Road to Bliss - 8 Days
Day 01: Darjeeling
Transfer: Arrive from Bagdogra - 91 km / 4 hours
From Nepal, Bhadrapur Airport - 132 km / 6 hours
Meet at the airport and transfer to Darjeeling. The drive enroute for
the first hours passes through towns and roadside villages in the plains
of Bengal. Then the road gradually ascends first through jungles, and
then across huge sprawling tea estates. Several small towns and lots
of roadside settlements flit by as we progress onwards. Along the way
you can see the famous Darjeeling toy train making it way up the hill.
Darjeeling is one of India’s most beautiful hill stations and
has acquired the soubriquet, ‘Queen of Hills’, since the
days of the British Raj and does indeed live up to its name. This enchanting
town perches majestically on a beautiful spur surrounded by evergreen
hills, and commands a magnificent view of the mountains on its horizon.
Day 02: Darjeeling
Transfer: Local sightseeing as per itinerary
After breakfast visit the lower bazaar of Darjeeling and proceed onwards
to the Lloyd Botanical Garden, so called because Mr. Lloyd, proprietor
of Lloyd’s Bank in Darjeeling, bequeathed this property to the
town. It has a collection of some of the original Himalayan trees, plants,
orchids and other flowers.
Heading towards the upper bazaar, our next stop is at the Natural
History museum, which showcases a comprehensive collection of the region’s
fauna, and from here we move on to the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute
to unfold the heroic tales of great Himalayan Mountaineering expeditions.
Adjacent to HMI is Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park, a high altitude
zoo where one can see the Siberian Tiger, Himalayan Black Bear, Deer,
Red Panda, Snow Leopard and many more birds and animals.
We then visit the Tibetan Refugee Self Help Center, which was established
in 1959 to rehabilitate the refugees from Tibet. Its workers produce
excellent carpets, woodcarvings, and other traditional craft. Watch
the Tibetan women singing and weaving carpets. From here we walk down
to the Bhutia Busty Tibetan Monastery, which has a good collection of
idols, thangkas and a collection of Buddhist scriptures.
Evening; walk around Chowrastha to intermingle with the local crowd.
Day 03: Gangtok
Transfer: Darjeeling to Gangtok: 95 km. / 3 to 3.5 hours
Early morning drive to Tiger Hill for a sunrise view. Situated at an
altitude of 2, 590 m. (8,482 ft) and 14 kilomers from the town, this
spot is famous for the magnificient view of the sunrise over the Eastern
Himalayas and include Khangchendzonga, Makalu, Jannu, Kabru, Pandim,
Siniolchu, Frey’s Peak, and Mount Everest.
On the way back, visit Yiga Choling Gompa, a Tibetan Monastery of the
Gelugpa set in Ghoom, which was built in 1875 by Lama Sherab Gyatsho.
The monastery enshrines a fifteen feet high image of the Maitreya Budhha.
Stop at the Batasia Loop the watch the toy train in action.
After breakfast 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.
Just before arriving to Gangtok, take a detour to visit 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
Evening free to stroll around the town.
Day 04: Gangtok
Transfer: Local sightseeing as per itinerary
Full day sightseeing tour of Gangtok includes:
After breakfast, visit the Enchey Monastery. Enchey means ‘High
strong place’. It is said that the great tantric master ‘Lama
Druptab Karpo’ flew from Maenam Hill to this site and built a
shrine where the monastery stands today. The present monastery was built
during the reign of Choygyal Thuptop Namgyal in 1909. Its main festival,
the Detor Chaam (a religious masked dance) is performed on the 28th
& 29th day of the eleventh Tibetan month.
Proceed downhill to the Directorate of Handicrafts & Handloom
where you can watch traditional handicrafts in the making. This institution
was esablished for promoting & training the rural Sikkimese in traditional
arts and craft. This is the place to shop for quality souvenirs. Some
of the popular items produced here are carved chokchis (Sikkimese tables
with intricately carved designs), carpets, handwoven cloth and blankets,
masks, lampshades and paper products.
On driving further downhill, we arrive at Deorali Bazaar where nearby
on a tranquil hillock is the Dodrul Chorten, Gangtok’s most revered
Buddhist shrine. This chorten was built in 1945 by Trulsi Rimpoche to
commemorate the victory of good over evil. Alongside the chorten is
the Namgyal Institute of Tibetology, renowned worldwide for higher Buddhist
studies. It is a treasure house of rare Lepcha, Tibetan and Sanskrit
manuscripts, priceless statues and old thangkas. Also within the same
complex, we then visit the Orchid Sanctuary where over 200 species of
orchids are grown.
Day 05: Pelling
Transfer: Gangtok to Pelling: 112 km. / 5 hours
After breakfast drive to Pelling via Rabongla. Its location is magnificent,
commanding panoramic views of the Khangchendzonga range. Till a few
years back Pelling was an insignificant roadside a kilometer beyond
Pemayangtse but with the popularity of tourism in West Sikkim and the
demand for more hotel rooms, this lonely ridge-top settlement had rapidly
evolved into a boomtown.
Enroute, pause to visit Kundragling monastery at Kewzing, the only
Bon monastery in Sikkim. Bon is the pre-Buddhist religion of Tibet.
Day 06: Yuksam
Transfer: Pemayangtse to Yuksam: 56 km. / 4 hours
After an early breakfast, a short hike to Sangachholing Monastery (45
min) located on a hillock above Pelling. Built in the 17th century by
Gyalwa Lhatsun Chenpo, the patron saint of Sikkim, it is the second
oldest monastery in Sikkim. This spot commands a breathtaking view of
the hills, valleys and villages of West Sikkim. Next, visit the Pemayangtse
Monastery - "the Sublime Lotus", which houses the famed "Zangdopalri",
a fascinating model of the celestial abode of Guru Padmasambhava, crafted
single-handedly by the late Dungzim Rimpoche.
On return from the monastery, drive to Khecheodpalri Lake also known
as the wishing lake (24 km./75 minutes). This unusually calm lake, located
in the midst of a dense forest is considered very sacred and no other
activities besides prayers and worship are allowed around it.
After a picnic lunch near the lake drive to Yuksam, a quaint little
village. Yuksam is the historical site where the first king of Sikkim
was crowned in 1641, and also the take off point for trekking to Dzongri
Day 07: Kalimpong
Transfer: Yuksam to Kalimpong: 107 km / 4 hours
If it is a Saturday or a Wednesday, we go to the Weekly Market Square
for a view of the haat. Here, people from neighbouring villages come
to sell their farm products. We then drive to Thongsa Monastery, the
oldest monastery in Kalimpong founded by the Bhutanese in 1692.
Alternatively, if it not a haat day we take a drive to a neighbouring
Afternoon visit one of the flower nurseries, and then drive to Zangdogphelri
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.
Day 08 : Kalimpong Departure
Transfer: Kalimpong to Bagdogra: 85 km. / 3
After breakfast, drive to the airport for onward connection:
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.