Kalimpong, a beautiful hill station in West Bengal, is a popular destination for nature lovers, adventure seekers, and culture enthusiasts. This place has a rich history, diverse flora and fauna, and a vibrant Tibetan-Buddhist heritage.
It is also home to various famous tourist attractions from ancient Buddhist monasteries and churches to places with mesmerizing scenic beauty. There are also various spots to try out the local cuisine or indulge in thrilling activities.
In this article, you will get to know about the following attractions to visit in Kalimpong,
Let’s see each of these places in detail.
1. Deolo Hill
Deolo Hill is the highest point of Kalimpong and is one of the two hills (Durpin and Deolo) at the ridge on which the town resides. The hill rises to 1,704 meters and offers a breathtaking view of the Teesta River winding through the mountainous landscape.
On a clear day, you can also catch a glimpse of the snow-capped peaks of west Sikkim, including Mt. Kanchenjunga. You can indulge in activities like trekking, paragliding, and horse riding, or simply relax and enjoy a picnic at the scenic spot.
Deolo Hill is a place where you can feel the beauty of nature in its purest form. The greenery of the garden with pine trees and colorful flowers attracts visitors to this spot. It is difficult to explain its characteristic beauty as it has to be felt first.
This place also provides you with mesmerizing views of Kalimpong, along with the surrounding valleys. Don’t miss the chance to witness a spectacular sunset from the top of the hill.
The best time to visit Deolo Hill is between 9:00 AM and 4:00 PM. The winter season, especially around Christmas and New Year’s Eve, is also a great time to experience the festive atmosphere.
2. Pine View Nursery
Pine View Nursery is a unique attraction in Kalimpong that showcases an impressive collection of cacti and succulents. With over 1500 species from different parts of the world, this nursery holds the largest collection of cacti in all of Asia. The nursery was founded by Mr. Mohan S Pradhan, who pursued his passion for cacti for over 40 years. The nursery has won several awards for its diversity and quality of plants.
As you enter through the gate, you will see two large greenhouses on either side of the alley. Inside, you will be startled by the variety and beauty of the cacti and succulents. Some are tiny and delicate, while others are huge and spiky. Some have vibrant flowers, while others have interesting shapes and textures. You will feel like you are in a different world as you explore the greenhouses.
The best time to visit Pine View Nursery is between March and May when the cacti are in full bloom. You can also buy some exotic plants for yourself or as souvenirs from the nursery. After exploring the place, you can enjoy some snacks and drinks at the tea stall, while admiring the surrounding scenery.
Pine View Nursery is a must-visit for anyone who loves plants and wants to see something different in Kalimpong.
3. Durpin Monastery
Durpin Monastery, also known as Zang Dhok Palri Phodang, is one of the largest and most sacred Buddhist monasteries in West Bengal. It is situated on the top of Durpin Dara Hill, which offers stunning views of the mountains and valleys. The monastery was founded by Dudjum Rinpoche in 1970 and houses many ancient scriptures and relics.
The monastery has a serene and spiritual ambiance, with prayer rooms, a meditation hall, and beautiful paintings on the ceiling. You can also walk around the monastery and spin the prayer wheels, which are believed to bring peace and blessings.
The monastery is open throughout the year, but the best time to visit is between March and May or September and November when the weather is pleasant and you can get remarkable views of the landscape from this place. You can take photos inside the monastery, but be respectful of the monks and the worshippers.
4. Morgan House
Morgan House is one of the most visited attractions in Kalimpong. It is a historic mansion built in the 1930s by George Morgan, an English jute baron. It has now been transformed into a hotel run by West Bengal Tourism Development Corporation (WBTDC) and offers a comfortable and cozy stay for visitors.
The mansion is a fine example of British colonial architecture and is situated on a sixteen-acre estate on the hill of Durpindara. It is about three kilometers from the center of Kalimpong town and offers a splendid view of the Kangchenjunga Mountain range.
The estate is surrounded by lush greenery and exotic flowers, creating a tranquil and scenic setting. Some people also believe that the mansion is haunted, adding to its charm and mystery. You can book a room at Morgan House and learn more about the history of the place. The rooms are well furnished and maintained with care. You can also explore the estate and admire the beauty of the landscape.
The perfect time to visit Morgan House is from March to June and September to December when the weather is mild and enjoyable. Also, who knows? there might be one or two ghosts!
5. Lepcha Museum
Situated in the Big Dhara area of Kalimpong, the Lepcha Museum is a prime attraction that showcases the culture and heritage of the Lepcha tribe, who are the inhabitants of the regions around Kalimpong, Darjeeling, Sikkim, Bhutan, and Nepal. The museum was established by Shri Sonam Lepcha, a renowned musician, and social worker, to preserve and promote the Lepcha identity and values.
The museum is the only one of its kind in India and exhibits various items related to the Lepcha lifestyle, such as worship articles, authentic musical instruments, kitchenware, handicrafts, and manuscripts. Each item reflects the rich and diverse history, culture, tradition, and beliefs of the Lepcha community.
The museum has a peaceful and serene ambiance, with Buddhist flags fluttering in the wind and a statue of Lord Buddha in the complex. The place is surrounded by trees, plants, and orchids, adding to its natural beauty.
You will learn a lot about the tribe and their daily life from the museum. The Lepcha Museum is open from 10.30 AM to 4.30 PM from Monday to Friday and 10 AM to 12 PM on Saturdays. It is closed on Sundays. You can visit the museum during these hours to explore one of the most fascinating aspects of the region.
6. Thongsa Gompha
Thongsa Gompa is the oldest monastery in Kalimpong, dating back to 1678. It is also known as Bhutanese Gompa, as it belongs to the Nyingmapa sect of Tibetan Buddhism. It was built after the Bhutanese conquered Kalimpong hills from the Chogyals of Sikkim and established a fort at Pedong.
The Gompa is located on the 10th Mile, near the Mangal Dham temple. It is a perfect place to find some solitude and tranquility. The monastery has stunning architecture, with vivid colors, old and new paintings, and intricate carvings. It also has 219 drums, which is quite rare for a monastery.
You can spend some time at the monastery, praying, meditating, and relaxing your mind. You can also touch the big and colorful prayer wheels as you walk around the area. The current structure has been renovated to preserve it from decay. You can visit the monastery throughout the year and it is open every day of the week. However, it is recommended to avoid the monsoon season as you will not be able to enjoy the outdoors.
These are some famous attractions in Kalimpong that you must visit during your trip.
Experience the serenity and beauty of the hill station, taste the diverse cuisines, and learn about the history and culture of the place.
And don’t forget to try the thrilling adventure of paragliding or river rafting, while you are there. All this and more await you in Kalimpong!
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