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Hills of East

You will arrive at Kolkata's International Airport. Following customs, immigration formalities and baggage collection, an ELAND HOLIDAYS representative will meet you as you EXIT the ARRIVALS TERMINAL building after which you would be transferred to your hotel. Upon arrival at the hotel, proceed for check-in at the hotel. Overnight at the hotel

Raj Bhawan, now the residence of the Governor, was once the residence of the Governor-General Marquis of Wellesley, the building was modeled to resemble Lord Curzon's ancestral home. Writer's Building, which is now the seat of the West Bengal Government – this is where the early servants of the East India Company toiled. Metcalfe Hall, which was designed after the Temple of Winds of Athens, and once housed the Imperial Library. Howrah Bridge, which is the third largest bridge in the world and has over 2 million people crossing over it daily. Fort William situated between the River and the Maidan, it is an imposing fort and one of the most expensive forts of its time. It has a unique distinction of never having a gun fired in anger from its ramparts. Now it houses the local army headquarters. The Maidan, which an open patch of huge dimensions, was kept as a free field of fire for Fort William's guns. Though truncated in recent years for Metro Rail construction, it is still a favourite area for thousands in the early mornings. The Victoria Memorial, an imposing and monumental dream in marble. It took 15 years to build and is treasure trove of Raj relics, offers tree-lined walks in splendid parks, `lakes' and houses a number of superb statues including that of Queen Victoria. Also visit one of the very important temples is the Kali Temple at Kalighat. It is right next to Mother Teresa's Home for The Destitute. After sightseeing return to your hotel
Overnight at the hotel


After buffet breakfast at the hotel, you will be met by a ELAND HOLIDAYS Representative who will transfer you to the airport to board flight for Bagdogra. You will be met upon arrival by an ELAND HOLIDAYS representative who will transfer you to your hotel in Darjeeling. Upon arrival, proceed for check-in at your hotel.

Often called the Queen of the Himalayas, Darjeeling affords unparalleled view of these majestic mountains. The snow-clad Kanchenjunga ranges, which turn orange-gold in the early morning sun, provide an unforgettable sight.
Reminder of the day will be at leisure.
Dinner and overnight at the hotel

Early morning, you will visit Tiger Hill before the break of dawn, to see the sun rise over Mount Everest, the highest mountain peak in the world (subject to clear wether).
Darjeeling owes' its grandeur to its natural beauty, its clean fresh mountain air and above all, the smiling resilient people for whom it is a home. Known for its natural splendour, Darjeeling's best gift to its' visitors is the dawn of a new day. The mountains awaken first with a tentative peeking of the sun. A steep ride, five kilometers from Ghoom, or an invigorating walk up a steep incline, leads sun worshippers to Tiger Hill. The air is chilly with darkness and damp. To the east, a dull orange sun emerged painting the sky with brilliant strokes of magenta, gold, orange and fuchsia. The snow capped Everest, Kabru, Kanchenjunga, Jannu and other peaks slowly emerge from slumber to start a new day. The sun worshippers gasp at the magnificent sight. As the fog lifts in the slowly penetrating sun, the town gradually comes alive. Amidst brewing of tea, the sing-song Gorkhali which is the local dialect, rises and falls like music.

On your way back stop at the Ghoom Monastery, the holiest monastery in Darjeeling. After your visit, return to hotel for buffet breakfast. After breakfast, you will be driven to the Darjeeling Railway station to board train – Darjeeling Himalayan Railway that is the first, and still the most spectacular instance of a hill passenger railway. Opened in 1881, it adopted device full engineering solutions to the problem of establishing an effective rail link across a mountainous terrain. It is still fully operational and retains most of its original features. UNESCO World Heritage Committee has inscribed the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway on the list of World Heritage sites. Only two railways have this status, the Semmering Railway in Austria being the other.

Passing through the Darjeeling roads and market area, you will reach the Ghoom railway station in about 45 minutes. Ghoom situated at 7410 Feet above sea level is the second highest railway station to be reached by a steam engine. Your vehicle will pick you up from the Ghoom railway station to take you to the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute and the Himalayan Zoo with Red panda as the main attraction of the visit. Later visit the Tibetan refugee help centre where you would see how this refugee camp supports the homeless understand that no help can substitute self-help.
Later return to your hotel or walk around the streets of the colonial city Darjeeling.
Dinner and overnight at the hotel

After breakfast, you will be driven to Pelling, a journey of approximately 4 hours through the beautiful countryside, visiting a tea plantation en-route. You will cross the Sikkim border on your journey where your permits will be stamped and checked which may take a short time. In the early 1840s it was noticed that the climate of Darjeeling was very conducive to the growth of tea. Tea plantations were established and have expanded all over the area today because of growing demand. Huge tracts of forests were originally cut down and replaced with tea bushes that stretched for miles. The services of Chinese experts were then requisitioned to teach the art of tea making and thousands of Nepalese were hired in the tea plantations. Darjeeling tea, which had a premium value in the international market, began to be called the ‘Champagne of the East' and for years formed the mainstay of the economy of this area. To this day, the name ‘Darjeeling' continues to be synonymous with tea. Upon arrival, proceed for check-in at your hotel.

