Cycling in the Mountains – Kalimpong

Welcome to the third part of my Cycling in the Mountains travelogue. After spending four days in Darjeeling, it’s time to head to my next destination – Kalimpong.
Keep reading.


# NOV 5


The original plan was to ride to Ghum station and then to Jorebungalow, stopping along the way to see Batasia Loop and Tiger Hill, but the hotel owner suggested a shorter route to Jorebungalow. I saved roughly 5 kilometres, but missed seeing the loop and the hill.


Tukdah forest
at the start of the steepest downhill, 30kms – 2250 mts drop to 200mts, most of the way the ride was without pedalling and with the brakes pressed.


Bag Hitti
along the way, I came across this intriguing shrine.


Teesta is now 21 kms away


This road sign provided an apt metaphor for my cycling adventure.
I clicked photos of a lot of the interesting ones and have written a separate blog post. You can read it by clicking this link: Road Signs Reminders


Lamahatta Eco Park


Lovers Meet View Point
Confluence of river Teesta and Rangeet


Teesta originates from a lake known as Tso Lhamo lake (also called Cholamu) in north Sikkim at an altitude of 17,500 ft (i.e. 5,330m). Upstream, it is joined by several other mountain rivers. As it flows down north to south, it divides Sikkim and West Bengal until it reaches the Teesta Bazar. It’s emerald green in colour, and the river rushes downstream with ferocity.

Rangeet (also known as the Great Rangeet) originates from a glacier on Mount Kabru in the Kanchenjunga region. On its way down, its joined by river Ramman, which originates from the Singalila region of Darjeeling district. Further down and a short distance away, another stream called the Little Rangeet, which too originates from the Singalila region, joins the Great Rangeet.

The river coming from the left is the Rangeet and it meets the Teesta, which is coming straight down. The hills of Sikkim are on the left, while the hills of Kalimpong, where I’m going, are on the right.


An interesting bridge made of pipes


Teesta Bazar Junction


On the bridge over river Teesta


16kms to Kalimpong
At the lowest elevation, now the thought task of cycling up 1000 mts elevation begins. The gradient is similar to that of cycling up to the Chandreshwar Bhootnath Temple in Quepem, except it is four times longer.


70% of the distance covered.
Now cycle, walk, repeat… every few kilometres.


Luckily, these fresh water springs flowing out of the mountain side came in handy to refresh.


For plant lovers, there are a few nurseries selling cactus and succulents along the way.


Finally made it to Kalimpong’s city centre, the hotel I had booked is now only 600 meters away according to Google.


After the arduous ride up, when I saw the hotel, it was like finding the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.


I was pleasantly surprised to find this delicious cake waiting for me when I arrived at the hotel, and all my tiredness vanished.


Mission Valley Homestay
The best homestay I have stayed in. A true example of excellent hospitality!

The cost per day was Rs. 2000/-, which included breakfast (I had booked through Rooms are tastefully decorated and spotless, with 3-star amenities. There are rooms available for everybody, from a single person to a large family.

Mr Yakub Tamang – ph: 8509008812
If you want a big discount, book directly by calling him.

I highly recommend this homestay for anyone visiting Kalimpong.


The food served was delicious and tasty.


Mr Tamang – the homestay owner gifted me these lovely handmade pouches (if you saw the cake, you will know why 😉 ). The paper bag was also made at a local traditional paper factory, nearby to the homestay.


# NOV 6


In the afternoon, Mr. Tamang and I went on a 7km hike.


First, through Dr. Graham Homes’ vast property. It was founded in 1900 by John Anderson Graham, a missionary of the Church of Scotland, who had settled in Kalimpong and worked with the local community.

On September 24th, 1900, Reverend Graham opened the homes with six children, which he would later expand to 400 acres and continue to grow. By the 1920s, the Homes complex was a self-sufficient village, housing 600 children. In the initial two decades, he constructed 44 buildings, the last being the kindergarten in 1938.

The kindergarten was opened by Lord Brabourne, the Governor of Bengal, on May 19th, 1938.


The Katherine Graham Memorial Chapel
The Chapel is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Graham’s wife, Katherine Graham, who died in 1919. The architecture of this chapel, built in 1925, is Scottish in style, as are the school houses built by Dr. Graham and others that are on the way up to the chapel. The iron framework was installed after the chapel was seriously damaged by the 18th September 2011 earthquake that happened near Gangtok and the one that rocked Nepal in 2015.


