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Monasteries of Sikkim with Darjeeling and Kolkata

Monasteries of Sikkim with Darjeeling and Kolkata

$1375 per person

Monasteries of Sikkim with Darjeeling and Kolkata offers travellers a glimpse of Kolkata, Tea plantations and Himalayan character of Darjeeling and ancient Tibetan monasteries of Sikkim. Here you go about the itinerary at a relaxed pace to enjoy bustle and colonial character of Kolkata, live in a working plantation of Darjeeling, explore ancient monasteries of Sikkim and capture best of Himalayan views.

Monasteries of Sikkim with Darjeeling and Kolkata Highlights

  • Exploring Colonial heritage of Kolkata
  • Live in a Plantation Bungalow and enjoy wide ranging plantation experiences
  • Enjoy drives through hillside areas of East India, through plantations and reserve forests
  • Capture panoramic Himalayan views from Darjeeling and Pelling
  • Visit ancient monasteries of Pemayangtse (18th Century) and Rumtek
  • Explore Buddhist religious pilgrimage circuit of West Sikkim
  • Explore ancient monasteries around Gangtok

Inclusions

  • Hotel accommodation in a double / twin room
  • Darjeeling Experiences – 1 Excursion to Darjeeling, 1 round of Tea Plucking, Tea Tasting, Tea Factory Visit, 1 Picnic Lunch
  • English speaking Guide in Kolkata (1 Day)
  • All transfers, sightseeing and visits as per programme using Toyota Innova
  • All currently applicable taxes

Exclusions

  • Kolkata – Bagdogra – Kolkata Airfare
  • Entrance fees at monuments / monasteries mentioned in the itinerary
  • Expenses of personal nature such as gratuities, telephone calls, laundry, liquor etc.
  • India visa charges
  • Travel insurance

Expert Travel Opinion

Kolkata is at the heart of Bengali cuisine experiences. Locals here are foodies and therefore, Bengali cuisine menus can be extensive. Fish preparations such as Bhapa Illsh (Hilsa Fish Steamed in Mustard Sauce in Bengali Style) and Tangra Macher Jhol (spicy Catfish curry) are very popular. There are ample options for vegetarians such as Alur Torkari, Shukto and Aloo Potol Posto. A Bengali meal is considered incomplete without Mishti Dohi (Sweet Curd). Bengali Sweets are popular all over India for their milk based preparations such as Sandesh and Rosogulla.

Darjeeling is set on the border of India with Nepal and Darjeeling district has Gorkha community as its majority. Ethnic cuisine of Darjeeling is known as the Himalayan Cuisine which is a local variant of the Nepali cuisine. The long colonial presence after 70+ years of Indian independence is evident in the offerings of many cafes in Darjeeling which have a distinct English flavor in their menu. In addition to these, there are a number of Tibetan and Naga Cuisine offerings in Darjeeling to explore.

Gangtok is the home of Sikkimese Cuisine, ethnic cuisine of Sikkim. Nepalese are a majority in Sikkim and therefore Himalayan Cuisine is also popular in Sikkim. Gundruk and Sinki are two well known vegetarian soups of Sikkim made out of mustard, cauliflower and radish. Popular local non-vegetarian dishes in Sikkim to explore are Phagshapa (Pork Dish) and Sha Phaley (Bread with Beef). Restaurants in Sikkim offer a cuisine that is a combination of Tibetan (e.g. Momos and Thunkpas) and Himalayan (Nepali) with some local Sikkimese cuisine items in it.

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Tour Plan

1
Day 01 - Kolkata

Arrival at Kolkata

Arrive at Kolkata, capital of West Bengal, one of the 4 metros of India and a popular arrival point for International travellers visiting East India. Kolkata is a port city and used to be the largest and commercially most important city during the days of the British Raj. Kolkata has many monuments of the Raj era and has a character that is a mix of the modern and the old world. Upon arrival you will be met by our representative and introduced to your private driver who will accompany you for rest of your Kolkata stay. You arrive at the hotel in Kolkata for an overnight stay.

Expert Tip: Most International arrivals are late evening leaving little time for exploration.

2
Day 02 - Kolkata

Explore Kolkata

Today you Explore Kolkata to visit most significant monuments of the Colonial era such as Victoria Memorial (dated 1921, built in the memory of Queen Victoria and now a museum), St Pauls Cathedral (dated 1847 - example of Gothic architecture) and St John's Church (dated 1787). You also visit the Mother House (home of Mother Teresa and now a memorial) and drive across bridge on river Hooghly. Return to hotel by evening. Rest of the evening for you to explore Kolkata on own.

Expert Tip: Kolkata is home to wide ranging restaurants that serve authentic Chinese (in Chinatown), ethnic Bengali and cuisine from all over the globe. These can be explored on your own in evenings.

