History of Kalimpong
The name, Kalimpong has three different origins. One, it means the place where the local tribesmen gathered to organize field sports, second, it takes it's name from the Bhutanese king's minister's stronghold and thirdly, it is named after Kaulim, a fibrous plant found in abundance in this region. The town is 1250 m above sea level and offers excellent views of the Mt Kanchenjunga and the other Himalayan peaks. The popular view points are Durpin Dara and Deoro Hill.
Until the mid-19th Century, the area around Kalimpong was ruled in succession by the Sikkimese and Bhutanese kingdoms. Under rule of the King of Sikkim, the area was known as "Dalingkot". In 1706, the king of Bhutan won this territory from the Sikkimese monarch and renamed it Kalimpong. Overlooking the Teesta River Valley, Kalimpong, a small pristine hamlet is believed to have once been the forward position of the Bhutanese in the 18th century. The area was sparsely populated by the indigenous Lepcha tribal community and migrant Bhutia and Limbu tribes. Later in 1780, the Gurkhas invaded and conquered Kalimpong. After the Anglo-Bhutan War in 1864, the Treaty of Sinchula (1865) was signed, in which Bhutanese held territory east of the Teesta River was ceded to the British East India Company.
Tourism in Kalimpong
Kalimpong has several monasteries and also a Hindu Kali temple. The Tibetan Monastery and curio-center and Dr Graham's home are important tour stops. Some of the major tourist spots in Kalimpong are Dr. Graham S Homes Campus, 7th Mile View Point, Army Golf Club, Nature Interpretation Centre, Kalimpong Arts And Crafts Centre, Sericulture Research Institute, Kali Mandir, MacFarlane Memorial Church, Mangal Dham Temple; St. Theresa Church, Thongsha Gompa, Relli River, Reshi Retreat (Reshi Khola) and Farmhouse, Kalimpong Science Centre and Deolo.
Lava (32kms), a small village is another picturesque place. Lava is also the base for trekking to the Neora National Park. Lolegaon is 25 kms from Lava and one can see the Singalila ranges from here.
Tharpa Choeling Gompa
The Tharpa Choeling Gompa, which belongs to the Yellow Hat (Gelukpa) sect of Tibetan Buddhism, is a 40 minute walk from town. Lower down the hill, the Tongsa Gompa, or Bhutanese Monastery, is the oldest monastery in the area and dates back to 1692.
Zong Dog Palri Fo-Brang Gompa
Zong Dog Palri Fo-Brang Gompa was built in the mid-70s at Durpin Dara Hill and was consecrated by the Dalai Lama. The gompa is worth a visit for its impressive wall paintings in the prayer room, and a rare three-dimensional "mandala" upstairs. The mountain views are amazing from Durpin Dara Hill.
Kalimpong produces 80% of India's gladioli and is a significant orchid-growing area and it comes as no surprise that flowers are exported from here to many cities in northern India.
Shri Mangal Dham
A lavish tribute would still fall short to a soul so divine. Nevertheless "Mangal Dham" is a memorial built in this divine memory in 1993.Sprawling over an area of two acres, "Mangal Dham" is considered to be one of the most splendid temples in India.
Sericulture Research Institute
At thisinstitute 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.
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.
Dr. Graham's Home
Less than an hour's walk away from the town centre is Dr. Graham's Home, which was founded in 1900 on the lower slopes of Deolo Hill. The chapel above the school dates from 1925 and features beautiful stained-glass windows. Tourists can also visit the fine turn-of-the-century school building, and many people often picnic on the school grounds. From the school building, it is a further 40 minute walk to the summit of Deolo Hill, where there is a Tourist Bungalow and one can enjoy fine views of Kalimpong from here.
Kalimpong has a well laid-out golf course near the Durpin Dara Monastery. The monastery was built in the mid-1970s at Durpin Dara and consecrated by the Dalai Lama. The view from here is breath-taking. The nine-hole golf course at Senchal (near Darjeeling) is one of the highest in the world.
Nature Interpretation Centre
Located on Rinkingpong Rd, this centre consists of a number of well-organized dioramas, which depict the effects of human activity on the environment. The centre is open to visitors from Friday to Wednesday from 10 am to 4 PM and admission is free.
Nearest airport Bagdogra (80 kms from Kalimpong) is connected to Calcutta, Delhi, Guwahati and other places of north-eastern Indian by Indian Airlines, Damania and Vayudoot services. Two nearest railway stations are New Jalpaiguri (NJP) and Shiliguri where NJP is directly connected by rail with all the important places in India. Kalimpong is approachable by roads from Siliguri (66kms), Darjeeling (51kms), Gangtok (79 kms;Sikkim) major cities like Calcutta 651 kms, Guwahati 513 kms, Delhi 1312 kms and other major cities in India.
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Kalimpong, Darjeeling District, West Bengal