Returning to the homestay. Kalimpong town lit up for Diwali. Unfortunately, my camera phone’s night photography capabilities are limited.


# NOV 7


I hired a taxi and first went to the Pine View Nursery. Spread out over an area of 2 acres with a fascinating display of cacti, this place has the largest collection in all of Asia.


Mohan S. Pradhan collected these species of cactus from different parts of the world during his business trips and grew them in his greenhouse at his home.


Morgan House
This mansion, built in the 1930s by the English jute baron George Morgan, is situated on a sixteen-acre estate atop the mountain of Durpindara and is now managed as a hotel by West Bengal Tourism. Only hotel guests are allowed inside. The lodge is said to be haunted and several stories can be found on the internet.


Opp the Morgan House is this pristine Army golf course.


Some sign boards with interesting information near the golf course.


We were on our way to see the “Zang Dhok Palri Monastery” (Durpin Monastery), but unfortunately had to turn back as the road leading to the monastery through the Kalimpong Cantonment area was closed for repairs.


After that, headed to Hanuman Tok.
The temple, which sits atop a hill, has a massive 30ft statue of Lord Hanuman. The Kanchenjunga mountain and the neighbouring state of Sikkim can be seen from the temple.


On the way to Deolo Hills, I stopped to see this beautiful statue of Lord Buddha sitting in lotus position.


The Kalimpong Science Centre houses a science observatory, a 3D movie theatre and several scientific objects on display. One can get hands-on experience with various examples of working models.


The garden has various outdoor activities, models of dinosaurs and scientific equipments.


Watching a 3D movie


I was finally able to tick paragliding off my bucket list.
Duration: 10 minutes
Cost: Rs. 3000/-


With Santosh, the paraglider pilot with whom I flew. He has been flying here for the past 5 years and claims, this is the second best site to fly in India, after Bir Billing in HP.


# NOV 8


In the morning, I went for a walk to the Carmichael Ground. From the top of the hill, you can see all of Sikkim. Sikkim and Kalimpong are separated by the Teesta River.


On the way back visited a traditional paper factory. The paper produced here was sold to monasteries in Bhutan and Japan for use in writing prayers. He also made bags, books and boxes. Unfortunately, he had to close the factory due to a lack of support from the WB government, as well as cheap imports from China.


Macfarlane Memorial Church
The church was constructed under the supervision of Scottish Missionary William Sutherland with the help of locals people. The church was named after the Rev. William MacFarlane, who was the first missionary to come to Kalimpong and who took the initiative in setting up the first missionary schools in Kalimpong.

The foundation stone for the church was laid on February 24, 1890, and it was inaugurated on November 1, 1891. The bell tower, pinnacles and interiors were severely damaged by the earthquake that struck Sikkim in 2011. After being closed for more than two years, the church was reopened in December 2013 after being meticulously restored.


Scottish Universities’ Mission Institution
It was established in February 1887 through the efforts of the Rev. William Macfarlane. The institution started functioning as a training school for teachers and catechists on April 19, 1886, with 12 students. Presently, there are 2500 students.


Kalimpong City Center


Nature Interpretation Centre
Various full-scale or three-dimensional representations of local flora and wildlife are on display at the centre. Maintained by the Forest Department, the museum can be visited any time between 10am and 4pm and remains closed on Thursdays.


# NOV 9


Time to say goodbye to Mr and Ms Tamang and their son Yeshua and head to my final destination – Sikkim


These photos I clicked while passing through Dr. Graham Homes estate.


I ❤️ Kalimpong
Went to see this sign installed atop the Deolo Hill. The Gorkhaland Territorial Administration erected these huge signages at Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Kurseong and Mirik with a message for people to “love” their respective place and they make for a nice instagram photo.


You can get a 360-degree panoramic view of Kalimpong town, neighbouring hills and the Kanchenjunga.


Another viewpoint offering spectacular views.


This viewpoint is 10 kilometres from the homestay and it offers a beautiful view of the snow-capped Kanchenjunga.


The ride from here was a gradual descent through the lush green forest for the next 30 kilometres.


An environmentally friendly place to rest.


Flora along the way


40kms to Gangtok
across the bridge is Sikkim – my final destination.
Details of which I will post in part four of the travelogue. If you need any more info feel free to contact me at lynn(at)


This is the route I took from Darjeeling to Kalimpong. Click to view more details.

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