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12 Nights Eastern Himalayas with Kolkata

Destinations Covered
Kolkata–Bagdogra–Gangtok–Pelling–Kalimpong–Darjeeling-Kolkata

Day 1 Kolkata Arrival

On arrival at Kolkata International Airport, you will be met and assisted by our representative to the designated coach / car booked.

Transfer and check-in at selected hotel.  

Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) is the capital of India's West Bengal state. Founded as an East India Company trading post, it was India's capital under the British Raj from 1773-1911. Today it’s known for its grand colonial architecture, art galleries and cultural festivals. Located on the east bank of the Hooghly River, it is the principal commercial, cultural, and educational centre of East India, while the Port of Kolkata is India's oldest operating port and its sole major riverine port.

Overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 2 Kolkata – Bagdogra (1hr 10min – flight)

After an early breakfast, checkout and transfer to Airport for flight to Bagdogra.

On arrival at Bagdogra Airport, you will be met and assisted by our representative to the designated coach / car booked.

Bagdogra – Gangtok (130km/4hrs)

Transfer from Bagdogra Airport to Gangtok and check-in at selected hotel.

Wreathed in clouds, Gangtok, the capital city of Sikkim is located on a ridge at a height of 1700 metres.

It is known for its scenic beauty and striking views of Mount Kanchenjunga, the third highest peak in the world. Once an important transit point for traders traveling between Tibet and India, it is today a busy administrative and business centre with an interesting mix of cultures and communities.

Overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 3 In Gangtok

After breakfast, enjoy half day sightseeing tour of Rumtek Monastery.

Rumtek is the largest monastery in Sikkim; it’s the seat of the Karmapa Lama, the third highest monk in Tibetan Buddhism. It also serves as one of the most important seats of the Kagyu (Black Hat) sect of Tibetan Buddhism outside of Tibet and is also known as Dharmachakra Centre.

Located about 23 km from Gangtok, the monastery was built by the fourth King of Sikkim under the supervision of the ninth Karmapa (head of the Karma Kagyu sect). The architectural design is almost identical to the original Kagyu headquarters in Tibet. The Kagyu (also called Kagyupa or Kagyud) school is one of six main schools of Tibetan Buddhism.

It is believed that the first Karmapa meditated for many years in a cave and ten thousand fairies offered him a strand of hair each after they congratulated him for his feat. The strands of hair were woven into a black hat and it has been passed down over the generations and it still remains in the Rumtek Monastery. Worn by following Karmapa’s during ceremonies, the hat is said to fly away unless it is held by hand or kept in a box. The beautiful monastery enshrines a golden stupa which contains relics like statues and paintings that belong to the 16th Karmapa. It houses religious art objects and some of the world’s most unique religious scriptures.

Later in the afternoon return to hotel.

Overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 4 Gangtok – Pelling (116km/5hrs)

After breakfast, check-out and proceed to visit Namgayal Institute of Tibetology, a unique institute for research into Mahayana Buddhism and the language and tradition of Tibet. Built in 1958 it’s a renowned centre for Buddhist study, the institute houses a rare collection of Tibetan, Sanskrit and Lepcha manuscripts, statues, Thankas (tapestry used in Buddhist liturgy) as well as more than 200 Buddhist icons.

Afterwards continue driving to Pelling, en-route visiting, Tashiding Monastery atop the conical hill with deep forest and two Rivers, the Ratong and Rangit all around. The site on which the monastery stands is believed to be blessed by the great Guru Padmasambhava. Built in the 17th Century by Ngadak Sempa Chempo, the significance of the monastery enhanced so much that Buddhist from all over the world began to consider it their Mecca. Just a glimpse of it was enough to purify a soul. Today, the Tashiding Monastery is one of the premier pilgrim places for Buddhist and commands immense respect from them. As per Buddhist scriptures, Guru Padmasambhava blessed Sikkim from this place in the 8th Century.

Droplets of the holy water that is kept in a pot inside the monastery are given to devotees once every year during the Bumchu Festival. This famous festival is held on the 14th and 15th day of the first month of the Tibetan calendar.

After the visit resume journey to Pelling.

On arrival check-in at the hotel.

Pelling is famous for magnificent views of the entire Kanchenjunga mountain range including Koktang, Kumbhakaran (Jannu), and Rathong, Kabru, Kabru Dome, Kanchenjunga, Pandim, Siniolchu and others. This is as close as you can get to the Kanchenjunga range without leaving the material comfort of good hotels.

Overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 5 In Pelling – Yuksom – Pelling (35km/2hrs)

After breakfast, half day sightseeing tour of Yuksom village, en-route visiting Khechepalri Lake, one of the sacred lakes of Sikkim. Myth is that when a leaf falls on the placid clear water surface, it is picked by a bird. It is believed that birds do not permit even a single leaf to float on the lake surface.

