|Darjeeling Sunrise (Photo: Karl S Hagen)|
Urban Himalaya - 4 Days
Day 01: Darjeeling - 2,064 m. /6,812 ft
Day 02: Gangtok - 1,666 m. /5,500 ft
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
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
After breakfast transfer to airport or proceed next destination