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Explore Kolkata, an often misunderstood city of great contrast that is regarded as India’s intellectual and cultural capital. Spend a few days in the ever popular Himalayan town of Darjeeling with it’s spectacular surroundings of snow capped peaks and tea plantations. Visit Gangtok, the capital of the tiny state of Sikkim with it’s sprawling mountain views.
Arrive at Kolkata's airport where you will be met by your guide. Transfer to your hotel and check in.
Kolkata is the capital of West Bengal and one of the largest cities in India. It is also the largest city in the historic region of Bengal (now the Indian state of West Bengal and Bangladesh). Kolkata is an 'in your face' kind of city that shocks and charms the unsuspecting visitor. Long known as the cultural capital of India and home to the Bengal Renaissance, Kolkata continues to spawn generations of poets, writers and film directors.
After breakfast set out on a tour of Kolkata. Visit Mother Teresa's Mission, locally known as Mother House, where you'll learn about the significant humanitarian and religious contributions Mother Teresa made throughout the 20th century.
Next, head to the Jain Temple, one of Kolkata's most-visited temples. Step inside the temple to see the intricate décor including stained-glass windows and pillars inlaid with small mirrors.
Continue on to the University of Calcutta, one of the top-ranking universities in India. Walk the grounds to see its historical buildings while listening to your guide's informative commentary about the university's founding and the notable individuals who've attended the school, including laudable economist and 1998 Nobel Prize Winner Amartya Sen.
In between sightseeing stops, enjoy a delectable spread of Indian dishes for lunch.
After lunch, head to Eden Gardens to see the largest cricket stadium in India. Home of the 2012 Indian Premier League champions, the Knight Riders, this is considered one of the most iconic stadiums in the country. Then, visit the Victoria Memorial, a memorial building dedicated to the UK's Queen Victoria which now serves as a museum. Inside, see a large collection of paintings, sculptures and manuscripts from the era of British rule in India.
Finally, stop for a great photo opportunity of the Howrah Bridge, one of Kolkata's most popular symbols and the sixth-longest cantilever bridge in the world.
Return to your hotel and spend the evening at leisure, your guide will be able to offer you dining recommendations.
After breakfast transfer to Kolkata airport and board a flight to Bagdogra. Upon arrival in Bagdogra you are met by your guide then you will set off by car to Darjeeling, approximately a 2.5 hour drive. On arrival check in at your hotel.
Located on a steep mountain ridge with incredible views that stretch out over tea estates to the snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas, Darjeeling is quite rightly West Bengal's premier tourist attraction.
In the afternoon proceed to visit a premium tea estate. See the entire manufacturing process and take a walk around the grounds of the estate.
Return to the hotel and spend the evening at leisure.
Early this morning visit Tiger Hill for the best view as the sun rises over the mountains. Tiger Hill is about 11 Km from Darjeeling and is the highest spot in the area at 2590m above sea level. The hill is famous for its magnificent dawn views over the mountains to the snowy peaks of Kanchenjunga and down to the swollen rivers in the valley. On a clear day Mt. Everest is visible.
On the return journey, visit Ghoom Monastery - the most famous monastery in Darjeeling. It enshrines an image of the Maitreya Buddha (the future Buddha).
After breakfast at your hotel, set out on a tour of Darjeeling City. The tour includes stop at Observatory Hill, a sacred viewpoint for Hindus and Buddhists. Visit the Bhutia Basti Monastery with it's old library of Buddhist texts.
Stop at the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute and see its collections of historic mountaineering equipment, specimens of Himalayan flora and fauna and a model of the Himalayas. The Everest Museum next door traces the history of attempts on the great peak.
Visit the Tibetan Refugee Self Help Centre established in 1959 to help rehabilitate Tibetan Refugees who fled from Tibet with the Dalai Lama following the Chinese invasion. Religious importance is attached to this place as the 13th Dalai Lama (the present is 14th) stayed here during his visit to India in 1919-22. The centre produces carpets, woollen clothes, woodcarvings and leatherwork and has various Tibetan trinkets for sale (coins, banknotes, jewellery).
Later enjoy a ride on the Toy Train, the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, from Darjeeling to Ghoom, India's highest altitude railway stop.
Return to your hotel and spend the evening at leisure.
Today is a free day in Darjeeling.
After breakfast drive from Gangtok, approximately 100kms. Back on the road, we now head to the tiny state of Sikkim. The scenery on the drive is quite amazing, lush green forests, lofty snow-capped peaks, tumbling streams, villages tucked on hilly slopes and monastries that appear to balance precariously on mountain crests.
