Kalimpong is a small hill station in West Bengal located very near Darjeeling. As a renowned tourist destination the place is surrounded on all sides by rich panorama comprising of majestic mountains, natural springs and lakes and lush green tropical forest. It is indeed the ideal paradise for nature lovers. Whether you are an adventurist looking forward to pump up the adrenalin level or willing to spend a peaceful vacation nestled in the Himalayas far away from hassles of the city – Kalimpong is the ideal destination for you. The place is rich in monasteries and temples. Foodies are bound to be delighted as the place also offers infinite options of mouth-watering dishes to cater to their taste buds.
How to reach
The small municipality area has no air port of its own. The nearest one is Bagdogra in Siliguri about three hours drive. The Bagdogra airport is well connected with all the major cities of the country. Kalimpong is pretty easily accessible by car from Darjeeling, Siliguri and Gangtok. In fact road trip is the best option if you’re going from Darjeeling because of the spectacular views of the mountains and those lush, evergreen forests in between.
Things to do at Kalimpong
· Deolo Hill
it is the highest point in the entire Kalimpong area and offers you the grandest view of the valley sweeping about 1,700 sq meters. It is even possible to identify the dotted villages and towns in the distance from here. You can seek a number of adventure sports here including paragliding, horse riding and trekking on the mountains. There are a number of hilly springs and fountains nearby. You can enjoy family picnics at those picturesque spots under the bright sun. Early risers love watching 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 biggest commercially run flower nurseries in the valley and is home to a vast range of exotic flowers and plants. The place also acts as a great learning center for kids about nature and its conservation. You can view some of the rarest orchids and cactuses here. The nursery is curved out of a fantastic natural landscape. People come here also to enjoy the serene atmosphere along with breath-taking panoramic views.
· Imbibe the beauty of the Durpin Dara hills and get intoxicated
The hill is at the southern part of the town and is the second highest hill point in the region. This place offers one of the best views of the Kanchenjunga. Two torrential hilly rivers the Teesta and the Rangeet flow through the place. The famous Durpin Monastery is also located here, which houses few exceptionally rare Buddhist manuscripts. One can easily spend a fun-filled and memorable day visiting the monastery.
· The Zong Dog Palri Fo Brand Gompa
The gompa or monastery is a wonderful specimen of genuine Buddhist architecture. It was built almost half a century ago under the noble guidance of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The monastery holds a very special place in the hearts of the local Buddhist community. The center, popular for religious activities, is also an impressive warehouse of rare texts, manuscripts and paintings on Tibetology.
It is actually a British-styled cottage built during the days of the Raj. The property boasts of its architectural grandeur even to this day and time. Interestingly, in early 1900s it served as a trade house as wool merchants all over the world used to converge here to conduct their business activities. The property includes adjoining gardens and lawns that are upkeep with great care and effort.
· Super natural activities at the Morgan house
Kalimpong is also on ghost map! Lots of movies have already been made in which is an old house built on a hilltop and haunted by ghosts. In Kalimpong you are free to visit such a property in person. Some Mr. and Mrs. Morgan built this house sometime in the 1930s. In course of time a thick web of supernatural incidents has been weaved up centering the property. To cut a long story short, local legend has it that the Morgan house is inhibited by ghosts. However the property is a fine testament of the bygone colonial era and its architectural wonder is worth admiring. Moreover it sits on a gorgeous hilly landscape. Presently the property is run as a hotel by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of West Bengal. But that won’t prevent you from crossing over the threshold and take a leisurely look 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 landslides 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.