Kalimpong town is the district headquarter of Kalimpong district. It is in the extreme northeastern part of West Bengal. It is bordered by Sikkim & Darjeeling and the neighboring country of Bhutan. It is situated at an average elevation of 1,250 meters i.e. 4,101 feet. Being the headquarters of the Kalimpong district it is bit populated with quite a number of the government offices. Till mid 19th century, the area of Kalimpong was ruled by the Bhutanese & Sikkimese kings. In 1706, the king of Bhutan won this territory from the Sikkimese monarch and renamed it Kalimpong. Kalimpong is known for its educational institutions, many of which were established during the British colonial period. In November 1864, the Treaty of Sinchula was executed in which the Bhutan Dooars with the passes leading into the hills and Kalimpong were ceded to the British by Bhutanese. English, Bengali & English is the Main Language of the region. The population includes many ethnic groups like Nepalis, Lepchas, Tibetans, Muslims, the Anglo-Indian communities
Kalimpong was an earlier part of Bhutan and was called Dalingkote. It was an important center for Indo-Tibetan trade, being close to the important mountain passes of Nathu-la and Jelep-la. It was renamed after the Anglo-British War in 1864. Kalimpong town is adjacent to Sikkim. It is 50 kilometers from Darjeeling and 80 kilometers from Gangtok. The weather in Kalimpong is alpine with the Himalayan Range visible at one end and the other end is covered by The Neora Valley National Park. One of the green hill stations in India with a rich history. It offers Exquisite orchids, gladioli along with cheese, momo, noodles, and lollipops. There are fifteen major schools in Kalimpong, the most notable ones being Scottish Universities Mission Institution, Dr. Graham's Homes, Gouripur House, Pratima Devi Tagore House, Lepcha Museum, etc.
Kalimpong offers a few of the best restaurants in the region. The popular one offers a wide variety of cuisines, ranging from Indian, Continental, and the locals. Tea is the most popular beverage in the district as it is surrounded by the best tea estate of the region. The plantation area includes Darjeeling & Dooars. Hill sleeps early hence hit any of the joints before 08:00 PM. For the best momos and Thukpas. The district produces the only classic cheese and the texture of hard European cheese with mild almost Parmesan-like flavor. The town is home to Nepalis and Lepchas, other ethnic groups and non-native immigrants from other parts of India also settled here. The major population after Lepchas and Nepalis are the Bengalis, Biharis, and Anglo-Indian communities. Other ethnic groups include Newars, Bhutia, Sherpas, Limbus, Rais, Magars, Chettris, Bahuns, Thakuris, Gurungs, Tamangs, Yolmos, Bhujels, Sunuwars, Sarkis, Damaris, and the Kamis. Kalimpong is a cultural hub of the region. Dashain, Tibetan New Year, Makar Sankranti, Diwali, Losar, and Holi is celebrated with great pomp.
Exquisite orchids grow wild on trees and its pleasure in this area is the walk along winding paths on the hills that surround the area. A number of nurseries have cactus, flowering plant & gladioli displayed for visitors to peek in. The district of Kalimpong and specially Kalimpong Town is known for its flower export industry especially orchids and gladioli. It also is one of the biggest producers of Chilli and Ginger. It is also one of the finest places to have some shopping as there are quite a number of typical products developed or Manufactured here like the famous cheese, noodles, sauces, chocolates, Pickles, and lollipops. The district also exports a wide range of local handicrafts, wood-carvings, embroidered items, Tibetan jewelry, artifacts, bags, and purses with tapestry work, copperware, scrolls, etc. Kalimpong experiences five seasons namely spring, summer, autumn, winter, and the monsoons. The annual temperature ranges from a high of 28°C to a low of 109° C. Summers are mild and the monsoon rains lash the district between Mid May to September. The monsoons are severe and Winter is chilling and lasts from November to March. Monsoon and winter season are severe, Kalimpong is often enveloped by fog. Visiting Kalimpong in summer, soft cotton is good, appropriate rain gear during monsoon and heavy woolens for winter is recommended. Some of the colonial bungalows like Crockety, Galingka, Surya Sadan, and Ringking Farm are worth visiting. Authentic Kalimpong arts, handicrafts, local and village artisans have become one of the major attractions. Souvenirs like carpets, hand-carved tables, furniture, handlooms carpets, and other products are worth it. One more attraction confectionery and the local food are delicious.
Places of interest in Kalimpong Town are Durpin Dara hill, Cactus Nursery, Morgan House, Deolo Hill, Grahams Home, Mangal Dham Temple, Tharpa Choling Monastery, Flower & Cactus Nurseries, Crockety Historic Place, MacFarlane Memorial Church, etc. Around Kalimpong are Lava, Lolaygaon, Rishyap, Samthar Valley, Neora National Park, etc.
Places of Interest
Airways: There are two airports close to Kalimpong Bagdogra Airport (IXB) in West Bengal & Pakyong Airport (PYG) in Sikkim. Bagdogra Airport (IXB) is approximately 95 kilometers and is nearly 03½ - 04 drive to Kalimpong. Pakyong Airport (PYG) is approximately 60 kilometers and is a minimum of 02½ - 03 hours drive along the River Teesta. Bagdogra Airport (IXB) is having regular flights from most of the metros in India and has regular flights.
Railways: There is no railway connectivity till date but a proposed Railway line till Rangpo taken up by the Railway board is on the anvil. New Jalpaiguri Railway Station (NJP) is approximately 95 kilometers away and is the nearest major railway station. Kalimpong has no direct railway station connectivity. There are regular train services from New Jalpaiguri Railway Station (NJP) to all the major railway stations.
Roadways: Bagdogra Airport (IXB) and New Jalpaiguri Railway Station (NJP) is approximately 95 kilometers and is nearly 03 to 03½ drive to Kalimpong along National Highway 10. Pakyong Airport (PYG) is approximately 60 kilometers and is a minimum of 02½ - 03 hours drive along the River Teesta. Kalimpong is situated just 15 kilometers away from National Highway number 10. Pedong & Rikissum is nearly 21 kilometers from Kalimpong. Sillery is 04 kilometers from Pedong and Rikissum is nearly 14 kilometers from Kalimpong. There are two major routes to Pedong one is along the River Teesta and then through Kalimpong to Pedong / Sillery or Rikissum. National Highway 10 is to Gangtok and one has to travel along the route till Chitrey / Teesta Bazaar and then turn to Kalimpomg. The other route is via Dooars which is longer and the drive is via Gorubathan & Lava.