Set in the foothills of the Himalayas is the small albeit charming bazaar town of Kalimpong. This town at a distance of 50km from Darjeeling, though quite off the beaten track is an ideal setting for a peaceful holiday. For the nature lover, Kalimpong offers opportunities to raft down the raging rapids of the Teesta River or to trek into the surrounding mountains. There are flowers everywhere and in every colour: a feast for the eyes! Visit the monasteries, churches and orchid nurseries or tour the private library for the study of Tibetan and Himalayan language and culture.
SHOPPING: Markets in Kalimpong, which are open on Wednesdays and Saturdays, are good places for the souvenir hunter. Kalimpong offers a wide range of traditional handicrafts to the traveler. Woodcarvings, embroidered items, bags and purses with tapestry work, copperware, scrolls, Tibetan jewelry and artifacts can be picked up from the shops and markets across the town.
The temperatures in summers range from 15`C to 25`C. The temperatures in the winters are slightly low compared to the summers. They range from 7`C to 15`C. the best time to visit is from March to Mid-June; Mid September to December. One must carry Light woolens and tropicals in summer (umbrellas and raincoats are useful) and heavy woollen in winter
Teesta Bazaar, located 16 km from Kalimpong, is an important place for white water rafting. The rafting season is between mid-November to mid-February. The small village of Lava, located at 2,353 m above sea level and about 30 km east of Kalimpong, is an important place to visit. Kagyupa Gompa is located here.
The village of Kaffer, located at 1555 m above sea level, is beyond Lava and one can have magnificent view of the summit of Kanchenjunga from here. The Samco Ropeway across the Teesta River, on the main Siliguri. Gangtok road is an important attraction near Kalimpong. One has to take a bus for Siliguri from Kalimpong in order to visit this ropeway en route.
Attractions and Places to Visit in Kalimpong
The MacFarlane Church: A testimony of the Scottish missionaries' influence and a monument of Kalimpong's diverse history, Dr. Graham's Home, which was founded in 1990 by Dr. John A. Graham, is a sprawling educational institution built on Deolo Hill north of the main township. It stands testimony to Kalimpong's European influence. It has its own dairy, bakery, poultry farm and vegetable gardens. It is a fitting example of community life, an enthralling experience indeed.
Durpin Dara: An observatory point from where a truly spectacular view of the Himalaya can be enjoyed. This along with the panoramic view of the Teesta and Relli rivers, and the plains far below, provide visitors with a memorable sight. The many flowers nurseries in Kalimpong are known for the diversity of Himalayan flora they house, most of which are exported. For those with an interest in floriculture, a trip to a few of these nurseries is worthwhile.
Zong Dhog Palri Fo Brang monastery: Situated near Durpin Dara is another attraction of the area. Tharpa Choeling monastery, built in 1937, belongs to the yellow hut sect of lamas and is another must see. It is situated on Tirpai hill, about 2 km from the main town.
Pedong monastery: Built around 1837, is of Bhutanese origin, while a kilometer away is the historical Bhutanese fort of Damsang, an important landmark of the area before the main town of Kalimpong came into prominence. Thongsa monastery is also of Bhutanese origin and was built around 1692, making it the oldest monastery in the region.
Kalimpong Arts & Craft Center: Founded in 1897 by Mrs. Graham, is a thriving center where carpet weaving, dyeing, painting, tailoring, leather craft and carpentry are taught, besides promoting the work of local artisans and craftsmen. The Gouripur House, a summer retreat of Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore, is where he penned many unforgettable poems.
Deolo Hill: One of the numerous hill destinations that warrant a visit. A perfect picnic spot replete with a splendid tourist lodge, run by the Department of Tourism, DGHC. A stay here is definitely recommended as the early morning view of the sun lighting up the Khangchendzonga massif is a marvelous example of nature at her best, a heart stopping sight indeed.
Mangal Dham Mandir: Sprawling over an area of two acres and built in 1993, Mangal Dham is considered to be one of the most splendid temples in India. It is the ground floor of the Dham, where lies the "samadhi" of their revered Guruji. The prayer hall is on the top floor, where the idol of Raj Shyamaji is found, flanked on either side by the Revered Prannath and Shri 108 Guru Mangaldasji. Both the sides of the prayer hall has a vivid picturesque story of Nijanandacharya Shri Devchandraji, meeting Lord Krishna, Rev. Prannathji blessing the brave Bundela Chhatrasal Maharaj and other scenes from the Krishna Leela.
How to Reach Kalimpong
AIR : The nearest airport is Bagdogra which is 80 kms from Kalimpong.
RAIL : The nearest railway stations are Siliguri Junction & New Jalpaiguri Railway Station.
ROAD : Kalimpong is connected to Darjeeling, Siliguri and Gangtok by road through buses, jeeps and private taxis.