The junction of Ghum, 7km southwest from Darjeeling, is home to a number of colourful Buddhist monasteries. Yiga Choling Gompa, the region’s most famous monastery, has wonderful old murals and is home to some 30 monks of the Gelugpa school. Built in 1850, it enshrines a 5m-high statue of Jampa (Maitreya or ‘Future Buddha’) and 300 beautifully bound Tibetan texts. It’s just west of Ghum, about a 10-minute walk off Hill Cart Rd.
Day 01: Transfer to Airport. Take Flight Kathmandu/ Bhadrapur. Drive to Kalimpong after immigration and lunch at Kakarvitta (1250m, 126 km, 6 hrs. drive ). Overnight at Hotel .
Kalimpong is a sleepy little town situated at an altitude of 1,200 m, some 50 km to the east of Darjeeling. Kalimpong, “The Stockade of the King’s Minister” was once a bustling town on the trade route to Tibet. It once used to be the hub of the trans-himalayan trade between India and Tibet when merchants used to ferry goods by mule caravan over the Jelepla Pass on the Sikkim – Tibet border. Although the trade route has closed down since the early sixties, the town still retains its tranquility and intrinsic charm. It enjoys the best climate in the region and is a favorite haunt of those in search of peace and serenity. It enjoys the best climate in the region, with dense forests of golden oak trees offset by the rich undergrowth of moss and lichen. Owing to it’s rich flora, Kalimpong is a blaze of colors throughout the year. The orchids of this region in particular are famous for their infinite variety as well as their delicate tints.
Day 02: Morning: Visit Durpin Dara Monastery & View Point, Local Market and Thongsa Monastery. Afternoon: Proceed to Pemayangste after lunch (1600m, 95 km, 4 hrs. drive). Overnight at Hotel.
Places of Interest
This is an observatory point, 3 km from town from where an awe-inspiring view of the mountains, rivers and the plains can be seen.
Zong Dog Parli Fo-Brang Monastery
This is a fairly new monstery located in Durpin Dara. It is one the verge of being completed, and commands a panoramic view of the town and it’s surroundings.
Raja Dorje Market Place
A visit to the market place is a unique experience. The weekly market days are Wednesdays and Saturdays. On these days villagers from adjoining areas come to sell their wares and the market is a made riot of colors and crowd.
In west Sikkim, Pemayangtse Monastery, a Tibetan Buddhist lamasery of the Nyingmapa order, is a 95 km drive from Kalimpong. Pemayangtse, “The Sublime Perfect Lotus”, is the head of all other monasteries of the Nyingma-pa sect of Tibetan Buddhism. It is great not only in its antiquity but also in sanctity. The walls and ceilings bear brilliantly hued frescoes of gods and demons. It also houses the intricately carved woodwork, “Zangdok Parli” portraying the Mahaguru’s heavenly palace.
Day 03: After breakfast visit Pemayangste Monastery then proceed to Namchi (char dham) & Gangtok with hot lunch at Rabong la (1600m, 117 km, 5 hrs. drive). Overnight at Hotel.
This small but beautiful land lies almost hidden in the Eastern Himalayas. Nestled between Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet and Darjeeling, Sikkim is a paradise of natural beauty. The third highest mountain in the world, Mt Kanchanjunga, lies in the Northeastern abode of the gods, Kanchanjunga is revered by the Sikkimese as their protective deity. Religion forms an integral part of the daily lives of the people. With nearly 200 monasteries scattered all over the land, the influence of Buddhism is all pervasive. Even in the remotest hamlet, the fluttering of prayer flags constantly reminds one of the teachings of Lord Buddha.
Day 04: Full day Sightseeing of Ganesh Tok View Point, Enchay Monastery, Institute of Tibetology, Handicrafts Centre and Flower Show (if available), local market. Overnight at Hotel.
Gangtok with an elevation of 1,780 m, the capital city of Sikkim, is a charming, laid-back town straddling a ridge with houses spilling down the hillside.
