Kalimpong

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Kalimpong
Town
Kalimpong Municipality
View of Kalimpong, India.jpg
View of Kalimpong town
West Bengal location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Kalimpong
India location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Kalimpong
Coordinates: 27°04′N88°28′E / 27.06°N 88.47°E / 27.06; 88.47
CountryFlag of India.svg  India
State West Bengal
District Kalimpong
Named for Kaley Bung
Government
  Type Municipality
  BodyKalimpong Municipality
   Chairman Rabi Pradhan
Area
[1]
  Total9.168 km2 (3.540 sq mi)
Elevation
1,247 m (4,091 ft)
Population
 (2011) [1]
  Total49,403
  Density5,400/km2 (14,000/sq mi)
Languages
  Official Nepali and Bengali [2] [3]
  Additional official English [2]
Time zone UTC+5:30 (IST)
PIN
734 301/734 316
Telephone code03552
Vehicle registration WB-78, 79
Lok Sabha constituency Darjeeling
Vidhan Sabha constituency Kalimpong
Website kalimpong.gov.in

Kalimpong is a town and the headquarters of an eponymous district in the Indian state of West Bengal. It is located at an average elevation of 1,250 metres (4,101 ft). [4] The town is the headquarters of the Kalimpong district. [5] The region comes under Gorkhaland Territorial Administration which is an autonomous governing body within the state of West Bengal. The Indian Army's 27 Mountain Division is located on the outskirts of the city. [6]

Contents

Kalimpong is known for its educational institutions, many of which were established during the British colonial period. [7] It used to be a gateway in the trade between Tibet and India before China's annexation of Tibet and the Sino-Indian War. Kalimpong and neighbouring Darjeeling were major centres calling for a separate Gorkhaland state in the 1980s, and more recently in 2010.

The municipality sits on a ridge overlooking the Teesta River and is a tourist destination owing to its temperate climate, natural environment and proximity to popular tourist locations in the region. Horticulture is important to Kalimpong: It has a flower market notable for its wide array of orchids; nurseries, which export Himalayan grown flower bulbs, tubers and rhizomes, contribute to the economy of Kalimpong. [4] The Tibetan Buddhist monastery Zang Dhok Palri Phodang holds a number of rare Tibetan Buddhist scriptures. [8]

The Kalimpong Science Centre, established under the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council in 2008 is a recent addition to its many tourist attractions. The Science Centre, which provides for scientific awareness among the students of the town and the locals sits atop the Deolo Hill.

Etymology

The precise origin of the name Kalimpong remains unclear. There are many theories on the origin of the name. One widely accepted theory claims that the name "Kalimpong" means "Assembly (or Stockade) of the King's Ministers" in Tibetan, derived from kalon ("King's ministers") and pong ("stockade"). [9] The name may be derived from the translation "ridge where we play" from Lepcha, as it was known to be the place for traditional tribal gatherings for summer sporting events. People from the hills call the area Kalempung ("the black spurs").[ citation needed ]

According to K.P. Tamsang, author of The Untold and Unknown Reality about the Lepchas, the term Kalimpong is deduced from the name Kalenpung, which in Lepcha means "Hillock of Assemblage"; [10] in time, the name was distorted to Kalebung, and later further contorted to Kalimpong. Another possible derivation points to Kaulim(कलयुम), locally known as odal(उदाल) Scientific name Sterculia Villosa, a fibrous plant found in abundance in the region. [11]

History

Katherine Graham Memorial Chapel, Dr. Graham's Homes Katherine Graham Memorial Chapel, Dr. Graham's Homes, Kalimpong, West Bengal Side.jpg
Katherine Graham Memorial Chapel, Dr. Graham's Homes
The Clock Tower of Kalimpong. Kalimpong Clock Tower.jpg
The Clock Tower of Kalimpong.

