Day 1: ARRIVE DELHI (Meals Aloft)

Arrive Delhi the capital of India.

On your arrival at international airport in Delhi and after clearing customs & immigration, our representative will welcome you with Garland at the airport arrival lounge with encounters asia / Baumeler Reisen Destinations signboard. You will be transferred to the hotel.

Stay Overnight at Delhi. (Meals Aloft)

Day 2: DELHI (B-L-D)

After breakfast proceed for a full day sightseeing of the walled city called Old Delhi and the cosmopolitan New Delhi.

Old Delhi – A sight-seeing tour of Old Delhi would entail visiting the Raj Ghat – the memorial site, where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated; Jama Masjid – the largest mosque in India and the Red Fort – once the most opulent fort and palace of the Mughal Empire.

Experience: Rickshaw Ride: A ride in the old city market laid by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, would give you an experience of life time. Pass through the colourful shops of bustling Chandani Chowk, one of the largest wholesale markets in Asia also an important landmark in the history of India. If you feel up to it take a short walk in the market and explore another facet of Indian life.

New Delhi –  An extensive sight-seeing tour of New Delhi would include a visit to the Qutub Minar, a drive along the ceremonial avenue – Rajpath, past the imposing India Gate, Parliament House, and the President’s Residence and would end with a drive through the Diplomatic Enclave followed by shopping at prime and famous shopping places.

Stay overnight at Delhi .

Day 3: DELHI-PARO-THIMPHU (B-L-D)

After breakfast transfer to airport & board flight to Paro.

KB – 205 (Druk Airways) Delhi-Paro 1200/1450 Hrs

The flight to Paro is one of the most spectacular in entire Himalayas. Whether flying along the Himalayan range from Kathmandu or from Kolkatta or Delhi, the journey offers fascinating views and an exciting descent into the Kingdom. Bhutan’s first gift to you as you disembark from the aircraft will be cool, clean fresh mountain air.

After immigration formalities and baggage collection, you will be met by our representative, and afterwards drive to Thimphu, the capital town of Bhutan with en-route stop at Chuzom, the confluence of Thimphu and Paro rivers. Three different style of stupas; Tibetan, Nepalese and Bhutanese adorn this confluence. Shortly before reaching Chuzom, you will see on your left Tschogang Lhakhang, “the temple of the excellent horse”. It is a private temple, built in 15th century, as the result of visitation from Balaha, the excellent horse, a manifestation of Chenrezig, the compassionate Buddha.

Arrive Thimphu and check-into the hotel. Thimphu earlier a small settlement was developed in to a town and became the new capital of Bhutan. The city sprawls across the western slopes of the Wang Chuu river valley, with several government offices located around Trashichoe dzong, the 17th Century fortress monastry is today the seat of Bhutanese government. The main thoroughfare is lined with shops, restaurants, retail arcades and public buildings.

Stay overnight at Thimphu.

Day 4:THIMPU (B-L-D)

AM CITY TOUR: Visit King’s Memorial Chorten continuously circumambulated by people, murmuring mantras and spinning their prayer wheels. Construction of this landmark was the idea of Bhutan’s third king, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuk (“the father of modern Bhutan”) who has wished to erect monument to world peace and prosperity. Completed in 1974 after his untimely death, it serves both as a memorial to the Late King and as a monument to peace.
Also visit to Trashichhoe dzong, “fortress of the glorious religion”. This is the centre of government and religion, site of monarch’s throne room and seat of Je Khenpo or Chief Abbot. Built in 1641 by the political and religious unifier of Bhutan, Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, it was reconstructed in 1960s in traditional Bhutanese manner, without nails or architectural plans.

Afternoon visit the National Library, the library houses an extensive collection of priceless Buddhist manuscripts; the Institute for Zorig Chusum (commonly known as the Painting School) where students undergo a 6-year training course in Bhutan’s 13 traditional arts and crafts.

Later in the afternoon visit Textile and Folk Heritage Museum, a fascinating testimony of the Bhutanese material culture and living traditions. Also visit the government-run Handicrafts Emporium and local crafts shops, to browse through example of Bhutan’s fine traditional arts constituting hand-woven textiles, thangkha paintings, masks, ceramics, slate and wood carvings, jewelry, interesting items made from local materials.

Stay overnight at Thimphu.

