Kalimpong once known as the â€œsilk routeâ€ was a trade link between the all-important trade route between India and Tibet. The brilliant climate attracted the British who set up their plantations and establishment here. Remnants of the British can still be seen now. Today it is a premier holidaying destination for the tourists filled with rich culture, a great history and nice locals. The climate of Kalimpong is suitable for many different varieties of orchids and many orchids produced in the nurseries are even exported throughout the world. Also traditional handicrafts, jewelleries and handlooms ensure that you do not leave Kalimpong without a souvenir!
To get here, you can take one of the following alternatives given below:
- By Train: The NJP Railway Station in Siliguri connects the city to several cities across India. If you are journeying from Kolkata, then get in the Darjeeling mail which arrives at 10:00 pm in Kolkata. Once you reach NJP Station, take a taxi ride to Kalimpong as described below.
- By Jeep/Taxi: From Siliguri, Kalimpong is situated at a distance of 70 km which takes two hours to reach from Siliguri. The road from Siliguri to Kalimpong is very picturesque and it travels through the Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary. At a distance of 25 km from the Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary is the Sevoke Bridge which goes over Teesta. Soon afterwards, the national highway 31A will take you to Teesta Bazar. From Teesta bazar it is a 12 km uphill drive to reach Kalimpong town.
- By Plane: Bagdogra airport located at Siliguri is has several planes available offered by many airlines. Some of them are:
Air India and Jet Airways has flights from Delhi, Guwahati and Kolkata to Bagdogra available, Go Air has daily flights to and from Delhi and Spice Jet operates flights from Kolkata and Delhi.
Once you reach Bagdogra airport, you can take a taxi ride as described above.
Things to see in Kalimpong
Durpin Dara: Durpin Dara situated at an altitude of 1402 meters is the highest point of Kalimpong reachable by car. It is an observatory point which offers stunning and astounding views of the entire plains of Siliguri, the valley of Teesta and the mountain ranges of the Himalayas.
Deolo Hill: Deolo hill is situated at the northern extreme of Kalimpong and is attractive for tourists due to its picturesque views of the neighbouring mountain ranges of Sikkim, Bhutan and the majestic Mt. Kanchenjunga.
Kalibari: The Kalibari or the abode of the goddess Kali is situated at a distance of two kilometres from Kalimpong.
Pedong Monastery: This Bhutanese origin monastery is situated near the Damsang fort. It was established in 1837 and is still in use today.
Dr. Grahamâ€™s House: On top of the Deolo hill is the educational institution spawning over 500 acres. It was founded in 1900 with the intention of educating the sons and daughters of the tea workers by Dr. John Anderson Graham. This institution is still supported by many charitable foundations and sponsors from all around the world.
Thongsa Gompa: In 1692 the Bhutanese people constructed this Gompa which is also the oldest Gompa in Kalimpong. The original Gompa was destroyed in a riot before the arrival of the British and the new Gompa is built over the remains of the original Gompa.
Tharpe Choling Gompa: In 1922 this Gompa was constructed by the Yellow Hat Sect of the Tibetian Buddhists. It takes 40 minutes to walk from Kalimpong.
Zong Dog Palri Fo-Brang Gompa: In 1970 this Gompa was constructed over the Durpin Dara Hill. Several rare paintings can be seen inside the Gompa.
Flower Nurseries: The flower nurseries make Kalimpong famous. This is an important orchid growing area and the flowers and orchids grown here are exported all over the world. There are also specialized cactus nurseries in here. A flower festival is organized yearly in Kalimpong.
Sericulture Research Institute: On the road towards Darjeeling, the Sericulture Research Institute is located. It is a place where the silkworms are bred and silk is prepared. It can be visited between 9 am to 4 pm.
Nature Interpretation Centre: The Nature Interpretation Centre is situated in the Rinkinpong Road. It contains many informational pictures and dioramas elaborating the effects of different activities taken by humans on the environment.
Mangal Dham: Mangal Dham is a newly created temple belonging to Lord Krishna. It is gorgeous and a good place to visit.
Things to do in Kalimpong
Go Shopping in Kalimpong: Traditional handicrafts, jewelleries, exotic herbs and many other artefacts make Kalimponga shopperâ€™s paradise. Raja Dorje Market and the 10th Mile Bazaar contain most of the shops selling these things. If you are a souvenir hunter, then you can also buy a traditional kukri from these shops.
Accommodations in Kalimpong
Kalimpong has many small budget, medium budget and large budget hotels available. All of them come with the basic accommodations and amenities and the medium and large budget hotels also include amenities like satellite television, room service, water heater, room heater etc.