It is A for Art in Kalimpong

It is A for Art in Kalimpong
Kalimpong is a safe bet if you want to ditch its crowded twin, Darjeeling, Photo Credit: Shutterstock

The district adjacent to Darjeeling not only offers unparalleled views of the mighty Kanchenjunga range, it's also a treat for art lovers

Trinetra Paul
August 31 , 2020
17 Min Read

Nestled in the Himalayan foothills of North Bengal, Kalimpong is perfect for some rejuvenation of the soul. Picturesque landscapes, quaint lanes and alleys, rich culture and tradition, and a plethora of eateries serving delectable food, Kalimpong has it all. Of late, the town has also built up a reputation for contemporary art spaces that you must not miss out on.

Check out these cafes, studios, wellness centers and museums when you are in Kalimpong next.

Art Café, Kalimpong

 
 
 
View this post on Instagram

Yes that's the view from the cafe today. #view #mountains #mountaincafe #cafeofinsta

A post shared by Art Cafe Kalimpong (@art_cafe_kalimpong) on Aug 13, 2020 at 12:49am PDT

Located on a hillside in the main Thana Dara square of Kalimpong, the café founded by local residents Pravesh Chhetri and Yachna Rizalwhich promotes local artists, musicians and even hosts a number of events and gigs. You can order a cup of coffee, and a side of their carrot cake (or a signature pizza) while enjoying the stunning views of the Kanchenjunga range. The minimalist décor has a very earthy vibe. During the lockdown, they have been delivering their café dishes to people's homes via @doortep deliveries. Check out their instagram page for more information.

Café Kalimpong

 
 
 
View this post on Instagram

Monsoon magic #travel #cafekalimpong #kalimpong #foodbloggers #design #foodtalkindia #travelphotography #kolkatafoodblogger #foodiesofindia #indianfoodblogger #explore #calcuttacacophony #hillstation #lonelyplanet #village #river #storiesofkolkata #darjeeling #indianfoodie #indianfood #everydaykalimpong #buzzfeedfood #foodmaniacindia #indianfoodtales #monsoon #lonelyplanet #coffeeshop #monsoon #staysafe

A post shared by CafeKalimpong (@cafekalimpong) on Jul 10, 2020 at 3:13am PDT

Located at about 10 minutes walking distance from the main town, this little café is a popular space for art shows, exhibitions and sale of local handicrafts, and music events.  On clear sky days one can easily see the Nathu La Pass at the Indo-China border. Founded by Praveen Chettri, Navin Chettri and Yawan Rai, the sole aim is to promote the local culture, art and crafts of Kalimpong. The menu offers a number of signature items like pizzas and smoothies and authentic Darjeeling tea. Head over to their instagram page for more information.

The School for Natural History Art

This art studio, run by Hemlata Pradhan, is located amidst lush green hills. An award-winning botanical illustrator, Pradhan has studied at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, the Royal College of Art in London, and is the winner of UK’s Royal Horticultural Society’s Gold Medal. The studio has high ceilings, and huge glass windows with natural light filtering. It is ideal to host art workshops and pick up basics of botanical art. You can also join their informal weekend classes. Several works by Pradhan and her students are up for sale and you can easily pick them up from the studio. Contact her at hemlata.pradhan@gmail.com for more information.

Crookety House

 
 
 
View this post on Instagram

Crookety House. Дом, где последние шестÑÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂŒ леÑ‚ своей жизни пÑ€овела Елена РеÑ€иÑÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ…. ÐÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ’нутри пÑ€осили не Ñ„оÑ‚огÑ€аÑ„иÑ€оваÑ‚ÑÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂŒ. Экскурсия бесплаÑ‚ная и оченÑÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂŒ инÑ‚еÑ€есная. ИталÑÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂŒянцы вÑ‹купили дом у ÑÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ…озяина оÑ‚еля, где я останавливался в ДаÑ€джилинге. ТепеÑ€ÑÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂŒ его восстанавливаÑÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂŽÑ‚. Я пÑ€ишёл в неÑ€абочий денÑÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂŒ. Но для меня сделали исклÑÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂŽчение. СÑ‚Ñ€ого Ñ€екомендуÑÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂŽ. #индия #калимпонг #india #kalimpong #crooketyhouse

A post shared by Vincent Rock'N'Rolla (@vincent_rocknrolla) on Jan 25, 2016 at 9:01am PST

This beautiful cottage used to be the residing place for Helena Roerich for the last seven years of her life. After the demise of her famous painter-husband Nicholas Roerich, Helena came to India and stayed in Delhi and Khandala before finally moving to the quaint Himalayan town of Kalimpong in 1949. The Crookety House was built by the British during the 1940s and became a hub of spirituality and philosophic learning. It was converted into a museum after her death, and is currently managed by Italian admirers of the Roerich family who established the Himalayan Institute of Ethics and Good Living here. If you are looking for a quiet, soulful meditating place in Kalimpong, Crookety House fits the bill. You can check out the many works by Roerich around the place and also pick up prints.

Himalayan Handmade Paper Industry

 
 
 
View this post on Instagram

Paper in the making...

A post shared by Tanya Bahl (@tanyabahl_) on Jan 20, 2020 at 3:28am PST

The art of making eco-friendly, insect resistant handmade paper is not something new to the hills. Locally known as the pahari paper, this was initially manufactured at Ganjong Paper Industry at Bhagdhara in Kalimpong. It was later transformed into a thriving industry by the Himalayan Handmade Paper Industry on DK Pradhan Road which ensured the preservation of this ancient paper-making tradition. The elaborate process requires gallons of water but the self-sustaining factory harvests their own rainwater. The resulting paper is used to block-print Buddhist monastic scriptures, but it's also sold here as notebooks and cards. Morning is the best time to see production. It's a 15-minute walk from town, look out for a partly hidden sign on a 'private Road' driveway on the right side of the road. Visit the place to stock up on your stationery and aesthetic paper-mache items.

Lepcha Museum

 
 
 
View this post on Instagram

If you have missed the Lepcha Museum of Kalimpong, then on your next visit to the hills, you must drop in. The Museum is indeed a treasure trove! #lepchamuseum #kalimpong #northbengaltourism #museum #hills #departmentofwestbengaltourism #travelgram #instapost #visit #getbengal #thinkingpositive

A post shared by Get Bengal (@getbengal) on Apr 30, 2020 at 6:13am PDT

For art and culture enthusiasts, a visit to Kalimpong's Lepcha Museum is a must. It showcases the life and culture of the Lepcha people and is aimed at preserving their traditions and heritage. The Lepcha community is indigenous to this region. Located very close to the main town at the Big Dhara area of Kalimpong, the museum stands tall surrounded by wonderful views of the Himalayas. It displays various articles of worship, original Lepcha musical instruments, masks, handicraft items and manuscripts. 


Related Articles

Take a Drive Through...

Trinetra Paul July 16 , 2020

A New App Offers Free...

Nikita Nikhil April 27 , 2020

Here to there

Explore Directions(Routes) and more...
to Go

Our Other Editions

Outlook’ is India’s most vibrant weekly news magazine with critically and globally acclaimed print and digital editions. Now in its 23rd year...

Explore All
  • Check out our Magazine of the month
  • Offbeat destinations
  • In-depth storytelling
  • Stunning pictures
  • Subscribe