3
Day 03 - Darjeeling

Take a flight to Bagdogra and Transfer to Darjeeling

Today you take a morning flight to Bagdogra, the gateway to hillside plantations and monasteries of East India. Upon arrival you will be greeted by our representative. You travel from Bagdogra Airport to Darjeeling (90 kms - 2.5 hours), a hill station at about 6500 ft asl, renowned for its stunning Himalayan views of the Kanchenjunga Range and world renowned for the "Darjeeling Tea" produced in plantations around it. After Lunch enroute, you arrive to a 1500+ acre plantation estate in outskirts of Darjeeling. The plantation bungalow, originally built in 19th Century having wooden flooring, antique furniture and working fireplace and offering panoramic views of Himalayan peaks. Rest of the day for you spend getting acquainted with surroundings.

4
Day 04 - Darjeeling

Tea Plucking, Tea Tasting and Tea Factory Visit

Today you take a short guided tour into working plantation and join plantation workers in tea plucking process. Thereafter you return for a session of tea tasting that involves Darjeeling's finest tea. Here you learn to differentiate between different types of Tea. You return to the Estate bungalow for Lunch. After Lunch you visit Tea factory to understand entire process of making that includes sorting, drying, crushing, filtering and eventually packing. Rest of the day you spend leisure enjoying Tea plantation and Himalayan character of the area.

5
Day 05 - Darjeeling

Picnic Lunch at a Himalayan View Point

Today you will depart for an excursion to a view point that will give you a glimpse of the 60+ Himalayan peaks (on a clear day), Darjeeling town, valleys, tea factories, waterfalls, and a variety of birdlife. You arrive here for a Picnic Lunch and spend a couple of hours before returning to the plantation. Rest of the day for you to explore Plantation / Darjeeling on own.

Expert Tips:

  • Instead of an excursion you may opt for a hike (3-4 hours) to the view point.
  • You may visit the crowded Darjeeling town centre to capture the local buzz and character.
  • You may take a walk around the plantation to a view point for sunset.
6
Day 06 - Pelling

Travel to Pelling via Pemayangtse Monastery

Today you travel to Pelling in West Sikkim (75 kms - 4 hours), renowned for its Himalayan views and ancient monasteries. Enroute you make a visit to the Pemayangtse Monastery (dated 1705), one of the premier monasteries of Sikkim and controlling monastery of Sikkim for the Nyingma Order of Tibetan Buddhism. You will be charmed by the quaint character of the monastery and stunning views of the Mount Kanchenjunga from the monastery. After spending some time at the monastery you depart for Pelling. You arrive at the hotel by late afternoon after enroute Luntch. Rest of the day for you at leisure to explore on own.

7
Day 07 - Pelling

Explore Buddhist religious pilgrimage circuit of West Sikkim

Today you explore Buddhist religious pilgrimage circuit of West Sikkim starting with Dubdi Monastery (1701), followed by Norbugang Chorten (1642), Tashiding Monastery (1717), the Rabdentse ruins (17-19th Century), the Sanga Choeling Monastery (17th Century) and eventually ending with the holy lake of Khecheopalri Lake. The lake is sacred for both Buddhists and Hindus. Khecheopalri Lake offers excellent views and will offer you with photography opportunities. You will have Lunch enroute and return to hotel by late afternoon (Total distance travelled 100 kms - 3.5 hours drive time). Rest of the day for you at leisure to explore on own.

8
Day 08 - Gangtok

Travel to Gangtok via Rumtek Monastery

Today you travel to Gangtok via Rumtek Monastery (140 kms - 4 hours). Gangtok (5000 ft asl) is capital of Sikkim and its largest town. Gangtok is a base point to visit a number of prominent monasteries in the area such as Rumtek Monastery (24 kms from Gangtok - Dated 18th Century). Rumtek is the largest monastery complex in Sikkim and follow Karma Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. The Monastery is home to a Golden Stupa containing the relics of the 16th Karmapa. Here you spend some time before departing for Gangtok. You will reach your hotel by late afternoon. Rest of the day for you to spend at leisure on own.

Expert Tip: You may visit the Gangtok town centre to capture the local buzz and character.

9
Day 09 - Gangtok

Explore Monasteries in and around Gangtok

Today you explore monasteries in and around Gangtok starting with Enchey Monastery (dated early 20th Century) belonging to the Nyingma order of Buddhism. Thereafter you undertake excursions to visit monasteries at Phodong (28 kms - has a collection of ancient murals) and Phensang Monastery (Dated 1721, a monastery of the Nyingmapa Order at 9 kms from Gangtok) and Chawang Ani Monastery. The total travel is about 90 kms (3.5 hours drive time plus time taken to visit the monastery). You return to hotel by late afternoon. Rest of the evening for you to explore Gangtok on own.

Expert Tip: Gangtok town centre is abuzz with restaurants and dining options that serve authentic cuisine of Sikkim. You may visit one of these restaurants for dinner.

10
Day 10 - Kolkata

Departure to Bagdogra

Today you depart to Bagdogra (120 kms - 4 hours) for a flight to Kolkata for onward International departure.

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