Resume journey to Yuksom, the first capital of Sikkim. It was the place where the first Chogyal (Sikkim’s ruling dynasty) was crowned. Located in a basin-like valley surrounded by mountain ranges at the head of the Khangchendzonga National Park, it is the gateway to Mt. Khangchendzonga. The natural environmental setting of the town, ensconced amidst rich forests are further accentuated by the history, architecture and Buddhist legacy that evolved from the 17th Century with Yuksom's establishment as the first capital of Sikkim.

Walk around the village and enjoy the natural beauty.

Afterwards return to hotel.

Overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 6 Pelling – Kalimpong (110km/4hrs)

After breakfast, check-out and depart for Kalimpong, en-route visiting Rabdentse Palace and Pemayangtse Monastery.

Rabdentse was the second capital of the former kingdom of Sikkim from 1670 to 1814. The capital city was destroyed by the invading Gurkha army and only the ruins of the palace and the chortens are seen here now. Close to ruins is Pemayangtse, one of the oldest monasteries in Sikkim.

Afterwards resume driving to Kalimpong.

On arrival, check-in at selected hotel.

Kalimpong, located on a ridge overlooking the Teesta River, is known for its educational institutions, many of which were established during the British colonial period. It’s a melting pot of diverse cultures and traditions from Lepchas, Nepalese (also known as Gorkhas), British, Indians, Tibetans and even Sikkimese, the influence can be seen in the local food, beverages, house architectures, language, and many other cultural dimensions. Kalimpong offers stunning mountain views, great hill walks, bird watching, and wonderful scenic drives.

Overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 7 In Kalimpong

After breakfast, half day sightseeing tour of Kalimpong, visiting Zong Dog Palri Fo Brang Gompa, renowned as Durpin Monastery, perched atop Durpin Hill. This monastery was consecrated in 1976 by His Holiness Dalai Lama, after six years of its establishment. Durpin Monastery holds important religious significance owing to sacred Kunguyar kept inside the monastery. Consisting of 108 volumes, all these were carried by Dalai Lama during his exile.

A true specimen of Buddhist architectural style, Zong Dog Palri Fo Brang Monastery is simple yet splendid. Colorful Tibetan paintings adorn the interiors of this shrine, lending it an aesthetic appeal. The prayer hall of this temple has a beautiful mandala, which looks three-dimensional in appearance. Devotees as well as tourists come in great numbers during Tibetan festivals that are hosted in the monastery. Monastery offers breath-taking views of the surrounding forested hills.

Continue to Dr. Graham's Homes, founded in 1900 by Dr. John Anderson Graham a missionary of the Church of Scotland, who settled in Kalimpong and worked with the local community. It started only with one cottage that accommodated up to 35 children. Over the years it has grown as a well-known multi religious and co-educational school spanning over 500 acres of lush landscape and having some 50 cottages and still faithfully fulfils the original vision to give a future to impoverished kids.

Later in the afternoon return to hotel via flower nursery and market.

Overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 8 Kalimpong – Darjeeling (75km/3hrs)

After breakfast, check-out and depart for Darjeeling en-route visiting Gandhi Ashram School, Jesuit mission school in Kalimpong, for disadvantaged children from the locality. It was founded in 1993 by Father Edward McGuire, a Jesuit priest from Canada. The school aims to provide a good formal education and at the same time let the children explore their talents, especially through music in the form of stringed instruments. It has become a tourist attraction and some of its players have performed in Europe.

Afterwards resume journey to Darjeeling.

Darjeeling is known for its tea industry. The city is located amidst the lower Himalayas that are also known as the Mahabharata range. The town was developed in the mid-19th Century by the British and soon the town came to be known for its vast tea estates that produce the best Tea in the country. The city was controlled by the kingdom of Sikkim till it was taken by the Gorkhas and subsequently the British. The town is endowed with a rich cultural history and natural resources and due to its pleasant climate all year round, is a popular tourist spot.

Overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 9 In Darjeeling

Early morning trip to Tiger Hill, to witness sunrise over Kanchenjunga Peak (subject to clear weather), as the first rays of the sun shoot ahead and shed light upon the twin peaks of Kanchenjunga painting it pink, and then bathing it in a beautiful orange colour; the sight is truly breath-taking.

