Splendors of the East India Tours
East India Tour – eastern Zone of India is rich in Cultural Heritage. You can have a taste of Hills, temples, monas tries, buddhist circuit with a rural touch.
Bagdogra – Darjeeling – Tashidong – Yuksum – Pelling – Gangtok – Kalimpong – Bagdogra
Splendors of the East India Tours Itinerary
- Day 01: Bagdogra / NJP - Darjeeling
Assistance on arrival at Bagdogra Airport/New Jalpaiguri Railway station and drive to Darjeeling.
DARJEELING : Standing high in 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 Unrivalled on Earth”.Overnight at hotel.
- Day 02: Darjeeling
Early morning visit Tiger Hill and Ghoom Monastery.
Tiger Hill :- It is 13 kms from Darjeeling and one can see beautiful sunrise and Himalayan Range like Kanchandzonga , Mount Everest etc. One can see the horizon changing colors just before sunrise and then the entire Himalayan range turn golden. It is truly a majestic sight.
Ghoom Monastery:- This is oldest Monastery in the area which was built in 1875 and one can see the image of Mythey Buddha 15ft. height on the way back from Tiger Hill Return to the hotel for breakfast and proceed for city tour.
Himalayan Mountaineering Institute/Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park & Snow Leopard Breeding Centre:- The Himalayan Mountaineering Institute was started in Darjeeling when Tenzing Norgay climbed Everest to give training to learn Mountaineering and other adventure sports related to mountaineering and in that Institute one can see equipment etc.used by Mr. Tenzing Norgay and Everest Museum having complete details on Everest attached to institute one can visit Himalayan Zoological Park where one can see Himalayan animals like Snow Leopard, Tibetan Wolf, Tibetan Yak, Himalayan Black Bear and several varieties of birds.
Tibetan Self- Helf Centre Or Refugee Centre:- This institute is run by Tibetan Refugees to preserve their handicrafts and one can see making of Tibetan Carpets, Leather work, Paintings and Wooden work etc.
Afternoon excursion to Tukvar Tea Estate
Tukvar Tea Estate:- Teas grown on the misty heights of Darjeeling, popularly known as the ‘Champagne of Tea’ are famous world over for their exquisite taste. The premium Darjeeling tea are mild in character and have distinctive natural fruity flavors. The different steps in Tea manufacture can be seen in the factory of Tukvar Tea Estate.Overnight at hotel.
- Day 03: Darjeeling - Tashidang - Yuksum
Breakfast at the hotel and drive to Yuksum en route visiting Tashidang.
TASHIDING:- Sikkim’s most sacred monastery is perched atop a conical hill. A mere glance at the monastery is believed to absolve one of all sins. Common sights around the Gumpa are mantra engravings. Built in 1716, Tashiding was described as the heart of “Bayul Demazong”(Tibetan term for Sikkim) by Guru Rimpoche. The complex is also the location of the “Thogwa Rogdol” Chorten. A mere glance of this sacred Stupa is said to wash away one’s sins. The monastery is also revered for the “Bumchu”festival during which the ‘Bumpa’ or vessel containing holy water is opened and a small quantity distributed to the devout. The origin of the water dates back to the time of Guru Padmasambhava in the 7th century and is said to contain sacred soil, water and precious jewels from all the holy places in India. The level of the water each year is considered the indicator of the times ahead for this land.
YUKSOM (1840M): -The first capital of the kingdom of Sikkim and site of the coronation of the first chogyal. Evidence of the enthronement ceremony can still be seen in the form of stone seats and a footprint of the Head Lama on a stone. The stone throne constructed for the great event stands today at Norbugang and has been declared a Heritage Site.Overnight at hotel.
- Day 04: Yuksum - Pelling
Breakfast at the hotel and walking excursion to Dubdi Monastery.
Dubdi Monastery: This was the 1st Monastery established soon after the consecration ceremony of the 1st Chogyal. The Monastery is located on a hill top above Yuksum surrounded by verdant forest. It can be approached by trekking only, negotiating steep slope of something like 40 – 45 minutes.Later drive to Pemayangste.
PELLING: Located at a distance of 120 kms from Gangtok Pelling is another serene, mountain village which lies in the western districts of Sikkim. This village is situated at an altitude of 2000 mts(approx) and the distance from this village to the mount Kanchandzonga, as a crow flies…is 26 kms approx.
Afternoon visit PEMEYANGSTE MONASTERY: 2.5 Kms. from Pelling and standing at 2085m. The Perfect Sublime Lotus, perched on a wooded hilltop, commands the most sublime view of the Khangchendzong. Built during the late 17th century, it 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. The importance of this monastery grew with time and reached its peak when only monks from this monastery could anoint the reigning sovereign of the land with holy water.
Pemayangtse monastery follows the Mindroling tradition besides holding the lineage of Lhatsun Chenpo. Mindroling monastery was founded by Minling Terchen Gyurme Dorje whose famous daughter Jetsun Migyur Paldon lived near Pemayangtse and taught there during her exile. Her stone throne is still to be seen in this monastery, which has 108 monks. The main attraction of the monastery is the wooden replica of Zangdog Palri; the celestial abode of Guru Padmasambhava built by Serdup Lhundrup Dorje Rinpoche in 1971. The annual chaam (monk dance) is held here on the 28th and 29th day of the 12th month of the Tibetan lunar calendar.
