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Itinerary at a Glance
Day 1: Arrive Kolkata
Day 2: Kolkata
Day 3: Kolkata – Bagdogra – Darjeeling
Day 4: Darjeeling
Day 5: Darjeeling – Pelling
Day 6: Pelling – Gangtok
Day 7: Gangtok
Day 8: Gangtok – Kalimpong
Day 9: Kalimpong – Phuentsoling
Day 10: Phuentsoling – Thimphu
Day 11: Thimphu
Day 12: Thimphu – Punakha
Day 13: Punakha – Paro
Day 14: Paro
Day 15: Paro
Day 16: Paro – Departure
You arrive at Kolkata airport. After clearing India Immigration and Customs, you step into the receiving area where you will be met by our representative.
Overnight at the hotel (No meals)
Morning after breakfast proceed for guided city tour of Kolkata. Kolkata is an ‘in your face’ city that shocks and charms the unsuspecting visitor. Long known as the cultural capital of India and home to the Bengal Renaissance, Kolkata continues to spawn generations of poets, writers and film directors. As the former capital of British India, Kolkata retains a feast of dramatic colonial architecture, with more than a few fine buildings in photogenic states of semi-collapse. Love it or hate it, you definitely won’t forget the city on the Hooghly river bank.
Flower Market, 125 years old, the Kolkata Flower Market is eastern India’s largest flower market with hundreds of stalls and many more sitting on the ground. Thousands of flower sellers, who gather daily below the Howrah Bridge from sunrise until sunset to sell their garlands, provide a colorful and eye catching display of bright orange and yellow marigolds carried on the arms, heads and piled on the ground.
Victoria Memorial, one of the renowned monuments in Kolkata, was built in the loving memory of Queen Victoria in 1921. It is an impressive edifice, which is made in white marble and is a perfect blend of Mughal and European architectural styles. It is also a museum that houses some rare pictures of men and women who played a prominent part in the history of India, queen’s dress, along with several artillery weapons from the Battle of Plassey, the Whispering Gallery in the dome and the famed Rosewood piano.
Later, visit the Indian museum, the house of various wonderful and awe inspiring discoveries and excavations undertaken by mankind. Considered one of the oldest and largest museums in the country, the Indian museum and its 60 galleries are replete with a dazzling collection of geographical, archaeological, textile and botanical objects. Be prepared to be stunned by the skeletal remains straight from the sites from Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa, Buddhist stupa, various rare antiques, and a big collection of meteorites.
Marble Palace is an art gallery, depicting history in arts, photographs, oil paintings and beautiful sculptures. The star attractions of the Marble Palace are undoubtedly the collection of masterpieces by Reuben and the paintings by various renowned international artists such as Reynolds, Van Gogh and Rembrandt.
Overnight at the hotel (B)
Kolkata to Bagdogra by flight:
Bagdogra to Darjeeling by road: Approx. 90 Kms. & 4 Hrs. drive
Morning after breakfast check out at hotel and transfer to airport to board your flight to Bagdogra. On arrival in Bagdogra transfer to Darjeeling. Nestled among the rolling mountains with the glistening Mt Kanchenjunga towering over the azure sky, Darjeeling fondly called “Queen of the Hills”, provides a perfect gateway for those seeking to be in harmony with nature. On arrival check in to your hotel. Evening is free to relax.
Early morning at 0430 Hrs drive to Tiger Hill towitness the magnificent sunrise over Himalayan range. Tiger Hill is the highest hill in the immediate surroundings of Darjeeling. The first rays of the sun shoot ahead and shed light upon the twin peaks of Kangchenjunga painting it pink and then bathing it in a beautiful orange colour. From Tiger Hill, Mount Everest is just visible, peeping out through two other peaks standing by its side.
Post breakfast witness the The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, nicknamed the “Toy Train”, is a 2 ft (610 mm) narrow gauge railway from New Jalpaiguri to Darjeeling in West Bengal, run by the Indian Railways. It was built between 1879 and 1881 and is about 86 kilometres (53 mi) long. The elevation level is from about 100 metres (328 ft) at New Jalpaiguri to about 2,200 metres (7,218 ft) at Darjeeling.
Also visit Ghoom Monastery is the popular name of the Yiga Choeling Monastery. The monastery belongs to the Gelukpa or the Yellow Hat sect and is famous for its 15 feet high special statue of the Maitreya Buddha (meaning “The Coming Buddha). The external structure of the building was established in 1850. The monastery also preserves some of the rarest Buddhist manuscripts.
Later visit Himalayan Mountaineering Institute was built as a tribute to Tenzing so that he could impart his skills to all those who pursued climbing activities in the Himalayas. Tenzing was the first Director of field training in HMI. The Institute is now a complex of various activities and units. It is said to be a destination by itself and a pilgrimage for all the climbing enthusiasts. It is host to a well-stocked museum of mountaineering artifacts and many expedition displays.
