Art & Culture
Like most of the Eastern Himalayan region, Kalimpong is also a colourful mish-mash of cultures that include indigenous Lepchas, Limbus, Bhutias, Ethnic Nepali tribes, and many other communities.
While the ethnic Nepali tribes brought their folklore, dance, and artisanal skills of paper-making and woodcraft, It’s foundations as a part of the Bhutanese and Sikkimese Kingdoms gifted Kalimpong with Tibetan art in the form of prayer flags, silken scrolls known as Thangkas, silk scarves (khadas), and even pine incense!
Historic trajectories have gifted Kalimpong with an exceptionally individual heritage. The town has been molded into its present realities by many political and literary events such as the Treaty of Sinchula 1865, the “Nepali Bhasa Andolan” of the 1960s-1970s, Gorkhaland Statehood agitation of 1986 and subsequent which also forms the backdrop to the award-winning novel- The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai.
The town’s favourite festival is definitely the Indian Independence day or 15 August! Every citizen here counts days to gather at Mela ground for a day of football and frolic! Lately, Kalimpong has awoken as the centre of reinvention in Indian-Nepali music with artists singing of the Himalayan culture and identity using ethnic dialect, instruments, and stories.
From the Sikkimese to the Scottish Missionaries, Colonial legacy to Café Culture, Kalimpong is an assimilation of all the meetings it continues to witness. The town and its citizens’ experiences have honed Kalimpong into what it is today, an enterprising and kind place where the sun shines merrily on wildflowers.