An important sect of the Nyingmapa order, this 200 year old monastery, atop a hill above Gangtok, was once the hermitage of Lama. Dripthob Karpo, a tantric master renowned for his powers of flying. The annual ritual dance is performed on the 18yh and 19th day of the 12th Month of the Tibetan calendar corresponding to the month of December/ January.
Set up to promote and manufacture and sale of local handicrafts, some of it’s produce include woolen carpets, shawls in LEPCHA weaves blankets exquisite hand carved wooden tables called Chokseesm thankas, masks and lampshades – a place to acquire a souvenir top take back home.
Institude of Tibetology
Established in 1958 to promote research on the language and culture of Tibet, as well as Mahayana Buddhism, it is the most prestigious of it’s kind in India. It has on display a vast collection of rare Tibetan, Sanskrit and Lepcha manuscript. The museum section, houses a number of exotic ritualistic chortens, brass bells, dorjis, rosaries and some very rare thanas. Today it is renowned worldwide center for study of Buddhist philosophy and religion.
Day 05: Drive to Darjeeling; visit Rumtek Monastery on the way with hot lunch at Chitray (2065 m, 116 km, 5 hrs. drive).
Afternoon: Visit Himalayan Mountaineering Institute and Zoo.
Overnight at Hotel .
Rumtek Monastery, is the sect of the Gyalwa Karmapa Lama. The monastery is a magnificent example of Tibetan Monastic art and was built by His Holiness, Gyalwa Karmapa, (a leader of the Kagyu Sect of Tibetan Buddhism). It is a close replica of the H.H. Karmapa’s monastery at Tsorphu in Tibet and houses some of the world’s most unique religious art objects. The sacred Tsomgo Lake (elevation 3780 m) is situated 38 km to the east of Gangtok amidst picturesque mountains.a a Tibetan Buddhist lamasery of the Nyingmapa order, is a 95 km drive from Kalimpong.
Day 06: Early morning trip to Tiger Hill to view sunrise over the Himalayas (12km/1hr). AM, Tea Garden & Tibetan Refugee Self Help Center.
Afternoon: Toy train ride to Ghoom (1hr) and Ghoom Monastery.
Overnight at Hotel .
Situated at an altitude of 2134 m above sea level, Darjeeling, ” The land of the Thunderbold”, has been a popular hill station ever since the British established it as a rest and recreation centre for their troops over a hundred and fifty years ago. Blessed with a cool climate, it has, perhaps, the most stunning view of the Kanchanjunga range. With about 100,000 inhabitants, it has a mixed population of various races and religion living in perfect harmony. This is vividly reflected at the shrine a top observatory Hill where HINDUS and Buddhist pray together. Gorkhas, Tibetan, Lepchas and migrants from the plains have made Darjeeling their home. Though Gorkhali, Hindi and Bengali are widely spoken, almost everyone understand English.
Places of Interest
Observatory Hill: The shrine on top of this hill symbolically stands as a witness of peace. This shrine of the Buddhists and Hindus is perhaps the only one in the world where people of two religious pray together.
Yiga Choling Monastery: This famous Buddhist monastery; founded in 1875, sits a topo of hill lock in Ghoom, 8 km away from town. It enshrines 15 images of the Maitrey Buddha or the coming Buddha. He is depicted with blue eyes and in a sitting posture.
Himalayan Mountaineering Institute: This Institute was established in 1954, after the conquest of Everest by Sir Edmund Hillary and TEnzing Sherpa, who was closely assosicated with it
till the time of his death. It conducts basic and advance courses on mountaineering skills. The Everest Museum, has on display, many objects and artifacts of the conquest of Everest as well as those of the earlier attempts.
Tiger Hill, situated 11 km away from town, at 2585 meters, Tiger Hill is synonymous with the sunrise over Kanchanjunga, Mount Everest, the highest peak in the world, can also be seen from this point.
Departure transfer to Bhadrapur airport. Take flight back to Kathmandu.
Any increase in the cost that may come into force prior to the departure date including change in price owing to fluctuation in the rate of exchange.
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