Experience the Land of Tea & Monks
Kolkata – Bagdogra – Darjeelimg – Pelling – Gangtok – Kalimpong – Bagdogra - Kolkata
(7 Nights / 8 Days/)
North east is a true frontier region. It has over 2,000 km of border with Bhutan, China, Myanmar and Bangladesh and is connected to the rest of India by a narrow 20 km wide corridor of land. One of the most ethnically and linguistically diverse regions in Asia, each of the states has its distinct culture and tradition.
Day 01 Arrival Kolkata
(SQ 416 – 1900 / 2035 hrs – On Monday, Wednesday, Friday & Saturday)
Met on arrival and transfer to the hotel. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 02 Delhi – Bagdogra (Flight) - Darjeeling (Drive: 93 Km / 3 ½ hrs Approx)
(9W 617 – 1210 / 1310 hrs)
Check-out of the hotel and transfer to the airport in time to board flight for Bagdogra, met upon arrival at Bagdogra airport and drive to Darjeeling - Standing high in the Himalayas at an altitude of 2134m, ‘Dorje Ling’, or place of the Thunderbolt, offers breathtaking views of snow-capped mountain peaks, with the Kanchendzonga rising higher than all the others. Often referred to as the “Queen of the Hills”, it remains just as alluring with its tiny waterfalls, little villages and a narrow gauge railway track. Surrounded by World Famous Tea Gardens and snow capped mountains, Darjeeling remains one of the most exotic destinations. Graeme Westlake in his book ‘An introduction to hill stations on India’ refers to Darjeeling as having “A view Scarcely Unrivalled on Earth”.
Arrive Darjeeling and check-in at the hotel. Evening at leisure to explore the local town. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 03 Darjeeling
Morning proceed for a sightseeing tour of the Darjeeling city visiting the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park & Snow Leopard Breeding Centre- The Himalayan Mountaineering Institute was started in Darjeeling when Tenzing Norgay climbed Everest to give training to learn Mountaineering and other adventure sports related to mountaineering and in that Institute one can see equipments used by Mr. Tenzing Norgay and Everest Museum having complete details on Everest attached to institute one can visit Himalayan Zoological Park where one can see Himalayan animals like Snow Leopard, Tibean Wolf, Tibetan Yak, Himalayan Black Bear and several varieties of birds.
Tibetan Self- Help Centre or Refugee Centre, this institute is run by Tibetan Refugees to preserve their handicrafts and one can see making of Tibetan Carpets, Leather work, Paintings and Wooden work etc.
Happy Valley Tea Estate- Teas grown on the misty heights of Darjeeling, popularly known as the ‘Champagne of Tea’ are famous world over for their exquisite taste. The premium Darjeeling tea is mild in character and have distinctive natural fruity flavors. The different steps in Tea manufacture can be seen in the factory of Happy Valley Tea Estate.
Evening at leisure. Overnight at the hotel
Day 04 Darjeeling – Pemayangste (Drive: 75 Km / 4 Hrs by Car; 110 km / 6 hrs by Coach)
Early morning visit Tiger Hill - It is 13 kms from Darjeeling and one can see beautiful sunrise and Himalayan Range like Kanchandzonga , Mount Everest etc. One can see the horizon changing colors just before sunrise and then the entire Himalayan range turn golden. It is truly a majestic sight.
Ghoom Monastery - This is oldest Monastery in the area which was built in 1875 and one can see the image of Mythey Buddha 15ft. height on the way back from Tiger Hill.
Later check-out of the hotel and at the hotel and drive to Pelling – a serene, mountain village which lies in the western districts of Sikkim. This village is situated at an altitude of 2000 mts(approx) and the distance from this village to the mount Kanchandzonga, as a crow flies is 26 kms approx.
Arrive and check-in at the hotel. Later in the day proceed to visit
Pemayangste Monastery - standing at 2085m this Perfect Sublime Lotus, perched on a wooded hilltop, commands the most sublime view of the Khangchendzong.
Built during the late 17th century, it is one of the oldest and most important monasteries of the Nyingmapa order of Buddhism in Sikkim. To the present day, it is only the monks of this monastery who enjoy the title of ‘Tasang’ or pure monks. The importance of this monastery grew with time and reached its peak when only monks from this monastery could anoint the reigning sovereign of the land with holy water.
Pemayangtse monastery follows the Mindroling tradition besides holding the lineage of Lhatsun Chenpo. Mindroling monastery was founded by Minling Terchen Gyurme Dorje whose famous daughter Jetsun Migyur Paldon lived near Pemayangtse and taught there during her exile. Her stone throne is still to be seen in this monastery, which has 108 monks. The main attraction of the monastery is the wooden replica of Zangdog Palri; the celestial abode of Guru Padmasambhava built by Serdup Lhundrup Dorje Rinpoche in 1971. The annual Chaam (monk dance) is held here on the 28th and 29th day of the 12th month of the Tibetan lunar calendar.
Rabdentse- This was the Sikkim’s second capital. The ruins of Rabdantse are worth exploring. The winding track through the forest brings you to a small set of ruins of the early town and eventually on the ruins of the palace with Chorten (stupa) nearby. Further are the Changay Falls.
