Historians and scholars have put forward various meanings of the word Kalimpong. Mr. K. P. Tamsang who wrote the highly informative book, The Unknown and Untold Reality About The Lepcha’s opines that the original name is ‘Kalenpung’ which in the Lepcha language means “Hillock of Assemblage”.
He suggests that this name was distorted in the course of time into ‘Kaleebung’ and later into Kalimpong. Another meaning of Kalimpong is “Ridges where we play”. The Tibetan translation of the word, Kalimpong, is “The Stockade of King Ministers” from the two Tibetan words ‘Kalon’ meaning Kings and Ministers and ‘Pong’ meaning Stockade. Some Tibetan Scholars translate ‘Pong’ as assembly, in which case Kalimpong would mean “Assembly of Kings and Ministers”.
The hill people also call Kalimpong as ‘Kalibong” or the Black Spurs. However, the meaning that has found the most favour is “Ridges where we play”. It is said that Lepcha tribesmen used to organize field sports here when not engaged in agricultural pursuits.