Option A SIKKIM & BHUTAN Exploration DATE: 24th – 31st March (7N/8D) PROGRAMS: Day 1 [24th March 2009]: Arrival Bhadrapur and Transfer to Darjeeling via Mirik Day 2 [25th March 2009]: Darjeeling Sightseeing Day 3 [26th March 2009]: Darjeeling ~ Phuentsholing Day 4 [27th March 2009]: Phuentsholing ~ Thimphu Day 5 [28th March 2009]: Thimphu sightseeing Day 6 [29th March 2009]: Thimphu - Paro Day 7 [30th March 2009]: Paro – Phuentsholing - Siliguri Day 8 [31st March 2009]: Siliguri –Bhadrapur ITINERARY: DAY 1 [24TH MARCH 2009]: ARRIVAL BHADRAPUR AND TRANSFER TO DARJEELING VIA MIRIK Arrive Bhadrapur and…
SIKKIM & BHUTAN Exploration
24th – 31st March (7N/8D)
Day 1 [24th March 2009]: Arrival Bhadrapur and Transfer to Darjeeling via Mirik
Day 2 [25th March 2009]: Darjeeling Sightseeing
Day 3 [26th March 2009]: Darjeeling ~ Phuentsholing
Day 4 [27th March 2009]: Phuentsholing ~ Thimphu
Day 5 [28th March 2009]: Thimphu sightseeing
Day 6 [29th March 2009]: Thimphu – Paro
Day 7 [30th March 2009]: Paro – Phuentsholing – Siliguri
Day 8 [31st March 2009]: Siliguri –Bhadrapur
DAY 1 [24TH MARCH 2009]: ARRIVAL BHADRAPUR AND TRANSFER TO DARJEELING VIA MIRIK
Arrive Bhadrapur and drive to Kakaribhitta (Nepal Border). After completing immigration formalities at the Nepal and India border drive to Darjeeling via Mirik. As you enter into the state of West Bengal, you drive through hamlets, Tea Gardens and Paddy Fields. The mountain slopes are covered with carpets of lush green tea plantations; it’s a picturesque sight to remember. We stop for lunch and take a short break to explore the surroundings of Mirik. After lunch continue drive to Darjeeling. The road channels through the border of Nepal and India; we stop at a vantage point where you see the old trade route and trekking trail to Nepal & Tibet. Upon arrival in Darjeeling we check into Hotel. In the evening stroll around Chowrasta, a busy tourist market where exclusive crafts are sold.
Overnight: Dekiling Guest House or Tibet Home
Distance Travelled: 172 km approx
Time Taken: 7 hrs
Meal Plan: [L,D]
Note: The hotel has internet facilities available 24×7.
Mirik lies at an altitude of 1767 meters above the sea level and has a population of approximately 15,000 people. It’s a relatively new tourist destination and came in the tourist map of Darjeeling District only in the 1970s. Mirik has all that it takes to attract tourists; it is surrounded by forests, flowers and is a very peaceful place.
Places of Interest in Mirik:
The beautiful 1.25 km. long lake is the most attractive spot of the Mirik Tourism Project. The depth of the lake water varies from a minimum of 3 ft. to maximum of 26 ft. The walks on the 3.5 km. long promenade around the lake is a fascinating one. The 80 ft. long arch-type over-bridge across the lake is a wonderful engineering skill of the project.
There are eight tea gardens in Mirik area. Thurbo T.E., one of the best tea-estates, is only 2 kms. from the lake. The factory may be visited with the permission of the manager.
About two kilometers from Mirik, situated on the spur, one can see beautiful orange orchards. Mirik is the largest supplier of oranges in West Bengal. One can also have glimpse of the village life of hill areas.
Mirik is a sacred place for many. Apart from the present monastery, retreat center and Stupa, the great Indian Mahasiddha Maitripa was known to have spent time meditating here. Marpa, the most eminent Tibetan translator and holder of the Mahamudra Lineage, received some of his highest transmissions from Maitripa. Situated at one of the highest points in Mirik, the monastery offer its warm presence to the village and the lake below.
Deosi Dara is a vintage point in Mirik that must be visited to catch some vistas of the plains, hills and peaks in and around Mirik. Similarly Rameetay Dara is ideal for watching the spectacular sunset and the sunrise besides the mountains and plains of Mirik. You may even check out Kawlay Dara for some more breathtakingly beautiful views of Mirik
Mirik is pleasant throughout the year. The temperature variations in Mirik range between 13 & 30 degrees in winters and summers respectively.
