Tourism in Kalimpong

Fast Facts

Area 36,021 sq. km
Languages Bengali, Nepali, Hindi and English
Best Time to Visit April-June
STD Code 03552

The first thing that strikes the traveler visiting Kalimpong is its quiet atmosphere. The peaceful ambience that pervades is heightened by the presence of monasteries and churches across the town. Kalimpong is also known for its bustling bazaars and traditional handicrafts. It is famous for its orchids and nurseries. Kalimpong offers panoramic view of the great Himalayan ranges that lie beyond it.

Location

Kalimpong is located in the northern part of the state of West Bengal, in the northeastern region of India. It is adjacent to the state of Sikkim and near the Teesta River. It is set amongst the foothills of the mighty Himalayas at an altitude of 1250 m above sea level. Kalimpong is 50 km from Darjeeling and 80 km from Gangtok. The weather in Kalimpong is alpine. Summers (April-June) are mild and winters are cold (November-February). It experiences southwestern monsoon rains in July-September.

Best Time To Visit

The best time to visit Kalimpong is during summer.

History

The etymology of Kalimpong has several interpretations. According to one view, Kalimpong means a place where tribesmen gather and organize traditional tribal games. The second view suggests that the name has been derived from a place in Bhutan. A third interpretation is that Kalimpong is named after Kaulim, a fibrous plant found in abundance in this region.

Until the 18th century AD, Kalimpong was a part of the Kingdom of Sikkim and was ruled by Sikkimese rulers. It was then taken over by the Bhutanese. In the 19th century, the British took over Kalimpong and merged into the present Indian state of West Bengal.

Tourists Attractions

There are a number of places of tourist interest in Kalimpong. Kalimpong has three important gompas or monasteries: the Tharpa Choeling Gompa, the Tongsa Gompa and Zong Dog Palri Fo-Brang Gompa. The Tharpa Choeling Gompa was established in 1922 and belongs to the Yellow Hat (Gelukpa) sect of Tibetan Buddhism. His Highness the Dalai Lama also belongs to this sect, which was founded in the 14th century in Tibet. The Tongsa Gompa is located near the Tharpa Choeling Gompa. It is the oldest monastery in Kalimpong and was founded in 1692. The present building is constructed over the ruins of the original monastery, which was raised by the Gurkhas, in the pre-British era. The Zong Dog Palri Fo-Brang Gompa was built in the mid-1970s on Durpin Hill and is located 5 km south from the town center. It was consecrated by His Highness the Dalai Lama. This monastery is famous for its traditional Tibetan wall paintings.

Kalimpong is an important flower producing center and it produces 80% of the total gladioli produced in India. There are numerous nurseries in Kalimpong, which excel in production of orchids. Travelers can visit some important nurseries across the town and look at their collection of flowers, orchids and cacti.

Other places to visit in Kalimpong include the Sericulture Research Institute, Dr Graham's Home and the adjoining chapel (located on the slopes of Deolo Hill), and the Nature Interpretation Center (located on Rinkingpong road).

Places Around Kalimpong

Teesta Bazaar, located 16 km from Kalimpong, is an important place for whitewater 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.

From Kalimpong it is possible to go to visit Phuntsholing across the Bhutanese border, without a visa.

Fairs & Festivals

Kalimpong hosts an annual flower festival in the month of October.

How To Reach

By Air - The nearest airport is at Bagdogra and the nearest railhead at Siliguri. Kalimong is linked with Gangtok and Bagdogra by road. We would provide you all India tourist permit vehicles for the local transportations and also for the intercity drives too.

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