Kalimpong is the most amazing place I had ever visited.This beautiful place is an off grid destination.This hidden gem is least explored. It is snuggled in the Eastern Himalayan Range in West Bengal, India. A trip to Kalimpong and Lalegoan is one of the most unforgetable experience.
The journey from Darjeeling to Kalimpong is extremely delightful. It’s a three hour road trip. We were welcomed by the tall pine trees , gushing river , towering evergreen mountain and cool gentle breeze.
Almost after two and an half hour journey from Darjeeling, we finally reached to our destination ” Delo Hill”. We had booked a homestay called Whitebark. After checked in, enquired about the nearest tourist attraction as we were late… It was around 3:30 pm. The host of the homestay told us to visit Science City.
Kids can play , run and roll on the park . View of kamlimpong town from the park is stunning . Kids and me enjoyed so much at the park . It opens at 8:00 am and closes at 4:30 pm everyday except Monday . We stayed there till 5 :00 pm . The watchman insisted us to go and visit next day . It was almost dark by then . The kids, they didnot want to leave , anyhow we left the park . On the way we saw a huge Statue of Lord Buddha . We reached to our homestay tired and exhausted …had dinner and slept like a sloth .
Next day we booked a taxi for whole day to see the nearby all the major tourist attrctions . We headed towards the Delo Park….situated at the hilltop. The view of snowcapped Kenchenjenga , Relli river , villages and the Kalimpong town is flabbergasting . Clouds hovering beneath our feet was an extraordinary experience . Exquite flowers and greenery all around is treat to an eye. It is the best place to hangout with friends and family . There are swings , horse riding for the kids , adventure seekers can go for paragliding at affordable price around Rs 2500 . There is a government tourist resort. You can book it in advance. It provides all the modern amenities.
DURPIN MONASTRY was our next destination. It is situated on Durpin Dara (hill). It is about half an hour drive from Kalimpong town. While on your way you will pass through many villages and towns.
It is one of the largest and oldest monastery in the West Bengal. Official name of the monastery is Zang Dhok Parli but popularly known as Durpin Monastery because of its location. It was established by Dudjum Rimpoche in 1970. Six year later, consecrated by His Holiness Dalai Lama. Its importance lies in the fact that it has the huge collection of bhuddist scripture called kangyur which was donated by His Holiness Dalai Lama. It houses prayer hall with huge statue of Buddha. It is designed in old bhuddist architectural style. Walls are sculpted, huge paintings are there for display.
You are welcomed by huge gate and fluttering colorful bhuddist flags, as you entered the gate you will see a statue of Dudjum Rimpoche.Around five stupas are there behind the monastery in series, looks amazing. View of Durpin hill and Teesta river from Zang Dhok Parli monastery is mesmerizing. It opens at 9 am and closes 5 pm everyday.
On our way to Durpin Monastery, we came across LIONS ARMY GOLF COURSE , we stopped there for short break to have snacks at Army Canteen. Personally I liked the place. I bet you would fall in love with the place. Lush green uneven fields surround with Oaks, Dhupi and Cypress Trees and above it blue sky . View is paranomic you can stand and stare for hours and can’t get enough of it. It is well maintained by Army. You can get into golf field only after taking permission from the Army Authority. If you fails to get permission you can have snacks, tea or coffee at army canteen and enjoy the view of golf course talking with your friends and family members. It opens 9 am to 5 pm.
Next, on the same day we visited PINE VIEW CACTUS NURSERY ORCHID.
It is located at the prime location of the town at the side of the road. The Nursery spread in 2 acres of area. It has wide varieties of cactus and succulents species collected from all parts of the worlds. You will witness both exotic and indeginous species of succulents. Around 1500 species of succulents are there. It houses the largest species of succulents and cactus in whole Asia. It exports the succulent to other parts of the world.
We were tired and hungry, so came back to town to have some food. There are lots of good cafes and restaurant like Cafe Refuel, Art Cafe, Tiffany, King Thai and many more. Lots of options are there to choose. We chose ART CAFE a bit far away from Kalimpong Town, located in serene environment at Chotta Bhalukhop area opposite Kalimpong Library. Its a lovely cute Cafe with artistic and antique decor. You can enjoy Asian fusion dishes. It’s the best place to hangout. It offers a terrace, view from the terrace is astounding. You can read magazine and chill out. I highly recommend it to fellow traveller to experience once if you are planning to visit Kamlipong.
Next day we were taken to MANGAL DHAM TEMPLE , one of the significant religious site of West Bengal, situated at the hill of kalimpong. It is located in 9th mile,near Engine Dara .Temple was dedicated to Lord Krishna.It covers sprawling 2 acres of land with beautiful garden. It was established in 1993 in the memory of Guru ji Shri Mangaldasji Maharaj. He was a hindu missionary came to Kalimpong in 1940. He carried out lots of social work there, established orphanges, schools and temples to serve the god and humans. He spreaded the words of god and love.
