An 12 day tour to some of India’s fairly less visited but most attractive spots. The Exotic East India tour starts from Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), among the majorly populated cities in the world and noted for its colonial allure, intellectuals and of course the home of Mother Teresa. The tour then goes to the Eastern Himalayas, travelling to Darjeeling, famous for itsbeautiful tea gardens and the grand Himalayan view. After visiting Darjeeling, continue your Exotic East Tour to Gangtok, capital city of Sikkim, from where you can get thespectacular views of the World’s Highest Mountain peaks, and finally the Exotic East tour ends in a beautiful resort in the Eastern Himalayas, Kalimpong.
Today upon arrival in Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) and after clearing Custom and Immigration formalities, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. KOLKATA, the former imperial capital of India and the British’s East India Co. headquarters. Kolkata, with its array of Gothic, Baroque, Roman and Islamic architecture, indeed speaks of a bygone era of colonial glory. It is a rapturous, chaotic and cacophonic city of 16 million people, a “City of Joy” which will instantly capture our hearts and captivate our minds. Mother Theresa made it her home, bringing solace to thousands. Overnight is at your hotel.
After breakfast, with our representative, you will drive to the Maidan. Take a stroll along the Maidan, a green expanse nicknamed “the lungs of Kolkata.” The park is a welcome respite for families, young lovers, exercise enthusiasts, street musicians and sweets vendors looking for a break from the bustling city streets. On the southern fringe of the Maidan is the Victoria Memorial, a massive, white marble monument conceived by Lord Curzon in 1901. Inaugurated by the former Prince of Wales in 1921, and dedicated to Queen Victoria, it remains the single greatest symbol of the British Raj and has a fantastic collection of Raj memorabilia. You will now drive to visit the Indian Museum. Built in 1875, the museum is the biggest in India and the oldest in Asia. There are over 60 galleries dedicated to archaeology, art, anthropology, zoology, and industry. Your afternoon focus is to wander the narrow maze of streets with our representative. The Kumartuli district or “potters’ colony.” Colonized by migrant potters in the early 17th century, it is now the nerve center of the finest clay. Our accompanying representative will give you an insight of the lives of these artisans. Drive back to your hotel for overnight.
After a leisurely breakfast at the hotel, you are transferred to the airport for a short flight to Bagdogra. Once landed at Bagdogra airport, you are met and proceed to Darjeeling. The drive is of course 4 hrs, but every minute you will be enthralled by the changing landscape. Perched at an altitude of 2,134 m with a backdrop of mighty Himalayan peaks, Darjeeling derives its name from Dorje-ling, meaning the place of Dorje. In the early 1840s, it was noticed that the climate of Darjeeling was very conducive to the growth of tea. Tea plantations were established and have expanded all over the area today because of growing demand. Upon arrival, you will check in at your hotel for overnight.
Early today morning, our representative will take you on a short drive to Tiger Hills. View of the spectacular sunrise over Mt. Kanchenjunga, the third highest peak in the World. Pray for a clear sky, so you can catch a glimpse of the World’s highest peak- MT. EVEREST. You return to the hotel for breakfast. Later, with our representative, you visit Ghoom monastery built in 1850 by Lama Sherab Gyatso, a monk from Mongolia. The main feature of this Gelugpa monastery is the magnificent statue of Maitreya, “the future Buddha” draped in white silk scarves offering called Khadas. This is followed by a visit to the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute and the Tibetan Refugee Self Help Center where you can see Tibetan craftsmen making traditional items like carpet, woolen boots, wood carvings and leather goods. You return to Darjeeling by using the Toy Train, which again is a piece of a marvel of World Heritage. Overnight is at the hotel.
After breakfast day is at leisure for independent activities. Overnight is at the hotel.
After breakfast, our representative will take you to an exhilarating drive to Lava Lolaygaon. Lava is 32 km from Kalimpong and situated at an altitude of 7200 feet commands panoramic views of Jelep La and Recchi La passes. Lolaygaon / Kaffer 56 km from Kalimpong situated at an altitude of 5500 feet. Panoramic views of Kanchenjunga can be seen from this point. Return to your hotel for overnight stay.
After breakfast, you drive to Gangtok-the capital of Sikkim, located 77 km from Kalimpong and will take approx 3 hrs. A perfect symbol of the confluence of the past and present is Gangtok. Built on the flank of the ridge, Gangtok is 1,600 m above sea level. The town’s unique ambiance derives from the happy blend of tradition and modernity. Along the deeply felt presence of stupas and monasteries, Gangtok also bustles like any other town. This afternoon our representative will drive you to Do-Drul Chorten Do-Drul Chorten is one of the most important stupas built by Tulsi Rinpoche, head of the Nyingmapa order. It contains rare Mandalas of Dorje Phurpa, Holy Books, and Mantras. Also, visit the Enchey Monastery; is a 200-year-old monastery was built on the site blessed by the great tantric master Lama Druptab Karpa, known for his flying powers. Return to your hotel for overnight.
After breakfast, our representative will drive you on an excursion to Rumtek Monastery. Situated about 24 km from Gangtok. Rumtek Gompa, the largest and most powerful monastery in Sikkim. Traditional in design, Rumtek is a close replica of the original in Tibet. There is an impressive collection of murals, thangkas (painted or embroidered scrolls), and religious artifacts here. Later in the afternoon visit Tashi View Point which offers an enchanting view of Mount. Kanchenjunga and Mt. Siniolchu, one of the most graceful peaks in the world. Return to your hotel for overnight.
Today, after breakfast, our representative will organize picnic hampers from the hotel and drive you some 35 km from Gangtok, to Lake Changu. Cradled by pristine alpine forests, the Changu Lake is bordered with primula, poppies and other wildflowers and grasses, and a little temple of Shiva (Destroyer of the Universe according to Hindu mythology) dots one side of the placid water body. You could try fishing here, as the lake has some rainbow trout. Return to your hotel overnight.
Little gifts from Travel East: