Buddhism in and around Kalimpong was joined by another religion in 1870 with the arrival in Darjeeling District of the Rec. Mr. W. Macfarlane, a missionary of the Church of Scotland. Fortunately for the local population of the Darjeeling hills, Macfarlene’s h religious enthusiasm had a practical side to it; he was the first to establish schools in the villages scattered about the District. By 1873 there were 25 such primary schools in the area, with 650 boys and girls being taught in the vernacular (Macfarlene had earlier learnt Hindi during five rather ineffectual years in Gaya). Macfarlence did not live to see the outcome of his pioneering work in vernacular education; indeed he did not even live to see founding of the Church that bears its centenary in the year 1991. He died suddenly in 1887, at the age of 47, and is buried in Kalimpong’s original cemetery. The Scottish Universities Mission Institution, better known locally as S.U.M.I, was founded in the year of his death, and now has about 2000 pupils.Shortly afterwards came the Girl’s High School which is now over a hundred years old. After 50 years of teaching through the medium of the language that Macfarlence had brought with him from Gaya, the opposition of foreign missionaries was overcome; and Hindi was replaced by Nepali. Immeediately above the bazaar is another striking landmark, the Macfariane Memorial Church associated with the Young Mens Guild of the Church of Scotland Mission which started in Kalimpong in 1873. The “mission compound” houses, a hospital, the leper colony; and the boys and girls High school. Some of these institutions are now run by the government.
En route the Graham’s Home for Child are two Tibetan Monasteries, the Tharpa Choling Monastery at Tirpai Belong to the Yellow—hat sect of lamas. The present Dalai Lama belongs to the same sect. The new Buddhist Monastery, Zang-dog palrifo Brand, complected, 1975, is on the Durpin Dara Hill.
The Dalai Lama visited Kalimpong in the year 1956. Areception was held in Graham’s Homes He had presented a set of rare manuscripts “the Kangyur which was brought by Dalai Lama from Tibet is a rare documents on Tibetology. The Dalai Lama visited Kalimpong once again on May 29, 1976, for a four day visit, when he consecrated at the Durpin Dara Monastery. There was a grand reception arranged to welcome the Dalai Lama. The first thing that catches the eyes on entering the monastery are two huge cylinders on either side, some ten feet high, turned by a crank, a catch as so arranged that at each turn a bell is rung.
Hindus and Buddhists from the religious majority, with notable Muslim and Christian minorities. Darjeeling is full of temples and monasteries where you can enjoy a peaceful moment in the company of deities, as well as churches, gurudwaras and mosques.
The Lion’s Golf Course, a challenging and picturesque Army Golf Course, consisting of nine holes, has been laid by the military authorities along the most picturesque, beautiful and undulating slopes at Durpin Ridge, Opposite the historic Singamari Tourist Lodge of Bengal Government and Circuit House. The greens are very attractive. About 1000 plants have been planted along the Gollf Course, consisting of Dhupi, Cyprus and Silver Oak on the rough. On the slopes, Crocus Lilies and Bougainvaellia add colour and beauty to the Course in its natural Surroundings.
In the year 1940, Guruji, Shri 108 Mangal Dasji Maharaj arrived at Kalimpong. The impact was so deep that he decided to select this place for unfolding his cherished dreams. Dream so divine to serve the people by way of constructing schools, orphanages and temples. He was a soul so dedicated to the cause of the innocent and needly. Neverthless ‘Mangal Dham’ is a memorial built in his divine memory. Sprawling over an area of two acres, ‘Mangal Dham’ is considered to be one of the most splendid temples in India. In the ground floor of the Dham, lies the ‘Samadhi’ of Guruji. The prayer hall is on the top floor, where the idol of Raj Shyamaji, flanked on either side by the Revered Prannath and Shri 108 Guru Mangal Dasji. Both the sides of the prayer hall has a vivid picturesque story of Nijanandacharya Shri Dev Chandraji, meeting Lord Krishna, Rev. Prannathji blessing the brave Bundela Lord Chatrasal Maharaj and other scenes from the Krishna Leela.
Kalibari is about 2 km from the town. Huge statue of Goddess Kali is the main deity of this temple.
3km from the town on the way to Teesta Bazar. Apanaromic view of Teesta and Rangeet valley can be seen from here.
The climate of Kalimpong is ideal for the cultivation of horticultural plants. Kalimpong is the only place where many commercial flower nurseries are situated. One should visit the beautiful laid out ‘Universal Nursery’ about 3km from the town, on the kalimpong---Teesta road to have a glimpse of the fabulous ‘CACTUS, ORCHID, AMARYLLIS ( Ooly in April and May ), SUCCULENTS and many other flowers. The other nurseries are also equally attractive. Sri Ganesh Mani Pradhan Nursery at 12th mile is specilly renowned for its varities of orchids . If one is interested in Gladioli, you must meet col. Tulsi Pradhan, Murgi Hatta, below Motor Stand, Kalimpong. He is an expert in Gladioli. If you are interested in Rose, Gerbera and Dahilas you can visit Standard Nursery at Chibo Bustee, Kalimpong, the other nurseries which are also of equal importance are Sri.L.B. Pradhan Nursery, Twin Brothers Nursery, Flower-wood Nursery,etc .
