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Urban Himalaya - 4 Days
Road to Bliss - 8 Days
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Kanchenjunga Adventure
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<Darjeeling Sunrise>
Darjeeling Sunrise (Photo: Karl S Hagen)
 

Urban Himalaya - 4 Days

Day 01: Darjeeling - 2,064 m. /6,812 ft
Transfer: Arrive from Bagdogra - 91 km / 4 hours
From Nepal, Bhadrapur Airport - 132 km / 6 hours

Meet at the airport and drive to Darjeeling. Darjeeling is one of India’s most beautiful hill stations and affectinately called ‘Queen of Hills’ by its admirers ever since the days of the British Raj. This enchanting town perches majestically on a beautiful ridge overlooking the magnificent Kanchenjunga range.

Day 02: Gangtok - 1,666 m. /5,500 ft
Transfer: Darjeeling to Gangtok - 95 km. / 3 to 3.5 hours
Early morning drive to Tiger Hill, 14 kilometers from town (alt. 2,590m/8,482ft) for a magnificient view of the sunrise over the Eastern Himalayas. Peaks visible from here are Khangchendzonga, Makalu, Jannu, Kabru, Pandim, Siniolchu, Frey’s Peak, and even a speck of Mount Everest. On our way back, visit Yiga Choling Gompa, a Tibetan Monastery of the Gelugpa set in Ghoom.

After breakfast, visit the Tibetan Refugee Self Help Center, which was established in 1959 for the refugees who fled Tibet. Its workers produce excellent carpets, woodcarvings, and other traditional craft. Watch the Tibetan women singing and weaving carpets. Next, we visit the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute to unfold the heroic tales of some of the great mountaineers of the past. On display, are equipment used in various expeditions. Nearby is the Himalayan Zoological Park with its rich collection of Himalayan fauna and avifauna, and the only place in India that has a successful snow leopard breeding program.

After lunch drive to Gangtok the capital of Sikkim. Situated on the flanks of a ridge at 1,540 m. above sea level, this town's unique ambiance comes with its mixture of tradition and modernity. Alongside the deeply felt presence of monasteries and stupas, Gangtok bustles with the hullabaloo of human activity like any other town. Evening free to visit Gangtok town.

Day 03: Kalimpong - 1,250 m. /4,125 ft
Transfer: Gangtok to Kalimpong - 75 km. / 2.5 hours
After breakfast visit the Enchey monastery, where it is said that the Saint ‘Drupthop Karpo’ flew from Maenam Hill and built a shrine on the spot where the monastery stands today. The present monastery was constructed during the reign of Choygyal Thutob Namgyal in 1909-10. This monastery belongs to Nyingmapa sect.

The next stop is at the Namgyal Institute of Tibetology, renowned worldwide for Buddhist studies in philosophy and religion. It is a treasure house of rare Lepcha, Tibetan and Sanskrit manuscripts, numerous priceless statues and thangkas. On a hillock nearby stands the Dodrul Chorten surrounded by 108 prayer wheels and built in 1945 by the Trulsi Rimpoche. Also located in the same area is the Orchid Sanctuary, where around 200 different species of orchids are grown.

After lunch drive to Rumtek monastery, the seat of the Gyalwa Karmapa, head of the Kagyu Karmapa Sect. The monastery is the largest in Sikkim sprawling over a huge area, and is also known as the Dharma Chakra Center. It was constructed in 1969 by the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa and is a replica of his gompa of Chhofok in Tsurpu, Tibet.

Following the visit to Rumtek, we continue our journey to Kalimpong, which till 1865 was a Bhutanese colony. Kalimpong was a prominent center for trade with Tibet till the 1950’s. The town is situated on a saddle between the Deolo & Rinkingpong (Durpin) hills. Blessed with a year-round temperate climate, it is an ideal place for floriculture, and that is why there are so many flower nurseries here.

Day 04: Departure Transfer
Transfer: Kalimpong to Bagdogra - 85 km. / 3 hours
Early morning visit Zongdogpaldri Monastery, from where you can get a magnificent view of the Khangchendzonga range, Kalimpong town and the Teesta Valley. If the caretaker monk is around you will be able to visit the upper level of the monastery to see the ‘Sangdophelri’, an intricately carved wooden structure of artistic splendor depicting the heavenly sphere.

After breakfast transfer to airport or proceed next destination
a. Bagdogra for your flight to Delhi/Calcutta, or
b. Bhadrapur, Biratnagar for flight to Kathmandu, or
c. Drive to Phuntsholing for your Bhutan trip.

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