The second leg of out journey after Gangtok,was a stop at the small picturesque town of Kalimpong( 4,100 ft).

While Kalimpong was not initially on our schedule we made it our pit stop due to road sickness issues. But I tell you we regretted it not one bit. There’s not much to see really..but it’s a beautiful little hill-town in the Eastern Himalayas and its gentle laid-back charm can soothe your soul.

Kalimpong once belonged to Sikkim but was then taken by the Bhutanese and then passed into the hands of the British. Under the British it was primarily a center of Scottish missionary activity.

Apparently shopping is the most exciting touristy thing to do. There are two crowded bazaars as well as weekly markets on Wednesdays and Saturdays where one can buy Chinese textiles and lots of handicrafts attractive to anyone with a taste for oriental designs at DIRT CHEAP rates. No, I didn’t buy much as we were proceeding to Bhutan and I didn’t want to add to the already bulging suitcases.

Now , Doesnt this beat any BB Court in the world!

What to do in Kalimpong? Well, we did do visit all the must-see places, but I must admit none were overly impressive.There’s not much to do. But then that’s not the point. it’s just a quiet, picturesque town with loads of old British houses with its chimneys and gables and lovely gardens, great views. Most of all it has some sort of a charm , a placid ambiance that lends it character; basically great for a wander,trekking, for a chill out or to just savour the local food.

Kalimpong has also been a fav getaway for some big names among them Rabindranath Tagore and Dr. J.A.Graham. Rabindranath Tagore’s poem Janmadin was broadcast in India’s first Live Radio Broadcast from Kalimpong. Dr Graham is considered the father of Kalimpong for his various contributions to this enchanting town. His orphanage and school which was founded in 1880, with its own church, dairy, poultry, vegetable garden & bakery still run today.

Apart from Dr.Graham’s school one can also visit the Durpin Dara monastery in the south as well as check out the excellent views of the surrounding mountainside and the mighty Kanchenjunga range from the top of Deolo Hill(5,590 ft) in the North.

Stiking a Pose at Deola Hills

There is also a Science Center that you can visit if you are traveling with kids. Kalimpong produces 80% of India’s gladiolas and has a great number of nurseries.
We visited the Pineview Nursery which has a mind-blowing variety of cacti from the world over.

To Get to Kalimpong

• Air : Nearest airport Bagdogra (80 kms from Kalimpong)
• Rail : Two nearest railway stations are New Jalpaiguri (NJP) and Shiliguri
• Road : Kalimpong is connected by road with Calcutta 651 kms, Guwahati 513 kms, Delhi 1312 kms and other major cities in India.

Eat Out

Options are limited and we generally had our meals at the Hotel itself. We did go to the recommended Fresh Bite at
Rishi Road to taste the local cuisine,

To Stay
Kalimpong has a surprisingly large number of hotel options(since it is not tourist-choked). We stayed one night at Komfort Inn, a small yet homely cute place , and also at the colonial Himalayan Hotel.

Both GREAT places.

After our stay in Kalimpong, we left for Bhutan, refreshed and ready to take on more mountainous roads!

Weekend Getaway- Murudeshwar, Gokarna

In most ways I can be grouped into the category of a regular Homo Sapien , especially of the Indian kind. I am therefore what can be described as “fairly religious”

When I was growing up(hmmm I still am growing I guess ,albeit sideways!) I used to wake up at 4 in the morn, go to the temple( the prasad was a big draw!), fast on Mondays…chant religious texts..

Yup I was a religious geek.

But over the years my appreciation and understanding of religion has undergone many changes. I’ve swung from being a non believer to being a Yo-Yo follower..to what I am now- Confused.

My mom though(rather unhappily ) says its plain laziness…I drag myself outta bed at 7( only because my oldest leaves at 7.15!)The prayer lamp is lit only when my mom visits…Ive generously rented the puja area out to a couple of spiders who’ve made some great homes there..and as for visiting temples ..Ahem..its probably been a LONG time before I saw one of those….

But not because I don’t enjoy visiting temples(though not the over-crowded ones) . Visiting a temple or any religious place for that matter gives me a sense of humble yet soothing peace.

A few weeks back we visited Murudeshwar, a quiet touristy/ religious place situated close to the halfway mark of the Karavali Coast between Honavar and Bhatkal. It is about 438 km NW of Bangalore and 150KMs north of Mangalore .

Although I say religious, this is mostly a place developed by some business group that decided to tap India’s temple flocking folk….But that’s not to say that what we saw was in any way not ‘worthy of flocking’!

What strikes you once you get there is the only reason you need to go – A HHHHUUUUUGGGE statue of Lord Shiva. The spectacular 36 meter-high monumental statue stands next to an equally staggering 249 feet tall Raja Gopura, which is considered the tallest gopura in the world.
Two life-size elephants in concrete stand guard at the steps leading to the 500 year old temple.

The temple has several other beautiful carvings and statues that date back to a few centuries.
There is also a huge fort behind the temple said to have been renovated by Tipu sultan, the ruler of Mysore.
The story behind the origin of the temple dates back to Hindu mythology.

The temple, which embodies a linga, is believed to have erupted when Ravana flung the cloth covering the Atmalinga at Gokarna while lifting it.Read the full story here.
The place also boasts of a long virgin beach thrusting out to the sea.

We stayed at the only decent looking hotel around. RNS recidency.

For 2,500 a night the rooms were OK but offered a lovely view of the shimmering beach .
But what the kids enjoyed the most were the two pools that the hotel offered to guests.

Isnt the view fanstatic?

On our way back we visited Gokarna too, though we did not stay there. Gokarna has 5 famed beaches Om,Gokarna, Kudle, Half Moon, and Paradise. Of these we visited the om beach .

Look at its shape…isn’t it shaped like the religious symbol ‘om’ Yeah that’s how it got its name.
We didn’t go to any of the other beaches as it was HOT! And the kids we getting cranky. But we did stop at the Gokarna temple.

It’s a quaint temple and very different from the other temples as it has no idol. You need to bend down and put your hand into a deep hole that houses the linga.

How to get to Murudeshwar
How To Get There
Air : Dabolim, Goa.
Train : Kumta. 32 km
Rail : Hubli
Road : Bhatkal 16 kms
STD Code: 08386

How to get to Gokarna

Air: Mangalore – 165km
Bangalore – 465km

Drive:Bhatkal – 16km
Kollur – 63km
Karwar – 120km

Train: Bhatkal – 16km
Shimoga – 195km
Mangalore – 165km
STD Code: 08385

  • January 2022
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