Arrive by International flight, after traditional 'Swagat' (Welcome) our representative would assist you at airport and transfer to hotel for check in. Delhiisa bustling metropolis, which successfully combines in its folds the ancient with modern. Its strategic location was the prime reasons why successive dynasties chose it as their seat of power. In fact, more mythological cities are believed to be here, like the city of Indraprastha from the Hindu epic Mahabharata, founded around 5000 BC. Numerous monuments were built over several centuries by different rulers like Qutub-ud-din Aibek, Alauddin Khilji, Tughlaks, Humayun and Shah Jahan, who built the Walled City Shah Jahanabad.
Later in first half of 20th century much of New Delhi was planned by Sir Edwin Lutyens, who laid out a grandiose central administrative area as a testament to British rule in India. The division in walled city and New Delhi also marks the division in life styles.
Today we will take Flight to Bagdogara and drive to Darjeeling, Queen of India's hill stations. Its setting is one of incomparable beauty. A Victorian town of old world charm 'discovered' by the British. It is surrounded by fragrant tea gardens which seem to flow over the layered slopes like emerald swells on a rough sea.
Today morning we visit Tiger Hill, famous for its magnificent view of Kanchenjunga, Mt. Everest and other eastern Himalayan peaks especially at the time of sunrise. On our way back we first visit Ghoom, as the name suggests it is gloomy and clammy with perpetual fog. A Tibetan village, one can hear the foghorn-like sounds of Buddhist monks blowing their giant Gyeling pipes from the rooftops of the nearby Yiga-Choling ' Yellow Hat' Buddhist Temple. Later we visit the two Buddhist monasteries Chholing and Darli. After some rest we take a ride of toy train of Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR), now a Unesco World Heritage Site. Also visit the Mountaineering Institute, created by the late Tenzing Norgay, the Sherpa who conquered Mt Everest with Sir Edmund Hillary. A display of equipment used on the climb is one of the highlights. Next we visit the Tibet Handicraft Centre and the beautiful Tea gardens. In the evening visit the Observatory Hill known locally as Makal-Babu-Ko-Thaan. According to legend, a Red Hat Buddhist Monastery called Dorje Ling, or 'place of the Thunderbolt', stood at this very spot. The Nepalese destroyed it in the 19th century, now the Shivas and Buddhists share the temple that stands there today.
Today we drive to Gangtok, a fairytale capital in the clouds, balances precariously on Steep Mountain slopes, Surrounded by lush rice terraces, swifts flowing rivers and distant snow views. It is situated in the lower Himalayas and was a small hamlet until the construction of the Enchey Monastery in 1840 made it a pilgrimage center. It became a major stopover between Tibet and British India at the end of the 19th century. It is also a centre of Tibetan Buddhist culture and learning with numerous monasteries and religious educational. Later we take a tour of Gangtok, visiting Research Institute of Tibetology, organization dedicated to furthering Tibetan studies, Buddhist philosophy and region. It attracts scholars from all over the world. It houses a rare collection of 30,000 books, Tantric documents, rare manuscripts written in gold on the bark of a poisonous tree, antique thanks and 200 icons, all prized objects of art for the Buddhism.
Today we take an excursion tour to Tsongo Lake, considered extremely sacred by the local people. The place is a paradise for bird lovers with large number of Blue Whistling Thrush, Redstarts and Fork tails around. It hosts a number of migratory birds prominent among which is the Brahminy ducks. The word Tsongo in Bhutia language means source of the lake. Next we visit Do Drul Chorten, are two exquisite Stupas, the Dul-dul-Chorten, was built to commemorate the victory of good over evil. The Jhang Club Chorten was built to perpetuate the memory of a great spiritualist of today. Thrul-Shik Rinpoche an ardent devotee of Buddha and one of his best interpreters died in 1962, the stupa immortalizes Rinpoche in the land of his birth. Next we visit Rumtek Monastery, meandering roads through emerald green rice terraces, lays Rumtek, the main monastery of Kagyud or 'Black Hat' sect of Tibetan Buddhism. Built in 1959 by His Holiness the 16th Reincarnated Gyalwa Karmapa, it is a replica of Tsurphu Monastery from the Kham region of Tibet.
Later we visit Himalayan Zoological Park also known as Bulbuley. It has paved cement path that passes by fenced open air enclosure housing the Red Pandas, barking deer and bears in a semi natural habitat. Next Government Institute of Cottage Industries (GICI), which produces crafts in authentic Sikkimese designs. Hand woven Tibetan carpets sprout dragons in natural dyes, Sikkimese-style tables called Choktse are expertly carved and colored in red and gold. Also explore Lal bazaar, melody of colour. Various ethnic groups from different villages gather to haggle, bargain, gossip their wares.
Today we drive to Kalimpong, an incredible stunning backdrop of towering snow capped peaks. This exotic town of beautiful people, mystical and enchanting, with a rare ethnic blend of hill people. It also houses several Buddhist monasteries which hold a number of rare Tibetan Buddhist scriptures. It was ruled by Bhutan for 155 years and was annexed by the British only in 1865, after which it flourished as a centre of wool trade with Tibet. Here Buddhism rubs shoulders with Hinduism and Christianity. Gumpas, unusual churches, temples and missionaries coexist in a jovial society.
Today we visit Thongsa Gompa also known as the Bhutanese Monastery. It is the oldest monastery in Kalimpong and was founded in the year 1692. Though the old structure was destroyed by the Gorkhas, it was rebuilt on the same site. Next visit the Zong Dog Palri Fo-Brang Gompa, which is on the Durpin hill and is famous for the Tibetan wall paintings. It also has a religious debating society along with a school of Tibetan medicine. Later we visit Tharpa Choeling Monastery founded in 1937 and belongs to the Gelugpa (yellow hat) sect of Tibetan monastery. This Monastery houses many old scriptures and literary works. Next Dr Graham's Home, mission school was founded by Scottish missionary Dr. John Anderson Graham in 1900. The purpose of the school was to educate children of the tea garden workers and poor laborers. We also visit few nurseries around town.