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iXiGOers Dec 09 2012

What is the history and culture of Kalimpong?

Kapil Gumasta DEC 10 2012
0 people found this answer useful Useful ?Yes

Rich in Tibetan and Buddhist culture, Kalimpong is a popular retreat destination which proudly plays host to the Zang Dhok Palri Phodang Buddhist monastery. Overlooking the Teesta river and valley, this small hill-town in the 'Lesser Himalayas' is a treat for nature-lovers, especially with its lush horticulture and flower-markets. A sure treat for backpackers and trekkers, Kalimpong has something for every traveler. A hub for some great schools established in the British era in India, people from Bangladesh, Bhutan and Myanmar come here for higher studies, and thus, one may see a multi-ethnic crowd here.

Once the headquarters of a Bhutanese Governor, the word Kalim means King's Minister and pong- the stronghold, hence the stronghold of the King's minister. The vast rolling meadows covered with a riot of wildflowers, the sparkling brooks and rivulets meandering lazily by the terraced fields are a feast for one's eyes. Kalimpong is a blaze of colour throughout the year owing to the richness of its stunning flora. The orchids of this region in particular are famous for their infinite variety as well as their delicate tints.

During the mid 19th century, Kalimpong was ruled by the Sikkimese and Bhutanese rulers. The hill town was known as Dalingkot under Sikkimese regime. However, when Bhutan won it from the Sikkimese, the territory got its present name Kalimpong. The majority of the population of Kalimpong is ethnic Nepali, having migrated to Kalimpong for jobs while it was under British rule. The other part of populace are the Newars, Lepchas, Bhutias, Sherpas,Limbus, Rais and Magar among others. Languages spoken in Kalimpong include Nepali, which is the predominant language, others being Lepcha, Limbu, Tamang,Hindi, English and Bengali. People here celebrate festivals such as Dussera, Diwali, Christmas and Losar, the Buddhist festival with much fervor and excitement. Football is the favorite sport here and the locals follow it religiously. Every year since 1947, the Independence Shield FootballTournament is organized here as part of the two-day long Independence Day celebrations.

Talking about the local specialities, you would love to have Momos (steamed dumplings stuffed with Vegetable, Chicken, Pork or Beef), Thupka (a type of noodles which are served in soup) and Churpee (a kind of hard cheese made from Yak's milk).

The mountains, people and monuments offers an interesting insight of Kalimpong which can only be experienced. There are several things to do in Kalimpong which will bring you closer to its history and culture.

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