A perfect getaway for summers, Kalimpong is located in the lower Himalayan Range of West Bengal. The place is situated at an altitude of 1250 metres and is a popular holiday destination amongst travellers because it is also close to touristy places like Gangtok and Darjeeling - yes, you can practically visit all 3 if you’re planning a trip around the area!
But what’s great about Kalimpong isn’t just the quiet time it has to offer, but also an array of things you can do here. From visiting ancient Buddhist monasteries to old churches and popular temples or rafting, paragliding and fishing for those who like a little adventure during their vacation
, the place caters to it all.
So here are the 10 best things you should definitely be doing if you’re in Kalimpong.
1. Explore The Nurseries
Kalimpong is one of the biggest flower exporters. It produces about 80% of India’s gladioli and sundry orchids. So if you’re in town, definitely visit Nurseryman’s Haven at Holumba Haven. You’ll be awestruck seeing hundreds of species of orchids. If you have more time at hand, do visit Shantikunj as well to see anthuriums and the bird of paradise, and the Pineview Nursery for the amazing cactus collection.
2. Enjoy A Hot Cup Of Coffee At One Cup
One Cup is Kalimpong’s first coffee house. Although the place gets a little noisy by evening, you can definitely enjoy an espresso sometime in the morning. The cakes and ice creams offered by One Cup are also definitely a must-try. After all, what’s better than coffee and a slice of cake to kick start your day?
3. Visit The Neora Valley National Park
Neora Valley National Park is a national reserve that is about 40 kom from Kalimpong. Home to red pandas, clouded leopards and various species of owls, pigeons, eagles, finches, woodpeckers and more, the reserve is a birding haven. The park is closed during heavy monsoon, so you might want to plan accordingly.
4. Read To Your Heart’s Content At Kashi Nath & Sons
A very popular bookshop, Kashi Nath & Sons has a brilliant collection of books on Buddhism, Tibet and Nepal. It also houses some of the popular Indian and international novels. Because vacation is the only time most of us get to catch up with some reading!
5. Pay A Visit To Dr.Graham’s Home
An orphanage and school build back in 1900 by Dr JA Graham, a Scottish missionary, with the aim to educate the children of tea estate workers, is a must visit place. Housing more than thousand students today, the orphanage also has a museum that commemorates Dr Graham. There is also a chapel above the school that with its grey slate, spire and stained glass windows, looks straight out of a Scotland parish.
6. Admire The Crafts Work At Himalayan Handmade Paper Industry
Ever wondered what the traditional papermaking processes looked like? Then you should definitely drop in to experience the small workshop the Himalayan Handmade Paper Industry offers. Right from boiling and pulping of the daphne bush to sifting, pressing and drying, you get to see it all from the start to the end.
7. Head Over To The Tharpa Choling Gompa
A Gelugpa school Tibetan Monastery, the Tharpa Choling Gompa was built in 1922. Housing statues of the past, present and future Buddhas, the monastery offers a calming experience to those pay a visit. Apart from the statues, you see a Garuda protecting each Buddha from above in the form of a snake. The monastery is a 30 minute uphill walk from the town, in case you’re interested in a little trek.
8. Shop Till You Drop At Haat Bazaar
Everyone loves a little shopping on vacations and the Haat Bazaar is perfect to grab some local goodies at great deals. Open on Wednesdays and Saturdays, the bazaar has a lot on offer - from food and textiles, to daily knick knacks that you might just want to bag! Perfect place to visit if you’re looking for small souvenirs.
9. Watch The Sunrise From Deolo Hill
If you love experiencing nature at its best, then head over to this hilltop on a clear day. The sunrise views of Khangchendzonga from this hilltop are straight out of dreamy coffee table books! After the sunrise, you can enjoy a scrumptious breakfast at the Tourist Lodge.
10. Visit The Durpin Gompa
The largest monastery of Kalimpong, Durpin Gompa is formally known as Zangdok Palri Phodang. Sitting atop the Durpin Hill at a height of 1372 m, the monastery was consecrated by the Dalai Lama in 1976. Religious murals, 3D mangalas and stunning view of Khangchendzonga from the terrace, the monastery is a don’t miss at any cost place on our list!
Planning a trip to Kalimpong? Well, you could plan it all year round because the place is always so pleasant!
*some pictures are for representational purposes only