Explore some of the lesser known, but most beautiful sites in India on a journey to Kolkata and the Eastern Himalayas. Begin your travels in Kolkata, amongst the most populous cities of the world and known for its colonial charm, intellectuals and of course as the home of Mother Teresa. A tour to the Eastern Himalayas, travelling to Darjeeling famed for beautiful tea gardens and producers of some of the popluar Tea brands to Gangtok in the hill state of Sikkim is famous for its monasteries. You are guaranteed to fall in love with the stunning views of the Himalayas both from Darjeeling and Gangtok – on a clear day, some of the world’s highest peaks are visible.
Kolkata – Darjeeling – Pelling – Gangtok -Kalimpong – Kolkata
- Early this morning enjoy a visit to the famous flower market near Howrah Bridge, followed by a boat ride on the Hooghly River.
- Visit home of Darjeeling tea and with a panoramic backdrop of the awesome Himalayan snow-clad peaks. Also Buddhist monasteries or visit the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute at Darjeeling.
- Early morning drive to Tiger hill to see sunrise view of Mt. Everest.(subject to weather condition)
- A chance to take a short ride on Himalayan Moutrain rail ride.
- You get to interact with monks at Rumktek Monastery and get an insight of their spiritual journey.
- Visit to the famous horticulture of 50 nurseries continuing with the colourful bazaar of Tibetan and Buddhist curios and handicrafts at Kalimpong.
Day 01 – Arrival Kolkata
Kolkata – a city on the Hooghly, retains the aura of days long gone, weaving the past and the present, the intense and the fun loving into a charming fabric. Home to four Nobel laureates – Ronald Ross, Rabindranath Tagore, Mother Teresa and Amartya Sen, Kolkata is the nerve centre of intellect and human values, where many modern movements began in art, cinema and theatre, science and industry. India’s quest for freedom began here.
Overnight at hotel
Day 02 – Kolkata
Discover the power of the early British Rule (Raj) and today the “City of Joy” Visit the Jain Temple in the north-east of the city. It was built in 1867 and dedicated to Shtalnathji the 10th of the 24 Jain Tirthankaras. The temple is an ornate mass of mirrors, stones and glass mosaic. Open between 06 to 11:30 hrs and 15:00 to 19:00 hrs daily. Drive past BBD Bagh the centre of power during the British Raj, St John’s Church, dating from 1787, Raj Bhawan the old British Government house now the Governor’s residence, High Court, Government buildings, Eden Gardens (where the Kolkata Cricket matches are held ) and the Race Course. Visit the Victoria Memorial, it’s Museum, Indian Museum. Museums closed on Mondays. Victoria Memorial, possibly the most awesome reminder of the Raj to be found in India. This huge white marble museum houses a vast collection of memorablia from the days of the British empire. Visit the Kali Temple.
A visit of Kumartuli , a place where you can see the making of Idols .Clay idols of Bengal are famous for the skilled and traditional way in which they are made. The fundamental rule to be followed is that all things used should come from the river. The clay artisans labor hard for months to produce some of the most beautiful images of Goddess Durga at the festival time.
Overnight at hotel
Day 03 – Kolkata – Bagdogra – Darjeeling by flight
Take a flight to Bagdogra and further drive to Darjeelnig
Often called the Queen of the Himalayas, Darjeeling offers unparalleled view of these majestic mountains. The snow-clad Kanchenjunga ranges, which turn orange-gold in the early morning sun, provide an unforgettable sight.
Overnight at hotel
Day 04 – Darjeeling
Early morning, you will visit Tiger Hill before the break of dawn, to see the sunrise over Mount Everest, the highest mountain peak in the world (subject to clear weather).
Darjeeling owes’ its grandeur to its natural beauty, its clean fresh mountain air and above all, the smiling resilient people for whom it is a home. Known for its natural splendour, Darjeeling’s best gift to its’ visitors is the dawn of a new day. The mountains awaken first with a tentative peeking of the sun. A steep ride, five kilometers from Ghoom, or an invigorating walk up a steep incline, leads sun worshippers to Tiger Hill. The air is chilly with darkness and damp. To the east, a dull orange sun emerged painting the sky with brilliant strokes of magenta, gold, orange and fuchsia. The snow capped Everest, Kabru, Kanchenjunga, Jannu and other peaks slowly emerge from slumber to start a new day. The sun worshippers gasp at the magnificent sight. As the fog lifts in the slowly penetrating sun, the town gradually comes alive. Amidst brewing of tea, the sing-song Gorkhali which is the local dialect, rises and falls like music.
On your way back, stop at the Ghoom Monastery, the holiest monastery in Darjeeling. After your visit, return to hotel for buffet breakfast.
You will be driven to the Darjeeling Railway station to board train – Darjeeling Himalayan Railway that is the first, and still the most spectacular instance of a hill passenger railway. Opened in 1881, it adopted device full engineering solutions to the problem of establishing an effective rail link across a mountainous terrain. It is still fully operational and retains most of its original features. UNESCO World Heritage Committee has inscribed the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway on the list of World Heritage sites. Only two railways have this status, the Semmering Railway in Austria being the other.
Passing through the Darjeeling roads and market area, you will reach the Ghoom railway station in about 45 minutes. Ghoom situated at 7410 Feet above sea level is the second highest railway station to be reached by a steam engine. Your vehicle will pick you up from the Ghoom railway station to take you to the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (closed on Thursdays) and the Himalayan Zoo (closed on Thursdays) with Red panda as the main attraction of the visit.
Later visit the Tibetan refugee help centre where you would see how this refugee camp supports the homeless understand that no help can substitute self-help.
Overnight at hotel
Day 05 – Darjeeling – Pelling by road ( 75 kms / 4 hrs Approx.)
Today you will be driven to Pelling, a journey of approximately 4 hours through the beautiful countryside, visiting a tea plantation en-route. You will cross the Sikkim border on your journey where your permits will be stamped and checked which may take a short time.
In the early 1840s it was noticed that the climate of Darjeeling was very conducive to the growth of tea. Tea plantations were established and have expanded all over the area today because of growing demand. Huge tracts of forests were originally cut down and replaced with tea bushes that stretched for miles. The services of Chinese experts were then requisitioned to teach the art of tea making and thousands of Nepalese were hired in the tea plantations. Darjeeling tea, which had a premium value in the international market, began to be called the ‘Champagne of the East’ and for years formed the mainstay of the economy of this area. To this day, the name ‘Darjeeling’ continues to be synonymous with tea.
In the afternoon, you will visit the awe-inspiring Pemayangtse Monastery the second oldest of its kind in Sikkim. The walls and ceiling of the large prayer hall have numerous thangkas and wall paintings, and there is an exceptional collection of religious artworks including an exquisite wooden sculpture on the top floor depicting the heavenly palace of Guru Rimoche. You will also visit the Kheopalry Lake nearby.
Overnight at hotel
Day 06 – Pelling – Gangtok by road (117 kms / 4 ½ hrs Approx.)
Morning drive to Gangtok visiting en-route the Monastery at Tashiding. This gold topped monastery was built in 1716 and stands on a conical hill between the Rathong and Rangit rivers on an area consecrated by Guru Rimpoche. It is said to contain the most sacred chorten in Sikkim, even the sight of Tashiding is thought to bring blessings.
You will continue your journey to Gangtok, known as “High Hill” spectacularly located along a ridge overlooking the Kangchenjunga Mountains. Upon arrival, proceed for check-in at your hotel.
Gangtok is Sikkim’s largest ci