Darjeeling to Pelling by road: Approx. 75 Kms. & 4 Hrs. drive
Morning after breakfast drive to Pelling, known for its unparalleled views of the snowy peaks. Sunrise over the Kanchenjunga is Pelling’s biggest charm. On arrival check into your hotel.
Later Pemangyatse Monastery, built more than 300 years ago, which is beautifully located amid green gardens; a huge Buddha statue and statues of reincarnations of Padmasambhava.
Also visit the ruins of Sikkim’s ancient capital at Rabdentse, is located at a short distance from Pelling. Rabdentse is a lovely spot accessed by a short walk through a dense forest. The views are spectacular after the walk that arrives at the ruins which are located on top of a ridge with clouds on the other side.
Pelling to Gangtok by road: Approx. 148 Kms. & 5 Hrs. drive
Morning after breakfast drive to Gangtok. As mist sweeps over its rolling hills, the city of Gangtok turns all the more surreal. A usual morning in Gangtok will have you watching Mt Kachendzonga turn golden with the rising Sun. On arrival check into your hotel. Evening free to relax at hotel or explore the local market your own.
Morning after breakfast visit Rumtek Monastery. The monastery is the headquarters of the Black Hat Sect (one of the oldest sects of Tibetan Buddhism. There are two buildings of Rumtek Monastery, one is relatively newer (built in 1966), and the older Rumtek Monastery was founded in 1740 by the fourth Chogyal of Sikkim.
Also, visit Do Drul Chorten, is a stupa in Gangtok in the Indian state of Sikkim. The stupa was built by Trulshik Rinpoche, head of the Nyingma order of Tibetan Buddhism in 1945. Inside this stupa, a complete set of Dorjee Phurba, Kangyur relics (Holy Books) and other religious objects. Around the stupa are 108 Mani Lhakor or prayer wheels.
Also visit the Namgyal Institute of Tibetology, was established in 1958 and has one of the largest collection of Tibetan artefacts outside Tibet. It has been built in traditional style and to promote research into the Mahayana sect of Buddhism and Tibetan language and culture. The institute was initially known as the Namgyal Institute of Tibetology after Late Palden Thondup Namgyal (the Chogyal of Sikkim).
Enchey Monastery, Perched on a hill top above Gangtok’s ridge, the Enchey monastery offers picturesque views of the town and the Kanchenjunga peak. Built in 1909, it follows the Nyingmapa tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.
Evening is free to relax.
Gangtok to Kalimpong by road: Approx. 75 Kms. & 3 Hrs. drive
Morning after breakfast drive to Kalimpong. Nestling in the lush green mid ranges of the Himalayas, this hill station of “The British Raj”, has an incredible stunning backdrop of towering snow-capped peaks. This exotic town is beautiful, mystical and enchanting, with a rare ethnic blend of hill people. On arrival check into your hotel.
Later visit THarpa Choling Monastery, built in 1926, it belongs to the Yellow Hat (Gelukpa) sect of Tibetan Buddhism. The Gompa contains statues of the past, present & future Buddhas. The monastery’s discipline is based on the regulations laid down by the 13th Dalai Lama in abidance with the rules of the Vinaya, the spiritual code of conducts.
Also, visit Durpin Gompa, Built in the 1970’s, this is one of the biggest Gompas in town. Durpin means binoculours and it features excellent views of the whole Chola Range of Sikkim. The monastery has a collection of the many diverse sects of immigrants who assisted in its construction.
Later, visit the flower Nurseries, famous for cultivation of horticultural plants and for exporting flowers like Amaryllis, Lilies, Anthuriums, Roses, Gerbera, dahlias, gladiolas, Orchids and Cacti. . These flower nurseries are engaged in exporting beautiful and exotic flowers.
Kalimpong to Phuentsoling by road: Approx. 175 Kms. & 5-6 Hrs. drive
Morning after breakfast drive to Phuentsoling. Phuentsoling is the most urbanised town of the country Bhutan. It is considered as the financial, industrial and trading capital of the country. Phuntsholing separates Bhutan from India at the border and one can clearly notice the difference in culture, lifestyle and landscape while travelling through the road. After clearing immigration formalities drive to your hotel. Rest of the day is free to relax.
Phuentsoling to Thimphu by road: Approx. 165 Kms & 5-6 Hrs. drive
Morning after breakfast check out at hotel and drive to Thimphu. One of the first things that a traveller can picture in his mind when someone mentions the Bhutanese city of Thimphu, is a land of breath-taking mountains. Well, that’s what Thimphu is all about. It is one of those hill towns where a traveller would want to spend a good amount of time, and a few mountain lovers would like to spend a lifetime in. Keeping the natural beauty apart, Thimphu is also home to a lot of socio-cultural richness that the city has attained over the years. Right from the spiritual experiences of a place to enjoying a game of archery which is the national sport of Bhutan, Thimphu has a melange of experiences to offer to the travellers. On arrival check into your hotel and relax.
