Tea Estates And Mystique Himalayas

Destinations: Sikkim Tour / Tea Estates And Mystique Himalayas
Trip Duration: 15 days
Best Time: December to March

Trip Cost

ON REQUEST

 

  • Day 01: Arrive KolkataYou will be met and assisted on your arrival in Calcutta and transferred to your hotel. Calcutta, 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, Calcutta is the nerve centre of intellect and human values, where many modern movements began in art, cinema and theatre, science and industry. It is the gateway to Eastern India and a city with a rich heritage, bustling streets and bewildering variety of facets. From October to March, Calcutta wears a radiant look. Sunshine, mild winter, lights, colors, fairs, festivals, galas and excursions, the mood is infectious and spirit sweeping.
  • Day 02: In KolkataA walk along Chowringhee Road sets the pace as you set out to unravel the rare beauty of this city. Across the road sweeps huge, lush green, open parkland called the Maidan, centering around Fort William, the massive and impregnable British Citadel built in 1773. The fort is still in use and retains its well-guarded grandeur. Visitors are allowed in with special permission only. Along St. George’s Gate Road, on the southern fringe of the ground, your sight is arrested by a splendid monument in white Makrana marble. Built in Italian Renaissance cum Saracenic style, Victoria Memorial was planned by Lord Curzon and opened by the Prince of Wales in 1921. This British attempt at building a second Taj Mahal, is dedicated to Queen Victoria and houses a fantastic collection of rare memorabilia from Colonial days. A light and sound show recreates history every evening. Dakshineswar Kali Temple Belur Math: Built in 1847, on the banks of the Hooghly, north of Calcutta, the temple is associated with Shri Ramakrishna, the eclectic 19th century saint who revived Hinduism during the British Raj. Across the river stands Belur Math, headquarters of Ramakrishna Mission. The Monastery is a haven of peace and religious harmony.
  • Day 03: Kolkata to Bagdogra by 9W 617 Dep. 1210 hrs / Arr. 1310 hrs & to Darjeeling by surface / approx 93 kms / 3 hrsFly today from Calcutta to Bagdogra and on arrival drive to the Tea Auction Market in Siliguri. You will have the opportunity to visit one of the Auction houses. Later drive for 3 hours to DARJEELING. Darjeeling conjures visions of serenity, of vibrant green hills steeped in splendour, a land of breathtaking beauty crowned by the majestic Himalayas. Darjeeling is one of the most magnificent hill resorts in the world. This heavenly retreat is bathed in hues of every shade. The flaming red rhododendrons, the sparkling white magnolias, the miles of undulating hillsides covered with emerald green tea bushes, the exotic forests of silver fir - all under the blanket of a brilliant azure sky dappled with specks of clouds, compellingly confirms Darjeeling as the QUEEN OF HILL STATIONS. Darjeeling beckons thousands today for a leisurely respite from the bustle of the madding crowd. The traveller - whether a tourist or a trekker, an ornithologist or a photographer, a botanist or an artist - will find in Darjeeling an experience which will remain etched in ones memory - forever.
  • Day 04: In DarjeelingEarly morning drive to Tiger Hill to view the sunrise over the Himalayas. The changing of the sunrays on the mountains is a spectacular experience. On return, visit the Ghoom Monastery, which follows the Gelupa sect, built in 1875. The monastery houses one of the largest statuses of the Maitreya Buddha - "the coming Buddha". After breakfast visit the Himalayan Zoo, which houses the Himalayan Fauna like the Red Panda, black bear, yaks, tigers, snow leopard etc. in their natural habitat. Thereafter, visit Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, a premier training centre for mountaineers and a museum detailing the ascent of the Mt. Everest by Tenzing Sherpa & Sir Edmund Hillary and numerous other expeditions. You will also have an educative experience at the Tibetan Self Help Centre, a centre of training young people in the intricate art of Tibetan handicrafts and handlooms.
  • Day 05: In DarjeelingA very exciting day in Darjeeling. You will have the opportunity to ride the Toy Train. On this railway track one cannot help marvel the engineering feat, Batasia Loop. It was constructed with the purpose of allowing the trains to take the sharp rise in altitude between Darjeeling and Ghoom with ease. It is quite an interesting experience to watch the toy train negotiate the loop through the well-manicured garden of flowers with the Kanchendzonga and the Darjeeling town in the background.
