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The nine-point tour of Kalimpong. (photos added)

West Bengal Travel Blog

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Steve in the morning fog. No mountains on view today!
It was a rainy, foggy morning, but we held out hope that the day would clear so we could do some proper sightseeing. After a tasty breakfast served on antique china with ancient tarnished silver, we found our driver. He informed us (or rather, he informed Steve. I am just completely ignored here) that today we would see a “nine-point tour” of the Kalimpong area. I think finding nine points of interest in small town Kalimpong took some effort and a lot of stretching, but he got it done.

1) Our first stop was a military golf course. This is a military town, and the guys have a pretty nice place to play golf, that I can now say for sure. OK. 2) Next up was the “famous” Zong Dog Palri Fo- Brang Monastery which belongs to the same Buddhist sect as the present Dalai Lama.
Military golf course in Kalimpong.
It appeared to have been built in the 1960s and wasn’t terribly picturesque or even interesting. 3) Next was the Pineview Viewpoint, but all we could see was clouds and fog -- a complete white out! 4) Then we went to the Pineview Nursery where we looked at two greenhouses filled with cactus plants. This is what I mean when I say that someone had to stretch a bit to find nine points of interest for tourists. By the way, the admission fee was 25 cents. For BOTH of us.  5) Then we visited a Hindu temple, but I didn’t catch the name of it. To get to the next stop, we had to drive through Kalimpong Town -- unpaved winding roads, people everywhere… it was a complete riot of noise and color. Fantastic. No stop though.
Flowers in a monastery wall.
It was back to sightseeing. 6) We saw a nice historic church on the grounds of Dr Graham’s complex. We didn’t learn who Dr Graham was…maybe a teacher or humanitarian, since there was also a large school on the grounds. 7) For a little variety, we visited a Buddhist temple, and we walked through the small cave that ran underneath it. That was pretty exciting. By the way, this was a “bonus stop” -- not on the original plan. So make that a TEN point tour 8) At this point we had seen enough temples, but, wait, there’s one more. The Monkey Temple, with an enormous, frightening half man/half monkey statue. Ick. 9) off to Delo Hill, which reportedly has a spectacular view of the surrounding mountains.
Altitude check at Delo Hill.
Not today though…all was shrouded in fog. There were many Indian families there, sitting on benches, walking the lawn, and riding a pony. It seemed very 19th century British. 10) Then one final temple. Oy! I think it was called Mangal Dahm. We didn’t actually visit this one. Steve and I just walked around the corner so the driver couldn’t see us, then we sat on the bench awhile. Then we returned to the car. As I said, we’ve had enough of the temples.

Between each stop, the driver opened Steve’s door for him, and always asked what Steve thought of this sight or that sight. Sir this, sir that. Not once was I addressed. Whatever.

On the way home we drove through town again, and there was a little action there. A  pretty big demonstration or protest was going on, with lots of chanting and people carrying “We want Gorkhaland” signs.
Demonstration in Kalimpong.
Not sure what that means (found out!...read June 8 blog), but it was pretty interesting. I was thinking that I would have rather hung out in the town than see five temples. We had to park and wait for them to go by, and I took a video.      

We got back to the hotel and had lunch (more yellow Indian food), packed up (the porters were little old ladies about 5 feet tall. Our bags were bigger than they were!), checked out, then we found our driver for the next leg of the trip. When I came out he looked at his watch and said, “only one hour late!”  We weren’t late. He wouldn’t listen when I tried to argue in good humor that we weren’t late (our itinerary said: eat lunch, then leave with your driver. Exactly what we did!). He wouldn’t listen and just shrugged and walked off. Nice way to start a long road trip. Vexing!

cmgervais says:
I saw that episode! (love that show) Funny, I had forgotten all about it.
Posted on: Jun 05, 2008
stabber911 says:
Sound like the height of Queen Victoria era to me! :) If you ever watch Amazing Race, There was one time the team with 2 gals, they can not bought the train ticket because the Indian ticket box refuse to talk to lady!!
Posted on: Jun 04, 2008
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Steve in the morning fog. No mount…
Steve in the morning fog. No moun…
Military golf course in Kalimpong.
Military golf course in Kalimpong.
Flowers in a monastery wall.
Flowers in a monastery wall.
Altitude check at Delo Hill.
Altitude check at Delo Hill.
Demonstration in Kalimpong.
Demonstration in Kalimpong.
Morning tea service.
Morning tea service.
beautiful dining room. If you look…
beautiful dining room. If you loo…
Entry to our hotel, Elgin Mount Pa…
Entry to our hotel, Elgin Mount P…
Elgin Mount Pandim Hotel.
Elgin Mount Pandim Hotel.
Me at breakfast.
Me at breakfast.
Ready for sightseeing!
Ready for sightseeing!
View from the hotel.
View from the hotel.
View from the hotel.
View from the hotel.
Military golf course in Kalimpong.
Military golf course in Kalimpong.
Military golf course in Kalimpong.
Military golf course in Kalimpong.
Near the Zong Dog Palri Fo- Brang …
Near the Zong Dog Palri Fo- Brang…
Prayer wheels at the Zong Dog Palr…
Prayer wheels at the Zong Dog Pal…
Zong Dog Palri Fo- Brang Monastery.
Zong Dog Palri Fo- Brang Monastery.
Obviously I cant read.
Obviously I can't read.
Dewy web.
Dewy web.
There are mountains out there some…
There are mountains out there som…
Cactus display at the Pineview Nur…
Cactus display at the Pineview Nu…
Cactus at the Pineview Nursery.
Cactus at the Pineview Nursery.
Steve admires a cactus.
Steve admires a cactus.
Cactus flowers.
Cactus flowers.
Me with the cacti.
Me with the cacti.
Cactus flowers.
Cactus flowers.
Prayer flags.
Prayer flags.
On the road just outside Kalimpong.
On the road just outside Kalimpong.
Small shop. Very small.
Small shop. Very small.
Campaign poster.
"Campaign poster."
Kalimpong town.
Kalimpong town.
Historic church near Dr Grahams h…
Historic church near Dr Graham's …
Pedestrian on the path to the chur…
Pedestrian on the path to the chu…
Historic church near Dr Grahams h…
Historic church near Dr Graham's …
Now for some variety, here is a Bu…
Now for some variety, here is a B…
Entry to the cave under the Buddhi…
Entry to the cave under the Buddh…
Steve pops out of the cave.
Steve pops out of the cave.
Freaky monkey man statue. Monkey T…
Freaky monkey man statue. Monkey …
Paying 10 rupees (25 cents) to vis…
Paying 10 rupees (25 cents) to vi…
Billboard...from another era?
Billboard...from another era?
Delo Hill area.
Delo Hill area.
Pony rides at Delo Hill.
Pony rides at Delo Hill.
Taking intoxicating stuff is str…
"Taking intoxicating stuff" is st…
Avoiding the visit to Mangal Dahm …
Avoiding the visit to Mangal Dahm…
Kalimpong town.
Kalimpong town.
Kalimpong traffic.
Kalimpong traffic.
Kalimpong commerce.
Kalimpong commerce.
Kalimpong.
Kalimpong.