Tours to Bhutan, Travel to Bhutan
01. ARRIVE KOLKATA (CALCUTTA)
Arrive late evening in Kolkata, where our representative will meet you outside the customs area and escort you to your hotel and assist you with check in.
Stay overnight in Kolkata.
Day 02. IN KOLKOTA
Kolkata was earlier referred to as Calcutta and use to be the political capital of India before independence.
This morning after breakfast enjoy the city tour of Kolkata. Visit the Victoria Memorial, a fascinating piece of architecture, which is now a museum and has a beautiful collection of artifacts and collectibles from the era of the British rule. Also visit the Jain temple and drive by Howrah Bridge, which is a marvellous example of engineering techniques. The 450m long bridge hangs without any towers in the river. This bridge is also one of the busiest bridges in the world, catering to around 100,000 vehicles and innumerable pedestrians every day.
LLater visit Mother Teresa's Ashram, which strikes an emotional chord with everyone who visits it.
Stay overnight in Kolkata.
Day 03. KOLKOTA - BAGDOGRA BY AIR AND THEN TO DARJEELING BY SURFACE
In the morning, after breakfast, fly to Bagdogra where you will be met by our representative and proceed to the beautiful hill station of Darjeeling.
Standing high amidst the Himalayas at an altitude of 2134m, 'Dorje Ling', or Place of the Thunderbolt offers breathtaking views of snow-capped mountain peaks, with the Kanchendzonga rising higher than all the others. Often referred to as the "Queen of the Hills", it remains just as alluring with its tiny waterfalls, little villages and a narrow gauge railway track. Surrounded by world famous tea gardens and snow capped mountains, Darjeeling remains one of the most exotic destinations. Graeme Westlake in his book 'An introduction to hill stations on India' refers to Darjeeling as having "A view Scarcely rivalled on Earth".
Stay overnight in Darjeeling.
Day 04. IN DARJEELING
Early this morning visit Tiger Hill and Ghoom monastery.
Tiger Hill is 8 miles from Darjeeling and one can witness a beautiful sunrise over the Himalayan range from here. One can see the horizon changing colours just before the sunrise and then the entire Himalayan range turn golden. It is indeed a majestic sight.
Ghoom Monastery is the oldest monastery in the area and was built in 1875 and one can see the beautiful 15ft. high image of Lord Buddha there.
Return to the hotel for breakfast and thereafter proceed for the city tour of Darjeeling, visiting Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, which was started when Tenzing Norgay climbed Mt. Everest. It now imparts training to enthusiasts who are keen to learn mountaineering. Later visit the Himalayan Zoological Park attached to the Mountaineering Institute. Here you can see various animals like the Snow Leopard, Tibetan wolf, Tibetan yak, Himalayan black bear and many species of birds.
Today also visit the Tibetan self-help center or Refugee Center. Tibetan refugees run this institute to preserve their handicrafts and one can see them at work weaving Tibetan carpets, leather work, doing paintings and wood work. Later also visit Tukvar tea estate and see how tea is plucked, washed, dried and then packed. Taste the aromatic Darjeeling tea once you have seen the process of tea manufacturing.
Stay overnight in Darjeeling.
Day 05. DARJEELING - PEMAYANGSTE (69 MILES)
This morning after a relaxed breakfast you will drive on to Pemayangste situated at an altitude of 2000mts. It is located at a distance of 75 miles from Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim.
Check into the hotel once you arrive in Pemayangste. In the afternoon visit the Pemayangste Monastery and Rabdantse ruins.
Pemayangste monastery is located 1.5 miles away from Pelling and is at an altitude of 2085mts. The perfect sublime lotus, perched on a wooden hilltop, commands the most compelling view of the Khangchendzonga. It was built in the late 17th century and is one of the oldest and most important monasteries of the Nyingmapa order of Buddhism in Sikkim. To the present day, it is only the monks of this monastery who enjoy the title of 'Tasang' or pure monks.
Later visit Sikkim's second capital, Rabdantse. The ruins of Rabdantse are worth exploring. The winding track through the forest brings you to a small set of ruins of the early town and eventually to the ruins with a Chorten (Stupa) nearby. A bit further are the Changay falls.
