Thursday, November 11, 2010

KALIMPONG

Kalimpong was once a part of Bhutan. In 1865 after losing to an armed British intervention Bhutan ceded Kalimpong to British India. The British missionaries came in during late 1800s and left a legacy of good schools, charitable institutions and architectural styles of the English countryside.  Over the years, Kalimpong has developed its own cultural pot pourri, cuisine, home decor and more.

Kalimpong and the surrounding area with its ideal location of 4000ft provide mild weather conditions throughout the year. For the visitor a 365 day holiday choice is available. From spring getaways to rice harvest in autumn and getting wet in the monsoon rains and sharing a blanket in winter. Kalimpong is emerging a ultimate holiday destination in the Eastern Himalayas. It is covered with forests and terraced agricultural land. From tropical foothills to the alpine regions there are 4000 species of flowering plants, including 400 species of orchids, ferns, mosses, grasses and medicinal plants. Floriculture is a major activity here. There are numerous flower nurseries, many of them producing for export and the home market.

The town makes an interesting offbeat track if you enjoy walking. You can see the majestic Kanchenjunga Range and the Teesta valley from Durpin Dara and Deola Hills. Among the monasteries dotted on the verdant hills, the Thongsha Gompa or the Bhutanese monastery is the oldest established in 1962. Built on Durpin Dara, personally consecrated by the Dalai Lama in 1976 Zong Dog Palri Fo-Brang Gompa contains the Kanguyar in 108 volumes, brought by Dalai Lama when he fled Tibet Also check out the Tharpa Choeling Gompa. Kalimpong evokes memories of the British Raj most evident in its colonial homes and hotels. Morgan House and Tashiding are now government owned tourist lodges and open to visitors. Visit the famous Dr Grahams Home situated less than a hours walk at the base of Deolo hill. Carry a picnic for the trip. The original school and the stained glass chapel are worth looking. Also visit St Theresa’s church built to resemble a gompa.
Rafting on the Teesta River is hugely popular adventure holiday option. Based at Chitrey this excursion is a full day affair and possible from November to February.

AROUND KALIMPONG
At an altitude of 2184m Lava is a serene town 34 km away. It lies on the old trade route to Bhutan and is surrounded by pine forests. Views of the Cholla Range are breath taking. A jeep ride for 14km and then a 8km trek will take you to Rechila Danda 10600ft the highest point of Neora National Park. This park is known for its bio diversity. You can find Royal Bengal Tigers, Red panda, Gaurs, Black Deer, clouded Leopard and various birds.
24km from Lava, Loleygaon along a lovely forest drive offers a grand view of the Relli Valley and snow capped Himalayas.

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