Kalimpong is a sleepy little town that is situated at an altitude of 1,200m and at a distance of 50-odd km to the east of Darjeeling. It was once the hub of the trans-Himalayan trade between India and Tibet-merchants used to ferry goods by mule caravans over the Jelepla Pass on the Sikkim-Tibet border.
The name of this town has historic significance. Kalimong was once the headquarters of a Bhutanese Governor. The word "kalim" stands for "the King's minister" and the word "pong" means "stronghold"; hence "Kalimpong" means "the stronghold of the King's minister".
The dense forests of goldenoaktrees that are offset by the rich undergrowth of moss and lichen are an ideal setting for balmy walks on the thick cushions of russet leaves. One comes to Kalimpong to slow and be pampered amid nature's bounties.
Kalimpong, located on a ridge overlooking the Teesta River, is a tourist destination owing to its temperate climate and proximity to popular tourist locations in the region. Horticulture is also 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 ethnic Nepalis, indigenous ethnic groups and non-native migrants from other parts of India, the town also is a religious centre of Buddhism. The Buddhist monastery Zang Dhok Palri Phodang holds a number of rare Tibetan Buddhist scriptures.