Covered with Far with lots of orchids and flowers, it is a calm Hill Station in West Bengal situated between Delo & Durpindara Mountains. The spectacular colour change in North East horizon is unparallel in the whole world. The Height of Kalimpong is 1250 meters. In earlier days, people use to visit Kalimpong for health reasons due to its climatic conditions. Earlier it was under the Sikkim Monarchy, later on, in 1706, part of Kalimpong was taken over by Bhutan & Bhutanese Governor's Office was established thereat. In 1780, Gorkhas took control of the other part & in the 19th Century British took over Kalimpong & so it became a integral part of West Bengal & therefore, India. The name Kalimpong was derived from 'Kalim', which stands for King's Minister & 'Pong', which means Fort. Some says, the name was derived from Koulim Trees. In Lepcha language Kalimpong means playground between two hills.
Kalimpong is known for its educational institutions many of which were established during the British colonial period. Kalimpong , located on a ridge overlooking River Teesta, is a tourist destination for temperate climate and proximity to popular tourist locations in the region. Kalimpong is famous for its horticulture of various rare species of world famous orchids. Kalimpong is a town of religious centre of Buddhism.
Kalimpong ’s attractions include three Buddhist monasteries, spectacular churches, an excellent private library for the study of Tibetan and Himalayan language and culture, a sericulture centre and a fine view of the surrounding countryside.
Like the other hill towns, Kalimpong bears a name of historic significance. Once the headquarters of a Bhutanese Governor, the word ‘Kalim’ means King’s Minister and ‘ pong’ – the stronghold i.e, the stronghold of the King’s minister. It is also called ‘kalibong’ or the spur by the hill people. ‘Kalimpong ’ in local dialect stands for ‘Kaulim’ which is a fibrous plant which grows in abundance in this region.
How to get there
Kalimpong is located off the National Highway 31A (NH31A), which links Sevok to Gangtok.
LOCAL TRANSPORTATION- Cars, Buses and Taxis are available for transfer of passengers between Kalimpong and Siliguri/New Jalpaiguri Junction/ Bagdogra, and also for sightseeing at fixed rates and may be reserved through Tourist Bureau, Govt. of West Bengal, Kalimpong . Private Taxis, Jeeps and Landrovers are available for local sightseeing in and around Kalimpong .
AIR – Bagdogra Airport near Siliguri, is 80 km (3 hours) from Kalimpong .
ROAD – Kalimpong is approachable by roads from Siliguri (66kms), Darjeeling (51kms) and Gangtok (79 kms;Sikkim).
RAIL – The nearest railway connection to Kalimpong is New Jalpaiguri which is around 77 km away.
Places to visit in and around Kalimpong -
Durpin Dara- From Durpin Dara spectacular view of the Himalaya can be enjoyed along with the panoramic view of the Teesta and Relli rivers, and the plains far below.
Zong Dhog Palri Fo Brang monastery- 2 kms from Kalimpong it is situated at Tirpai hills near Durpin Dara is another attraction of the area.
Pedong monastery- Built around 1837, is of Bhutanese origin.
Kalimpong Arts & Craft Center- In 1897 by Mrs. Graham started a center where carpet weaving, dyeing, painting, tailoring, leather craft and carpentry were taught to the local artisans and craftsmen.
Gouripur House- A summer retreat of Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore where he created many unforgettable poems.
Deolo Hill – It is famous for splendid view of Mt Kanchenjunga in the early morning. Deolo is famous for Dr. John A. Grahams educational institution built in 1880.
The MacFarlane Church- This church is built by the Scottish Missionaries which is the evidence to Kalimpong ’s European influence.
Mangal Dham Mandir- Built in 1993, Mangal Dham is one of the most splendid temples in India.
Tharpa Choling Monastery – A repository of old Budhist scriptures, and documents.
Thongsa (Bhutan) Monastery- Oldest monastery in the area.
Dharmodaya Vihar- A Nepalese Buddhist temple.
Tharpa Choeling Gompa – This belongs to the Yellow Hat (Gelukpa) sect of Tibetan Buddhism, is a 40 minute walk from town.
Flower Nurseries – Kalimpong produces 80% of India’s gladioli and is a significant orchid-growing area.
Sericulture Research Institute -At this institute silkworms are bred and silk is produced as well as herbs and plants. Locate on the road to Darjeeling, the institute can be visited between 9.30 am and 4 PM.