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Exotic and rare collections of cactus plants

Day 3 Jalpāiguri > Kalimpong

Was awake around 5.30am / 05:30 after a restless night’s sleep as several times during the night the fellow passengers in my compartment changed.

Apparently sometime during the night the train was stationery for an hour and that is why we got in to New Jalpaiguri at 7.35am / 07:35 instead of 6.20am / 06:20.

It was a grey foggy dawn that greeted us as we alighted on the platform. Porters took our bags.

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Chai Chai

Chai Chai

JD negotiating with the porters

JD negotiating with the porters

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Clean windows

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Follow that green Osprey bag!

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We continued by van to Kalimpong.

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A 9am / 09:00 breakfast stop at Highway Hotel, Loha Pul, Birik Forest for a plate of egg chow mein / noddle 160 rupees / NZ$3.40 / US$2.50.

How different was the scenery. Had time to stand in the sun and see the brightly painted vehicles go by.

With the steep hillside, single lane roadway twisting and winding its way alongside the flowing rivers and tributaries, it certainly reminded me of Bhutan which was literally only a valley away anyway.

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Kalimpong is a hill station in the Indian state of West Bengal. It is located at an average elevation of 1,250 metres / 4,101ft. The town is the headquarters of the Kalimpong district. The Indian Army's 27 Mountain Division is located on the outskirts of the town.

Kalimpong is known for its educational institutions, many of which were established during the British colonial period. 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, magnificent Himalayan beauty 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. Home to Nepalis, non-indigenous Lepchas, other ethnic groups and non-native immigrants from other parts of India, the town is a religious centre of Buddhism. The Buddhist monastery Zang Dhok Palri Phodang holds a number of rare Tibetan Buddhist scriptures. Thanks Mr Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kalimpong

Kalimpong is located at an altitude of 4,100ft. Because of its relatively lower altitude compared to Darjeeling or Gangtok, the weather is milder and pleasant for most part of the year.

https://www.darjeeling-tourism.com/darj_000127.htm

https://www.lonelyplanet.com/india/west-bengal/kalimpong

https://wikitravel.org/en/Kalimpong

https://www.tourmyindia.com/hill_stations/kalimpong.html

Normally on this tour the train will get in around lunch time. So we had plenty of time after check in for sightseeing firstly at the Pineview Nursery, a private commercial nursery established in 1971. I was surprised to see so many varieties of exotic and rare collections of north, south and central America's cactus plants growing up so high. A real surprise.

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https://1001things.org/pine-view-nursery-kalimpong/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Pineview-Nursery-Kalimpong/433968250003927

Here are some more images from their Facebook page.

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=br.AbqToQPHC8xu2DXu7QzBZRHQ4HqDiPDcn-2ToStAiSzyFhkhMP-8YAqOg-a3CqzRs13zlVwocKRGNKk_l39wg8q50I9qy_VKNQ8xBkA0FQA3o5i10RxMqwxWoI8w5Okq6ShfF7PDafWsOrj-nTfeCv_SjKuVv4hmnqRZmFbkRZeMZfjRewM-WmFdnp4LBSSfN05qDnQbeF_8zgKfdOT4Dp6oYoX455k1Va_9vAI_divButLmfdYZPvNmWt28UxP3ado&type=1

Here are some more images from Dr “Google”:

https://www.google.co.nz/search?q=pineview+nursery+kalimpong&rlz=1C1GGRV_enNZ751NZ751&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiS7oCHjfjZAhWMU7wKHZv2BykQ_AUICigB&biw=1536&bih=734&dpr=1.25

From here could see Mt Kangchenjunga the highest mountain in India covered in snow.

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Kalimpong

Kalimpong

Kalimpong

Kalimpong

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Then to Durpin Monastery also known as Zang Dog Palri Monastery / Zang Dhok Palri Phodang which is normally not included in this trip but remember because of the change in train timetable we were early arriving here in Kalimpong.

