Kalimpong-must explore this Ultimate yet Unpopular Hill station
Are you a traveler, a solo backpacker, someone who is not only adventurous but also an admirer, the one who carves for alluring and serene travel destinations? Yes!!
Then let me take this pleasure to introduce you to one of the less explored, less conventional yet magically enchanting hill town located at the foothill of Himalaya, West Bengal, India – “Kalimpong”.
This little hill town overlooks the mesmerizing Teesta River and how ironical it may sound to say that the famous Legendary poet “Rabindranath Tagore” lived in this not very famous place during the mid – 1930’s. Kalimpong is approximately 90% Literate district. Therefore this place not only gives you a lovely experience but the most hospitably cultured people will make your entire travel wisdom, worth recollections.
If you Google for North – East India Travel Packages, most of the travel firms do not promote places like Kalimpong in their itinerary due to its less popularity. However, my astonishing backpack adventurous trip to Kalimpong in 2018 has urged me to share my experience here.
4 things you must know while planning a trip to Kalimpong:
1) Book a Hotel or Homestay with View
This little hill town is surrounded by the mountains so you don’t have to bother much about missing out on a picturesque view. What you should not miss is the gratifying view of the Sunrise and the Sunset flashes. Make sure you keep enough memory space and power battery full in your Phone or camera as you just won’t be able to stop yourself from capturing the artistic moods and appearances of the sky.
I would strongly recommend you to book a Homestay if you are comfortable sharing room space with the local residents of Kalimpong. The Residents here have huge houses with more than 2 to 3 extra bedrooms which they lend out to the backpackers and families at a very affordable cost. Moreover, the hospitality extended by them will give you all the care, regional supervision, eternal tales of this place and not to forget the homely tactility while you are away from home.
These Homestays has all the required amenities, nothing limited in comparison to any good hotel and if you are thinking about room service then don’t worry about that as these House owners or the Home guardians usually have some cooperation of food made.
Also, Please don’t hesitate to request them to cook their local gourmet lunches or dinners for you. By the end of the stay, trust me you will be surprised to have settled almost nothing for the generosity and exceptional stay.
2) Must Eat Local Food
80% of the people in Kalimpong are farmers so a majority of the locals eat what they grow. They begin their day early and end early as well. So for those who get midnight cravings for food like me, 😛 will have to store some packed food to munch on. Most of the restaurants usually open early and the locals here have 3 times heavy meals habits. Don’t be surprised if you see fried rice and schezwan noodles on their breakfast menu. All said and done, It is completely safe and recommended to have street food here as they are well cooked with freshly grown ingredients and with complete hygiene.
These are the dumplings made with vegetables or Chicken/ Meat / Pork filling, wrapped in a thin layer of steamed rice flour. I am sure you must have eaten or heard of Momos in your own city or country, but the freshness and the deliciousness that you will be served here along with the hot and spicy sauce is to die for.
This is the packet of dry noodles which looks very similar to the popular noodles available in our markets. These dry noodles are spiced plus it contains a small pouch of spice mix powder inside the packet. The best part is, it can be eaten raw or dry just by crushing it with hands, adding the spice mix powder with some chopped onions and tomatoes or you can have it in soup form as well.
This is my personal favorite dish. It is a Tibetian traditional noodled soup made of vegetable or chicken/meat/pork stock, spiced with herbs, loads of veggies and noodles. Served in a huge bowl that usually covers your appetizer and the main course. Just leaving your stomach with enough space for some dessert. I can have Thukpa 365 days in a year 😀 but jokes apart be assured whatever you choose to eat on the streets or the regular restaurants in Kalimpong will be served with utmost affection and hygiene.
3) Must Visit Places
Entire Kalimpong will need just 2 days of mapping. Though there are few explored yet not exploited sightseeing places that you must include in your sightseeing list. I strongly recommend you to book any local cab/Taxi which is easily available at the Taxi stand in the market area for the entire day at a very reasonable cost. Sightseeing requires crossing from one end to the other end of the mountain so the cabs are the best options.
British Colonial structures:
These are now converted into famous educational institutions which are spread across the entire hill town giving this hill station a very British look and feel. I would also recommend this place for Movie/Film shooting.
Zang Dhok Palri Monastery:
Also, know as Durpin Monastery located on the Durpin hill. The larger population here follows Hinduism. However, due to the mid -19th- century influence of Sikkimese and Tibetian/Bhutanese Kingdoms you will get to see more of Buddhist Monasteries in the town. So if you would wish to endure the Tranquillity, composure and the sound of silence then you should definitely consider this on your go-to list.
Pine View Nursery:
For the first time in my life, I felt that even the Cactus can look so elegant and artistic. You will be astounded to see more than 1500 species of cactus here. I must acknowledge the fact that its very well preserved and taken care of.
Deolo Hill Viewpoint:
Located on Deolo Hill, this is on the end from Durpin hill. If the weather is vivacious then you will get to view the Peak of one of the 3rd highest mountain of the world “The Kanchenjunga”, from the top of the Deolo Hill viewpoint. You also get the bird’s eye view to one side of the town, Glimpse of Teesta river, tiny little houses moistened on the mountains may astonish you to accept that humans can exist anywhere. Make sure to wear comfortable footwear as this place requires some climbing. Rest will be taken care by creation out here.
4) Shopping/ Souvenirs
If you are a traveler like me who believes in collecting memories and anecdotes, capturing good times with the people you meet and find that connection with them. Then, I would suggest not to spend your money on shopping souvenirs for family and friends back home. Rather you can take your memories, tales of the place and life experiences so that even they can savor the place through you. But if you are a shopaholic then you can buy handmade warm clothes, spices, essence sticks and Darjeeling tea that is famous in Darjeeling will also be available here.
Hope you will treasure this place as much as I did on my visit. Do let me know if the suggestions and recommendations were worth using during your plan to travel.
Wish you all #Happytravelling and may you #findyourafshan 🙂