Lying peacefully against the backdrop of the magnificent Khangchendzonga, Kalimpong is one of those rare hill stations that are not overcrowded. Known for its cool weather throughout the year, it is a garden town with numerous shaded walks along forest roads.
Famed for its Buddhist monasteries, Kalimpong is a heavenly place at bloom-time, when Kalimpong emerges in a riot of colors as entire hillsides get covered with exquisite orchids and other exotic flowers. The panoramic view of the Khangchendzonga range from here is one of its significant highlights.
The journey from Darjeeling along the Teesta River is very interesting. The Thongsa Gompa or Bhutanese Monastery was established in 1892. The Tharpa Gompa was established in 1922 and belongs to the Yellow hat sect of Tibetan Buddhism.
The Zong Dog Palri Fo-Brang Gompa is five kms from the city and was established in 1970. This Gompa has impressive wall paintings in the prayer hall and a rare three-dimensional mandala upstairs.
Although you'll find that Sikkimese and Tibetan cuisine (especially momos) are the most popular in Kalimpong, there are several restaurants that offer good Western, Indian and Mughlai cuisine.
Kalimpong has a lot to offer in terms of shopping. The Main Road, the 10th Mile Market and the Raja Dorje Market are some of the good places to shop. The must-buys of Kalimpong include fresh ginger and honey, Tibetan noodles, jewellery, artefacts, seeds and flower bulbs. The Kalimpong Arts & Crafts Centre is the best place for authentic Lepcha, Bhutanese and Sikkimese embroidered work on purses and dresses. Don?t leave Kalimpong without trying some of its famous cheese.
There's a flower festival in Kalimpong in October each year.
Kalimpong lies 50 km east of Darjeeling at a height of 1,250 m in the eastern Himalayas.
Regular jet and IA flights operate from Calcutta and Delhi to Bagdogra airport. Airport: Nearest airport is at Bagdogra, 78 km away from Kalimpong.
Two Rajdhanis ply five times a week from Delhi to New Jalpaiguri Station. Railway station: Siliguri Junction (68 km) and New Jalpaiguri (73 km) are the nearest railway stations.
Kalimpong can be reached by bus/ taxi/ jeep from New Jalpaiguri/ Siliguri in approximately three hours. Buses from Siliguri cost Rs 45. A share-jeep will cost Rs 50. Bus terminus: All buses leave from the Motor Stand in the central bazaar area.
Temperate climate, with summer temperatures ranging.
Best explored on foot, the main market place is a bustling beehive of human activity where vendors vie with each other to sell off their homegrown food produce. The ?haat bazaar? typifies the traditional open-air market, a venue where villagers from the surrounding area are allowed to set up temporary stalls.
An hours walk from the town center (approximately 4 km), Dr Grahams Home lies on the slopes of Deolo Hill. Founded in 1900 by the Scottish missionary Dr John Anderson Graham, this mission school was set up with the aim to educate the children of tea garden workers from backward families. Dr Graham and his wife dedicated their lives to building this complex. It has its own dairy, poultry and bakery. A chapel above the school dates back to 1925.
Situated 1 km out of town. With the Khangchendzonga (Kanchenjunga), providing a spectacular backdrop, this monastery was originally a branch of the Nygmapa sects. Phodang Monastery in Sikkim. It was transferred to Darjeeling in 1879. The shrine here originally stood on Observatory Hill. The monastery has a well-stocked library with many old Buddhist texts.
The flower nurseries of Kalimpong specialize in the cultivation of exotic orchid species, including other garden varieties such as gladioli, cacti, amaryllis, anthirriums, roses, gerberas, dahlias and a whole lot more.
Built by local craftsmen to resemble a Gompa, it has wooden carvings on the walls of Biblical scenes and in continuance to the theme, the characters are depicted in the attire of the Buddhist clergy..
At 1,914 meters Deolo Hill commands an excellent view of the town, the Teesta Valley below and the snowy ranges in the distant horizon.
Surrounded by virgin pine forests and often hidden in mists and clouds at an altitude of 2,350 meters, this small village lies 34 kilometers away from Kalimpong on the old trade route to Bhutan. It has a beautiful monastery of Bhutanese origin and a Nature Interpretation Centre. Popular for nature exploration and bird watching, it is also the starting point for treks into the Neora National Park, which abounds with floral and faunal wealth.
Also called Kapher, it is 25 kilometers from Lava, along a lovely forest drive. It has a heritage forest and offers fine views of the snowy Singalila Range.
Scenic and remote, at an elevation of 1,400 meters, Samthar Plateau is 80 kilometers from Kalimpong, and 45 kilometers from Lava. It has breathtaking views of the snowy mountains, superb sunrise and sunset, picture post card hamlets, exotic flora, forests, mountain streams and river-pools, all far from the madding crowd. This is an area popular for nature hikes, angling, mountain biking and cultural explorations..
A 4-day trek through forests and exotic flora of the National Park, culminating in the ascent of the 3,152 meter Rache La tri-junction, to view the Chola Range. Other activities include nature and culture exploration of the Rishi Valley and remote waterfalls. Altogether, a memorable experience.