Mirik is situated 55 km. away from Siliguri and lies at an altitude of 1,768m in the Eastern Himalayas.
DAY 2 [25TH MARCH 2009]: DARJEELING SIGHTSEEING
On a clear day, beautiful views of Mt. Khangchenjunga Range are seen. Its something one should not miss. The white snow clad mountains are clearly visible from anywhere in Darjeeling.
a. Happy Valley Tea Estate
b. Toy Train Ride
c. Tea Tasting at Nathmulls
LUNCH at Penang Restaurant (Famous place for MOMOS)
a. HMI (Himalayan Mountaineering Institute)
b. Zoological Park
c. Tibetan Refugee Self Help Centre
Overnight: Dekiling Guest House or Tibet Home
Distance Travelled: 50 km approx
Time Taken: 5 hrs
Meal Plan: [B,L,D]
Note: The hotel has internet facilities available 24×7.
The origin of the name “Darjeeling” is most likely from the Tibetan words ‘Dorje’ which means ‘thunderbolt’ and ‘Ling’ which means place or land. Quite literally, it is the ‘Land of the Thunderbolt’. Originally, this was the name given to a Buddhist monastery atop the Observatory Hill which over time became the name of the whole surrounding area. What began as an experiment in 1841, the cultivation of tea became a full-fledged industry. By 1865, there were already 40 tea gardens covering 10,000 acres. This boom brought in immigrants, mainly from Nepal, to work in construction and tea gardens. Today there are around 86 tea gardens or estates fueling a multi-million dollar industry.
After the Darjeeling Municipality was set up in 1850, the tea industry boomed and there was an influx of immigrants. This also brought in the Scottish missionaries who undertook the construction of schools and welfare centers like Loreto Convent in 1847, St. Paul’s School in 1864, Planters’ Club in 1868, Lloyd’s Botanical Garden in 1878, St. Joseph’s School in 1888, Railway Station in 1891, Town Hall (present Municipality Building) in 1921.
Another major development was the inauguration of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway in 1881 facilitating the link between Darjeeling and the plains.
Happy Valley TEA Estate:
The Happy Valley Tea Estate is a tea estate in Darjeeling district in the Indian state of West Bengal. The estate was established in 1854. David Wilson, an Englishman, had named the garden Wilson Tea Estate and by 1860 had started cultivation of tea. In 1903 the estate was taken over by an Indian, Tarapada Banerjee, an aristocrat from Hooghly. In 1929, Banerjee bought the Windsor tea estate nearby, and merged the two estates under the name of Happy Valley tea estate.
The bushes in the garden are very old — the minimum age is 80 years, and some are 150 years old. Very few re-plantations having been done in the recent past. This tea estate is the closest estate to Darjeeling town, and tourists often visit the garden.
The tea from here is directly exported to the Harrods in United Kingdom.
Toy Train Ride in Darjeeling:
Darjeeling Toy Train is the name given to the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, which is a narrow gauge route between Siliguri and Darjeeling in West Bengal, India, run by the Indian Railways. The unique feature of the trains is that they are still hauled by steam locomotives, although a diesel engine has been included in recent times for mail delivery. The entire Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR) has been declared as a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO in 1999. The trains are crucial for Darjeeling tourism and are also one of the highlights of tourism in India.
There are 2 departures daily, the train departs from Darjeeling to Ghoom Station and Back with stops at Batasia Loop and Ghoom Museum. The Train is composed of 3 first class coaches and a B class locomotive.
Tea Tasting at Nathmulls:
Tasting tea is one of the most satisfying experiences. At Nathmulls, one gets to taste exquisite variety of Darjeeling tea from almost 42 different Tea Estates.
Himalayan Mountaineering Institute & Padma Naidu Zoological Park:
The Himalayan Mountaineering Institute is on the West Jawahar road. The institute runs courses for training mountaineers as well as has the very good collection of mountaineering equipments which have been used in various mountaineering expeditions and other wise. Specimens of Himalayan flora and fauna are also kept here. The record of attempts made to conquer Mt. Everest has been kept in the Mt. Everest Museum. The institute also screens short films on mountaineering. You can also view the Himalayan peaks through the Zeiss Telescope given to the Nepalese Maharaja by Hitler. Sherpa Tenzing Norgay was the Director of this institute for many years and he was cremated near the institute after his death in 1986.