Day 5: THMPU-PUNAKHA (B-L-D)

After an early breakfast drive to Punakha via Dochu La (75 Kms/03 Hours).

Dochu-la pass located at a height of 3,088m/ 10,130 ft is a scenic location with chortens chorten, mani wall, and prayer flags which decorate the highest point on the road. If skies are clear, it may be possible to see the following peaks from this pass in the order left to right: Masagang (7,158m), Tsendagang (6,960m), Terigang (7,060m ), Jejegangphugang (7,158 m), Kangphugang (7,170 m ), Zongphugang (7, 060 m ), a table mountain that dominates the isolated region of Lunana – finally Gangkar puensum, the highest peak in Bhutan at 7,497m, after this uplifting experience proceed further to Punakha.

Later visit to Punakha Dzong, Built strategically at the junction of Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu rivers in 1637 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to serve as the religious and administrative centre of the region, Punakha Dzong has played an important role in Bhutan’s history. Damaged by four catastrophic fires and an earthquake, the Dzong has been fully restored by the fourth King.

Afternoon is also scheduled for an excursion to Chimi Lhakhang. Situated on a hillock in the centre of the valley, this temple is dedicated to Lama Drukpa Kuenley, who in the late 15th century used humour, songs and outrageous behaviour to dramatise his teachings and due to this also known as ‘Divine Madman’. This temple is also known as the temple of fertility. It is widely believed that couples who do not have children and wanting one, if they pray at this temple, they are usually blessed with a child very soon. It is about 30 minute walk across field from the road to the temple. The trail leads across rice fields to the tiny settlement of Pana, meaning ‘field’. It then follows a tiny stream downhill to Yoaka and across more fields before making a short climb to Chimi Lhakhang.

Stay overnight at Punakha.

Day 6: PUNAKHA-PARO (B-L-D)

After breakfast we continue our fascinating journey towards Paro (125 Kms/04 Hours), en route visit Simtokha Dzong.

Simtokha Dzong was built in 1627 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, it stands on a low ridge 8 km down the valley from Thimphu. The Institute for Language and Cultural Studies is located within the premises. The most noteworthy artistic feature of this dzong is the series of over 300 finely worked slate carvings behind the prayer wheels in the courtyard. Later continue the drive towards Paro.

Arrive in Paro and check in at your hotel.

Afternoon visit Ta Dzong, originally built as Watchtower, which now houses National Museum. The extensive collection includes antique thangkha paintings, textiles, weapons & armour, household objects and a rich assortment of natural and historic artifacts. After the visit walk down the trail to visit Rinpung Dzong, meaning (“fortress of the heap of jewels”), which has a long and fascinating history. Along the wooden galleries lining the inner courtyard are fine wall paintings illustrating Buddhist lore such as four friends, the old man of long life, the wheel of life, scenes from the life of Milarepa, Mount. Sumeru and other cosmic Mandala.

Stay overnight at Punakha.

Day 7: PARO (B-L-D)

After breakfast the morning is reserved to visit Taktsang Monastry, one of the fabulous locations in the known world. The Taktsang Monastery is one of the most famous of Bhutan’s monasteries, perched on the side of a cliff 900m above the Paro valley floor. It is said that Guru Rinpoche arrived here on the back of a tigress and meditated at this monastery and hence it is called ‘Tiger’s Nest’. This site has been recognized as a most sacred place and visited by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1646 and now visited by all Bhutanese at least once in their lifetime. On 19 April, 1998, a fire severely damaged the main structure of building but now this Bhutanese jewel has been restored to its original splendour.

Afternoon drive to Drukgyel Dzong, a ruined fortress where Bhutanese warriors fought Tibetan invaders centuries ago. The snowy dome of sacred Chomolhari, “mountain of goddess” can be seen in all her glory from the approach road to the Dzong. En route visit the 7th century Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the 108 temples built in the Himalayas by Tibetan King, Songtsen Gampo. The building of this temple marks the introduction of Buddhism in Bhutan. Later return to the hotel.

Stay overnight at Paro .

Day 8: PARO-BAGDOGRA-KALIMPONG (B-L-D)

After breakfast transfer to airport & board flight to Bagdogra.

KB-130 (Druk Air) Paro/Bagdogra 0700/0730 Hours

Meet upon arrival at airport & drive to Kalimpong (75 Hours/03 hours), on arrival check in at hotel.