In the afternoon, you will visit the awe-inspiring Pemayangtse Monastery the second oldest of its kind in Sikkim. The walls and ceiling of the large prayer hall have numerous thangkas and wall paintings, and there is an exceptional collection of religious artworks including an exquisite wooden sculpture on the top floor depicting the heavenly palace of Guru Rimoche. You will also visit the Kheopalry Lake nearby. Dinner and overnight at the hotel

After breakfast, you will be driven from Pemayangtse to Gangtok (117 KMS / 5 Hours) visiting en-route the monastery at Tashiding. This gold topped monastery was built in 1716 and stands on a conical hill between the Rathong and Rangit rivers on an area consecrated by Guru Rimpoche. It is said to contain the most sacred chorten in Sikkim, even the sight of Tashiding is thought to bring blessings. You will continue your journey to Gangtok, known as “High Hill” spectacularly located along a ridge overlooking the Kangchenjunga Mountains. Upon arrival, proceed for check-in at your hotel.

Gangtok is Sikkim's largest city. It served as the royal administrative seat of the Kingdom of Sikkim from 1894 to 1975. Now as the state capital it retains a royal character. The Chogyal's durbar (king's palace) crowns the ridge, naturally facing Kanchenjunga, and the yellow roof of the Tsuklakhang or Royal Chapel gleams from far across the valley.

High into temperate forests, oaks give way to laurels, chestnuts, maples, birch, magnolias and rhododendrons. Some 200 species of ferns, mosses, vines and lichens form thick undergrowth. Sikkim is world renowned for its orchids with almost 1000 species in and around Sikkim, Darjeeling and Kalimpong. The best time to see orchids is from the second week of April, extending into late May and June at the higher elevations. Rhododendrons are another of the most celebrated of this amazing pot pourri of flora. During April-May, yellow and lavender shaded hillsides stretch as far as the eye can see, and canopies of rose, crimson and ivory crown the misty forests.
Dinner and overnight at the hotel

After buffet breakfast, you will be driven to Rumtek Monastery, the seat of the Karmapa Rinpoche, head of the Karmapa sub-sect of the Kargyudpa order of Tibetan Buddhism. The new four-level gompa was designed as a replica of the Kargyudpa's head monastery of Tolung in Tibet. Rumtek's monks come from all over Sikkim, India, Nepal, Bhutan and Tibet. Thangkas and frescoes decorate the walls of this ancient monastery, renovated in 1960′s. It has a school to teach the Tibetan language and the various aspects of Buddhism. Every year on the 10th day of the 5th month of the Tibetan calendar a religious dance festival is held in this monastery. A perfect symbol of the confluence of the past and present is Gangtok – the capital of Sikkim. Built on the flank of a ridge, Gangtok is at 5500 feet above sea level. The town's unique ambience derives from the happy blend of tradition and modernity.

Later proceed to visit the Enchey Monastery – an important seat of the Nyingmapa order, the Enchey Monastery is built on the site blessed by Lama Druptok Karpo, a tantrik master known for his power of flying. Your visits of the day ends with the Namgyal Institute of Tibetology (closed on Sundays). The most prestigious of its kind in India, this Buddhist institute is a treasure of vast collection of rare Lepcha, Tibetan & Sanskrit manuscripts, statues and rare thanks (tapestries used in Buddhist liturgy). It is over 200 Buddhist icons and other prized objects of art. Today it is a renowned worldwide centre for Buddhist philosophy and religion.
Afternoon will be at leisure.
Dinner and overnight at the hotel

Early this morning you will be driven 6 KMS to Tashi View point, a beautiful place with magnificent panoramic views of Mount Kangchenjunga and of the numerous monasteries scattered over the mountainside. After your visit, you will be driven back to the hotel for breakfast.
After breakfast, you will be driven to Kalimpong (80 KMS / 3.30 Hours). Upon arrival, you will be transferred to your hotel.