Until the mid-19th century, the area around Kalimpong was ruled in succession by the Sikkimese and Bhutanese kingdoms. [10] [12] Kalimpong is said to have come under the control of Bhutan in the year 1706. [13] However, according to historians, the Bhutanese encroachments had been in effect for about two decades by then, following the defeat of Gyalpo Ajok and other Lepcha chieftans. [14]

The area was sparsely populated by the indigenous Lepcha community and migrant Bhutia, Limbu and Kirati tribes.[ citation needed ]

After the Anglo-Bhutan War in 1864, the Treaty of Sinchula (1865) was signed, in which Bhutanese-held territory east of the Teesta River was ceded to the British East India Company. [10] [ clarification needed ] It was administered as the 'Western Duars' district for a few years, and divided into three tehsils. Kalimpong fell into the Dalingkot tehsil, which consisted of all the mountainous part of the annexed territory. In 1867, the Dalingkot tehsil was merged with the Darjeeling district, and eventually renamed the Kalimpong Subdivision. [15]

At the time of annexation, Kalimpong was a hamlet, with only two or three families known to reside there. [16] The first recorded mention of the town was a fleeting reference made that year by Ashley Eden, a government official with the Bengal Civil Service. Kalimpong was added to district of Darjeeling in 1866. In 1866–1867 an Anglo-Bhutanese commission demarcated the common boundaries between the two, thereby giving shape to the Kalimpong subdivision and the Darjeeling district. [17]

After the war, the region became a subdivision of the Western Duars district, and the following year it was merged with the district of Darjeeling. [10] The temperate climate prompted the British to develop the town as an alternative hill station to Darjeeling, to escape the scorching summer heat in the plains. Kalimpong's proximity to the Nathu La and Jelep La passes (La means "pass") for trading with Tibet was an added advantage. It soon became an important trading outpost in the trade of furs, wools and food grains between India and Tibet. [18] The increase in commerce attracted large numbers of Nepali's from the neighbouring Nepal and the lower regions of Sikkim, the areas where, Nepali's were residing since the Gorkha invasion of Sikkim in 1790. The movement of people into the area, transformed Kalimpong from a small hamlet with a few houses, to a thriving town with increased economic prosperity. Britain assigned a plot within Kalimpong to the influential Bhutanese Dorji family, through which trade and relations with Bhutan flowed. This later became Bhutan House, a Bhutanese administrative and cultural centre. [19] [20] [21]

The arrival of Scottish missionaries saw the construction of schools and welfare centres for the British. [16] Rev. W. Macfarlane in the early 1870s established the first schools in the area. [16] The Scottish University Mission Institution was opened in 1886, followed by the Kalimpong Girls High School. In 1900, Reverend J.A. Graham founded the Dr. Graham's Homes for destitute Anglo-Indian students. [16] The young missionary (and aspiring writer and poet) Aeneas Francon Williams, aged 24, arrived in Kalimpong in 1910 to take up the post of assistant schoolmaster at Dr. Graham's Homes, [22] where he later became Bursar and remained working at the school for the next fourteen years. [23] From 1907 onwards, most schools in Kalimpong had started offering education to Indian students. By 1911, the population comprised many ethnic groups, including Nepalis, Lepchas, Tibetans, Muslims, the Anglo-Indian communities. Hence by 1911, the population had swollen to 7,880. [16]

Following Indian independence in 1947, Kalimpong became part of the state of West Bengal, after Bengal was partitioned between India and East Pakistan. With China's annexation of Tibet in 1959, many Buddhist monks fled Tibet and established monasteries in Kalimpong. These monks brought many rare Buddhist scriptures with them. In 1962, the permanent closure of the Jelep Pass after the Sino-Indian War disrupted trade between Tibet and India, and led to a slowdown in Kalimpong's economy. In 1976, the visiting Dalai Lama consecrated the Zang Dhok Palri Phodang monastery, which houses many of the scriptures. [16]

Most large houses in Kalimpong were built during the British era. In the background is Kangchenjunga. Kalimpongkanchenjanga.jpg
Most large houses in Kalimpong were built during the British era. In the background is Kangchenjunga.
Morgan House is a classic example of colonial architecture in Kalimpong. Morgan House Kalimpong 2.jpg
Morgan House is a classic example of colonial architecture in Kalimpong.

