A stretch east of Darjeeling, high above the undulating valleys, the hill station of Kalimpong feels far removed. Caressed by clouds that shift in the wind, time moves to the sound of gongs reverberating from Buddhist monasteries. The oldest, Thongsa Gompa, is a Bhutanese monastery bound by 220 prayer wheels while its colourful neighbour, Durpin Monastery, blessed by the Dalai Lama in the 70s, serves as a quiet place for reflection among the rolling hilltops.
Kalimpong wasn’t always so sleepy. It served as a trading outpost between India and Tibet before transforming into a strategic post for the British whose leafy colonial retreats you can still see today. Nowadays, most activity revolves around the town’s thriving horticulture producing colourful orchids, sword-shaped gladioli and an enormous cactus nursery housing over 1,500 species. Venture into the miles of untouched countryside for hiking trails leading you to vistas of snow-capped mountains or the emerald green River Teesta where, if you’re brave enough, you can go rafting down its rapids.
Chat to one of our destination experts as to how you can incorporate this remote hill station into an adventurous itinerary.
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