Tibetan Refugees Self-Help Centre:
“Our way may be hard and long one, but I believe that the truth and faith must ultimately prevail”. — His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The Tibetan Refugee Self-Help Centre was started on October 1, 1959. At that time, following the dramatic escape of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, thousands of Tibetans leaving hearth and home, fled into the neighboring countries to live as free human beings. “It is no exaggeration, in fact, to say that without self-help there can be no rehabilitation, be it economic, social, psychological, cultural or spiritual. Therefore, a ten-member committee was formed in Darjeeling to organize a rehabilitation centre to be known as “Tibetan Refugees Self-Help Center”.
DAY 3 [26TH MARCH 2009]: DARJEELING ~ PHUENTSHOLING
We drive to Tiger Hill early morning depending on the weather conditions. On a clear day, the mountain ranges of Khangchenjunga and Everest are clearly seen. As we drive further, we come across Pine groves, Cardamom plantations and Tea Plantations where stop to take photographs. We take a short tea break at Peshok and drive down to the Teesta River Valley. While driving down to the river valley we come across tea pickers who cascade through the tea plants picking tea. When we reach the river valley we follow the Teesta river to the Coronation Bridge which was constructed by the British more than a Hundred years ago. We take a diversion to the foothills of the Bhutanese Mountains and continue following till we reach the border town of Phuentsholing Bhutan. We stop for lunch on one of the wayside restaurants.
Upon arrival in Phuentsholing, we meet the Bhutanese representative and complete all immigration formalities at the Indian and Bhutanese to enter into Bhutan.
Overnight: Hotel West End or Similar
Distance Travelled: 200 km approx
Time Taken: 7 hrs
Meal Plan: [B,L]
DAY 4 (27TH MARCH 2009): PHUENTSHOLING – THIMPHU (6 HOURS DRIVE) 178 KILOMETERS:
After breakfast, drive to Thimphu. On the way, visit Kharbandi Gompa. Lunch will be served on the way. Drive further to Thimphu. Dinner and over night in Hotel Pedlling.
DAY 5 (28TH MARCH 2009):
Thimphu Sightseeing: After breakfast, visit to the National Memorial Chorten (1974) built in honor of our late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk and the Dupthop Lhakhang one of the few surviving nunneries in Bhutan. We then visit the National Library, stocked with ancient Buddhist manuscripts, and the Painting School where traditional art is still kept alive through instructions in the art of painting Thangkas (sacred Buddhist religious scrolls). After lunch, visit to the Takin Preserve center and the Sangay gang view point. Other highlights include a visit to the Tashichho Dzong, seat of the national government and the Central Monastic Body, including the summer residence of the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot of Bhutan). We finally visit the Handicrafts Emporium followed by shopping for souvenirs in the shops of Thimphu. Over night in Hotel Pedling.
DAY 6 (29TH MARCH 2009) THIMPHU – PARO: EXCURSION TO TAKTSANG MONASTERY:
After early breakfast, drive to Paro. A short drive takes us to Satsam Chorten, the trail climbs through beautiful pine forest, many of the trees festooned with Spanish moss, and an occasional grove of fluttering prayer flags. We stop for a rest and light refreshments at the Taktsang Jakhang (cafeteria) and then walk a short distance until we see, clearly and seemingly within reach, Taktsang monastery. The primary Lhakhang was built around Guru Rimpoche’s meditation cave in 1684 by the Penlop of Paro, Gyaltse Tenzin Rabgay; this incredible monastery clings to the edge of a sheer rock cliff that plunges 900 meters into the valley below. Legend has it that Guru Padmasambhava, the tantric mystic who brought Buddhism to Bhutan in 747 AD, flew here on the back of a flying tiger, Dorji Drolo, said to be his favorite consort.
After lunch, visit Ta Dzong (built in1656 and renovated in 1968), an ancient watchtower, which now houses the National Museum. Below the museum is the Rimpung Dzong (literally meaning “Heap of Jewels”), the centre of civil and religious authority in this valley, built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. In the evening, drive to Thimphu. Over night in Hotel.
DAY 7 (30TH MARCH 2009) PARO – PHUENTSHOLING – SILIGURI:
After breakfast, drive to Phuntsholing. Lunch will be served on the way. In the evening, drive to Siliguri. On the way, visit to the Coronation Bridge built during the British rule of India. Dinner and over night in Hotel.
