Kalimpong is one of the most important tourist destinations in the Eastern Himalayas. It is the headquarters of Kalimpong district which is part of the state of West Bengal. Situated at an altitude of nearly 4100 ft, and on the eastern side of the Teesta River, this small hill town offers mesmerizing views of the Himalayas. Kalimpong has a different charm with its lonely mountain roads, the ravishing landscape, the pine, oak and maple trees, the roadside shops, and the lush green golf course everything is so unique and charming that it is very difficult to avoid the attraction of this Himalayan paradise.

A Brief History

Kalimpong was once a part of the Sikkim empire. During the early 18th century, the Bhutanese army invaded the territory and gained control over it. After the Bhutan War in 1864, the British annexed this area from Bhutan. At the end of the war, Kalimpong became a subdivision of the Western Duars district. Eventually, it became a part of the Darjeeling District. Recently in the year 2017, a separate Kalimpong district was formed and the town of Kalimpong became the headquarters.

What to see

Zong –Dog-Palri-Fro-Brang Gompa (Durpin Monastery) – This is located on the top of Durpin Dara Hill. Around 5 km from the Kalimpong Bus stand this beautiful monastery was established by Dudjum Rinpoche and consecrated by his holiness Dalai Lama in the year 1976. This is one of the largest Buddhist monasteries in West Bengal. The monastery has a big prayer room which houses some extraordinary religious murals. Also, the Gompa has visual meditational aids which are commonly called mandalas. Here visitors can see the three-dimensional Mandalas. This Monastery also offers a breathtaking view of the Surrounding Himalayan range and the Teesta River.

Deolo Hill Top – It is northeast of the town. Deolo and Durpin Dara are the two hills which hold the town from two sides. Deolo hilltop is probably the highest point of the town. Deolo hilltop offers majestic views of the surrounding Valleys and river Teesta. The hilltop has an amusement park which is quite popular. The hilltop has a tourist Bungalow where overnight accommodation is available. The place also offers some adventurous activities like paragliding, trekking etc.

Tharpa Choling Gompa – This Gompa belongs to the yellow hat or Gelugpa sect of Tibetan Buddhism. It was founded by Domo Geshe Rinpoche Ngawang Kalsang in the year 1912. The monastery houses significant historical literary works of old saints, statues of Lord Buddha and holy Buddhist scriptures. The monastery has also a fascinating museum. Tourists can visit a historical Chinese temple also which is inside the main compound.

Dr. Graham’s Home – It is an orphanage and a school built by Dr. JA Graham in the year 1900. Graham was a philanthropist and a missionary from Scotland who had the vision to provide education to the underprivileged children of tea estate workers. The school is now considered one of the best in the region. Graham’s home houses a museum too.

Golf Course – This lush green picturesque Golf Course is one of the prime attractions of Kalimpong town. This is a nine-hole course and is popular among local people as well.

Pine View Nursery – Famous for its remarkable and often rarest cactus collection. The nursery also houses orchids and other flowers. The scenery of the hills and surrounding areas from this nursery is very beautiful.

Himalayan Handmade Paper Industry – A barely 20-minute walk from the town this workshop provides an opportunity for the visitors to see the traditional papermaking process.

Lepcha Heritage Museum – Slightly less known yet a very attractive place. If you are approaching the sports ground, it is just below the ground downhill less than 10 minutes walk. The Lepcha community is indigenous to this region and the museum preserves and displays numerous things related to the Lapcha Culture, tradition and heritage.

Macfarlane Church – This is the most famous church in the town. This is a nearly 150-year-old building. Albeit massively damaged in the earthquake of 2011, but renovated later and is now open to visitors. The interiors and outer buildings have immense architectural value.

People and Culture

The indigenous community of the region is the Lepchas. The huge migration of the Nepalese made them a minority community. Presently Nepalese, Tibetans and Lepchas comprise the main population of Kalimpong. A small number of Bhutanese people also reside here so are a few Bengalis, Biharis etc. Hinduism and Buddhism are major religions. The major languages spoken here are Nepali, Hindi, Lepcha, English, and Bengali.


Kalimpong has pleasant weather throughout the year. The temperature varies between 15c to 25c in summer and 6c to 15c in winter.

Getting There

Kalimpong is 72 km from NJP railway station and 75 km from Bagdogra Airport. It is just 50 km from Darjeeling and 75 km from Gangtok town.