags, purses, pictorial wall panels, screens, embroidered bags, scrolls etc. Work is done on Bhutanese, Lepchas and Sikkimese designed cloth which is manufactured at this centre. This institution was founded by Mrs. Katherine Graham in the year 1897. It is stated that more than 500 people used to work when it was managed by the Scottish Missionaries.
  • Dr. Graham's Home : Education through the medium of English was introduced into Kalimpong and this was the work of another Scotsman, the Rev, Dr. J.A. Graham. Since his first 11 years in Kalimpong he spent in routine evangelism, but later he started concentrating more of his time on establishing an orphanage-cum-school; St. Andrew's Colonial and Industrial Settlement, now simply known as 'Dr. Graham's Home'. The first cottage to house these little unfortunate ones or orphans went up on Kalimpong's eastern hillside, Deolo in 1900 for 35 children. Kalimpong at that time was a village of about 1000 people. With the changing time Kalimpong now has a population of about 50,000 and so has Dr. Graham's changed from a entirely Christian to multi-religious. Now it has students, boys and girls, boarders and day pupils, sponsored children and fee paying children. Deolo Hill is occupied by Dr. Graham's Homes comprising some fifty cottages; it is a unique institution still supported by part by charitable collections and sponsors from all over the world.
  • Tibetan Monasteries : En route to the Dr. Graham's Homes are two Tibetan monasteries, the Tharpa Choling Monastery at Tirpai which belongs to the Yellow-Hat-Sect of lamas or Gelugpa Sect of the Dalai Lama. The new Buddhist Monastery, Zang-dog Palrifo Brang, completed, in 1975, is on the Durpin Dara Hill. H.H. the Dalai Lama, on his visit to Kalimpong in the year 1956 presented a set of rare manuscripts "Kangyur" of 108 volumes to the Durpin Dara Monastery. The Dalai Lama visited Kalimpong once again on May 29, 1976, for a four day visit, when he consecrated at the Durpin Dara Monastery.
  • Gouripur House : Gaouripur House is situated on the way to Durpin Dara about 2 km from town (now Co-operative Training Institute). Though a small hill station, Kalimpong was one of the favourite place of the great Indian poet, Rabindranath Tagore. Whenever he visited Kalimpong he stayed at Gouripur House. He recited from this house on 25th April, 1940 the poem "Janamadin" through a telephone system linked with the All India Radio, Calcutta. He wrote many poems when he was residing in this house. He left this house last on 28th Sept 1954 never to return again.
  • Durpin Dara : Towering over the town of Kalimpong is the Durpin Dara at an altitude of 1402 metres which offers breathtaking views. From the view point at Durpin which in fact means "binoculars" the whole Chola Range of Sikkim can be seen including the Jelep La Pass. On the Northwest horizon can be seen the panoramic view of Kanchenjunga Range. On the Southern horizon looms the Tiger Hill and between the gap in the Teesta Valley can be seen the rolling plains of West Bengal. Far down below, the rivers Relli and Ryang meet the mighty Teesta near the Rambhi bazaar area.
  • The Golf Courses : The Lion's Golf Course, a challenging and picturesque Army Golf Course, consisting of nine holes, has been laid by the military authorities along the most picturesque, beautiful and undulating slopes at Durpin Ridge, Opposite the historic Singamari Tourist Lodge of Bengal Government and Circuit House. About 1000 plants have been planted here.
  • Swiss Welfare Dairy : About four km from the town towards the Teesta and just above the Central Sericulture Station is the Co-operative Dairy called the Swiss Welfare Dairy.
  • Central Sericulture Station : The State Sericulture Department at Kalimpong has taken up an expanding programme of mulberry cultivation in Darjeeling Hills. Following in the footsteps of India's preceptors, medicinal plants are being cultivated among the Rauwalfa Serpentina, Digitalia, Purpurea, Atropa Acuminata, Atropa Belladona etc.
  • Darmodaya Vihar : The Nepalese Buddhists have a temple named the Dharmodaya Vihar which is on Rishi Road. It is the residence of Nepalese Buddhist monks. The idol of Buddha inside the temple at Dharmodaya Vihar was presented by Buddhists of Burma. It is run and maintained by the members of Kalimpong Dharmodaya Sabha. They have opened a Nursery school by the name "Dharmodaya Nursery School" in the old premises of the Vihar.
  • Lava : Located on a pass astride the old trade route to Bhutan, at an elevation of 2000 metres, a small hamlet, 35 km from Kalimpong is Lava. It is surrounded by virgin forests and is ideal for nature exploration, bird watching, and for viewing orchids in their natural habitat. It is also the base for exploring the Neora Valley, upto the 3152 m high Rachela Pass on the junction with Sikkim and Bhutan. Sherpa View Point offers good views of the snow ranges of the Chola Range. Treks to Samthar plateau also start from here.
  • Gitdabling – Budhabare : Budhabare is a weekly market bazar, located at Gitadabling, in the valley of the Git River. This area has scenic countryside, with forests, streams, terraced cultivation, and old style homesteads. A suitable area for easy trekking, at an elevation of 1400 metres, it offers quiet walks, old Lepcha houses, village pubs, church and a Gompa, along with an opportunity to study trival culture and lifestyle.
  • Lolegaon – Kafer : A forest region with exotic flora, unusual serenity, and a sunrise view of Jhandi Dara which rivals the view from Tiger Hill. Accommodation is arranged in the forest bungalow or in tents.
  • Samco Ropeway : Located 20 km from Kalimpong on the highway to Siliguri, this ropeway was constructed by Christian Missionaries to open up the remote Samthar Suruk region with its predominent Lepcha population. The ropeway spans 1.5 km over both the Teesta and Relli rivers. It is a breathtaking ride 120 feet over the waters of the river, with unusual views.
  • Samthar Plateau : A scenic and remote plateau located south of Kalimpong at an elevation of 1400 metres is the Samthar Plateau. It is perhaps the best spot around Kalimpong, for a unique holiday. It is serene and calm, provides panaromic views of the snow ranges in an arc of breathtaking beauty - stretching from Kanchenjunga in the west to Gymochen in the east. The plateau has charming stone and thatch hamlets, terraced fields, forests and a mixed population of Nepalese, Bhutias and Lepchas. It is indeed a postcard place; no crowds, no pollution - only tranquility. For many years the only access to Samthar was through the Samco Ropeway, but now a 80 km road connects Samthar to Kalimpong.