Overnight at the hotel (B, L)
Morning after breakfast, visit the Weekends Market (Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday), is probably the largest domestic market in the country. Next to the market is the Changlimithang Archery Stadium, on government holidays or weekends you will normally find people playing archery as leisure among friends or even tournaments as well. Takin Preservation Centre (closed on Monday), at Motithang followed by Zilukha Nunnery, which is a residence of 40-65 nuns. The main shrine at the Nunnery is dedicated to the famous saint, Drubthob Thang Thong Gyalpo, popularly known as the Leonardo da Vinci of the Great Himalayas. Afternoon visits the King’s Memorial Chorten that was dedicated to the third king of Bhutan. This is an impressive shrine, with shining gold spires, tinkling bells, and an endless procession of devotees around it. Next drive to Buddha Dodenma at Kuensel Phodrang overlooking Thimphu valley sits a 61m tall statue probably the largest statue of its kind in the world.
Thimphu to Punakha by road: Approx. Kms & Hrs. drive
Morning after breakfast, we begin a scenic drive to Punakha, the former capital of Bhutan. As we leave Thimphu behind, the road gradually winds up through villages and pine forests to Dochula Pass (3100m/10168ft), marked by 108 Buddhist Chortens (Stupa), surrounded by the East-west highway. On a clear day, the pass offers a superb panorama of the snow-capped mountains and the valleys. The descend after the pass is very interesting as you can see the road drops slowly through the changing vegetation to the sub-tropical lowlands of the Punakha and Wangdue Valleys. After lunch, we visit the stunning Punakha Dzong, probably the most impressive of all the Dzong (fortress) architectures of Bhutan. Today it serves as the winter residence of the Central monk bodies led by the chief abbot moves there from the capital. Next, we proceed for a pleasant hike to the Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten – about 45minutes up, but only 30 minutes down. The Chorten (stupa) shaped temple is situated atop a beautiful hillock overlooking the valley dipped into beautiful rice paddy fields. Built by the Queen Mother, and is an example of Bhutan’s finest traditional architecture.
Overnight at the hotel (B, L, D)
Punakha to Paro by road: Approx. Kms & Hrs. drive
Early morning, visit the Chimi Lhakhang, the temple of fertility and we drive back to Paro across Dochula Pass, providing one more opportunity to view the peaks of the eastern Himalayas. In Paro, we visit the National Museum, housed at Ta Dzong-the former Watch Tower. The museum has a wide variety of collections; from fine arts, handcrafts, arms & armors, bamboo crafts, stuffed animals, stamp collections, bronze statues and also a fine chapel. From here, we visit Paro Rinpung Dzong-which means the fortress on a heap of Jewels. It was built during the reign of Shabdrung in 1646. The Dzong, which houses the Paro Monastic School and office of the civil administration, is rich in architecture. The famous Paro Tsechu is held here in the courtyard of this Dzong every year in spring.
After breakfast visit Rinpung Dzong, built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal , the first spiritual and temporal ruler of Bhutan, the Dzong houses the monastic body of Paro, the office of the Dzongda (district administrative head) and Thrimpon (judge) of Paro district. The approach to the Dzong is through a traditional covered bridge called Nemi Zam. A walk through the bridge, over a stone inlaid path, offers a good view of the architectural wonder of the Dzong as well as life around it. It is also the venue of Paro Tshechu, held once a year in the spring.
Ta Dzong, One time watch tower built to defend Rinpung Dozng during inter-valley wars of the 17th century, since 1967 Ta Dzong is serving as the National Museum of the country. It holds fascinating collection of art, relics, religious thangkha paintings and Bhutan’s exquisite postage stamps.
Kyichu Lhakhang is one of the oldest and most sacred shrines of the Kingdom dating back to 7th century (the other is Jambey Lhakahng in Bumthang). The lhakhang complex is composed of two temples. The first temple was built by Tibetan King, Songtsen Gampo in the 7th century and in 1968, H.M. Ashi Kesang, the Queen Mother of Bhutan, built the second temple in original pattern.
Breakfast at 7 am, start hike 0730am to the famous Taktsang Monastery, a.k.a the Tiger’s Nest. The Monastery is theatrically perched on the edge at 10000 ft high cliff above the valley floor, creating an impressive sight. Tiger’s Nest, undoubtedly is the unofficial symbol of Bhutan and a must visit the place during your trip to Bhutan. The total trip up and down will take about 4 hours. It’s also possible to take pony ride about half the journey up but for the balance of the trail and return trip down, pony ride is not advisable.
OPTIONAL: Traditional Herbal Bath: With advance notice, you can experience a traditional Hot Stone Bath in a farmhouse. Hot stone bath is purely a Bhutanese traditional method of curing arthritis, skin ailments, joint pains, hypertension, stomach disorders, arthritis, and many other minor diseases. Even you don’t have any of these issues, after a laborious hike of the day, you will feel relaxation from the hot stone bath.
After breakfast, transfer to airport to board your flight to Kolkata to board your connecting flight to your onward destination.
Price valid from: 1st October 2018 to 30th September