Between 1986 and 1988, the demand for a separate state of Gorkhaland and Kamtapur based on ethnic lines grew strong. Riots between the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) and the West Bengal government reached a stand-off after a forty-day strike. The town was virtually under siege, and the state government called in the Indian army to maintain law and order. This led to the formation of the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council, a body that was given semi-autonomous powers to govern the Darjeeling district, except the area under the Siliguri subdivision. Since 2007, the demand for a separate Gorkhaland state has been revived by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha and its supporters in the Darjeeling hills. [24] The Kamtapur People's Party and its supporters' movement for a separate Kamtapur state covering North Bengal have gained momentum. [25]

Geography

A view from the Deolo Cliff Eco Resort, atop Deolo Hill, Kalimpong's highest point Deolo.jpg
A view from the Deolo Cliff Eco Resort, atop Deolo Hill, Kalimpong's highest point

The town centre is on a ridge connecting two hills, Deolo Hill and Durpin Hill, [16] at an elevation of 1,247 m (4,091 ft). Deolo, the highest point in Kalimpong, has an altitude of 1,704 m (5,591 ft) and Durpin Hill is at an elevation of 1,372 m (4,501 ft). The River Teesta flows in the valley below and separates Kalimpong from the state of Sikkim. The soil in the Kalimpong area is typically reddish in colour. Occasional dark soils are found due to extensive existence of phyllite and schists. [26] The Shiwalik Hills, like most of the Himalayan foothills, have steep slopes and soft, loose topsoil, leading to frequent landslides in the monsoon season. [26] The hills are nestled within higher peaks and the snow-clad Himalayan ranges tower over the town in the distance. Kanchenjunga, at 8,586 m (28,169 ft) the world's third tallest peak, [27] is clearly visible from Kalimpong. [4]

View of Kanchenjunga Kalimpong 02.jpg
View of Kanchenjunga

Climate

Kalimpong has five distinct seasons: spring, summer, autumn, winter and the monsoons. The annual temperature is 18 °C (64 °F). Summers are mild, with an average maximum temperature of 25.5 °C (77.9 °F) in August. [28] Summers are followed by the monsoon rains which lash the town between June and September. The monsoons are severe, often causing landslides which sequester the town from the rest of India. Winter lasts from December to February, with the minimum temperature being around 8 °C (46 °F). During the monsoon and winter seasons, Kalimpong is often enveloped by fog. [29]

Climate data for Kalimpong (1981–2010, extremes 1920–2012)
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Record high °C (°F)29.9
(85.8)
29.9
(85.8)
31.9
(89.4)
32.4
(90.3)
35.0
(95.0)
33.6
(92.5)
34.1
(93.4)
31.4
(88.5)
30.2
(86.4)
31.1
(88.0)
30.1
(86.2)
29.9
(85.8)
35.0
(95.0)
Mean maximum °C (°F)20.9
(69.6)
21.6
(70.9)
24.3
(75.7)
26.1
(79.0)
27.1
(80.8)
27.6
(81.7)
27.6
(81.7)
27.5
(81.5)
27.1
(80.8)
26.3
(79.3)
24.5
(76.1)
21.9
(71.4)
29.3
(84.7)
Mean daily maximum °C (°F)18.9
(66.0)
18.3
(64.9)
21.1
(70.0)
23.9
(75.0)
25.0
(77.0)
25.3
(77.5)
25.4
(77.7)
25.5
(77.9)
25.2
(77.4)
24.2
(75.6)
22.6
(72.7)
19.8
(67.6)
22.9
(73.2)
Mean daily minimum °C (°F)8.4
(47.1)
9.2
(48.6)
11.4
(52.5)
13.8
(56.8)
14.7
(58.5)
15.0
(59.0)
15.9
(60.6)
16.3
(61.3)
16.1
(61.0)
14.3
(57.7)
12.0
(53.6)
9.6
(49.3)
13.1
(55.6)
Mean minimum °C (°F)5.6
(42.1)
6.6
(43.9)
8.6
(47.5)
11.3
(52.3)
12.3
(54.1)
12.8
(55.0)
13.8
(56.8)
13.6
(56.5)
13.6
(56.5)
12.0
(53.6)
9.7
(49.5)
7.5
(45.5)
5.4
(41.7)
Record low °C (°F)0.4
(32.7)
1.2
(34.2)
3.8
(38.8)
6.4
(43.5)
4.4
(39.9)
4.6
(40.3)
6.4
(43.5)
7.4
(45.3)
5.9
(42.6)
6.0
(42.8)
3.9
(39.0)
−0.6
(30.9)
−0.6
(30.9)
Average rainfall mm (inches)17.7
(0.70)
24.3
(0.96)
30.3
(1.19)
96.3
(3.79)
146.5
(5.77)
352.6
(13.88)
646.0
(25.43)
402.8
(15.86)
370.3
(14.58)
80.6
(3.17)
5.3
(0.21)
7.3
(0.29)
2,180.1
(85.83)
Average rainy days1.21.92.65.79.714.221.015.511.83.20.50.687.9
Average relative humidity (%) (at 17:30 IST)90888787898990889089899189
Source: India Meteorological Department [30] [31]

