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A Rendezvous with Kalimpong


Perched at an altitude of 1250 M, Kalimpong was used by the British to dodge the strenuous summer heat of the plains. It was also a popular trading post, being close to Tibet and the ancient silk route. Presently, the tourists explore Kalimpong to adore its pleasant weather, stunning monasteries and its iconic flower nurseries. 

Deolo Hill, a hilltop located to the north-east of Kalimpong in West Bengal, is one of the two hills in between which the serene town of Kalimpong stands.

One of the two hills which separates Kalimpong from the entire world, Deolo, a spectacular vantage point. It boasts breathtaking views of the Teesta River and the entire valley underneath. On a clear day, the sparkly white mountains of West Sikkim and the Teesta River can be appreciated from Deolo. With a lovely park situated atop this hill, you could get astonished by the exotic blossoms of assorted kinds. Hand glide rides are available from the view point, taking care of the adventurers. 

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A brief excerpt from the daily prayers at Zang Dhok Palri Phodang Buddhist Monastery in the hills above Kalimpong in Northern India. 

The second hill, among which Kalimpong persists today, Durpin, notorious for its breathtaking views, though features a plethora of other intriguing attractions. First off, the magnificent Army Golf Course, then the Zang Dhok Pairi Phodang Monastery, the holy place where Dalai Lama was consecrated in 1976, perched atop the hill. If lucky enough, you can witness a beautiful amalgamation of superb views of Tiger Hill, Kanchenjunga, and the Nathula Pass. 

Image by hceebee, Flickr

Immerse yourself at the world of prickly plants at Pine View Nursery, featuring over 1,500 varieties of cactus and orchid. 

Owing to the immense plant compilations, two nurseries in Kalimpong have become tourist magnets. If you’re in Kalimpong, take the liberty of exploring the Pineview and Shaktikunj nurseries, while Pineview is noted for its extensive cactus collection, Shaktikunj is recognized for its exquisite orchid species. Especially in the winter, the nurseries are brimming with dazzling hues. Remember to take some cactus or orchid saplings back from these lovely nurseries. 

Lava, a tiny hamlet near Kalimpong, surrounded by virgin pine forests and often hidden in mists and clouds- a true heaven on earth. 

Craving for some more thrills and chills, Lava could be your best bet. Located at a height of 7061 meters, higher than Darjeeling, Lava experience extremely chilly breeze even on the hottest summer days! This small hamlet, 21 kilometers from Kalimpong, would take you to another voyage with the trails charmingly adorned by long lining Pine trees and the sun plays hide and seek. 

One of Eastern India’s finest biologically diverse zones, the Neora Valley National Park, is located near the Lava doorway, encompassing a broad spectrum of flora and fauna. It is famed for the abundance of Elephants and Red Pandas. For birders, the National Park’s no less than a paradise, as some of the unique birds can be discovered here during the winter months. 

Image by Sandip Sarkar, Flickr 

A picturesque view from Lava Monastery as the sun tries to peek embellishing the tiny hamlet, Lava, with its sparkling yellow hues. 

The lovely Lava monastery, nestled near the local market, is indeed a fine specimen of Tibetan architecture. The paramount attribute within the monastery is the golden statue of Lord Buddha, named after one of the most eminent Tibetan Buddhist monks of the 19th century. Murals and frescoes in vivid shades adorn the walls of this monastery. With the Lava hamlet below and cliffs in the horizon, the backside of this monastery offers a fantastic panorama of the region. 

Image by Sudip Datta, Flickr 

Rishop, an alluring hamlet with a magnificent view of the majestic Kangchenjunga Mountain. 

Rishop, a charming hamlet, only 12 kilometers from Lava’s positioned at an even higher elevation than Lava. The unique splendor of this village lures a substantial lot of tourists each year. A stroll through the adjacent pine, birch, fir, and orchid forests is rejuvenating. Alongside, the Tiffindara Point offers 360-degree views of the Kangchenjunga Mountain peaks- a sight to behold. 

Lolegaon, a tiny town in the Kalimpong district, flanked around dhupi, cypress, and pine trees. The Kanchenjunga range could be seen from a myriad of breathtaking vantage points. While at Lolegaon, one can also perceive the orchid, Rhododendron or other flowering plantations. 

Located in the heart of Lolegaon, Eco Park, encircled by highlands, there’s plenty of resting spots, seats, and pathways to spend time at the park, being ringed by blossom trees. A beautiful place to just lounge and observe the mists pass by! 

Image and caption by Pallab Seth, Flickr 

The wooden hanging foot bridge over the canopy of the huge trees is a special attraction. The unique ‘Canopy Walk’ over the century old mossy Oak and Cypress in the Heritage Forest is a thrilling experience. The all-pervading melodious silence will give you a new dimension of contended soul.  

The Canopy Walk, a 180-meter-long, dangling wooden tree-top bridge that traverses through deep fern and pine forests. As you move down the bridge, you’ll recognize that you ‘re growing taller as you move from one enormous tree to the next. Although the bridge doesn’t stop with the chills as it swings with the moves, no worries as there are safe wired barriers on both sides to cling onto. The bridge has stairwells to ascend and descend and often tourists depart the bridge on the other side and walk-through thicker bushes before resurfacing below the bridge. 

The small hamlets with countless thrilling experiences could be the perfect getaway to bring the spices back to life. A trip to Kolimpong- a rejuvenation you need!