 

RELIGIOUS PLACES IN KALIMPONG
  • Mangal Dham Temple : Mangal Dham Temple is in the picturesque hill town of Kalimpong in Darjeeling West Bengal. Built in 1993 by the Hindu sect Shri Krishna Pranami, in memory of late Guru Sri 108 Mangaldasji, this temple complex sports exquisite architecture and a landscaped garden.
  • Mangal Dham : Sprawling over two acres of wooded land close to the Sikkim border, Mangal Dham is dedicated to Lord Krishna. The prayer hall with the idols of Raj Shyamji, Prannath and Mangaldasji, is on the top floor. This floor also depicts in pictures various scenes from the lives of Krishna and the patron saints of the temple. The final resting place of Mangaldasji is on the ground floor. Numerous pilgrims visit this shrine every year.
  • Bauddh Math : There are lot of Bauddh temples available in Kalimpong. Out of which Thongsa Gufa (one of the oldest Bauddh Math, far from 1 kilometer from Kalimpong City), Tharpa Cholling Monestry, Jong Dong Palry fo Brang Monestry, Pedong Monestry and Dharmodaya Vihar Bauddh Temple is known ones.
  • Kalibidi and Mangaldham : Kalimpong has two famous temples namely, Kalibidi and Mangaldham. Kalibidi is a temple of Ma Bhagavati kali. A very big pratima of Ma Bhagavati Kali is available in Kalibidi temple. Mangaldham temple was build by Mangaldham Maharaj and is spread across approximately 2 acres of land. It’s a one of the well known temple in Kalimpong.

 

WHEN TO GO KALIMPONG

Best time to visit Kalimpong is March to May and September to November.

 

WEATHER FORECAST
  • Summers : Kalimpong is just the perfect place to be in, during summers. This mountainous region serves as the perfect haven for those seeking a getaway from the scorching heat. In Kalimpong, the mercury rises to a maximum of 250 C, the minimum temperature being 150 C. The summer season starts from the month of March and lasts till the mid of June. This period is also one of the peak seasons for Kalimpong travel.
  • Monsoon : The mild summers in Kalimpong are followed by the foggy monsoon season. Starting from June, the rainy season lasts till September. During this time, Kalimpong experiences heavy southwestern rains, covering the entire landscape in a beautiful cloak of green.
  • Winters : Kalimpong, being a hilly region, experiences extremely chilly and frosty winters, with mercury dipping to about 70 C. Starting from the mid of September to the mid of February, it faces cool to cold winters. Heavy woolens are the best bet during this time. Kalimpong receives a large number of tourists in the winter season. The season offers tourists best mountain views, all of them being snow-capped.