Economy

Oranges grown in the hillsides are exported to many parts of India. Kalimpong 52.jpg
Oranges grown in the hillsides are exported to many parts of India.

Tourism is the most significant contributor to Kalimpong's economy. [32] The summer and spring seasons are the most popular with tourists, keeping many of town's residents employed directly and indirectly. The town—earlier an important trade post between India and Tibet—hoped to boost its economy after the reopening of the Nathu La pass in April 2006. [33] Though this resumed Indo–China border trades, local leaders requested that the Jelep La pass also be reopened to allow trade. [34]

Kalimpong is a major ginger growing area of India. Kalimpong and the state of Sikkim together contribute 15 per cent of the ginger produced in India. [35] The Darjeeling Himalayan hill region is internationally famous for its tea industry. [36] However, most of the tea gardens are on the western side of Teesta river (towards the town of Darjeeling) and so tea gardens near Kalimpong contribute only 4 percent of total tea production of the region. In Kalimpong division, 90 percent of land is cultivable but only 10 percent is used for tea production. [37] Kalimpong is well known for its flower export industry—especially for its wide array of indigenous orchids and gladioli. [38]

A significant contributor to the town's economy is education sector. [32] The schools of Kalimpong, besides imparting education to the locals, attract a significant number of students from the plains, the neighbouring state of Sikkim and countries such as Bhutan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Thailand. [32]

Many establishments cater to the Indian army bases near the town, providing it with essential supplies. Small contributions to the economy come by the way of the sale of traditional arts and crafts of Sikkim and Tibet. Government efforts related to sericulture, seismology, and fisheries provide a steady source of employment to many of its residents.

Kalimpong is well renowned for its cheese, noodles and lollipops. Kalimpong exports a wide range of traditional handicrafts, wood-carvings, embroidered items, bags and purses with tapestry work, copper ware, scrolls, Tibetan jewellery and artefacts. [38] [39]

Transport

NH10 winds along the banks of the river Teesta near Kalimpong. Teestavalley.jpg
NH10 winds along the banks of the river Teesta near Kalimpong.

Roadways

Kalimpong is located off the NH10, which links Sevoke to Gangtok. NH-717A connecting Bagrakote with Gangtok is located at Algarah, 16 kilometres away from Kalimpong. [40] These two National Highways together, via Sevoke and Labha, links Kalimpong to the plains. [41] Regular bus services, Jeep Services and hired vehicles connect Kalimpong with Siliguri and the neighbouring towns and cities like Gangtok, Kurseong, Darjeeling, Namchi, Ravangla, Pakyong, Malbazar, Rhenock, Rongli, Algarah, Pedong, Labha, Gorubathan, Rangpo, Jaldhaka, Singtam, Pelling, Rorathang, Melli, Jorethang, Sevoke, Gyalshing and Mirik.

Airways

The nearest airport is Pakyong Airport 56 kilometres (35 mi) kilometres away and Bagdogra International Airport about 80 kilometres (50 mi) from Kalimpong. Vistara, IndiGo, Go First, Akasa Air, AIX Connect, Air India, SpiceJet and Druk Air (Bhutan) are the major carriers that connect Bagdogra airport to Chennai, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Delhi, Paro(Bhutan), Guwahati, Kolkata, Dibrugarh and Bangkok (Thailand) whereas SpiceJet is the only carrier operating from Pakyong Airport which connects Delhi, Kolkata and Guwahati.

