Once the headquarters of a Bhutanese Governor, the word 'kalim' means King's Minister and 'Pong' - the stronghold of the King's minister. It is also called 'Kalibong' or the black spur by the hill people. 'Kalipong' in local dialect stands for 'Kaulim' which is a fibrous plant which grows in abundance in this region. The meaning that has found the most favour is the Lepcha meaning of the name - 'ridge where we play'. It is said that these local tribesmen used to organise field sports while not engaged in agricultural pursuits - hence its name. Somewhat secluded and tucked away in the corner under the big Darjeeling umbrella, Kalimpong offers a quiet and relaxed holiday against the backdrop of Kanchenjunga.
Kalimpong was originally part of Bhutan. In 1865, after the Anglo-Bhutan War, it was merged with Darjeeling, and became a sub-division of Darjeeling in 1916, and developed as a hill station. It flourished as a wool trading centre with Tibet till 1950, when the Chinese took over Tibet. It continues to be part of Darjeeling District, and is now an attractive tourist and educational centre.
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