Zang Dhok Palri Phodang is a Buddhist monastery in Kalimpong in West Bengal, India. The monastery is located atop Durpin Hill, one of the two hills of the town. It was consecrated in 1976 by the visiting Dalai Lama.

The monastery houses many rare scriptures that were brought into India after the invasion of Tibet in 1959. It also houses the 108 volumes of the Kangyur. It is also popularly known as the Lava Monastery. The view from the hill-top is breathtaking. Thanks Mr Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zang_Dhok_Palri_Phodang

https://www.lonelyplanet.com/india/kalimpong/attractions/durpin-gompa/a/poi-sig/1284685/356542

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Joe

Joe

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A stairway from the side leads up to the top of the monastery and on top of the second floor from the open terrace had a really marvellous view of not only Kalimpong but Mt Kanchenjunga was in the background.

Mt Kangchenjunga is the highest mountain peak in India and ranked third highest summit in the world with an elevation of 8,586m / 28,169ft. See if you can pick out the 5 peaks of which 4 of them are above 8,000m and other is 7,900 m something. It is also called the 5 treasures of snow people of Sikkim and Darjeeling who used to worship this mountain. That is why nobody went on the top of the summit. They had to stop at a point which was marked by the king or you can say the royal family of Sikkim. Thanks JD.

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My opinion is from here there is a much better view of Mt Kangchenjunga than from Pineview Nursery. Add the rolling tea gardens, Teesta and Reang rivers, it was certainly an awesome sight from this viewpoint.

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Then lunch across the road from the hotel at Good’s Garden Retreat with for me the Chef’s Special Fried Rice 155 rupees/ NZ$3.25 / US$2.40 plus a BIG pot of tea to warm me up 120 rupees / NZ$2.50 / US$1.85 = 289 rupees / NZ$6.10 / US$4.50.

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Off for some more sightseeing taking in views of the mountainous scenery with a stop at Deolo Hill, home to the highest point in Kalimpong. Pity we couldn’t enjoy the mountain scenery views because of the haze plus it was getting a bit nippy. With the haziness I’m not surprised that nobody was paragliding. Plus there are so few western tourists around ... perhaps the local domestic tourist paraglide?

Deolo Hill is one of the two hills that the town of Kalimpong stands between. Kalimpong is situated on a ridge connecting the two hills, Durpin and Deolo. The hill is 1,704 metres / 5,590 feet above msl and is the highest point of Kalimpong town.

On a clear day, the snow-clad mountains of West Sikkim are also visible from this hill. At the summit of this hill, there is a park built for recreation purposes which feature exotic flowers. The park is a popular picnic spot for tourists as well as locals. Near the park a Hindu temple is also a visited spot. Overall Deolo provides a panoramic 360 degree view of Kalimpong town and its neighbouring hills. Thanks Mr Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deolo_Hill

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What does it looks like on a clear day? Here are some images from Dr “Google”:

https://www.google.co.nz/search?q=Deolo+Hill&rlz=1C1GGRV_enNZ751NZ751&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiLz-HBiPjZAhUIwLwKHWH8BHoQ_AUICigB&biw=1534&bih=728

I am not feeling right 100% with similar symptoms to what I had in Madurai some 10 days ago …. sore throat, then an odd cough every so often and all my muscles and bones feeling weak, no energy and simply “yucky”.

King Thai Hotel back in town right by Kalimpong Market Square and as we walked in their blackboard menu had Chinese BBQ Chicken 150 rupees/ NZ$3.20 / US$2.30 so why not? I kind of expected rice to come with it but not so. It was just the chicken. Masala tea was 150 rupees / NZ$3.20 / US$2.30 equals 300 rupee / NZ$6.30 / US$4.65 all up.

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Mountain View Hotel had no heating so it will be cold night? Hopefully not cold by paying 100 rupees / NZ$2.10 / US$1.50 for a heater.

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Will probably be wearing all my 3 layers of merino and lightweight fleece jacket tomorrow.

Posted by bruceontour 12:06 Archived in India Tagged monastery mt_kangchenjunga Comments (0)

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