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Destination KALIMPONG

Kalimpong: The Sleepy Himalayan Town


The first thing that strikes the traveler visitingKalimpong, is its quiet atmosphere and peaceful ambiance. This sleepylittle town is situated on the foothills of Shivalik ranges at an altitude of1250 m overlooking the TeestaValley some 50 kms to the east of Darjeeling. Dueto its relatively lower altitude compared to Darjeeling or Gangtok, the weatheris milder and pleasant for most part of the year. With the snow peaks ofthe eastern Himalayas, topped by Mt Kanchenjunga, etching its skyline,Kalimpong sits easy between two hills, Durpin and Deolo. From here, you cancatch a panoramic view of the great Himalayan range that lies beyond it. 

 

It once used to be the hub of the trans-Himalayan tradebetween India and Tibet when merchants used to ferry commerce by mulecaravan over the Jelepla pass on the Sikkim-Tibet border. The area wasruled by Bhutanese kings and was a forward post of the Bhutanese Army till the19th century. Dotted with ancient Buddhist monasteries, centuries old churchesand exquisite revered temples, Kalimpong marks the Bhutanese history till it waswrested by British rulers on December 6, 1864. Since then the British flockedto this part of the country in numbers, built great schools with high standardof education, built several charity institutions, created lovelyhousing architectures and flowering gardens in traditional Britishstyle. While the British have long gone, one still gets an essence of allthese in Kalimpong. No wonder, the town has a number of interesting colonialera buildings scattered around the town. 

 

Kalimpong is also known for its bustling bazaars andtraditional handicrafts. Although Kalimpong town itself is a bit congested, thevast district is full of greenery, forested land and terraced fields whererice,corn, millet and seasonal vegetables are cultivated. The place is also wellknown for growing quality spices like cardamom, ginger, turmericetc. Several great tourist destinations like Lava, Loleygaon, Rishyap,Charkhole, Pedong and Rikkisum are part of Kalimpong district and wellconnected by road. You can easily make day trips to these places. Theclimate of Kalimpong has helped in the production of orchid, cactus, gladiousand ornamental plants in various thriving nurseries which are then exported todifferent countries. Kalimpong is a major center for traditional handicrafts.The wood curving, thanka paintings, metal crafts, Tibetan and Lepcha jewelries, wooden mask, and other traditional items attract a largenumber of tourists throughout the year.

 

Places of Interest


 Morgan House

Located atop Durpin Dara, one of the two hills surrounding Kalimpong, Morgan House is a mansion built by Mr. and Mrs. Morgan in the 1930s. It is an archetypal example of colonial architecture. What makes visiting this gorgeous piece of construction even better is that it is surrounded by legends of it being Haunted! It has been converted into a lodge for tourists and is under the administration of the West Bengal Tourism Development Corporation. There is ample opportunity of visual feast on undulating hillocks, colorful sunsets as one get to see the valleys of Relli, Kapher, Deolo and Labha in various directions.

 Mangaldham Temple

Mangal Dham temple was constructed by Shri Krishna Pranami, a Hindu sect in the memory of late Guru Shri 108 Mangaldasji in 1993. Sprawling over an area of 2 acres of wooded land, this temple is dedicated to Lord Krishna. In addition, the Mangal Dham temple also houses the idols of Prannath, Raj Shyamji and Mangaldasji, which are present on the top floor of this temple. This floor also has pictures depicting several scenes from the lives of Lord Krishna and other patron saints of the temple. The idol of Mangaldasji is on the ground floor of this temple. Mangal Dham is one of the most significant religious centres in Kalimpong.

 Rafting at Labarbotey

If you are sporty and are in love with adventure sports, you should definitely try out river rafting in River Teesta. Located in Labarbotey near Kalimpong, this reverberating river froths down the steep hills and stretches with varying rapids. Slide into an inflatable raft and drift down the river to witness the enchanting beauty of glacial hills and mountain greens around the river. Face the challenge posed by the river along with its dimensional rapids on the way. Swish past them safely and experience the thrill of speed in waters. Witness the huge boulders, feel the hurling current and hear the gurgle of the raging river.

 Deolo Hill

Deolo Hill, located at an altitude of around 5500 feet, is Kalimpong’s highest point that offers most spectacular views of the region. On one side, you will see the buzzing town, nearby villages, the mighty Kanchenjunga and the vast Relli Valley while on the other, you will see the Teesta River meandering its way beautifully. On a clear day, you can also see the snow-clad mountains of west Sikkim from here. It won’t be wrong to say that Deolo Hill offers a 360-degree view of Kalimpong and the neighbouring region. Besides, the gardens at Deolo are well manicured and full of exotic varieties of flowers. No wonder, the parks are a popular picnic spot for tourists as well as locals.

 Durpin Dara

Durpin Dara, located at an altitude of 1,402 metre, is known for its beautiful views. It is an observatory point, which is located approximately 3 kilometre from the town of Kalimpong. Tourists visiting this place can enjoy beautiful views of the Himalayan ranges. Durpin Dara, easily accessible by car, is one of the highest points in Kalimpong. There is also a monastry named Zang Dhok Palri Monastery, located at the Durpin Dara Hill. As you enter the monastery, the first thing you will notice are the two large cylinders on two sides (each about some 10-ft high). You can turn the cylinders by a crank, and a lever is so arranged that a bell will ring at every turn. As common with most Buddhist monasteries, outside on the wall you will see a row of prayer wheels. Durpin monastery was constructed in 1972 by Hon. Dudjum Rimponche.

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