If you plan to visit the Northeast then the triumvirate of Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Gangtok will hold you spellbound. Darjeeling has overtones of a colonial legacy with the graceful tea gardens adding a charm of their own to this lovely hill resort. Kalimpong sounds exotic and has a balance of Buddhist and Hindu cultures existing in a cantonment like atmosphere. Gangtok is pure Buddhism, high up in the mountains of Sikkim with its own pristine beauty. Take in all the diverse attractions of these three places with a 5 nights 6 days tour. Though permits are necessary and are difficult to acquire if applied for by individuals, we at Namasteindiatrip, take care of everything. Just enjoy. A typical itinerary would go like this:
Day 01: Bagdogra/New Jalpaiguri – Kalimpong
Arrive in New Jalpaiguri railhead or Bagdogra airport to the welcome of our Namaste India Trip representative who then escorts to you a coach. The 3-hour journey over 85 km to Kalimpong is a passage in time across picture postcard country. Check in to your room and freshen up because you will go sightseeing in an hour or so. Kalimpong has a typical Buddhist flavor though it is a military settlement with plenty of educational institutions. The streets are full of stalls selling Chinese lamps and Lepcha daggers and you will come across monasteries jostling with churches and temples. There are flower vendors everywhere and the town is known to export orchids, flower bulbs and rhizomes. We take a walk to the Deollo Hill followed by a visit to Hanuman Statue, the Science and then to Durga Mandir. Return to your hotel room and try out local delicacies in the bazaar.
Day 02: Kalimpong Sightseeing – Gangtok
Breakfast over you and others in your group set out for local sightseeing and excursion to Lava and Rishyap from where you have a wonderful view of the Himalayas. Later in the day, you board the coach for the 3-hour drive to Gangtok. Arrive late in the evening and relax in your hotel room in Gangtok.
Day 03: Gangtok Sightseeing
After a typical local breakfast, everyone sets out on an excursion to Tsomgo Lake. The lake nestles amid mountain ranges with lush green slopes. The lake is icebound most of the year but you can glimpse crystal clear waters reflecting snowy peaks. After drinking in this peaceful scene you move on to the Baba Harbhajan Temple dedicated to Captain Baba Harbhajan Singh. Then we travel to Nathu La Pass at a height of 4310 meters. From the top you can see Tibet in the distance and on this side you have a view of the countryside spread down below. Return to your hotel, freshen up and explore the bazaar to sample its delights, step into a monastery or two and buy flowers or local fruits and handicrafts. It must be noted that visit to Nathu La pass is conditional, depending on road, weather and grant of permit by the Indian Army. The pass is closed in winter and on Mondays and Tuesdays for the rest of the year.
Day 04: Gangtok – Darjeeling
The crisp air of the morning heightens your appetite and after breakfast, we move on to Darjeeling, a 4-hour journey during which you admire the beautiful scenery spread over 130 kms. Arrive, check into your hotel and then set out on your own for the Toy Train ride, a joyful experience. Spend the evening exploring the local bazaars and buying mementos.
Day 05: Darjeeling Tour
Rise at around 3 AM and rush to Tiger Hill because you will be watching the sun rise over the magnificent Kanchendzonga. Everyone waits with bated breath as the first glimmer of sunshine bathes the peak in a rosy hue that changes to gold and the Sun puts in an appearance. This is one of the most memorable sights ever. Then you set out to Ghoom Monastery and Batasia Loop having some breakfast on the way. Life inside the monastery is simple and disciplined an inspiration for visitors to lead the simple life. Later on, after lunch we go on to the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute to view memorabilia of people who have conquered the Everest. A walk in the Zoological Gardens is followed by a visit to the Dhirdham Temple. As the sun dips, you get to travel on the Ropeway and then a visit to the Happy Valley Tea Estate to sample and buy tea. After that it is Tenzing Gombu Rock, Peace Pagoda and Japanese temple that will keep you occupied. Tired but exhilarated, you return to the hotel for a well-earned sleep.
Day 06: Tour Ends
Tour guide treats you to a lovely breakfast and assists in onward transfer to New Jalpaiguri or Bagdogra for your return home.
There are lots more to see and do in Gangtok and Darjeeling and you promise to rejoin the Namasteindiatrip tour at a later date.