KOLKATA | DARJEELING | PELLING | GANGTOK | KALIMPONG | KOLKATA
RANGING FROM THE SHORES of the Bay of Bengal to the peak of the Kanchanjanga, the third-highest peak in the world and the highest in India, the region offers a spectacular variation in landscapes. This itinerary takes you to Bengal and Sikkim. Darjeeling is one of the most beautiful hill stations in the East and one that allows you glimpses of the majestic peaks of Mount Everest and Mount Kanchanjanga on a clear day. The Indian Mountaineering Institute is worth a visit to see exhibits of famous expeditions, particularly the first successful attempt by Tenzing and Hillary. Also worthy of a visit is the Lebong Race Course that has the distinction of being the highest and smallest race course in the world. Especially visit the Tibetan Monastery at Ghoom where an enormous gilded statue of Buddha is enshrined. This monastery also contains several valuable Tibetan manuscripts. Going on to Sikkim, the capital Gangtok is like a fairy-tale place, where pretty houses perch precariously on steep mountain slopes above incredible scenic panoramas. Built in the pagoda style, they have painted turquoise roofs, gleaming above busy bazaars that are filled with elegantly costumed, smiling people. The magic of the scene is very real. Tiny Sikkim has 194 monasteries or gompas of which the 50-year-old Rumtek Monastery is the most famous – an excellent replica of the original in Tibet. Devoted lamas robed in crimson chant ancient mantras to the rhythm of drums and trumpets while soft light flickers from decorative lamps and, if you sneak a look over your shoulder, you might catch sight of the universe smiling in response.
ITINERARY - 10 NIGHTS/11 DAYS
DAY 01 ARRIVAL
Reception and welcome at Kolkata airport
followed by transfer to your hotel.
DAY 02 KOLKATA
Morning is at leisure. In the afternoon visit the sights including the Victoria Memorial, St Paul’s Cathedral and the Indian Museum.
DAY 03 KOLKATA ~ BAGDOGRA ~ DARJEELING
Fly to Bagdogra in the morning and drive on to the beautiful hill station of Darjeeling, ‘Queen of the Himalayas’ at an altitude of 7,000 feet. The bazaar is worth a visit in the evening.
DAY 04 DARJEELING
Early morning excursion to Tiger Hill followed by a Toy Train ride from Darjeeling station to Ghoom Monastery. Visit the Himalayan Institute Of Mountaineering founded by the late Tenzing Norgay in the evening.
DAY 05 DARJEELING
The day is at leisure. If you would like to you could visit the tea gardens where the famous Darjeeling tea is grown.
DAY 06 DARJEELING ~ PELLING
Drive to the remote hamlet of Pelling. In the afternoon visit the Pemayangtse Monastery.
DAY 07 PELLING ~ GANGTOK
Drive through pretty valleys to the mountainside capital of the tiny state of Sikkim.
DAY 08 GANGTOK
Visit Rumtek Monastery in the morning, in the afternoon, the Research Institute of Tibetology which houses nearly 30,000 volumes on astrology, magic, philosophy, etc; then the orchid sanctuary; the Buddhist monastery at the Palace; the Residency, from where you can have an excellent view of the mountains.
DAY 09 GANGTOK ~ KALIMPONG
Leave by road for Kalimpong in the morning - a remote hill station on the trade route to Tibet, Bhutan and Nepal. Visit two well known 17th century monasteries in the afternoon.
DAY 10 KALIMPONG ~ KOLKATA
In the morning transfer to Bagdogra Airport for the connecting flight to Kolkata. In Kolkata transfer to your hotel. The day is at leisure. You may visit the Missionaries of Charity founded by Mother Teresa later in the day.
DAY 11 DEPARTURE
Transfer to the airport in time for your flight out.