Once an important trading town where branches of the ancient Silk Route met, the hill station of Kalimpong (1250m/4000ft) is a two hour drive through forests and tea gardens east of Darjeeling. Although located in West Bengal it is often visited during a tour of Sikkim to which it once belonged. Spread over a ridge above the Teesta River and in sight of Kanchenjunga, it comes alive on Wednesdays and Saturdays when villagers gather to sell local vegetables and herbal medicines, woollen yarn and textiles. On other days you can fill the hours with flowers by visiting some of the specialist nurseries that grow orchids, amaryllis, dahlias and gladioli. As the town passed between the rulers of different kingdoms there are a number of monasteries in and around the town representing different sects and branches of Buddhism. The Thongsa Gompa, or Bhutanese Monastery is surrounded by 219 prayer wheels. Spin each one to send your prayers to heaven.

Rest of day free at leosire.

Stay overnight at Kalimpong .

Day 9: KALIMPONG-GANGTOK (B-L-D)

After breakfast proceed for a sightseeing of Flower Nurseries & Jang-Dong-Palriffo Brang.

FLOWER NURSERIES: The name of Kalimpong has become synonymous with flower nurseries many of which abound here. Gladioli, orchids, cacti, amaryllis, anthuriums, roses, gerberas, dahlias and other exotic plants are grown in a number of flower nurseries in Kalimpong, mainly for export. The weather and the soil of Kalimpong are very conducive to the growth of orchids, roses, gladioli and dahalias.

ZONG DOG PALRI FO-BRANG MONASTERY – Built in the mid-1970s, the monastery lies at about 5 km south of the town centre at Durpin Dara Hill. The monastery was consecrated by the Dalai Lama.

After lunch drive to Gangtok (85 Kms/03 Hours), on arrival check in at hotel.

Gangtok is located in the eastern Himalayan range, at an altitude of 1,650 m (5,410 ft).. Nestled within higher peaks of the Himalaya and enjoying a year-round mild temperate climate. Gangtok rose to prominence as a popular Buddhist pilgrimage site after the construction of the Enchey Monastery in 1840. In 1894, the ruling Sikkimese Chogyal, Thutob Namgyal, transferred the capital to Gangtok. In the early 20th century, Gangtok became a major stopover on the trade route between Lhasa in Tibet and cities such as Kolkata (then Calcutta) in British India. After India won its independence from Britain in 1947, Sikkim chose to remain an independent monarchy, with Gangtok as its capital. In 1975, after the integration with the union of India, Gangtok was made India’s twenty-second state capital.

The precise meaning of the name Gangtok is unclear, though the most popular meaning is “hill top”. Today, Gangtok is a centre of Tibetan Buddhist culture and learning, with the presence of several monasteries, religious educational institutions, and centers for Tibetology.

Rest of day free at leisure or roam around the hotel.

Stay overnight at hotel.

Day 10: GANGTOK (B-L-D)

After breakfast go out for sightseeing covering Rumtek Monastery, Droul Chorthen, Research Institute of Tibetology, Directorate of Handicraft & Handloom (Closed on Sunday), Flower Show & Enchey Monastery.

Rumtek Monastery: The Rumtek monastery or the Dharma Chakra Centre is located on the top of the hill facing the city of Gangtok. Rumtek Monastery is one of the most important seats of the Kagyu lineage outside Tibet. This monastery complex embodies the vision and aspiration of the Sixteenth Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpe Dorje, to establish his seat-in-exile in order to spread the teachings of the Buddha throughout the world. The Rumtek monastery is the largest monastery in Sikkim, and a home of the monks community. The complex has many sacred objects. One of the most magnificent object is the Golden Stupa, whichRumtek Monastery Sikkim contains the precious relics of His Holiness, the Sixteenth Karmapa. A college or Karma Shri Nalanda Institute for Higher Buddhist Studies is situated opposite the building. The Stupa walkway surrounds the Rumtek monastery, where monks, pilgrims and visitors perform kora. The Dharma Chakra Center includes a beautifully structured main shrine temple and monastery with monks’ quarters, a three-year retreat center, a monastic college, where the relics of the Sixteenth Karmapa are enshrined, nunnery, stupas, a protector’s shrine, institutions for the lay community and other establishments. The Rumtek monastery became the international Kagyu Headquarters during the life of His Holiness and became the residence of a new generation of Kagyu masters.

