- Early morning visit to Tiger Hill for spectacular views of Kanchenjunga
- Visit to the fascinating Ghoom Monastary
- Experiential visit to a Tea Garden
- Extensive sightseeing of Zoological Park, Tibetan Refugee Centre Tenzing Rock, Gombu Rock
- Visits to Rumtek Monastery, Do Drul Chorten, Namgyal Institute of Tibetology, Cottage Industry and Flower Show Complex
- Full day visit to Changu Lake
- Visits to Zang Dog Palri Fo Brang Monastery, Tharpa Choling Monastery, Thongsa Gumpa and flower nurseries in Kalimpong
- Bon fire one night
- GPS access to whereabouts of the group
- Full time tour escort of the duration of the tour
- Experienced English speaking guides for sightseeing
Day 01: Travel to Darjeeling
Depart from school in time for your flight to Bagdogra. On arrival there, you will be transported to Darjeeling by road in approximately 3-4 hours. Enjoy a spectacularly beautiful drive through the mountains overlooking the river Teesta.
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.
Darjeeling is synonymous with large, green and picturesque tea-estates. Tea production in Darjeeling is a legacy of the British, who developed the place as a hill station to escape the summer heat. Located in the ‘lesser’ Himalayan area, it plays host to the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, which is recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
It all started in the early 19th century, when a patrol of the British East India Company, who were exploring an easy access to Sikkim during the Anglo-Nepal Wars, came across a sleepy hamlet atop a thickly wooded ridge with a brilliant view of Mount Kangchendzonga. Its strategic value aside, the collective British soul pining for cold and rain instantly recognised a ‘hill station’ when it saw one! In its formative years, like most Raj getaways, Darjeeling was simply a scattered village of English cottages, mainly confined to the Birch Hill and Jalapahar areas. An interesting aspect of Darjeeling’s early history was its location at the intersection of different powers. Traditionally a part of Sikkim, it had been lost to Bhutan, reclaimed, and lost once again to Nepal in the 18th century. After the Anglo-Nepalese War ended in 1817, Nepal returned what it had grabbed from Sikkim to the East India Company. From the lost era of cosmopolitan intrigue, shrouded in high mists and whispered in small cottages, Darjeeling has grown hugely in its domains.
On arrival check in to your hotel and relax.
After tea at the hotel take a walk on The Mall.
Dinner and overnight at your hotel.
Day 02: Darjeeling Sightseeing
Depart on an exciting excursion to Tiger Hill to see a beautiful sunrise and spectacular 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.
Kanchenjunga Mountain is the third highest peak in the world, with an elevation of 8,586 metres (28,169 ft). In the Kirat religion of Sikkim, the mountain is regarded very sacred and in the local Limbu language, it is also called Sewa Lungma.
The name Kanchenjunga means “The Five Treasures of Snow” in the local language, which aptly matches it because of its collection of five peaks, out of which four of are over 8,450 meters high. It can be viewed from many points of Darjeeling and Gangtok, however the best view is form Tiger Hills.
Stop by at Ghoom Monasery which is the oldest Monastery in the area. Built in 1875, located below Ghoom railway station, the external structure of the Yiga Choeling Monastery or the Ghoom Monastery was built by the monk and a famous astrologer Lama Sherab Gyatso in 1850. He was the first head of the monastery and continued his tenure until 1905. He later went back to his birthplace Tibet.
The Monastery belongs to the Yellow Hat sect also known as the Gelupka. One of the key attractions inside the monastery is the 15-foot model of the Lord Buddha which is known as The Maitreya Buddha or the Gyalwa Shampa which means the Buddha of the future or the Coming Buddha. This is one of the biggest and oldest statues of Buddha in Darjeeling area. This statue was created with clay that was all brought from Tibet. In front of the Buddha’s statue there are two huge oil lamps that keep burning all the time and all through the year.
Inside the Yiga Choeling Monastery there are images of many Buddha deities and lamas such as the Chenrezig (Avalokitesvara), Buddha of compassion, and Tsongkhapa who was the founder of the Gelupka sect to which the Monastery belongs. There is a large collection of Buddha’s manuscripts inside that includes a 108-volume Kangyur – The Tibetan Buddhist Gospel. There are also bells and a huge drum inside.