Railway

Under construction

The closest currently operating major railway stations from Kalimpong are as follows:

  1. Sivok Junction - 45 kilometres.
  2. Siliguri Junction - 66 kilometres
  3. Malbazar Junction- 74 kilometres
  4. New Jalpaiguri Junction- 75 kilometres

Demographics

Historical population
YearPop.±%
1991 38,832    
2001 40,143+3.4%
2011 42,988+7.1%
Source: Census of India [42]

At the 2011 India census, [43] Kalimpong town area had a population of 42,988, of which 52% were male and 48% female. [43]

At the 2001 census, [44] Kalimpong had an average literacy rate of 79%, higher than the national average of 59.5%: male literacy was 84%, and female literacy was 73%. In Kalimpong, 8% of the population was under 6 years of age. The Scheduled castes and scheduled tribes population for Kalimpong was 5,100 and 5,121 respectively. [45]

Civic administration

Kalimpong is the headquarters of the Kalimpong district. The semi-autonomous Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council, set up by the West Bengal government in 1988, administers this district as well as the Darjeeling Sadar and Kurseong subdivisions. [46] Kalimpong elects eight councillors, who manage the departments of Public Health, Education, Public Works, Transport, Tourism, Market, Small scale industries, Agriculture, Agricultural waterways, Forest (except reserved forests), Water, Livestock, Vocational Training and Sports and Youth services. [47] The district administration of Darjeeling, which is the authoritative body for the departments of election, panchayat, law and order, revenue, etc., also acts as an interface of communication between the Council and the State Government. [47] The rural area in the district covers three community development blocks Kalimpong I, Kalimpong II and Gorubathan consisting of forty-two gram panchayats. [48] A Sub-Divisional Officer (SDO) presides over the Kalimpong subdivision. Kalimpong has a police station that serves the municipality and 18 gram panchayats of KalimpongI CD block. [49]

The Kalimpong municipality, which was established in 1945, [45] is in charge of the infrastructure of the town such as potable water and roads. The municipal area is divided into twenty-three wards. [50] Kalimpong municipality is constructing additional water storage tanks to meet the requirement of potable water, and it needs an increase of water supply from the 'Neora Khola Water Supply Scheme' for this purpose. [51] Often, landslides occurring in monsoon season cause havoc to the roads in and around Kalimpong. [52] The West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Corporation Limited (WBSEDCL) provides electricity here. [53] Renewable Energy Development Agency of the state has plans to promote usage of solar street lights in Kalimpong and proposed an energy park here to sell renewable energy gadgets. [54] The Public Works Department is responsible for the road connecting the town to the National Highway–NH-31A. [55] The Kalimpong municipality has a total of 10 health care units, with a total of 433 bed capacity. [56]

The Kalimpong assembly constituency, which is an assembly segment of the Darjeeling parliamentary constituency, elects one member of the Vidhan Sabha of West Bengal. [57]

People, culture, and cuisine

Mangal Dham Mandir Mangal Dham.jpg
Mangal Dham Mandir

The original settlers of Kalimpong are the Lepchas, [58] who also form one of main ethnic groups of Sikkim and Bhutan. [58] [59] The majority of the populace are ethnic Indian Gorkhas.[ citation needed ]

Indigenous ethnic groups include the Bhutia, Limbus, Rais, Sherpas, Magars, [60] Chettris, Bahuns, Thakuris, Gurungs, Tamangs, Yolmos, Bhujels, Yakkhas, Sunuwars, Sarkis, Damais and the Kamis. [61] The other non-native communities as old as the Indian Gorkhas are the Bengalis, Muslims, Anglo-Indians, Chinese, Biharis and Tibetans who escaped to Kalimpong after fleeing the Communist Chinese invasion of Tibet. Kalimpong is home to Trinley Thaye Dorje—one of the 17th Karmapa incarnations. [62] Kalimpong is the closest Indian town to Bhutan's western border, and has a small number of Bhutanese nationals residing here. Hinduism is the largest religion followed by Nijananda Sampradaya, Buddhism and Christianity. [60] Islam has a minuscule presence in this region, The Oldest settlers include people residing since the mid of 19th Century and also mostly Tibetan Muslims who fled in 1959 after Chinese invasion of Tibet. [63] The Buddhist monastery Zang Dhok Palri Phodang holds a number of rare Tibetan Buddhist scriptures. [8] There is a Mosque, Kalimpong Anjuman Islamia Established in 1887 in the bazaar area of Kalimpong. [64]