Rabdentse: - Sikkim’s second capital. 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 on the ruins of the palace with Chorten (stupa) nearby. Farther afield are the Changay Falls.Overnight at hotel.
- Day 05: Pelling - Gangtok
Breakfast at the hotel and walking excursion to Rabtense Ruins.
SANGACHEOLING GUMPA: - About 45 minutes walk from Pelling, it is the second oldest Gumpa constructed by Gyalwa Lhatsun Chenpo in 1697 AD. This monastery is on the hill top and therefore commands an excellent view of the mountains.
Later drive to Gangtok.
GANGTOK: At an altitude of 1750m, Gangtok became the state capital in the mid 19th century and has undergone rapid development since then.The downtown area is dominated by huge government buildings decorated with traditional Buddhist symbols. Gangtok is also a resting ground for people traveling to North Sikkim. Surrounded by Monasteries and Orchids, Gangtok is truly a travellers delight.Overnight at hotel.
- Day 06: Gangtok
Breakfast at the hotel and full day city tour of Gangtok including excursion to Rumtek Monastery.
Rumtek Monastery: - 24 Kms. from Gangtok is the awe -inspiring Rumtek Monastery the world Dharma chakra Centre and the seat of His Holiness, the Gyalwa Karmapa, who 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 the world over. 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. According to legend, it is believed that after years of meditation, the first Karmapa was said to have been visited by ten thousand fairies who came to congratulate him each of whom offered a strand of her hair as a gift. These were said to have been woven into a black hat, which was passed down and is still at the Rumtek Monastery today. It is said that unless held on to by the wearer (who of course, cannot be anyone else but the Karmapa) or kept in a box, the hat would fly away.
The Enchey Monastery: - Perched on a ridge above Gangtok, the Enchey Monastery is nestled within lush woods with a spectacular view of Gangtok town. Built in 1910 on the site of the hermitage of the great tantric saint, Lama Drutob Karpo, who was renowned for his powers of levitation, this monastery houses the monks of the Nyingmapa Order of Tibetan Buddhism. Namgyal Institute Of Tibetology: -Amidst a serene surrounding of oak, birch and ash lies the unique organization established in1958. Built in traditional style, the namgyal Institute of Tibetology promotes research in Mahayana Buddhism and the language and tradition of Tibet. It has one of the world’s largest collections of rare books and manuscripts on Mahayana Buddhism. The Institute also has a retail outlets where related books and commercially produced religious art and craft of Tibet can be bought.
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 Thrukshik Rinpoche, an ardent devotee, a great spirtualist 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.
Directorate Of Handloom And Handicrafts: - This Directorate was 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. Visitors can not only purchase these items here but also see the artisans at work. Among others, a favourite item here is the choktse a wooden table with carved panels that can be folded into a portable pack.Overnight at hotel.
- Day 07: Gangtok
Breakfast at the hotel and full day excursion to Tsongu Lake.
Tsomgo Lake: - 35 Kms from Gangtok at an altitude of 12,400 feet is the beautiful Tsomgo Lake, which freezes over in winter. The lake derives its waters from melting snows off the surrounding mountains. Legends say that lamas could forecast the future by studying the color of the lake’s waters. Fishing is totally prohibited and all are requested not to dirty the environs of the lake to maintain its sanctity. Above the 15th Mile Sikkim Police check post lies the unique high altitude Kyongnosla Alpine Sanctuary, home of the Red Panda and the Blood Pheasant, which are the state animal and the state bird respectively.Overnight at hotel.
- Day 08: Gangtok - Kalimpong
Breakfast at the hotel and drive to Kalimpong.
KALIMPONG : At an altitude of 1250m, Kalimpong’s location is ideal for a pleasant , relaxed getaway. Its clement weather has made Kalimpong’s orchids and gladiole well renowned. Up to the early 1700s, the Kalimpong area was part of the Sikkim raja’s domain.In the early 18th century, the Bhutan king also took it over. In 1865, after the Anglo-Bhutan War , it was annexed to Darjeeling. Scottish Missionaries came here in the late 1800s. The town thrived as a wool trading center with Tibet till 1950s. Today it’s a quiet hill resort and a haven for retired people.
Afternoon city tour of Kalimpong. - Flower Nurseries: The climate of Kalimpong is ideal for the cultivation of flowers and plants. Kalimpong is famous for its nurseries which export exotice flowers like Amaryllis lilies, Anthuriums, Roses gerberas, Dahilias, Gladiolias as well as Orchids and Cacti.
Zang Dog Palri Fo-Brang Monastery – This is a fairly new monastery located in Durpin Dara, from here one can get an exclusive panoramic view of the town and surroundings. The prayer room inside the monastery is adorned with wall paintings and there is a rare three-dimensional mandala upstairs.
Tharpa Choling Monastery at Tirpai hill on route to Dr.Graham’s Home belongs to the Yellow Hat sect of Lamas to which the present Dalai Lama belongs.
Thongsa Gumpa: this monastery is of Bhutanese origin and built around 1692. It is the oldest in Kalimpong.The original structure was destroyed in the inter-clan wars before the British arrivedOvernight at hotel.
- Day 09: Kalimpong - Bagdogra / NJP
Breakfast at the hotel and drive to Bagdogra / NJP in time from flight/train to onward destination.