Mightily stand the Himalayas, their ramparts drawn towards heaven, but along their winding valleys and gorges the Guru Charaka and other after him, gathered precious healing herbs. The State Sericultural Department at Kalimpong has taken up an expanding programme of mulberry cultivation in Darjeeling hills. Following in the foot-steps of India’s preceptors,medicinal plats are being cultivated among the Rauwalfa Serpentina, Digitalia, Purpurea, Atropa Acuminata, Atropa Belladona etc. The Cinchona Plantation was started in 1864 at Mongpu in the Rangno valley, Where it was later established, after initial difficulties. It provides cheap quinine and cinchona febrifuge which has helped to to eradicate malaria from the land .
The Nepalese Buddhists have a temple named the Dharmodaya Vihar which is on the Rishi Road.The Dharmodaya Vihar is the residence of the Nepalese Buddhist monks. There is a library and a reading room where books on Buddhism and other books in Nepali, English, Hindi , Bengali and Pali languages are kept. The idol of Buddha inside the temple at Dharmodaya Vihar was presented by Buddhists of Kalimpong Dharmodaya Sabha. Recently they have opened a Nursery School by the name “Dharmodaya Nursery school” in the old premises of the Vihar . Before Independence, Buddhism was suppressed in Nepal. Then some Nepalese Buddhists and Monks left Nepal and came to India. They held a meeting at Sarnath and took decision to form a Buddhist Association by the name of Dharmodaya Sabha. There after the members of the Sabha purchased a house with some land attached to it at Kalimpong and the office of the Association was housed to it. In 1952 the members decided to rename this Association as “Kalimpong Dharmodaya Sabha.”. Since then it is functioning by this name till this day. A monthly magazine in Newari used to n be published from here. The present Secreatary of this Sabba is Sri P.B. Shakya, an old student of S.U.M.I. He is the teacher of Junior Technical School, Kalimpong .
Twenty - two kilometers to the north-east of Kalimpong and 4700ft above seal level on the Darjeeling - Gangtok road, Pedong is where West Bengal, Sikkim and Bhutan meet. Equipped with the necessities of life, bungalows, dispensary, Buddhist monastery and a Roman Catholic Mission Chapel, Pedong lives for literally one week a year - the week ending February when the annual meal is held. For months the preparations go on , as the data approaches visitors from far and near begin to coverge on this little village for the agricultural fair---when, for a week, the sleepy little village wakes to life for its’ day in the sun’. The old Butanese fort of Dumsong was located close by, and it was the centre of Butanese administration, during their rule Pedong Monastery was constructed in in 1837, and retains its originality. The first catholic mission was established here in 18882 by a French priest, Father Desgodins . The chapel still stands and the mission is flourishing .
Located on a pass astride the old trade route to Bhutan, at an elevation of 2000 meteres, a small hamlet, 35km from Kalimpong, it is surrounded by virgin forests, and is ideal for nature exploration, bird watching, and for viewing orchids in their natural habitat . It is also the base for exploring the Neora valley, upto the 3152M hight Racheala pass on the junction with Sikkim and Bhutan. Sherpa View Point offers good views of the snow ranges of the Chola range; including Chomalhari, on the Bhutan-Tibetboder . The old Bhutanese fort, which was captured during the Doar wars, is just an hours drive from Lava . Treks to Samthar plateau also start from here . Accommodation is available at a village inn, with modern toilets, and at the forest bungalow .
Budhabare is a weekly market bazaar, located at Gitdabling, in the valley of the Git River. This area has scenic countryside, with forests, streams, terraced cultivation, and old style homesteads. There are Bhutia, Lepcha , and gorkha villages, and an old Christian mission. Asuitable area for easy trekking, at an elevation of 1400 metres, it offers quite walks, old Lepcha houses, village pubs, church, and Gompa, along with an opportunity to study the local tribal culture and lifestyle. Accommodation is arranged in tents. Can also be reached by mountain bike, or jeep .
Located 20 km from Kalimpong on the highway to siliguri, this ropeway was constructed by Christian missionaries, to open up the remote Samthar Suruk region, with its predominant Lepcha population . The ropeway spans 1.5 km over both the Teesta and Relli rivers. It is a breathtaking ride 120 feet over the waters of the river, with unusual views. Safe and clean river swimming and sun bathing, is available in the Relli River . The ropeway provide access to the Samthar plateau, and the remote Lepcha villages of Yougri and Yang as also the Christian mission at Suruk. Forests and flora can be explored along the river valley . Accommodation is arranged in tents. Augling and River rafting can be arranged
Your visit to Kalimpong won’t be complete unless you spend several hours or better still, several days at the two Kalimpong bazars, one on the Main road, the other near the 10th mile. It is a uniqe experience to see villagers turning up in their local costume at the bazars on weekly market days to sell their farm products .