The north of India has always attracted and enchanted me in ways that no other part of India could. The chilly weather, the refreshing wind, the evergreen trees, and the vast meadows complemented perfectly by the snow-capped Himalayas. The states of this region are ever so beautiful and charming.
In every season I have found joy in visiting the North. In summers you can head out to any place in the North to escape the scorching heat, in spring you can enjoy the vibrancy of the flowers that dance with the wind, and in winter you can enjoy the cool snowy weather.
One such place in India is Kalimpong, a district in Darjeeling. Kalimpong is a quaint town located in the midst of the two mighty rivers- Teesta and Jaldhaka. It is surrounded by the intimidating yet wonderful Kangchendzonga and other Himalayan mountains. In more ways that one, Kalimpong is the perfect vacation spot to make some really fond and exciting memories.
Kalimpong was actually created by the British, who turned it into a summer retreat for themselves. Now, this place is for everyone who is looking to witness some spectacular natural beauty and landscapes.
Kalimpong is heaven for any nature lovers who love to spend some idyllic time with the creations of God itself. The place is filled with unique flora and fauna.
I have visited Kalimpong many times. I cannot get enough of the beauty that resides in this place. Every time I step into Kalimpong I feel of my problems have been carried away with the wind that swept my face the moment I reached here.
Kalimpong has many wonderful places to visit-
This amazing little park is situated atop a hill which offers some spellbinding views. It is located about half an hour away from the main area of the town. Every time I come to Kalimpong, this is the park I come to sit back and reorganise the cluster of thoughts in my head.
Delo Hills also a really nice restaurant where you can enjoy some wine and food. There are benches all over the place, as trees protect you from the harsh sunlight. Everything is perfect in this park and peaceful. I have always found immense joy in sitting on one of the benches, with a tree over it to give me shade, and with a book in my hand. The water reservoir located here is also the water source for the entire town of Kalimpong. If peace and nature are what you are looking for, then Delo Hills is the way to go.
You can also head to Durpin Hills, which is located on the opposite hill of Delo.
This place offers beautiful views of the hills and the entire town of Kalimpong. Many locals claim that the name of the cliff was derived from the fact that a lot of monkeys can be seen in and around this place. When I went there, I too was surprised to see that indeed there are a lot of monkeys that have made this their home. Many of them just sit there perched on the fence, while many run around and have fun with their lives.
However, another legend suggests, that the name is actually derived from the structure of the mountain that can be seen from this cliff. It is said that the mountain looks like a sleeping monkey, hence the name is Monkey Cliff.
No matter what the reason, this place is beautiful and will prove to be a great experience for anybody who decides to go here.
There is no better place to go to other than a monastery if you are looking for peace and introspection. This monastery in Kalimpong is the embodiment of the beautiful Tibetan and Nepali Culture that resides here. It is an ode to this confluence of the different cultures. This is also the largest monastery in Kalimpong.
The monastery is located at 1372 meters right at top of Durpin Hills. The monastery is also surrounded by some of the most majestic views in Kalimpong. This monastery belongs to the Yellow Hat Sect of Buddhism, the same sect to which the present Dali Lama belongs.
This is where some part of the history of Kalimpong resides in. He was one of the first Scottish missionaries to come to Kalimpong in order to preach Christianity. But, after some time he realised the need for different kinds of facilities rather than preaching. He established an orphanage cum school for the underprivileged who were Anglo Indians. He thus started the ‘ St. Andrew’s Colonial Homes’ which was then developed into a township on Tripai Hills. This township had everything cottages, farm, chapel, workshop, hospital, bakery playground, poultry, staff quarters and hostel
Kalimpong is right said to be the abode of nature. This little nursery started by the late Mr. Pradhan takes that ideology even further. The nursery has different varieties of cactus, and some of them even have colourful flowers on them. There are different varieties of rose and other beautiful and mesmerising flowers. The nursery is very well maintained by the family of Mr. Pradhan, and a visit to this nursery is a must.
From Rafting to Trekking, adventure sports find a place in Kalimpong. The treks are suavely spread out over two to three days and range between the altitude of 1200 meters to 1500 meters. The trek covered Kalimpong and few other neighbouring villages.
Rafting and paragliding are also popular adventure sports that can be done in Kalimpong.
The majority of the people that stay in Kalimpong are ethnic Nepali, who had migrated years ago searching for jobs during the British reign. It is their generation and bloodline that still dominates this place. There are many diverse indigenous groups here Newars, Lepchas, Bhutia, Sherpas, Limbus, Rais, Magars, Gurungs, Tamangs, Yolmos, Bhujels, Sunuwars, Sarkis, Damais and the Kamis, all of whom reside happily under the same sky.
The market is bustling with street side shops, filled with winter wear and wooden souvenirs. The Tibetan shoemaking is one of the most sought after product, and other products like Silverware and statue making by Sakya craftsman, bamboo products by Lepcha tribe, bamboo stools (Murha) by blind school trainee, Tibetan wooden carvings among many others, are also very popular.
The market is always filled with energy and life. There are also some wonderful laid back cafes that dot the main area. These cafes are great places to unwind after a good day of sightseeing. Kalimpong is like a poem which goes on to poetic verses which talk about splendour and beauty. It is the for everyone, no matter what the age group or gender or caste to enjoy and relish.
From couples to the elderly to families, everyone can find something unique about this place. It is where nature has taken abode and is shining in its full glory.