Kalimpong Quick Information
The climate of Kalimpong is conducive for the blooming of a riot of flowers as much as for the hearts of the travelers who visit it craving for some moments of peace. As opposed to its haute neighbour Darjeeling, it is quite a humble hill station, the very reason that makes it a preferred one for those longing to be one with themselves away from the crowds.
At an average elevation of 4,101 ft, the town lies in the Shivalik hills (lesser Himalayas) and offers glorious views of Mount Khangchendzonga, the third highest peak of the world. It used to be a gateway in trade between India and Tibet, across the Jelepla pass. Kalimpong once belonged to chogyals (kings) of Sikkim, and then passed into the hands of Bhutanese, then to the British, before finally becoming a part Independent India. Gompas, temples and churches all vouch for it being a pot pourri of cultures.
In fashion similar to Thekkady (Kerala) that has a number of welcoming spice gardens, Kalimpong sports numerous nurseries with fascinating collections of orchids, gladioli and cactuses that are open to visitors. Unsurprisingly Kalimpong produces 80% of India’s gladioli and the flower market contributes significantly to its economy. An endearing pastime here (bring your walking shoes) is to ramble, up hill and down dale. Further, for the more serious, there are plenty of opportunities for interesting treks, bird and butterfly watching, river rafting and mountain biking also.
Kalimpong Tourist attractions
|Name (Suggested Time Required To See The Place)||Description||Entrance Charges (If Any) For Foreigner||Close Day (If Any)||Open / Close Time|
|Zong Dog Palri Fo-Brang Gompa/ Durpin Gompa||This is a very special monastery of Kalimpong. Reason being; it is the largest monastery of the area and has the distinction of being consecrated by His Holiness Dalai Lama in 1976. It has a big prayer hall adorned with remarkable paintings and thangkas, housing the Kanguyar texts in 108 volumes, which His Holiness brought from Tibet. Few people outside Kalimpong are aware of Dalai Lamas' Kalimpong connection: his brother, one of the foremost in the manufacture of noodles, lives here. There is an interesting Mandala on the second floor. Since the monastery sits atop the Durpin Hill, from its highest storey you can see Siliguri and the top of Khangchendzonga. The Jelepla view point is just 300 m from here.||No entrance fee||No close days|
|Other Gompas||Tharpa Choling Gompa and the Thongsa Gompa are the other two monasteries of the region. The former is a newer one (1937) and belongs to Gelukpa order, to which the Dalai Lama belongs. The later one is the oldest in Kalimpong dating back to 17th the century, the period when it was under the control of Bhutan.|
|Lepcha Museum||Lepchas are the original inhabitants of Sikkim and Kalimpong. Unfortunately Lepchas now are in minority. The museum gives an insight to the culture and lifestyle of this diminishing tribe through a presentation of its musical instruments, articles of worship and other daily use tools and equipments. Nearby is the Lepcha monastery.|
|Army Golf Course||As the name suggests this 9 hole golf course belongs to the army but the visitors can also avail it by paying a nominal fee. The captivating views around make it a photographer’s delight.||No close days||7 am – 12 noon and 3 pm – 7 pm|
|Nurseries||As mentioned above Kalimpong is a flower export major in India. Justifying its fame, it has a number of nurseries and the good news is that many of them are open for visitors. The famous ones include Nurseryman’s Haven flaunting its orchids, Shantikunj boasting its anthuriums, Pine view exhibiting its incredible range of cactus besides Udai Mani Pradhan nursery and many others The season for orchids and cacti is around March and again, for a short burst, in October. Gladioli come from May to July.||INR 5 for most of them||Most of them remain closed on Saturdays||Most of them are open between 8 am and 5 pm (summers) and 8:30 – 4:30 pm (winters)|
|Mangaldham Temple||Dedicated to Guru Magaldas ji, whose Samadhi is placed below the main prayer hall, this is a modern temple sacred to Lord Krishna. The main prayer hall has idols of Lord Krishna and his lady love Radha besides the eight life size vivid dioramas depicting scenes from the life of the Lord. The temple is still in the mode of expansion with the second storey of it under construction.||No entrance fees||No close days||6 am – 6 pm; the main curtain of the temple remains closed between 12 noon – 1 pm|
|Nature Interpretation centre||Operated by the Forest Department, the centre focuses on flora, and fauna and how local people interact with ecology. There are a number of well-organised dioramas, which depict the effects of human activity on the environment|
|The nearest airport is the Bagdogra Airport that is at a distance of 80 km (3 hours) from Darjeeling. Indian Airlines, Jet Airways operate regular services to Kolkata, Delhi & Guwahati & Patna.||The nearest railheads are Siliguri (66 km) and New Jalpaiguri (80 km), which are well connected to Kolkata, Delhi, Guwahati, Varanasi and other major cities of India.||Kalimpong is well connected to Siliguri (66 km), Gangtok (79 km) and Darjeeling (51 km). It is also connected to Bhutan and Nepal.|
|Excursion (Distance In Kms)||Description|
|Teesta Bazar (16 km west of Kalimpong/30 min)||Teesta Valley is the main drainage of Sikkim, Kalimpong and Darjeeling region. It is a major tourist attraction for the adventurers who can enjoy white water rafting in the frothy waters (grade II to IV) of river Teesta. Bookings can be made from DGHC office in Kalimpong. Prime rafting season being September to November and March to June|
|Lava (35 km east of Kalimpong/60 min) and Loleygaon/Kaffer (25 km further Lava/2 hrs)||Not frequented by many tourists, Lava is a quiet and romantic place that abounds in woods of Birch, Oak and Pine and the beautiful orchids. It is also famous for its proximity to the Neora Valley National Park and its beautiful view of the Jelep La and Rechi La passes. Lava is, actually, not a sight seeing destination, it’s rather a natural destination, that is best enjoyed walking around the forest covered village roads. Treks to the Neora valley starts from Lava. Apart from long treks across the valley, small treks are also possible in the region. Common treks include trek to Tiffin Dara, Aluabari etc. Besides one can visit Lava monastery, Nature Interpretation Centre and Changey waterfalls. Loleygaon is the place to get the awe inspiring views of majestic Khanchendzonga. The Heritage Forest at 10 minutes walking distance is the place to feel the exquisite wealth that nature has showered here. The recently built wooden hanging foot bridge over the canopy of the huge trees is a special attraction.|