If you are pilgrimage tourist, you can book rooms, clean wash rooms and other necessary amenities are accessible. Avail food on purchase. Cameras are allowed, shoes and slippers are allowed inside the Temple.
After relaxing half an hour at this memorial, one of the splendid Temple of India, kids wanted to enjoying. We headed to towards PUDUNG SWIMMING POOL. It is located in Pudung village, small village in the midst of jungle. Swimming Pool is surrounded quite jungles. Lots of people of all age groups come here everyday for swimming, spend time with family and friends. It has eating outlets. Entry fees to swimming pool is Rs 50 for a kid and Rs 70 for an adult. Spend extra 150 bucks for a rubber tube and a ball. Depth of swimming pool is around 7 feet. Kids can swim at the depth of 3 to 4 feet. Pro swimmer can swim at the depth of 7 feet without tubes. Ideal time to visit this place is summer to beat the heat.
Kids got exhausted after swimming more than two hours. It was almost dark. We went back to our homestay White Bark. Had dinner and snuggled inside blanket to have ample rest. Next day we planned to visit Lepcha Museum.
LEPCHA MUSEUM is one of kind in kalimpong, trying to preserve lost cultural and tradition of rare lepcha community. Museum displays Lepcha traditional utencils, handicrafts, weapons, tools, articles of worship, musical instruments, farming tools etc. Every articles reflect life, tradition and cultures of lepcha community.
Next day we headed to visit Lepcha Museum.
LEPCHA’S are the indeginous tribe of Sikkim and Nepal, their origin trace back to Tibet as mongoloid. It is believed that lepcha tribe are rarest tribe or ” vanishing tribe” because of its reasonable number of population, around 50000 existed now. Lepchas in the Himalayas of Sikkim and Nepal don’t share any cultural and traditional similarities with the Tibetians. They have their own unique cultural and tradition. They worship the Mount Kenchenjunga. They call themselves ” Rong “. They speak “Rongring” classified as Tibetians- Burma tongue . The alphabet of Rongring are taken from Tibetians scripts. They live 5000 – 7000 feet altitude in around 120 villages in Kalimpong. There main occupation is farming. Cultural and arts lovers and who is interested in studying heritage must visit this Museum and witness rich cultural heritage of lepcha community. It was an enriching experience.
Our next and final destination , was most hyped among tourist- LALEGAON.
” LALEGOAN ” a beautiful quite lepcha village in 5500 feet altitude. Beauty of this village can’t describe in words. Literally one has to come here and witness its beauty. It’s one of the life time experience. I bet whoever had visited this place, couldn’t deny it. It has beautiful landscape, lush green forest and the giant terrain of Kenchenjunga. Literally small paradise on earth. You can reach here from Kalimpong town just in one hour drive. I got lost here in serene and splendid beauty of lalegoan.
This small village offers lots of things to nature enthusiasts, adventure seeker .It is the perfect place to get away from hustle and bustle of city.
Most paranomic view of snow clad Kenchenjunga can be witnessed from Jhandi Dara View Point. Best view of sunset and sunrise too. The vibrant colorful bhuddist flags added extra charm to this place. Jhandi in Nepali means Flag.
You can go for CANOPY WALK here.. In the forest, abundantly filled with Fir, Oak, Birch and Cypress trees. You will encounter wide range of flora and fauna. Forest is preserved in its pristine form unexploited. Naturally hanging bridge is made by inter connecting one tree after another, around 180 m long. Experience of walking over the bridge is memorable. Beauty of whole forest can be Viewed while walking over it.
Adventures seeker can go for trekking and camping. You can trek till VIP BANGALOW to see the view of Kenchenjunga, sunrise and sunset. Its a Government Bungalow located at hilltop… maintain perfectly.
It was the last destination of our journey, There are lots more to see and visit. Places like Lava, Rishi, Rikisom, kabru,Narsim…i would come again to visit those unexplore places.
I had a limited number of days, covered as much as possible. Now its time to go back to my nest.
Best time visit kalimpong : October to march. You can visit any month. Weather is pleasant whole year.
Best way to reach : Land to Bagdogra Airport(Siliguri) , book Cab or opt for share taxi.
By train : Reach NJP railway station, book a cab or go for share taxi.
Accommodation : Lots of option are there. Budget and luxury hotels. Book what suits you.
AMAZING FACTS ABOUT KALIMPONG :
1.Kalimpong means ” Lord of the kings “.
2. Once it was a part of Bhutan. It became the part of British India in 1874.
3. Still in few places of Kalimpong Bhutan currency can be used, Bhutan curency is considered equivalent to Indian Currency.
4. Tharpa Choling Monastery of Kalimpong is one of the first Tibetan Monastery established in India.
5. Few areas of Kalimpong are considered ” Ecological Hotspots ” of India because of its diverse Flora and fauna
6. Morgan House a colonial banglow built in 1930, has some creepy and spooky stories attached to it, hence called as ” haunted house “