    In the afternoon you visit Happy Valley Tea Estate: Of about seventy tea gardens in this hilly region, this is one of the nearest, about 3 km from the town. Here one can see the processing of the world famous Darjeeling tea. And also indulge in a tea tasting session.
  • Day 06: Darjeeling to Pemayanste - by surface / 118 kms / approx 4 hrsA drive along the Tista Valley takes you to the Sikkim border at Melli and then you travel through the Rangit Valley up to Pemayantse. From here one can view Mt. Khangchendzonga, Pandim, Siniolchu and other ranges. Situated on a hillock is Pemayanste Monastery, belonging to Nyingmapa sect. This Monastery is the head of all other monasteries of this sect in Sikkim. On arrival check in to your accommodation for overnight stay.
  • Day 07: In PemayantseEnjoy a guided tour of the premier monastery of Pemayanste (Perfect Sublime Lotus), situated at a height of 2105 mtrs. Latsun Chembo first built it as a small temple in the late 17th century. Later during the reign of the third Chogyal Chakdor Namgyal, Jigme Pawo who was the third reincarnate of Latsun Chembo extended and rebuilt the structure in the form of a big monastery. The monastery contains numerous antique idols and objects of worship, most of which are priceless because of their antiquity. On the top floor is a seven tiered painted wooden sculpture portraying the Mahaguru’s Heavenly palace ‘Sangthokpalri’ which was completed in a span of five years, single handily by the late Dungzin Rimpoche. Annual Chaam dance is held on the 28th and 29th day of the 12th month of the Tibetan calendar, normally corresponding to the month of February. 
    A two-km walk from the main road near Pemayanste Monastery through a thick forest will take you to Rabdanste Palace. This was the second capital of Sikkim established in the late 17th century by the second Chogyal of Sikkim. The Palace is in ruins, however, the chortens around it have withstood the elements of nature. The ruins are now being preserved by the Archaeological Survey of India and have been declared a monument. Overnight is at the hotel.
  • Day 08: Pemayantse to Kechopari & to Yoksum - by surface / 55kms / 3.5 hoursToday, a 24 km drive takes you first to Kechopari Lake at an altitude of about 1951 m. Kechopari means ‘Wishing Lake’. The water in this lake is placid and crystal clear. Not even a leaf can be seen floating on the water surface although there is a beautiful dense forest above the lake. It is said that if a leaf drops on the surface of the water a bird picks it. Khecheopalri Lake is considered as one of the sacred lakes of this state both by the Buddhist and the Hindus. There is a motor able road from Pemayangtse right up to the lake area. 
    After packed lunch near the lake drive to Yoksum. This is where the three Buddhist lamas arrived from Tibet to establish the Buddhist Nyingma-pa (“Red Hat”) order. In fact, Yoksum means the meeting place of three lamas. The first King of Sikkim was coronated here on a throne made of stones close to Norbugang Monastery and the chorten. The footprint of one of the Lamas, Latsun Chembo, who consecrated the King can also be seen close to the throne.
    On arrival check-in at the hotel. Later in the evening an hour’s walk will take you to the Dubdu Monastery, built in 1701. It is worth a visit for the exhilarating views of the mountains and the villages dotting the hill slopes. Overnight is at the hotel.
  • Day 09: Yuksom to Rumtek - by surface 137 kms / 4 hrsDrive to Rumtek, en route visiting Temi Tea Garden to observe the processing of one of the finest teas in the world. The one and the only Tea Estate existing in Sikkim produces one of the top quality teas in the International Market. The Tea Garden is spread out on a gentle hill slope originating from the Tendong Hill and provides a magnificent view of the surrounding villages. The visit to the factory would be an eye opener for those wanting to know more about the tea processing methods. Continue your drive to Rumtek. Overnight stay is at your hotel / resort.
  • Day 10: In RumtekToday you will visit the Rumtek Monastery, which is perched on a hilltop facing the city of Gangtok. The original Monastery was built in 1730 by the ninth Karmapa but was destroyed due to a fire and His Holiness, the sixteenth Karmapa in 1960, then constructed the present one. The prayer hall in the main monastery is intricately decorated with statues, wall paintings, thangkas and tubular silk banners. A flight of stairs from just outside the Main Monastery complex takes you to the Nalanda Institute for Higher Buddhist Studies. Overnight in Rumtek.