 

EVENTS AND FESTIVALS IN KALIMPONG
  • Dashain / Durgapuja : During the month of Kartik in the Bikram Sambat calendar (late September and early October), the Nepalese people indulge in the biggest festival of the year, Dashain. Dashain is the longest and the most auspicious festival in the Nepalese annual calendar, celebrated by Nepalese of all caste and creed throughout the country. The fifteen days of celebration occurs during the bright lunar fortnight ending on the day of the full moon. Dasain festival is also known as the Durgapuja.
  • Tihar/ Deepawali : Tihar, the festival of lights is one of the most dazzling of all Hindu festivals. In this festival we worship Goddess Laxmi, the Goddess of wealth. It heralds the month of Kartik (October/November) starting with Kukur Puja-Narak Chaturdashi.
  • Independence Day : Independence Day celebrations is the hill town’s biggest "festival". Kalimpong is unique in that it celebrates the occasion on two days: August 15 and 16. The "festivity" is held on such a large scale that even people from neighbouring towns gather here to witness the spectacle.
    Already 80 per cent of the hotel rooms in town are booked. “Many of the visitors are parents of students in different residential schools in Kalimpong.
    Students participate in the “fest” in large numbers. The marching band display by school contingents is one of the highlights of the programme. All education institutions remain closed for three days. The last day is to allow students to rest after weeks of toil.
  • Maghe Sankranti : Maghe Sankranti is the beginning of the holy month of Magh, usually the mid of January. It brings an end to the ill-omened month of Poush (mid-december) when all religious ceremonies are forbidden. Even if it is considered the coldest day of the year, it marks the coming of warmer weather and better days of health and fortune.
  • Fagun Purnima (Holi) : The ancient Hindu festival of Holi falls on late February or on early March. Allegedly named after the mythical demoness Holika, it is a day when the feast of colours is celebrated. The festival is of a week. However, it's only the last day that is observed by all with colours.
  • Christmas : The festival of Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ and conveys his message of love, tolerance and brotherhood. It's a celebration of humanity and mankind.
    Christmas is the most important festival Christians families in Kalimpong. Christian families in Kalimpong decorate banana or mango trees instead of traditional pine tree. They also light small oil-burning lamps as Christmas decorations and fill their churches with red flowers. Chaite Dashain : Chaite Dashain regarded as the second Dashain which falls around March-April month for every year. Chaite Dashain epitomizes the victory of divine forces over evil. Goddess Bhagawati is worshipped during this festival with animal sacrifices offered to her.
  • Losar : Losar is celebrated for 15 days, with the main celebrations on the first three days. The celebration of Losar predates Buddhism in Tibet and can be traced back to the pre-Buddhist Bön period. On the Occasions of festival of Losar or Monpa Losar, it's traditional to wear new clothes. People greet each other with the customary New-Year greeting of "tashi delek" (good luck) and visit monasteries, stupas, shrines to make offerings and donations in form of food and other gifts to the monks and nuns there.

 

FOOD AND RESTURANTS IN KALIMPONG

Cuisine plays a huge role in defining the culture of West Bengal. The love affair of Bengalis with food and drinks is famous in all corners of India. Be it a non vegetarian dish or a simple rice dish, the care and detailing that goes into its preparation is worth admiring. A Rice and fish dish seems to be the favorite of Bengali people. Even if the ingredients used in the dishes here might not vary drastically to dishes of neighboring states, but it is the use of unique spices that set Bengali cuisine in a different league altogether. The widows in the past, who were not allowed to step outside their homes or indulge in their interests, were confined to kitchen and household works. They experimented with different spices and came out with exquisite mixes of spices and new cooking techniques. Over the ages, dishes here have been under many outside influences as well like European, French and Islamic; but the biggest of them was Anglo Indian or Raj cuisine. The most important part of the meal comes last, after the main course, the delicious sweet dishes. Rosogolla, Sondesh and Mishti Doi are the most famous of all.

Kalash Vegetarian Snacks, Ritu’s Fast Food, Gompu Restaurant, Myal Lyang, Kalimpong Park Hotel, Kinsher Restaurant.

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