Local Hindu festivals include Diwali, Holi, Dussehra, Tihar, Sakela Cultural Programme and the Tibetan festival of Losar. The official languages are Hindi, Bengali and Nepali, with English acting as the additional official language. [3] [2] Languages spoken in Kalimpong include Nepali and Hindi, which are the predominant languages; Lepcha, Limbu, Rai, Tamang, and English. [4] Though there is a growing interest in cricket as a winter sport in Darjeeling Hills, football still remains the most popular sport in Kalimpong. [65] Every year since 1947, the Independence Shield Football Tournament is organised here as part of the two-day-long Independence Day celebrations. [66] Former captain of India national football team, Pem Dorjee Sherpa hails from Kalimpong. [67]

A popular snack in Kalimpong is the momo, steamed dumplings made of chicken, pork, beef or vegetable cooked in a wrapping of flour and served with watery soup. Wai-Wai is a packaged Thai snack made of noodles which are eaten either dry or in soup form. Churpee, a kind of hard cheese made from yak's or chauri's (a hybrid of yak and cattle) milk, is sometimes chewed. [68] A form of noodle called Thukpa, served in soup form is popular in Kalimpong. [69] There are a large number of restaurants which offer a wide variety of cuisines, ranging from Indian to continental, to cater to the tourists. Tea is the most popular beverage in Kalimpong, procured from the famed Darjeeling tea gardens. Kalimpong has a golf course besides Kalimpong Circuit House. [4] [70]

The cultural centres in Kalimpong include, the Lepcha Museum and the Zang Dhok Palri Phodang monastery. The Lepcha Museum, a kilometre away from the town centre, showcases the culture of the Lepcha community, the indigenous peoples of Sikkim. The Zang Dhok Palri Phodong monastery has 108 volumes of the Kangyur, and belongs to the Gelug of Buddhism.

Media

Kalimpong has access to most of the television channels aired in the rest of India. Cable Television still provides service to many homes in the town and its outskirts, while DTH connections are now practically mandatory throughout the country. Besides mainstream Indian channels, many Nepali-language channels such as Dainandini DD, Kalimpong Television KTv, Haal Khabar (an association of the Hill Channel Network), Jan Sarokar, Himalayan People's Channel (HPC), and Kalimpong Times are broadcast in Kalimpong. These channels, which mainly broadcast locally relevant news, are produced by regional media houses and news networks, and are broadcast through the local cable network, which is now slowly becoming defunct due to the Indian government's ruling on mandatory digitisation of TV channels. The movie production houses like JBU films produces the movies on the nepali and other languages. [71]

Newspapers in Kalimpong include English language dailies The Statesman and The Telegraph , which are printed in Siliguri, [72] [73] and The Economic Times and the Hindustan Times , which are printed in Kolkata.

Among other languages, Nepali, Hindi and Bengali are prominent vernacular languages used in this region. [29] Newspapers in all these four languages are available in the Darjeeling Hills region. Of the largely circulated Nepali newspapers Himalay Darpan, Swarnabhumi and some Sikkim-based Nepali newspapers like Hamro Prajashakti and Samay Dainik are read most. [74] The Tibet Mirror was the first Tibetan-language newspaper published in Kalimpong in 1925. [75] while Himalayan Times was the first English to have come out from Kalimpong in the year 1947, it was closed down in the year 1962 after the Chinese aggression but was started once again and is now in regular print.

Internet service and Internet cafés are well established; these are mostly served through broadband, data card of different mobile services, WLL, dialup lines, [76] [77] Kalimpong News, Kalimpong Online News, Kalimpong Times and KTV are the main online news sites that collect and present local and North Bengal & Sikkim news from its own agencies like KalimNews and other newspapers. Besides this there are others like kalimpong.info, kalimpongexpress.blogspot.com and several others.

