Cities Of India
States & Cities >>
West Bengal >> Kalimpong
|Small town perched at an altitude of 1,250
meters, the first things that strike the visitor at Kalimpong are the bustling bazaars and the places of worship that lend a peaceful ambience to the town. It is situated in the state of West Bengal at a distance of 50 km from Darjeeling.
Till about hundred years ago, Kalimpong used to be a tiny hamlet. The written accounts dating back to 1865 mention this place as one constituting of a few huts, less than ten families and eight cows! After it was seized by the British in the later half of the nineteenth century, the area became a major centre for wool trade with Tibet. In 1916, the area was made into a separate subdivision with Kalimpong as the headquarters. Today Kalimpong has been developed as a popular tourist resort.
|The name Kalimpong has been given rise to several interpretations. In the language of the local Lepcha tribe, Kalimpong means the ridge where we play. Another interpretation is that the name stands for the stronghold of the minister as kalim means minister and pong means stronghold in Bhutanese. One more interpretation describes Kalimpong as being named after Kaulim, a fibrous plant found in abundance in this region.
Kalimpong has a very mild climate. Summers are sunny and are the best times to visit this place. The winter season lasts from September to February when the minimum temperature can drop to 7°C making the nights quite cold.
For lovers of natural beauty, Kalimpong is a place not to be missed. The town offers a fascinating view of the surrounding mountainous countryside. The scenic environs are ideal for relaxing. Move out in the town and get immersed in Buddhist literature and meditation in various monasteries that dot the landscape of the town. Some of the interesting spots in the town are Dr. Grahams Home, Tharpa Choling Monastery, Zong Dog Palri Fo-Brang Monastery, Durpin Dara Hill and Lepcha Museum.
Move around Kalimpong to further explore the natural beauty of the region. The sylvan surroundings add a romantic ambience to the region. You can also catch glimpses of the regions history as presented by the various monasteries and the old fort. The spots to look out for are Rississum, Damsang Bhutanese Fort, Munsong Forest Bungalow and Chitray Falls.
DR. GRAHAM’S HOME
Situated in a 500-acre estate on the slopes of Dealo Hills, Dr. Graham’s Home is an educational institution founded as a home and school for orphan children by Dr. John Anderson Graham, a Scottish missionary, in 1900. Started with just six students, the school today has over 1,200 boys and girls and is among the better-known public schools of the region. The school is self-sufficient and has its own dairy, poultry and bakery. Every year in the month of May the school
organizes a May Fair. The original buildings and chapel in the school complex present an interesting sight.
THARPA CHOLING MONASTERY
Situated on Tirpai Hill, Tharpa Choling Monastery was built around 1937. The monastery belongs to the Gelukpa Sect of Tibetan Buddhism, the sect to which the present Dalai Lama belongs. The monastery has a library of the Buddhist manuscripts and thangkas (picture or representation of a deity on cloth).
ZONG DOG PALRI FO-BRANG MONASTERY
Built in the mid-1970s, the monastery lies at about 5 km south of the town centre at Durpin Dara Hill. The monastery was consecrated by the Dalai Lama. It houses impressive wall paintings and a rare three-dimensional mandala (a Hindu or Buddhist graphic symbol of the universe). From this monastery, one can get a panoramic view of the town and the surrounding areas.
DURPIN DARA HILL
The highest point in Kalimpong, the Durpin Dara Hill offers a breathtaking view of the plains below. Some of the places that can be viewed from here include the Teesta and Rangeet rivers, western Sikkim, the Kanchenjunga peak, Peshoke and Lopchu tea estates, Nathu-la pass and the towns of Siliguri and Kurseong.
The museum is located in Bag Dhara and exhibits manuscripts and other objects of the Lepchas, the original people of Kalimpong.
Excursions for Kalimpong
Chitray Falls is located 9 km down the Tests Road with shortcuts through rice fields. It is an ideal retreat for the honeymooners.
Munsong Forest Bungalow
About 25 kilometres from Kalimpong, in a beautiful teak forest, lies the Munsong Forest Bungalow, an ideal retreat for those who wish to spend time in the sylvan surroundings.
• Area 8.68 sq. km
• Population 38,832
• Altitude 1,250 metres above sea level
• Languages Bengali, Nepali, Hindi and English
• STD Code 03552
• Best time to visit April–June