Stay overnight in Pematanstse.
Day 06. PEMAYANGTSE - GANGTOK (79 MILES)
This morning after a relaxed breakfast drive on to Gangtok. Situated at an altitude of 1750m, it became the capital of the state in the mid 19th century and has undergone rapid development since then. It is surrounded by monasteries and orchids and is indeed a traveller's delight.
Stay overnight in Gangtok.
Day 07. IN GANGTOK
This morning after an early breakfast you will proceed for the full day tour of the city, starting with Rumtek Monastery.
Situated 15 miles away from Gangtok, is the beautiful Rumtek Monastery, the world's Dharma Chakra Center and the seat of His Holiness, the Gyalwa Karmapa. He is the head of the Kagyupa order of Tibetan Buddhism. Behind the main monastery is the lavishly decorated Karmae Nalanda Institute of Buddhist Studies, which attracts students from all over the world. Opposite the entrance to the Institute is a small hall featuring a beautiful jewel studded Chorten, the Golden Stupa, which contains the ashes and remains of His Holiness, the XVI Gyalwa Karmapa.
Later visit the Enchey Monastery, which is perched on a ridge above Gangtok. This monastery is nestled in lush woods and has a spectacular view of Gangtok town. It was built in 1910, on the hermitage site of a great tantric saint, Lama Drutob Karpo who was renowned for his powers of levitation.
After the visit to Enchey Monastery, visit the Namgyal Institute of Tibetology set amidst a serene surrounding of oak, birch and ash. It was established in the year 1958. Built in traditional style, the Namgyal Institute of Tibetology promotes research in Mahayana Buddhism and the language and traditions of Tibet. It has one of the world's largest collections of rare books and manuscripts on Mahayana Buddhism. Adjacent to the institute are two exquisite stupas, the Do Drul Chorten, built to commemorate the victory of good over evil and the Jhang Chub Chorten, built in the memory of Thrukhsik Rinpoche, an ardent devotee, a great spiritualist and interpreter of Buddhism. Near the Chorten are housed two giant statues of Lord Buddha and Guru Padmasambhava, also known as Guru Rimpoche, the patron saint of Sikkim.
Lastly visit the Directorate of Handloom and Handicrafts, set up to promote traditional Sikkimese art and handicrafts. Exquisitely carved wooden friezes, intricate bamboo work, along with beautiful hand woven carpets and handlooms are on exhibit here.
Stay overnight in Gangtok.
Day 08. GANGTOK - KALIMPONG (50 MILES)
This morning after breakfast drive on to Kalimpong. Situated at an altitude of 1250m, it is the perfect location for a relaxed getaway. The climate here has made its orchids and gladioli well renowned.
Checks in at the hotel and later in the afternoon proceed for the city tour.
Visit the flower nurseries, which are famous for exporting exotic flowers like Amaryllis lilies, Anthuriums, Roses, Gerberas, Dahlias, Gladioli, Orchids and cacti. Later visit Zang Dog Pelri Fo-Brang Monastery, which is located in Durpin Dara. From here you will have a panoramic view of the town and surrounding areas. The prayer room inside the monastery is adorned with wall paintings and there is also a rare three-dimensional mandala upstairs.
Later visit the Tharpa Choling Monastery at Tirpai hill enroute to Dr. Graham's home. This belongs to the Yellow Hat sect of Lamas to which the present Dalai Lama belongs. Thongsa Gompa will be the last stop for the day. This monastery is of Bhutanese origin and was built around 1692. It is the oldest in Kalimpong and the original structure was destroyed in the inter-clan wars before the British arrived.
Stay overnight in Kalimpong.
Day 09. KALIMPONG - BAGDOGRA - KOLKATA/PHUENTSHOLING
This day after breakfast you could either drive down to Bagdogra airport to connect to the flight for Kolkata or drive straight to Phuentsholing to enter into Bhutan and visit the last Shangri-la of the world.
In case you come back to Kolkata, this evening you will proceed to the airport to connect to the flight for onward destination.
Day 10. LEAVE KOLKATA
This day you take an early morning flight for onward destination.