In the afternoon we reach Gangtok where you will check in to your hotel.
Gangtok, meaning "hill top" is the capitol and largest town in Sikkim. It is built along a steep mountain ridge with views out across the surrounding mountains.
After breakfast, head to the famous Rumtek Monastery, the thriving centre of Mahayana Buddhism. A 24km drive from Gangtok through the beautiful, bewitching countryside leads one to Rumtek. Rumtek, is the seat of the Karmapa Lama who heads the Kagyupa Sect of Buddhism. Tankhas and frescoes decorate the walls of this ancient monastery, which has now been renovated. The style of the monastery, strictly traditional has been patterned on the lines of the Lamas of Tibet. An aviary containing exotic birds can also be seen in the monastery complex.
Later visit the Research Institute of Tibetology. Set in serene surroundings amidst forest of Oak, Ash and Birch is an organisation to advance the Tibetan language and its literature on the "Enlightened one", the only one of its kind in the world of Mahayana Buddhism. It has on its faculty many eminent scholars.
Near the Deorali Bazaar are two exquisite Stupas, the "Dul-dul-Chorten" was built to commemorate the victory of good over evil and the "Jhang Club Chorten" was built to perpetuate the memory of a great spiritualist of today. Thrul-Shik Rinpoche was an ardent devotee of Buddha and one of his best interpreters until he died in 1962. The Stupa immortalises Rimpoche in the land of his birth.
An important seat of the Nyingma order, the Enchey Monastery (meaning the Solitary temple) was originally built with the solace that no other construction would be allowed near it as it is built on the site blessed by Lama Druptob Karpo, a Tantric master known for his flying powers. This 200-year old monastery has in its premises images of Gods, Goddesses and other religious objects. The present monastery was built in the shape of a Chinese Pagoda and around 90 monks live here.
Return to your hotel and enjoy dinner and the evening at leisure.
Transfer to Bagdogra airport to board a flight to Kolkata where you will meet your onwards flight.
Phone now to discuss options to personalise your itinerary.
Ideas to upgrade or extend your itinerary:
All Get About Asia trips have been designed to make sure you have an unforgettable travel experience. We have developed several trip styles to cater for our diverse range of travellers. Read what your ideal Get About Asia experience might look like here.
|Standard:||from AU $2,066|
|Superior:||from AU $2,630|
|Deluxe:||from AU $3,474|
All GetAboutAsia prices are based on twin share and depend on availability and season. All our itineraries can be customised including international flights and extra nights. For questions or further information, Enquire Now!
Hotels/lodges each night of the itinerary (excluding your departure day).
• Accommodation on bed & breakfast basis in Kolkata, in Darjeeling and Gangtok dinner is also included
• All site visits as per the program
• Toy train ride in Darjeeling
• Services of English-speaking local guides in each city at the time of city tours & excursion trips
• All currently applicable entrances at the monuments. Camera fees will be extra
• All transfers, sightseeing's & excursions by Air-conditioned vehicle
This trip package includes 2 internal flights (Kolkata - Bagdogra and Gangtok - Kolkata) which retail at about 200AUD per flight.
Visas for India
All nationalities need to apply for an Indian visa in advance. Give yourself at least 4 weeks.
The Indian Government has advised that from December 2014, all visa applicants will need to be physically present at a visa application centre, by appointment, to submit their applications and biometric data, including fingerprints and facial imagery.
ALL Australian travellers to India will need to personally attend their nearest consulate to complete their visa formalities. There is NO visa on arrival in India for all nationalities. Indian visas CANNOT be obtained in Nepal.
Availability of accommodation and season.
"Tiger Hill was wonderful, Kanchenjunga was just beautiful and we could easily see Mt. Everest. And the train ride was great too. Weather has been excellent. Very nice hotel here. Thanks so much for service and complimentary dinner at Kolkatta and to you and office " — Mr and Mrs Wright, Sydney, December 2017
"All went well. Thank you for your organisation. In essence, there were not glitches in the arrangements at all. Well done! We are happy for you to quote us. Sikkim was the highlight and the guides helped us with permits on border. This part of the world is amazing and the trip was beyond our expectations - even with the masses of people, traffic etc. The glimpse of the "human face" of these dynamic and complex societies was a highlight for us. All staff on the ground were excellent. Thanks for the follow up " — Mr and Mrs Whalan, Brisbane April , May 2017