KALIMPONG(pop.45,500) is a
sleepy little town situated at an altitude of 1,200 m, some 50
km to the east of Darjeeling. It once used to be the hub of the
trans-Himalayan trade between India and Tibet when merchants
used to ferry commerce by mule caravan over the Jelepla pass on
the Sikkim-Tibet border.
The places to visit are Kalimpong Arts and Craft Center for
handicraft goods; Tharpa Choling Monastery, a repository of old
scriptures, and documents; Thongsa (Bhutan) Monastery, the
oldest in the area; Dharmodaya Vihar, a Nepalese Bhuddhist
temple; Parnami Mandir and Mangal Dham; Durpin Danda from where
the mountain ranges of Sikkim, including Jelepla, Tiger Hill and
the confluence of the Relli, Riang and Tista rivers can be
views; Zong Dog Palri Fo Brang Monastery at Durpin Danda; Delo
View Point for magnificent views: and Kalimpong famous flower
LAVA - LOLAYGAON
Lava is situated at a height of 7200 ft. and is 101 kms from
Siliguri via Kalimpong. The beauty of this quiet and romantic
place lies in its dense forests of Berch, Pine and Juniper and
the variety of orchids. While at Lave, enjoys a day's outing to
the fascinating Chhangey Ralls (12 kms from Lava) with 2 Sunrise
points viz. Ghanti Dara and Tiffin Dara, Lava Monastery, Nature
Interpretation Centre. If you are a little adventurous you can
take a 12 km trek to Jelepa and Rachela pass situated on the
Trijuntion of Sikkim,Bengal and Bhutan.
Just 24 km from Lava, at 7012 ft, Lolengaon offers wondrous
views of the peaks of Khangchendzonga, Pandim, Kabru, Jana
Siniolchu, Kang, Talung, Kaumbhakarna, Dome, Jupuno, Narsing and
Rishap at 8500 ft. is a small hamlet at tri-junction of Sikkim,
West Bengal and Bhutan and it reached by a 9 km jeep able road
from Lava. You can also reach there by a 3 km trek from Lava.
Over viewing Neora Valley National Park and with spectacular 360
degree views of snow clad peaks & passes (Mt. Khangchendzonga,
Nathula, Jelepa), Rishap is a real treat for tired eyes and
KURSEONG (elevation 1,458 m) is a quaint little town
about 30km to the south of Darjeeling on the way to Siliguri.
The market consists of rows of shops lining the main road which
is crisscrossed at several points by the railway tracks of the
toy train. The places to visit are Eagle's Crag which has a park
from where glorious views of Khangchendzonga on one side and the
southern plains on the other can be taken in; Dow Hill which has
the forest museum, Deer Park a water reservoir, all set amidst
moss-laden conifers; and Chimney, a serene, open meadow.
MIRIK (elevation 1,767 m) is another tiny hill resort
easily accessible from Siliguri, Kurseong or Darjeeling. The
center-piece of the town is the Sumendu Lake where boating under
the serene gaze of Khangchendzonga makes for a most relaxing
pastime. Rameetay Dara and Deosi Dara are two elevated points
near the lake from where the view is terrific. Apple orchards
and tea gardens are other attractions.
Himalayan Mountaineering Institute & Museums:
The Himalayan Mountaineering Institute is on the West Jawahar
road. The institute runs courses
for training mountaineers as well as has the very good
collection of mountaineering equipments which have been used in
various mountaineering expeditions and other wise. Specimens of
Himalayan flora and fauna are also kept here. The record of
attempts made to conquer Mt. Everest has been kept in the
Mt.Everest Museum. The institute also screens short films on
mountaineering. You can also view the Himalayan peaks through
the Zeiss Telescope given to the Nepalese Maharaja by Hitler.
Sherpa Tenzing Norgay was the Director of this institute for
many years and he was cremated near the institute after his
death in 1986. Near the institute is Srabri which gives a very
good view of the Single valley and the Khangchedzonga range. One
can sit at Srabri and feel the cool breeze from the valley.
Tibetan Refugees Self-Help Centre:
way may be hard and long one, but I believe that the truth and
faith must ultimately prevail". -- His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
The Tibetan Refugee Self-Help Centre was started on October 1,
1959. At that time, following the dramatic escape of His
Holiness the Dalai Lama, thousands of Tibetans leaving hearth
and home, fled into the neighbouring countries to live as free
human beings. "It is no exaggeration, in fact, to say that
without self-help there can be no rehabilitation, be it
economic, social, psychological, cultural or spiritual.
Therefore, a ten-member committee was formed in Darjeeling to
organize a rehabilitation centre to be known as "Tibetan
Refugees Self-Help Center".
This is probably the most famous monastery in Darjeeling and
is about 8 kms south of town, just below Hill Cart road and the
train station near Ghoom. It enshrines an image of the Maitreya
Buddha. Foreigners are allowed to enter the shrine and take
photographs. As Ghoom is frequently swathed in mists.
After breakfast visit Himalayan Mountaineering Institute,
Padmaja Naidu Zoological Park & Tibetan Refugee Self Help