Evening at leisure. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 05 Pemayangste – Gangtok (127 Km / 4 - 5 hrs Approx)
Check-out of the hotel and drive to Gangtok – situated at an altitude of 1750m, Gangtok became the state capital in the mid 19th century and has undergone rapid development since then. The downtown area is dominated by huge government buildings decorated with traditional Buddhist symbols. Gangtok is also a resting ground for people traveling to North Sikkim. Surrounded by Monasteries and Orchids, Gangtok is truly a travelers delight.
Arrive and check-in at the hotel. Evening at leisure to explore the local market. Overnight at the hotel
Day 06 Gangtok
Morning proceed for a city tour of Gangtok visiting the Rumtek Monastery – situated at 24 Kms. from Gangtok is the awe -inspiring Rumtek Monastery, the world Dharma chakra Centre and the seat of His Holiness, the Gyalwa Karmapa, who is the head of the Kagyupa order of Tibetan Buddhism. Behind the main monastery is the lavishly decorated Karmae Nalanda Institute of Buddhist Studies, which attracts students from the world over. Opposite the entrance to the Institute is a small hall featuring a beautiful jewel studded Chorten the Golden Stupa, which contains the ashes and remains of His Holiness the XVI Gyalwa Karmapa. According to legend, it is believed that after years of meditation, the first Karmapa was said to have been visited by ten thousand fairies who came to congratulate him each of whom offered a strand of her hair as a gift. These were said to have been woven into a black hat, which was passed down and is still at the Rumtek Monastery today. It is said that unless held on to by the wearer (who of course, cannot be anyone else but the Karmapa) or kept in a box, the hat would fly away
The Enchey Monastery - Perched on a ridge above Gangtok, the Enchey Monastery is nestled within lush woods with a spectacular view of Gangtok town. Built in 1910 on the site of the hermitage of the great tantric saint, Lama Drutob Karpo, who was renowned for his powers of levitation, this monastery houses the monks of the Nyingmapa Order of Tibetan Buddhism.
Namgyal Institute Of Tibetology - Amidst a serene surrounding of oak, birch and ash lies the unique organization established in1958. Built in traditional style, the namgyal Institute of Tibetology promotes research in Mahayana Buddhism and the language and tradition of Tibet. It has one of the world’s largest collections of rare books and manuscripts on Mahayana Buddhism. The Institute also has a retail outlets where related books and commercially produced religious art and craft of Tibet can be bought.
Adjacent to the institute are two exquisite stupas, the Do Drul Chorten, built to commemorate the victory of good over evil and the Jhang Chub Chorten, built in the memory of Thrukshik Rinpoche, an ardent devotee, a great spirtualist and interpreter of Buddhism. Near the Chorten are housed two giant statues of Lord Buddha and Guru Padmasambhava, also known as Guru Rimpoche, the patron saint of Sikkim.
Directorate Of Handloom And Handicrafts - This Directorate was set up to promote traditional Sikkimese art and handicrafts. Exquisitely carved wooden friezes, intricate bamboo work, along with beautiful hand woven carpets and handlooms are on exhibit here. Visitors can not only purchase these items here but also see the artisans at work. Among others, a favourite item here is the choktse a wooden table with carved panels that can be folded into a portable pack.
Evening at leisure. Overnight at hotel.
Day 07 Gangtok – Kalimpong (Drive: 80 Km / 3 hrs Approx.)
Check-out of the hotel and drive to Kalimpong - At an altitude of 1250m, Kalimpong’s location is ideal for a pleasant , relaxed getaway. Its clement weather has made Kalimpong’s orchids and gladiole well renowned.
Up to the early 1700s, the Kalimpong area was part of the Sikkim raja’s domain.In the early 18th century, the Bhutan king also took it over. In 1865, after the Anglo-Bhutan War , it was annexed to Darjeeling. Scottish Missionaries came here in the late 1800s. The town thrived as a wool trading center with Tibet till 1950s. Today it’s a quiet hill resort and a haven for retired people.
Arrive and check-in at the hotel. Later in the day proceed for a city tour visiting the Flower Nurseries - The climate of Kalimpong is ideal for the cultivation of flowers and plants. Kalimpong is famous for its nurseries which export exotice flowers like Amaryllis lilies, Anthuriums, Roses gerberas, Dahilias, Gladiolias as well as Orchids and Cacti.
Zang Dog Palri Fo-Brang Monastery – This is a fairly new monastery located in Durpin Dara, from here one can get an exclusive panoramic view of the town and surroundings. The prayer room inside the monastery is adorned with wall paintings and there is a rare three-dimensional mandala upstairs.
Tharpa Choling Monastery at Tirpai hill on route to Dr.Graham’s Home belongs to the Yellow Hat sect of Lamas to which the present Dalai Lama belongs.
Thongsa Gumpa - this monastery is of Bhutanese origin and built around 1692. It is the oldest in Kalimpong.The original structure was destroyed in the inter-clan wars before the British arrived
Overnight at hotel.
Day 08 Kalimpong – Bagdogra (Drive: 90 km / 4 Hrs Aprrox)
Bagdogra – Kolkata (Flight 9W 618 – 1345 / 1445 hrs)
Check-out of the hotel and drive to Bagdogra to board flight for Kolkata, met upon arrival and transfer to the International airport in time to connect flight for Singapore.
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