On the way back visit Batasia loop, an engineering requirement commissioned in 1919 for the Darjeeling toy train to be able to handle a steep gradient. Just after Ghoom (India’s highest railway station) there is a sharp fall as the toy train moves towards Darjeeling. There was no way the toy train could negotiate such a drastic fall unless there was a way to somehow reduce the gradient of the slope. Batasia means airy space, as you stand on one side of the garden and see the toy train making a complete loop while hooting its whistle along the way and trying to negotiate the spiral track with a double loop, it's a fabulous experience. There are seating areas as well to enjoy the views. The entire area along with the gardens and an approach bridge that leads to the garden is about 50,000 square feet. It has been covered with grass and beautified with both seasonal and perennial flowers and shrubs. There is no better place to get a 360 degree view of Darjeeling's landscape including the hill town and the snow covered peaks of the Eastern Himalayas with the majestic Kanchenjunga on one side. And all this from the middle of a lovely flowering garden around which the toy train track is laid.

After breakfast at the hotel, proceed for half day sightseeing tour of Darjeeling, visiting Padmaja Naidu Himalaya Zoological Park and Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (Closed on Thursday), Tenzing Rock, Tibetan Refugee Self – Help centre (Closed on Sunday), Japanese Temple, Peace Pagoda and Ropeway.

Later in the afternoon return to hotel.

Overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 10 In Darjeeling

After breakfast, start the day with morning visit to Tukvar Tea Estate.

Darjeeling has many tea estates which contribute in their own special way to make it one of the best tea producing regions of the world. Some of them were set up as early as 1850, just about 15 years since the time it was taken over by the British to convert it into a summer resort and sanatorium.

Among the early tea estate of Darjeeling, the Tukvar Tea Estate, also popularly known as Puttabong Tea estate has quite a reputation for producing one of the finest brands of Darjeeling Tea. This tea garden was planted in 1852 and is considered to be one of the first tea gardens to start commercial cultivation of tea.This is one of the largest tea estates of Darjeeling that is divided into 5 sub divisions which stretches from Darjeeling town to the borders of neighboring state Sikkim.

Production of tea, this tea garden produces tea from the Darjeeling clonal and Chinary bushes which suits the climatic and soil conditions of this place. For quite some time this garden has been practicing the IPM methods of tea production to maintain the sustainability of cultivation practices and to produce healthy and safe tea for all its customers.

Quality of tea, Tukvar is undoubtedly one of the best producers of tea among the estates of Darjeeling. It is mostly popular for Orthodox black and green tea. It gives a lot of stress on producing organic tea with special focus on the ecological up gradation and maintaining the biodiversity since many years.

The management at Tukvar pays good attention to maintain the ecological balance of nature. Along with the tea bushes they also plant different types of annual grasses, leguminous crop, short shrubs, trees etc. This garden also has vermiform post, provisions for cattle farming and making of liquid fertilizers with local herbs etc. Thus it provides proper care and attention to the local environment as well as makes optimum use of the resources available. The beautiful surroundings of this tea garden graced by the mighty Kanchenjunga and soothing greenery of the nearby hills makes it more attractive. In 1992 this garden went on to create history when its antique tea fetched a price of INR 10001 per kg. It is also the first garden to receive ISO 9002 certificate in manufacturing, plantation and marketing.

Later in the afternoon return to hotel.

Overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 11 Darjeeling – Bagdogra (90km/4hrs)

After an early breakfast, checkout and transfer to Bagdogra Airport for flight to Kolkata.

Bagdogra – Kolkata (1hr 10min – flight)
On arrival at Kolkata Airport, you will be met and assisted by our representative to the designated coach / car booked.

Transfer and check-in at selected hotel.

Rest of the day at leisure to relax.

Overnight stay at the hotel

Day 12 In Kolkata

After breakfast, start the day with half day sightseeing tour of Kolkata at Dalhousie Square, located near the Hooghly River in the western part of central Kolkata. The square is built around the old Lal Dighi tank and continues to be the 'heart' of city.

Next head to St. Paul's Cathedral, associated with the Anglical community of Kolkata. The church is constructed in an Indo-Gothic architectural style. Inside the cathedral are exquisite mural paintings that vividly describe the life and works of St. Paul. Drive past General Post Office, Shaheed Minar, Eden Gardens, Akashvaani Bhawan, Howrah Station, Writers’ Building, Governor’s House, Ghat of Ganges, High Court, Maidan, Town Hall, Fort William, Race Course.

From there visit the Victoria Memorial, which serves as a museum and a tourist attraction. All of the beautiful monuments of this memorial were designed in Italian Renaissance-Mughal style and built with white marble from Rajasthan. Your last stop will be the South Park Street Cemetery, one of the earliest non-church cemeteries in the world. Opened in 1767 on what was previously a marshy area, the cemetery was in use until about 1830 and is now a heritage site. It still houses the remains of the colonial elite-bureaucrats and military officials. As one of the oldest Christian burial grounds in the city, it bears the testimony of many colonial settlers who lived and died here in Kolkata.

Afterwards, day at leisure to relax.

Overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 13 Departure Kolkata

After breakfast, check-out and transfer to Kolkata International Airport / Railway Station or any convenient point for your onward journey.

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