With spring inching its plodding steps, backpackers have already started planning their summer escape in the midst of soothing knolls. For the inhabitants of Bengal or its nearby destinations, hill station means Darjeeling and Gangtok. But there is one more worth exploring and relaxing hill station near Kolkata, which is popular as Kalimpong.
Nestled in the lesser Himalayan Range and on an overlooking bridge of River Teesta, Kalimpong is an eminent hill station in the state of West Bengal. Being situated nearly 50Kms from Darjeeling; the natural splendour of Kalimpong entices many vacationers from different parts of the country. Before turning to a popular holiday destination, Kalimpong used to be the commercial doorway between India and Tibet. However, this mercantile gateway was culminated after the hostilities between China and India, and China’s invasion over Tibet. Today, the township of Kalimpong stands at the side of Indo-China border, and it is the base of the 27 Mountain Division of the Indian Army.
If you are planning a trip to Kalimpong anytime soon, here’s what you should pay a visit to:
Visiting an imposing aura in the midst of natural abundance and leaving the acme of Kanchenjunga at its backcloth is always an eternal vista to behold. Stepping into Galingka, leaves you spellbound with its superlative natural environs. Galingka is basically a bungalow, which was built ages back by the British wool traders. Today, this exotic bungalow is a worth visiting site when in Kalimpong.
Delimited by beautiful garden embellished with aboriginal trees and vibrant flowers, the eye-catching bungalow attracts plenty of global influxes in summer. The architectural brilliance of Galingka takes hardly a moment to leaves a long-lasting impact on visitor’s mind. An interesting fact about the site is that initially no garden was there around the bungalow. However, considering the growing footfalls of the British officials to this summer hill-resort, a garden was also adorned around Galingka. The best time to step into the site is from 9AM to 5PM, and the site incurs some nominal entry fees as well.
Durpin Dara Hill
Voyaging to a hill station is always overwhelming in scorching summer. And Kalimpong has no dearth of attraction to feel you comfy even during sizzling June or July. Situated nearly 3Kms away from the town and positioned at an elevation of more than 1,000 metres, Durpin Dara Hill is one of the leading attractions in Kalimpong. Being the highest observatory point in Kalimpong, scaling the Durpin Dara Hill offers you an astounding panorama of the Himalayan range and the vista of nearby plains along with River Teesta. This site is an absolute delight for adventure junkies and nature buffs.
Tharpa Choling Monastery
Perched on the knolls of Tirpai, Tharpa Choling Monastery is one of the popular and first three monasteries of Kalimpong. Constructed decades back in 1937 by Buddhist sect, Gelupka, the divinely ambience in the monastery plunges you to a different level of equanimity all together. Besides its spiritual significance, Tharpa Choling Monastery also offers you an enchanting panorama of the Himalayan range. To the local inhabitants, the monastery is also eminent as the “yellow-hat”. So during your Kalimpong trip, make sure you make a count on the Tharpa Choling Monastery.
Located approximately in 2Kms reach from the city center, there is one more tempting site to explore in Kalimpong. Gouripur House is quite popular for its significant link with legendary Indian poet, Rabindranath Tagore. This is the house where the great poet has stayed during his visit to Kalimpong in 1940 and recited “Janamadin” (a poem called Birthday), which was aired on All India Radio from this Gouripur House. During his stay at this house, the legendary poet has also written several other poems. It is said that, Tagore visited to Gouripur House for the last time in 1954. Since then, this place has turned to a significant attraction for visitors. People who are quite fervent about exotic location may find Gouripur House one of the worth visiting sites in Kalimpong.
Kalimpong is laid out with plenty of attractions to offer its visitors. Before leaving India, the British has left several praise-worthy marks of their presence in this country. And guess what; most of their amazing architectural brilliances still grab the attention of millions of visitors and admires globally. The Crockety Bungalow in Kalimpong is one such example of their architectural brilliance. Akin to Galingka, this bungalow was also constricted by the British wool traders. Today, this exotic bungalow and its surrounding exquisiteness amaze the visitors at first go. You can visit Crockety all round the calendar. However, during monsoon the bungalow doesn’t see frequent footfalls, as this is the time when the region witnesses intense rainfall.
Apart from exploring the aforesaid destinations, Kalimpong is evenly delightful for adventure freaks. Numbers of adventure lovers can also be observed in this hill station getting involved in various outdoor activities like trekking, ropeway ride and hiking.
If you are excited and already made your mind to make it to Kalimpong, here is how you can reach there:
By Air: For air travellers, the nearest airport is Bagdogra, which is connected to different cities like Kolkata, New Delhi and Guwahati. From airport, local taxi/cab can easily be availed for Kalimpong.
By Train: The nearest railhead is in New Jalpaiguri (NJP), which is situated nearly 70Kms away from Kalimpong. There are several direct trains from Assam, Delhi and Kolkata that will take you through NJP. From NJP station you may hire a taxi to reach Kalimpong conviniently. Some of the major trains on this route are Ghy Rajdhani, Porvotr S Krnti, Mas Njp Express and Sikkim Mahananda Express.
By Road: Thanks to the great roadway connectivity between Kalimpong and its neighbouring destinations Kolkata (around 620Kms), Siliguri (around 68Kms), Darjeeling (around 49Kms), Bagdogra (around 75Kms), NJP (around 72Kms), and Gangtok (around 74Kms). From these places you will find regular state transports and private vehicles to reach Kalimpong. Scenic beauty on the go is an additional spice to the road journey.
Image courtesy: Google