Kalimpong The Serene Hill Station and Abode of Peace : Kalimpong is a small hill station in West Bengal located very close to Darjeeling. As a well-known tourist destination, this place is surrounded by a rich panorama consisting of majestic mountains, natural springs and lakes, and lush green tropical forests. It’s an ideal paradise for nature lovers.
Whether you are an adventurer looking for an adrenaline rush or want to spend a peaceful holiday nestled in the Himalayas away from the hustle and bustle of the city – Kalimpong is the ideal destination for you. This place is rich in monasteries and temples. Foodies will surely be delighted because this place also offers an endless selection of delicious dishes to cater to their taste buds.
How to reach
Small municipal areas do not have their own airports. The closest is Bagdogra in Siliguri about three hours drive. Bagdogra Airport is well connected with all major cities in the country. Kalimpong is quite easily accessible by car from Darjeeling, Siliguri and Gangtok. Even a road trip is the best option if you go from Darjeeling because of the spectacular mountain views and the lush evergreen forest in between.
Things to Do in Kalimpong
· Deolo Hill
It is the highest point in the entire Kalimpong area and offers the grandest views of the valley spanning about 1,700 square meters. It was even possible to identify villages and towns dotted in the distance from here. You can find a number of adventure sports here including paragliding, horse riding and trekking in the mountains.
There are a number of hilly springs and fountains nearby. You can enjoy a family picnic in beautiful places under the bright sun. Early risers love to see the sunrise here. Moreover, there is a recreational park where you can enjoy quality time with your near and dear ones.
· Visit the cactus nursery
It is one of the largest commercial flower nurseries in the valley and is home to a wide variety of exotic flowers and plants. It also serves as a great learning center for children about nature and its conservation. You can see some of the rarest orchids and cacti here. The nursery arches out of the fantastic natural landscape. People come here too to enjoy the serene atmosphere along with the stunning panoramic views.
· Enjoy the beauty of Durpin Dara hills and get drunk
This hill is in the southern part of the city and is the second highest hill point in the area. This place offers one of the best views of Kanchenjunga. Two swift hilly rivers, Teesta and Rangeet flow through the place. The famous Durpin Monastery is also located here, which houses some very rare Buddhist manuscripts. One can easily spend a pleasant and memorable day visiting the monastery.
· Dogs Zong Palri Fo Brand Gompa
Gompa or monasteries are examples of genuine Buddhist architecture. It was built almost half a century ago under the noble guidance of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. This monastery has a very special place in the heart of the local Buddhist community. This center, popular for religious activities, is also an impressive repository of texts, manuscripts and rare paintings on Tibetology.
This is actually an English style cottage built in the Raj era. The property boasts of its architectural splendor even today. Interestingly, in the early 1900s this place served as a trading house because wool traders around the world used to gather here to carry out their business activities. The property includes adjoining gardens and lawns which are carefully and painstakingly maintained.
· Super natural activities at Morgan’s house
Kalimpong is also on the ghost map! Many movies have been made where an old house is built on top of a hill and is haunted by ghosts. In Kalimpong you are free to visit such properties in person. Some Mr and Mrs Morgan built this house around the 1930’s. In the course of time, a thick network of supernatural incidents has intertwined in the center of the property. Long story short, local legend says that Morgan’s house is blocked by a ghost.
But the property is a good testament to the past colonial era and its architectural marvels are worthy of admiration. Apart from that it sits in a beautiful hilly landscape. Currently the property is managed as a hotel by the Ministry of Tourism, West Bengal Government. But that won’t prevent you from crossing the threshold and casually looking around.
The best time to visit
Nested in the Himalayas the place has a soothing weather almost round the year. In other words you can come here any time. However, just like most of the other hill stations in India, the best time to visit here is between late February and May, when summer is at its peak. During these months the average temperature ranges between 15 and 25 degrees Centigrade; the weather is very pleasant – neither too cold nor too hot to roam about in the sun.
And most importantly during summers you can be assured to get the best and the clearest view of the Kanchenjunga and the Seven Sisters. In monsoon due to gloomy sky vision is pretty low while in winters it is because of the fogy atmosphere. Once the monsoon sets in the entire region gets swept with rain from June till the end of September. During this time of the year erosions are very common as are road blockades.
In fact monsoon is risky to visit the hills. From October till the beginning of February the temperature dips below sub zero and snowfalls are common. If you can bear the chill then winter is a lovely time to vacation in Kalimpong.