Droul Chorthen: Do Drul Chorten is one of the many important attractions of Gangtok. It is regarded as the most important \’stupa\’ of Sikkim. Built in 1945 by Trulshi Rimpoche, head of the Nyingma order of Tibetan Buddhism, this stupa also has sacred gold-topped shikhara with 108 prayer wheels. This highly revered Chorten is also characterised by complete mandala sets of Dorjee Phurba (Bajra Kilaya), a set of Kan-gyur relics ( Holy Books), complete \’Zung\’( mantras) and other religious objects. The Chorten also has two huge statues of Guru Rimpoche (Guru Padmasambhava) around it.

Research Institute of Tibetology: Research Institute of Tibetology is a premier institute in the world that was established to conduct research on the language and traditions of Tibet as well as the Mahayana sect of Buddhism. This institute houses a museum, a Tibetan library and a general reference centre. This research institute is situated at Deorali, in the south of central Gangtok. This institute was formerly known as the Namgyal Institute of Tibetology, named after the late Chogyal of Sikkim, Palden Thondup Namgyal. The Sikkim research institute of Tibetology is constructed in typical Tibetan Buddhist style and is an imposing monument and a splendid example of Sikkimese architecture. The wall paintings on the verandah depict the four celestial guardians kings located in the four directions of Mount Meru. The institute contains a rare collection of the Tibetan literature, rare manuscripts, paintings, coins, Thangkas, statues and religious objects and other works of art and history. There are about 30 thousand xylographs which contains the translations of the original teachings of the Lord Buddha and the treaties by distinguished Buddhist scholars from different parts of the world. It also has its own faculty of the eminent scholars. The library and museum of the Institute are open to the public on all days. The Dotrabu Chorten of Guru Padmasambhava, a small temple dedicated to the Guru Rimpoche and a memorial park in the honour of the late king of Sikkim are also located near the institute.

Enchey Monastery: Enchey monastery is another place you must visit in Gangtok. The Enchey monastery literally means the solitary temple. At the time it was constructed, it was the only building in the entire area. This place especially attracts attention during the religious dances or \’Chaam\’ performed in January. Located above Siniolchu Lodge, about 3 km away from the town centre, the relatively small monastery was built 200 years ago and the present building was constructed in the year 1909. The site where the monastery is built is supposed to be blessed by Lama Druptob Karpo, a tantric master known for his flying powers. You can also get wonderful view of Kanchenjunga from here.

Evening free at leisure or roam around this small town.

Stay overnight at Gangtok.

Day 11: GANGTOK-PELLING (B-L-D)

After breakfast drive to Pelling (116 Kms/06 Hours ), on arrival check in at hotel.

Pelling is a town in the district of West Sikkim, India. Pelling is nestled at an altitude of 2,150 m (7,200 feet). However with the influx of tourists, the region is undergoing a metamorphosis, with the roads being repaired and hotels being set up. The Himalayas and the Kanchenjanga may be viewed at close quarters from Pelling. It also forms the base from where trekkers and other peripatetic adventurers undertake the strenuous and arduous treks in West Sikkim. The land around Pelling is still a virgin territory and is bathed with alpine vegetation, with numerous waterfalls lining the hillside. In the months of winter, Pelling is sometimes covered with a blanket of snow.

Rest of day free at leisure.

Stay overnight at Pelling.

Day 12: PELLING (B-L-D)

After breakfast excursion to Khecheopari Lake (6000 Ft / 1829 Mts); Khecheopalri Lake is one of the sacred Buddhist mountain lakes wherever it is believed that whatever is wished in front of the lake comes true. Myth has its that when a leaf falls on the placid clear water surface is picked by a bird. Back to Hotel for Lunch.

After lunch you cover Pemayangtse Monastery which belongs to the Nyingma-pa order of Tibetan Buddhism. It was built as a small temple in late 17th century by Latsun Chenpo. On the top floor there is a wooden sculpture portraying the Mahaguru’s Heavenly palace Sangthokpalri & Rabdengtse palace ruins – once the second capital of Sikkim is now a historical monument.

Stay overnight at Pelling.

Day 13: PELLING-DARJEELING (B-L-D)

After breakfast drive to Darjeeling (126 Kms/06 Hours), on arrival check in at hotel.

