A small but bustling town in the Himalaya foothills of West
Bengal- Kalimpong is at an altitude of 1250 meters. This bazaar town was
originally a part of Bhutan but later it was taken over by the British and
finally it became a part of West Bengal. Kalimpong is famous for its
monasteries, Churches and a private library for the study of Tibetan and
Himalayan languages, culture etc.. This place also has the Sericulture
centre and the orchid nurseries and of course the place provides some
beautiful sights of the Himalayan range. Though not all travellers visit
this place which demands some attention. The journey from Darjeeling along
the Teesta River is very interesting.
The Thongsa Gompa or Bhutanese Monastery was established in 1892. The Tharpa Gompa was established in 1922 and belongs to the Yellow hat sect of Tibetan Buddhism. The Zong Dog Palri Fo-Brang Gompa is five kms from the city and was established in 1970. This Gompa has impressive wall paintings in the prayer hall and a rare three dimensional mandala upstairs. Good view of the mountains can be taken from the Durpin Dara Hill.
Kalimpong has some of the best Gladiolis and orchid producing nurseries. The flowers grown at these nurseries are exported to other countries as well as to the Northern cities in India. The Standard and the Universal Nurseries also specialise in Cacti. The Sericulture Research Institute breads silkworms and silk is produced here. Through the stands of bamboo you come to the Dr. Graham's Home this school is spread over 193 hectares and houses 1300 students. The school was established in 1900. The Nature Interpretation center is working to conserve soil and forests of the area. It has some fine illustrations and demonstrations on the effect of human activity on the environment.
Kalimpong also offers some good items to be purchased. The Kalimpong is famous for the tapestry bags and purses, copperware, scrolls and paintings from Dr Grahams house. Shops selling Tibetan Jewellery and art effects can be found in the streets to the east of Dambar Chowk.