DAY 8 (31ST MARCH 2009): SILIGURI –BHADRAPUR:
After breakfast, drive to Bhadrapur for the onward flight to Kathmandu.
a. 7 night’s accommodation inclusive of meals as mentioned in the itinerary (B/L/D)
b: Breakfast L: Lunch D: Dinner]
Darjeeling: Dekiling Guest House or Tibet Home
Phuentsholing: Hotel West End or Similar
b. All Transportation including transfer to & from airport
Transport Used: Toyota Innova/ Chevrolet Tavera)
Capacity: 4-5 pax in One vehicle.
Vehicle will be at Disposal 24×7
c. Service of an English Speaking Guide
i. An English Speaking Guide will be provided for 2-6 pax
d. Entrance fees
i. Zoological Park
ii. Handicraft Center
a. Personal Insurance
b. Drinks and Beverages
d. Expenses of personal Nature
Things to Bring:
a. 2 Passport Size Photographs
b. 2 Photocopy of Passport
Clothing n other Essentials:
a. A small backpack (about 40 lbs. It will contain what you will need
during the day or while hiking)
b. Water bottle
c. A sweater or fleece jacket
d. A waterproof jacket
e. Good trousers as well as waterproof trousers
f. Hiking shoes
g. Sunglasses and sun cream,
h. A walking stick (optional),
i. A frontal lamp or an electric torch incase of power failure.
j. An umbrella
First AID Kit-
Here are the main things which can be useful:
a. Iodine tablets, tincture or crystals for water purification,
f. Waterproof tape (optional) usually required for sealing boots n
Pants (Leech Guard)
g. Adhesive pads
h. Cotton swabs
i. Skin applications (burn, sunburn, bites or stings)
Rajasthan Golden Triangle Tour
DAY 01: FLY KATHMANDU-DELHI
After arrival in Delhi, our representative will receive you and take you the hotel. Night stay in Delhi.
DAY 02: DELHI
The national capital of Indian, Delhi is a historical city dotted with several monuments. Explore the rich history and culture of the city. Take a tour of Delhi and visit the Laxmi Narayan Temple, the India Gate, Jama Masjid, Red Fort and the Gandhi Memorial. Also see embassies and the Parliament House. Don’t miss the evening light and sound show at Red Fort. During your sightseeing tour of Delhi, also visit the Purana Quila, Jantar Mantar, Humayun’s Tomb and the Qutab Minar. After touring the city, return to the hotel for night stay.
DAY 03: DELHI – AGRA
Travel to Agra by road. On your Rajasthan Golden Triangle Tour with us you visit the tomb of Akbar at Sikandra. Arrive in Agra and check-in at the hotel. Night stay in Agra.
DAY 04: AGRA
Agra, the city of the Taj, is one of the most important tourist destinations in India. Agra is a home to the Taj Mahal and the Agra Fort. Rajasthan Golden Triangle tour package covers one of the most beautiful historical monuments, the Taj Mahal. This marble wonder was built by Shah Jahan in memory of his wife. Visit the Taj Mahal Agra and witness its timeless beauty. Visit the Red Fort. During your Agra tours, also visit the Itmad-ud-daulah’s Tomb. After sightseeing tour of Agra, return to the hotel for night stay. Rajasthan Golden Triangle Tour
DAY 05: AGRA – JAIPUR
Travel to Jaipur en-route the deserted city of Fatehpur Sikri. This Mughal city, established by Akbar, has been declared as the world heritage site. After exploring Fatehpur Sikri and visiting its monuments, proceed towards Jaipur, the pink city of Rajasthan. After arrival in Jaipur, you will be transferred to the hotel. Enjoy a tour of Jaipur. Visit the City Palace and notice the harmonious blend of Mughal and Rajasthani architecture. Also visit the Jantar Mantar and Nawab Saheb ki Haveli. Stroll through the Bazaar and buy souvenirs and handicrafts as sweet reminder of your Rajasthan Golden Triangle tour with Indian Holiday. Night stay in Jaipur.
DAY 06: JAIPUR
Today you will take an excursion trip to Amer Fort. From elephant ride to exploration, you will experience a redefine version of joy. Night stay in Jaipur.
DAY 07: JAIPUR – DELHI
Travel to Delhi by car and board the flight/train back home or for your next destination.
Morning at Leisure and fly to Kathmandu.