Darjeeling: The sweltering summer heat was all too much for the British Raj in Calcutta and so for several months of the year the whole lot upped sticks and moved from Calcutta to Darjeeling, the ‘Land of the Celestial Thunderbolt’ . At an altitude of 2134m (7000ft) it is considerably cooler than the plains, though decidedly wet in summer.

The first tea bushes were planted in the surrounding Himalayan hills in the same year the town was established and by 1881 the railway line from Siliguri to Darjeeling meant that tea could more easily be brought to market. You can still ride the rails today, chugging through forests of rhododendrons and curving around tea plantations, though most visitors find the short trip between Darjeeling and Ghoom preferable to the seven hour journey from the plains.

Haphazard construction and congestion in Lower Darjeeling means this part of town is best avoided but The Mall, with its Victorian gothic architecture, views of the Himalaya from Obsevatory Hill, and nearby Buddhist monasteries decorated with colourful murals and fluttering prayer flags make Darjeeling worthy of a few days stay. And, of course, there’s an almost limitless supply of excellent tea to keep you refreshed along the way.

Rest of day free at leisure.

Stay overnight at Darjeeling.

Day 14: DARJEELING (B-L-D)

Early morning tour to Tiger Hills (8364 Ft / 2550 Mts at around 4 AM) to view sunrise over Kanchenjunga Peak (subject to clear weather).

Tiger Hill is the summit of Ghoom, the highest railway station on the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway – a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is famous for the panoramic views it offers of Mount Everest along with Kangchenjunga.It is 11 km from the town of Darjeeling and can be reached either by jeep or by foot through Chowrasta, Alubari (incidentally the oldest tea plantation in Darjeeling) or Jorebangla and then climbing up the incline to the summit, which takes about 2 hours at an easy pace. The first rays of the sun shoot ahead and shed light upon the twin peaks of Kanchenjunga painting it pink Sukhiapokhri and then bathing it in a beautiful orange colour. From Tiger Hill, Mount Everest (8848m) is just visible, peeping out through two other peaks standing by its side. Makalu (8481m) looks higher than Mt. Everest, owing to the curve in the horizon, as it is several miles closer than Everest. The distance in straight line from Tiger Hill to Everest is 107 miles.

On way back visit Ghoom Monastery visit Ghoom Monastery is the popular name of Yiga Choeling Monastery located at Ghum at an elevation of 8,000 feet, 8 km from Darjeeling in the state of West Bengal, India.The monastery follows the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism. There is a 15-feet high statue of “Maitreya Buddha” (Coming Buddha) in the monastery. It contains images of Buddha’s disciples, Chenrezi and Chongapa.It was built in 1875 by Lama Sherab Gyatso and is the largest of the three monasteries in Ghum.Amongst the Buddhist texts available are the Kangyur, the Tibetan Buddhist canon, running into 108 volumes. The monks fly prayer flags in the Tibetan tradition.

After breakfast drive to Darjeeling Railway station to board Darjeeling Himalayan Railway. This joy ride will be for 02 hrs from Darjeeling to Ghoom & back. (Subjected to ticket availability & Operational condition).

Afternoon visit to Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Tibetan Refugee self-help (Closed on Sunday) Center & Tea Estate.

The Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (HMI) was established in Darjeeling, India on November 4, 1954 to encourage mountaineering as an organized sport in India. The first ascent of Mount Everest in 1953 by Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary sparked a keen interest in establishing mountaineering as a well-respected endeavour for people in the region. With the impetus provided by the first prime minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, HMI was established in Darjeeling. Tenzing Norgay was the first director of field training for HMI.

Tibetan Refugee Self Help Centre in Darjeeling, India is a rehabilitation Centre for the Tibetan refugees in the Darjeeling Himalayan hill region. It was established in 1 October 1959, after they followed Dalai Lama and escaped from Tibet. The production of Tibetan handicraft is the centre’s main activity.

Later visit Tea Estate & return back to hotel.

Stay overnight at Darjeeling.

Day 15: DARJEELING-BAGDOGRA-DELHI-OUT (B-L-D)

After breakfast drive to Bagdogra airport & board flight to Delhi.

AI -880 (Air India) BAGDOGRA-DELHI 1345/1610 Hours

Upon arrival at Delhi’s Airport’s terminal T3, you will be met by representative of Eaton Smart Airport Hotel and will be escorted to the airport hotel for wash & change only which is at walking distance within the terminal. Later checkout & board flight to onward destination. (Check-in begins 3 hrs prior to scheduled departure time).