  • Day 11: Rumtek to Gangtok - by surface - 24 kms approx 1 hrsAfter breakfast a short drive takes you to Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim. It lies at an altitude 1600 meters with the Ranipool River running to its west. Gangtok has a very spectacular setting and offers excellent views of the entire Kanchenjunga range from various points in its vicinity. On arrival at Gangtok you will be assisted to check into your hotel.
    In Gangtok visit Enchey Monastery, Lama Druptob Karpo is supposed to have built a small hermitage at this spot after he flew here from Maenam Hill more than two hundred years ago. During the reign of Sidkeong Tulku, a monastery was built here in 1901 in the form of a Chinese Pagoda. The monastery follows the Nyingma Order and the main puja and dances are held here on the 18th and 19th of the twelfth month of the Tibetan calendar, which normally corresponds to the month of December.
    The other places of interest during you day in Gangtok are - Government Institute of Cottage Industries: This centre offers you the opportunity to observe the local artisans at work and their skills being imparted to young boys and girls. If you want to take back souvenirs, the institute's salesroom is well stocked with local handicraft and handloom products. Do-Drul Chorten: One of the most important Stupas of Sikkim built by the late Venerable Trulsi Rimpoche in 1945-46, it contains a mandala of Dorji-Phurpa, holy texts, mantras and is encircled by 108 prayer wheels. Research Institute of Tibetology : Situated close to the Chorten this institute is a repository of the largest collection of Tibetan artifacts outside Tibet. Also renowned worldwide for the study of Buddhist philosophy and religion, it is a treasure house of rare Thangkas, Buddhist icon and objects of art. You also have the option to spend half a day at a local school in Gangtok where one can interact with the school children and teachers. Overnight in your hotel.
  • Day 12: Gangtok to Kalimpong - by surface / 90 kms / approx 3 hrsDrive to Kalimpong today, which is a sleepy little town situated at an altitude of 1,200 m, some 50 km to the east of Darjeeling. It once used to be the hub of the trans-Himalayan trade between India and Tibet when merchants used to ferry commerce by mule caravan over the Jelepla pass on the Sikkim-Tibet border. Kalimpong means king’s minister’s strong hold - a Bhutanese word. It is also called Kalimpong in local dialect meaning "black spur". As per Lepchas Kalimpong means ‘ridge where we play’. It is said that these local tribesmen used to organize field sports while not engaged in agricultural pursuit - hence the name. Situated at an altitude of 1250 metres, it enjoys temperate climate throughout the year. Somewhat secluded and tucked away in the corner under big Darjeeling umbrella, Kalimpong offers a quiet and relaxed holiday, against the backdrop of the Kanchenjunga.
  • Day 13: In KalimpomgIn the morning you will have a guided tour of HOLUMBA - two acres natural landscaped botanical extravaganza, water fed by a natural spring, inhabited by a flora population over 1000 species of orchids, plants & trees. HOLUMBA offers the nature loving tourists an expansive orchid nursery. The family of HOLUMBA will invite you for a cup of tea.
    This will be followed by a visit to a flower nursery. The towns flower nurseries have achieved international recognition owing to the excellent qualities of rare flowers grown by the local flower entrepreneurs of the area. Flower buds from Kalimpong are exported to different parts of the world and command a good price in the international market. 
    Also visit Gangjong Paper Industry renowned for the craft of paper making, which is an ancient tradition in the Himalayan region. The handmade paper that is being manufactured here still uses traditional tools and a special bamboo made screen is used to form the paper sheets.
    The evening is free to stroll in the downtown. Overnight stay in a hotel.
  • Day 14: Kalimpong to Bagdogra by surface & Fly to Kolkatta / DelhiDrive back to Bagdogra airport today to board your onward flight to Kolkatta / Delhi. And later for onward journey / home.

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