Kalimpong: the hill with an unique charm

Rajiv Roy
6 min readFeb 1, 2021


Kalimpong, a gateway in the trade between Tibet and India (before the Chinese annexation of Tibet) is a district under the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration in the state of West Bengal and is located at an average elevation of 1250 metres. The township sits on a ridge overlooking the Teesta river.

During Diwali/ ‘Chhath’ 2020 holidays, me and my childhood friend, Dr. Priyadarshi Narayan decided to explore this tiny but picturesque place surrounded by the majestic mountains, lush tropical gardens and clear lakes. The fact that the beautiful NH 27 road (the East West Corridor) goes up to Siliguri and takes one to Kalimpong also motivated us to take this route.

We left Patna on Thursday, the 19th November morning at 5.15 AM. It was one of the rare occasion when I was on the navigator seat while my friend was on the wheels. Once we crossed Muzaffarpur and took the NH 27, were cruising on way to Kalimpong. Fastag on car has made the movement smooth. There are altogether five toll plazas on way to Siliguri. Our first halt was on the outskirts of Darbhanga to have some home made food and tea.

By 12 noon, we were in Araria via Koshi bridge and then took the Bahadurganj/ Thakurganj route to move towards Siliguri. One more tea break and we reached the Siliguri town around 3.30 PM. Continued on the green corridor of the Sevoke Road towards Kalimpong.

The impact of the Teesta river during the rainy season could be seen on the roads as we encountered some rough patches on our way from Siliguri to Kalimpong. Finally, at 7.30 PM, we reached our destination, the Sinclairs, 6 kms before the Kalimpong town. Unfortunately, there is no hotel sign on the highway as a result we had tough time locating it. However, once there, we received warm welcome from their staffs/ reception and they took all step to make us feel better. After refreshing ourselves, we went to the restaurant for dinner and then retired to bed.

(serene evening)

It was a relaxed Friday morning. Every room has a small balcony with a table and two chairs. Sitting there, sipping tea while watching the mountain amidst the chirping of the birds, one could not have asked for a better day. The property is clean and the garden well maintained. We took our own time in getting ready to taste the complimentary breakfast. It was good, had variety and the staffs were happy serving them on the table with a perfect smile. The restaurant has a small terrace facing mountain, an added beauty.

(view from restaurant terrace)

Kalimpong was earlier a sub division of Darjeeling but accorded the status of district in the year 2017. The name Kalimpong comes from ‘Kalim’ (King’s Minister) and ‘pong’ (stronghold). Thus Kalimpong means Stronghold of King’s Minister. Other say the name has come after a plant, ‘Kaulim’ which is found in abundance there.

(the Hotel campus)

Located at an altitude of 4100 ft., the weather of Kalimpong remains pleasant all through the year and have magnificent views of the Kanchenjunga and other Himalayan peaks. It also boast of lush green lands all along.

Later we took a cab (booked through the Hotel Reception) to visit few places around Kalimpong. Special mention for the Lady Gate In-charge of the Hotel. Before a vehicle leaves the premises, she opens the gate, moves out, check both sides of the road and then allows the vehicle to go out with a perfect smile.

Our first destination was the Centre for Preservation of Himalayan Buddhism. Due to Covid 19, as the centre was closed, we saw it from outside. The Zong Dog Palri Fo Brand Gompa (the Buddhist monastery) is built at beautiful place with mountain surrounding it. It was also closed and we had the usual photo session from outside.

(the Buddhist monastery)

Later we visited the highest point of Kalimpong, the Deolo Hill. The route to the Hill (also called the Deolo Park) is very beautiful.Once in Deolo, one can see the famous Kanchenjunga, if only it’s not covered with clouds. Deolo Hill is surrounded by freshwater reservoir and is treat to eyes. The reservoir here is the main source of water supply to the township. It is said that to catch the best view, one has to come to the hill at sunrise when the stunning tangerine ball (the sun) comes out of the horizon.

Maintaining social distance, we remained there for close to an hour, chatting, strolling and feeling its beauty. There is a West Bengal owned tourist lodge right inside the Deolo Park. It is a huge campus but the route to the park is very steep. The park has ticket entry.

(Deolo Park)

Most of the tourist places were closed due to the pandemic and we witnessed it only from outside. Later, after criss crossing the township and feeling its beauty, we went to the Cactus Nursery, a private property. It too has ticket entry. Beautiful variety of plants are available. We returned to Hotel by 5 PM, the time the sun sets in Kalimpong and the township becomes silent.

(the cactus section inside the nursery)

The beauty of the place is in the night. Quiet, cool, this is how the Kalimpong night can be described. After the dinner, we chose to stroll on the campus of the well lit Hotel. Later, we watched the movie ‘Ludo’ sitting in the terrace and glazing through the sky in between. ‘O, Beta ji’, the song of evergreen actor, late Bhagwan Dada (in Albela) replayed in the movie just mesmerizes the viewer.

(the night hours)

Another cool morning. Got ready and had delicious complimentary breakfast on the restaurant terrace. It was time to say bye to the beautiful place. This time we took the Rishi road and moved towards NH10 upto Teesta bridge and then after an U-turn continued on the Rishi road on NH 12. Had a brief stop over at an eatery for the usual coffee/ photo session.

(Teesta river separating West Bengal and Sikkim)

The route between Kalimpong and Jorebunglow (12 kms from Darjeeling) is beautiful and full of tea gardens. With clouds moving on our way, we profusely thanked the hotel authority for advising us to take this fantastic road.

( on way to the beautiful State manned Kalimpong — Jorebunglow route)

Reached Jorebunglow around 2.30 PM and Siliguri by evening. As usual, Sinclairs, Siliguri was untraceable and again with the help of the Hotel staffs, we were finally able to locate it. After refreshing ourselves and post dinner, we strolled on its huge property before retiring to our room.

Sunday, 22nd November and time to return home. Started our journey at 12PM and took the same Bahadurganj/ Thakurganj route. We stopped at the river/lakes on the highways relaxing for a while. Finally, at 9.30 PM, we were back home.

(the river along NH 27)

For the record, paragliding activity is available in Kalimpong and presence of infinite landscapes and exciting nature views make it one of the front runner in the list of offering adventure sports. Bagdogra (78kms) is the nearest Airport while New Jalpaiguri Station [(at Siliguri) (70kms)] is the nearest Railway station. It is also well connected with the road with Siliguri as its gateway.

So, those looking for a cool place away from their busy life, Kalimpong is a perfect destination.



Rajiv Roy

'ik raasta hain zindagi'..