Kalimpong, once the headquarter of the Bhutanese Governor. A political hot potato tossed between neighbouring Sikkim, Bhutan, Nepal and India, Kalimpong was for the last century everybody's trophy, but more for its strategic value as a prosperous trade post than for its natural resources and pretty face. The town straddles a north-easterly ride flanked by two rivers. Kalimpong has a temperate climate throughout the year with not so heavy a monsoon. The climatic condition is ideal for the cultivation of horticultural plants and, due to this, there are many flower nurseries here. After checking into your hotel and having lunch, we will visit several flower nurseries.
Dinner and overnight at the hotel

After buffet breakfast, you will be driven from Kamilpong to Phuntsholing (140 Kms / 06 Hours). Upon arrival proceed for check-in at your hotel. Reminder of the day is at leisure. Dinner and overnight at the hotel

After buffet breakfast at the hotel, you will be driven from Phuntsholing to Thimphu (176 KMS/ 7 Hours). Thimphu, perhaps the most unusual capital city in the world, is the seat of government. This bustling town is home to Bhutan's royal family, the civil servants, and foreign missions with representation in Bhutan. It is also the headquarters for a number of internationally funded development projects. Remainder of the day will be at leisure for independent activities.
Overnight at the hotel

After buffet breakfast at the hotel, proceed for visit to Trashichhodzong – the beautiful medieval fortress/monastery which houses most of the Government's office and King's Throne room It is also the summer residence of Je Khenpo, the Chief Abbot. Proceed to the National Library, which houses an extensive collection of Buddhist literature, with some works dating back several hundred years. Visit the nearby Institute for Zorig Chusum (commonly known as the Painting School), where a six-year training course is given in the 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan. Also visit (outside only), the National Institute of Traditional Medicine, where the medicinal herbs abundant in the kingdom are compounded and dispensed.

After lunch, visit the National Memorial Chorten. The building of this landmark was originally envisaged by 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. Visit the government-run Handicrafts Emporium and privately owned crafts shops, which offer a wide range of handcrafted products, including the splendid thangkha paintings and exquisitely woven textiles for which Bhutan is famous. Also visit the folk Heritage and National Textile Museums, opened in 2001.
Lunch, Dinner and overnight at the hotel

After breakfast at the hotel, you will be driven to Punakha. Before arriving Punaka visit Wangdiphodrang Dzong and town enroute (total drive – 85 Kms / 03 Hours). Upon arrival in Punaka check-in at your hotel. Reminder of the day will be at leisure.
Lunch, Dinner and overnight at the hotel

After breakfast at the hotel, visit Punakha Dzong, a massive structure built at the junction of two rivers. It was the capital of Bhutan until 1955, and still serve as the winter residence of the monk body. The first King, Ugyen Wangchuck, was crowned here in 1907. The fortress has withstood several damages from fire, earthquake and flood. The latest flood of Oct 94 caused great damage to the fortress but miraculously spared the statue of Buddha Jojampa. Later return to your hotel for lunch.
After lunch proceed for Paro (135 Kms / 05 Hours) enroute visiting traditional Bhutanese Farm House which offers good insight into lifestyle of local people and their culture. Upon arrival in Paro, check into the hotel.
Lunch, Dinner and overnight at the hotel

After breakfast drive up the valley to view the ruins of Drukgyel Dzong, 18 km from Paro town on the northern side of the valley. It was from here that the Bhutanese repelled several invading Tibetan armies during the 17th century. Nearby visit traditional Bhutanese Farm House, which offers good insight into lifestyle of local people.
Then take an excursion to Taktsang Monastery, the most famous of Bhutanese monasteries. It is said that Guru Rinpoche arrived here on the back of a tigress and meditated at this monastery hence it is called “Tiger's Nest”. The excursion to monastery's viewpoint takes about 5 hours for round trip. While return to Paro town visit en route Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest and most sacred shrines of the Kingdom.

Afternoon in Paro, visit Ta Dzong, once a watchtower, built to defend Rinpung Dzong during inter-valley wars of the 17th century, Ta Dzong was inaugurated as Bhutan's National Museum in 1968. Afterwards, walk down a hillside trail to visit Rinpung Dzong, which has a long and fascinating history.


Early morning, our representative will transfer you to the airport for your flight departing for Kolkata
Upon arrival in Kolkata, an ELAND HOLIDAYS representative will meet you and transfer you to your hotel, where you proceed for check-in. Remainder of the day will be at leisure for independent activities.
In the evening, an ELAND HOLIDAYS representative will transfer you to the airport for your flight back home.