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel and freshen up after your early morning excursion. Later, visit The Himalayan Mountaineering Institute which was started by Tenzing Norgay after he climbed Mt. Everest, the Zoological Park, Tibetan Refugee Centre Tenzing Rock, Gombu Rock and Happy Valley Tea Estate.
Lunch, tea and dinner will be provided during the day.
Overnight at hotel in Darjeeling.
Day 03: Darjeeling – Gangtok (By surface 98 kms / 4 hours approx.)
In the morning after breakfast at hotel, proceed to Gangtok by surface. On arrival, check in to your hotel.
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. Surrounded by Monasteries and Orchids, Gangtok is truly a traveller’s delight.
After lunch proceed for a sightseeing tour visiting Rumtek Monastery, Do Drul Chorten, Namgyal Institute of Tibetology, Cottage Industry and Flower Show Complex.
Lunch and dinner will be provided at hotel.
Overnight at hotel in Gangtok.
Day 04: Gangtok
In the morning after breakfast at hotel, proceed for full day excursion to Changu Lake which is 35Kms from Gangtok at an altitude of 12,400 feet.
It is literally known as “source of the lake ” in Bhutia language. Just about 40 kms away from Gangtok, this serene lake is situated at an altitude of 12,000 ft on the Gangtok Nathu La highway. It falls in the restricted area and hence an inner line permit is required by Indians to visit this place. The lake is about 1 km. Long, oval in shape, 15 meters deep and is considered sacred by the local people. It is also a home of brahminy ducks. It’s cool, placid water harmonizes with the scenic beauty around. A small temple of lord Siva is constructed on the lakeside . This placid lake remains frozen during the winter months up to mid-May.
Between May and August it is possible to see a variety of flowers in blooms, including the rhododendrons, various species of primulas, blue and yellow poppies, irises etc. It is also an ideal habitat for the red panda and various species of birds.
The lake derives its waters from melting snows off the surrounding mountains Legends say that lamas could forecast the future by studying the colour of the lake’s waters. Later, visit Baba Mandir. Lunch and dinner will be provided at hotel.
Overnight at hotel in Gangtok.
Day 05: Gangtok – Kalimpong (By surface 83 kms / 3 hours approx.)
In the morning after breakfast at the hotel drive to Kalimpong by surface. On arrival, check in to your hotel.
Rich in Tibetan and Buddhist culture, Kalimpong is a popular retreat destination which proudly plays host to the Zang Dhok Palri Phodang Buddhist monastery. Overlooking the Teesta river and valley, this small hill-town in the ‘Lesser Himalayas’ is a treat for nature-lovers, especially with its lush horticulture and flower-markets. Here are not-to-miss attractions when you are planning a day trip to this beautiful hill town.
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.
In the afternoon after lunch at the hotel, proceed for city tour visiting Zang Dog Palri Fo Brang Monastery, Tharpa Choling Monastery, Thongsa Gumpa and Flower Nurseries.
The Pine View Nursery is another major attraction of Kalimpong and make sure you don’t miss it. Visit this place to know more different varieties of Cactus, which are unique in their own way. It boasts of having the largest collection of cactii species in Asia and no wonder, the nursery promises you an interesting chance to be surrounded by surreal beauty, of nature and magnitude that you couldn’t have imagined.
Dinner and bon fire at your hotel today..
Overnight at hotel in Kalimpong.
Day 06: Kalimpong – Bagdogra
In the morning after breakfast at the hotel drive to Bagdogra for your fligh back home.
- Departure transfer from school to the airport at the time of departure.
- Accommodation at hotel mentioned above on double/triple/quad sharing basis.
- Appropriate vehicles for transfers, sightseeing as per the itinerary.
- Meals including breakfast, lunch, tea and dinner as mentioned in the itinerary.
- Sightseeing with all entrance tickets as per the itinerary.
- Economy class return air tickets to Bagdogra.
- English speaking local guides, for sightseeing and excursions as per program.
- Services of a tour escort for the duration of the tour.
- Daily blog.
- GPS access to know the whereabouts of the group.
- Travel insuarance.
- All applicable taxes.
- Any expenses of personal nature, such as telephone bills, laundry bills, tips at hotels and restaurants.
- Camera fee at places of tourist interest.
- Any other expenses of similar nature.
- Anything not mentioned in inclusions.