All India Radio and several other National and Private Channels including FM Radio are received in Kalimpong.

The area is serviced by major telecommunication companies of India with most types of cellular services in most areas. [78]

Flora and fauna

Heliconia Kalimpong heliconia.jpg
Heliconia

The area around Kalimpong lies in the Eastern Himalayas, which is classified as an ecological hotspot, one of only three among the ecoregions of India. Neora Valley National Park lies within the Kalimpong subdivision and is home to tigers. [79] Acacia is the most commonly found species at lower altitudes, while cinnamon, ficus, bamboo and cardamom, are found in the hillsides around Kalimpong. The forests found at higher altitudes are made up of pine trees and other evergreen alpine vegetation. Seven species of rhododendrons are found in the region east of Kalimpong. The temperate deciduous forests include oak, birch, maple and alder. [80] Three hundred species of orchid are found around Kalimpong. [81]

The Red panda, Clouded leopard, Siberian weasel, Asiatic black bear, [82] barking deer, [83] Himalayan tahr, goral, gaur [83] and pangolin are some of the fauna found near Kalimpong. Avifauna of the region include the pheasants, cuckoos, minivets, flycatchers, bulbuls, orioles, owls, partridges, sunbirds, warblers, swallows, swifts and woodpeckers. [84]

Kalimpong is a major production centre of gladioli in India, [85] and orchids, which are exported to many parts of the world. The Rishi Bankim Chandra Park is an ecological museums within Kalimpong. [86] Citrus Dieback Research Station at Kalimpong works towards control of diseases, plant protection and production of disease free orange seedlings. [87]

Kalimpong is also known for their rich practice of cactus cultivation. Its nurseries attract people from far and wide for the absolutely stunning collection of cacti they cultivate. The strains of cacti, though not indigenous to the locale, have been carefully cultivated over the years, and now the town boasts one of the most fascinating and exhaustive collections of the family Cactaceae. The plants have adapted well to the altitude and environment, and now prove to be one of the chief draws of tourism to the township. [88] [89]

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Gorkha National Liberation Front</span> Political party in India

Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) is a political party in the Darjeeling District of West Bengal, India. It was formed in 1980 by Subhash Ghisingh with the objective of demanding a Gorkhaland state within India.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jelep La</span> Mountain pass between Sikkim, India and Tibet

Jelep La elevation 14,390 feet (4,390 m), is a high mountain pass between Sikkim, India and Tibet Autonomous Region, China. It is on a route that connects Lhasa to India. The pass is about 4 km (2.5 mi) south of Nathu La and is slightly higher. It was frequently used for trade between Tibet and India during the British Raj, with Kalimpong serving as the contact point. The Menmecho Lake lies below the Jelep La.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">History of Sikkim</span>

The history of Sikkim begins with the indigenous Lepcha's contact with early Tibetan settlers. Historically, Sikkim was a sovereign Monarchical State in the eastern Himalayas. Later a protectorate of India followed by a merger with India and official recognition as a state of India. Lepchas were the main inhabitants as well as the Ruler of the land up to 1641. Lepchas are generally considered to be the first people, indigenous to Sikkim also includes Darjeeling.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Darjeeling district</span> District of West Bengal, India

Darjeeling District is the northernmost district of the state of West Bengal in eastern India in the foothills of the Himalayas. The district is famous for its hill station and Darjeeling tea. Darjeeling is the district headquarters.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Chumbi Valley</span> Valley in Yadong County, Tibet Autonomous Region, China

The Chumbi Valley, called Dromo or Tromo in Tibetan, is a valley in the Himalayas that projects southwards from the Tibetan plateau, intervening between Sikkim and Bhutan. It is coextensive with the administrative unit Yadong County in the Tibet Autonomous Region of China. The Chumbi Valley is connected to Sikkim to the southwest via the mountain passes of Nathu La and Jelep La.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kurseong</span> Town in West Bengal, India

Kurseong is a town and a municipality in Darjeeling district in the Indian state of West Bengal. It is the headquarters of the Kurseong subdivision.

