KALIMPONG HERITAGE – METAL CRAFT
Kalimpong earned itself a unique position as a commercial town since the pre- independence days due to its position along the wool route, in close proximity to the Jelepla pass.This facilitated not just trade but exchange of crafts and technical knowledge from far off places.Due to the presence of Vajrayana Bhuddism, specific and unique vessels demanded by many monasteries were produced by the metal smiths of Kalimpong. A relation that exit to this day and has given this community a distinct identity as craftsmen for Traditional Bhuddism in the Trans- Himalayan belt right from Himachal Pradesh to Arunachal Pradesh, including Sikkim, Darjeeling and the neighbouring country like Bhutan.They mostly deal with Copper, Brass, Iron, Gold & Silver metal . Of which the demand for Silver goods surpasses the rest of the metals.These includes traditional prayer related items like incence holder, water offering bowls, jars, lamps etc and traditional Nepali & Tibetan ornaments, and traditional swords.Many of the artist are working for the monasteries all over India on embellishing & ornating the monasteries in traditional metal craft by engraving motifs & figurines on walls and doors of the monasteries . Thus, Artisan community of Kalimpong is drawing Art lovers and tourist to Kalimpong with its generational artistic craft which finds a pride of place in Kalimpong’s heritage and history .
Excerpts from the write up by Smt. Dikila Bhutia, District Employment Officer, Darjeeling