Video footage of Kalimpong circa 1957

Here’s an excellent, almost 10 minute long, video of scenes from Kalimpong from 1957. The footage seems to mainly show the Tibetan traders in town and it’s fascinating to watch a “moving” slice of our town’s history.

There are some great shots of the town roads, the yaks and mule trains, an archery match (played by the Bhutanese of Kalimpong) among others. This video is a gem of a find, and is greatly indebted to ‘norsangnkunsang‘ for uploading it to YouTube, and a tip of the hat to Lhadup Moktan for bringing it to my notice. 🙂

Enjoy. And if anyone can add anymore information about this video or its contents please do share with us in the comments section.

p.s. The video does not seem to have any sound. You don’t have to fiddle with your speakers. 🙂

UPDATE (April 3, 2010):
The video is from the Museum Archives of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. They were recorded by a Mr. Watson Kintner who roamed the world with his 30mm camera and recorded these priceless scenes for posterity. The Archives contain a few more videos which I will post soon.

Here’s the shotlist according to the archives site:

Cat. Reel 112 1957: Reel 8: Kalimpong. March 4-8.
Rooster and his reflection.
Feeding (using bamboo tube) water buffalo. (mws).
Many people from Tibet.
Cooking at camp.
Butter churn.
Hip violin.
Prayer flags.
Painting on monastery walls.
Country scenes,
Flaying grain. |
Bhuta men shooting arrows (note target – 50 yards).
Stamping a prayer flag. (cu).
Himalayas from Kalimpong, people in street.
Shoeing oxen.
Long caravan. Man with trained bear and goat.
Girls pounding grain.
Warming hand and feet over charcoal fire in dish.
Caravan on mountain road. Himalayas


11 thoughts on “Video footage of Kalimpong circa 1957

  1. yogesh

    This was awesome. I can just about guess where the places seen in the video are…would be nice if someone could tell for sure. It’s amazing, not too much seems to have changed…and the roads looked better for sure 🙂
    Thanks for posting.


  2. ajay

    2 min 22 sec mark looks like outside hiren’s place infront of “haryo building”. 3min 39 sec mark looks like 11th mile around “biralu kothi”.2 guys fooling around with “patangs” looks like bhutan house in the background?? 8 min 30 secs mark is hiran for sure !!!


  3. Eleanor Mukhia Mazzucco

    Thank you for taking me for a walk down the memory lane, the place of my childhood so dear to me.I do recognise many of the steets.Main Road with Girls’ School on the background. Tenth mile and lower Tirpai Road. The shot with the mules and rotiwala and the wide open space is below Tenth mile near Chaturay ko Ama ko ghar and the land belonged to Bhutan Raja.If I am wrong please correct me.
    p.s. The two guys playing with swords has the Tenth mile Gompa on the background.


  4. Prakash

    this is awesome……………… my grand father said during that period there was a fear among the local gorkhas from tibetan traders they carry chupi (knife) with them. as per him most part of the eastern part of the town (today’s 10th mile 11th mile tripai topkhana 12th maile & 13th mile were occupied by Bhutnees Dukpa.
    its nice to see luxry car on the road of kpg


  5. Pranay

    This was great!! For the first time i could see what till now i had only heard or read in books…(mostly Ian Masson’s books) And one can get the feel of the time even in such a short clip….indigenous tools for thrashing grain, the sword-play humour, music, block printing….but trade stands out prominent, mules laden with goods everwhere….. Excellent video!!!!


  6. dushyant

    nice historical memories. it reminds me the noval (bas salkirahecha) by Bhagirat Rawat and the my good old student days in Kalimpong Sumi.Thanks


  7. ratan kr.

    Awsome and fantastic “eastmancolour”videos!Of dying border trade. Very nice to watch our shops which were established since the year 1860 when British took kalimpong in lease from bhutanese royals. Though, I now live in delhi our 7th generation family is still earning their livelihood in kalimpong.
    Long live Rong Dynasty and kudos to people who put this video on net,thanks!


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