Pedong is a town in the Pedong CD block in the Kalimpong subdivision of the Kalimpong district in the Indian state of West Bengal. The town is very close to Resi-Sikkim border. Pedong lies on the National Highway-717A connecting Bagrakote to Gangtok via Pakyong Airport.

Algarah is a town in Lava CD block in the Kalimpong subdivision of the Kalimpong district of West Bengal, India. The town lies on National Highway-717A connecting Bagrakote to Gangtok.

Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council, also once known for a short period of time as Darjeeling Gorkha Autonomous Hill Council, was a semi-autonomous body that looked after the administration of the hills of Darjeeling District in the state of West Bengal, India. DGHC had three subdivisions under its authority: Darjeeling, Kalimpong, and Kurseong and some areas of Siliguri subdivision.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">History of Darjeeling</span>

The History of Darjeeling covers the history of Darjeeling town and its adjoining hill areas belonging to Sikkim, but eventually part of British India so now in the Indian state of West Bengal, which is intertwined with the history of Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan, Bengal and Great Britain. Part of the state of Sikkim, Darjeeling became part of an important buffer state between Nepal and Bhutan. The British, using the area as a sanitorium, found that the climate provided excellent tea-cultivating conditions and soon began to grow tea on the hills of Darjeeling. Darjeeling tea remains a world-renowned export from Darjeeling.

The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) is a registered unrecognized political party, that campaigns for the creation of a separate state Gorkhaland within India, out of districts in the north of West Bengal. The party was launched on 7 October 2007. The faction led by Binay Tamang, which was created out of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha in 2017, merged into Gurung's GJM in 2021 after Tamang's resignation, following which he joined Trinamool Congress.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Rhenock</span> Town in Sikkim, India

Rhenock is a town, just 35 km from Pakyong City in the Pakyong district in Sikkim, India, located on the border with the Kalimpong district of West Bengal. It lies 63 kilometres east of Gangtok, and 47 kilometres north of Kalimpong on the way to Jelepla Pass at an altitude of 1,040 metres. The word Rhe-nock means Black Hill. Situated in the extreme east of Sikkim, Rhenock witnessed the establishment of the first police outpost in the state.

Bimal Gurung is an Indian politician and one of the founders and the president of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), a political party demanding the formation of a separate state of Gorkhaland within India. He is the 1st chief executive member of Gorkhaland Territorial Administration, which is a semi-autonomous body that governs the hilly areas or Darjeeling District Kalimpong District and the partial terai region in the state of West Bengal.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Indian Gorkha</span> Ethnolinguistic group in India

Indian Gorkhas, also known as Nepali Indians, are an ethno-cultural group native to India, who speak Nepali as a common language. They inhabit mainly the states of Sikkim, West Bengal, Northeast and Uttarakhand, including their diaspora elsewhere in India and abroad. The modern term "Indian Gorkha" is used to differentiate the Nepali language Speaking Indians from Nepalis.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Gorkhaland Territorial Administration</span> Indian West Bengali Autonomous administrative division

The Gorkhaland Territorial Administration is a semi-autonomous council for the Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts of West Bengal state in India. The GTA was formed in 2012 to replace the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council, which was formed in 1988 and administered the Darjeeling hills for 23 years.

John Anderson Graham was a Scottish minister and the first missionary from Young Men's Guild sent to North Eastern Himalayan region Kalimpong—then in British Sikkim, currently in West Bengal.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kalimpong district</span> District in West Bengal, India

Kalimpong district is a district in the state of West Bengal, India. In 2017, it was carved out as a separate district to become the 21st district of West Bengal.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Chumbi</span> Village in the Chumbi Valley of Tibet, China

Chumbi is a historic village in the Chumbi Valley or the Yadong County of the Tibet Autonomous Region of China. It is in the valley of the Amo Chu River, where the route from Sikkim's Cho La Pass meets the Amo Chu Valley. The "Chumbi Valley" of the European nomenclature derives its name from the village of Chumbi. It was the administrative center of the lower Chumbi Valley until the Chinese take-over of Tibet in 1950, after which Yatung became its headquarters. Chumbi is also associated with the Sikkim's royal family, which had a summer palace in the village.

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Bibliography

Further reading