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  • Clasic India (8 Nights -9 Days)
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  • Essence of India (5 Nights -6 Days)

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EAST HIMALAYAN KINGDOMS – 12 NIGHTS / 13 DAYS

Location – Delhi-Kathmandu-Darjeeling-Gangtok-Kalimpong-Phuentsholing-Thimphu-Wangduephodrang-Paro-Delhi

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Trip Type – Mountains

Trip Duration- 13 Day(s) – 12 Night(s)

Overview

This East Himalayan Kingdoms journey to Nepal, Darjeeling, Sikkim and the ‘Dragon Kingdom’ of Bhutan will appeal to the Himalayan enthusiast keen to appreciate the culture & history of the Mountain Kingdoms.

We include time in the renowned hill station of Darjeeling and gain memorable views of Kanchenjunga – the third highest mountain in the world. In Sikkim we visit the Rumtek Monastery in Gangtok, and Kalimpong, where trade thrived between British India and Tibet until the early 1900’s. We drive across the border to Bhutan where we visit the famous Taktsang Monastery and make the short drive to the capital of Thimphu, where we have ample opportunity to wander the bazaars before crossing the Dochu La to Wangduephodrang and the remarkable Punakha Dzong.

You will be met by our representative on arrival and transferred to your pre-booked hotel. Overnight in Delhi.

Full day sightseeing tour of Old & New Delhi. Overnight in Delhi.

Morning transfer to the Airport to board flight for Kathmandu. You will be met by our representative on arrival and transferred to the pre-booked hotel. Rest of the day free at leisure or walk around the city on your own. Overnight in Kathmandu.

Today there are three amazing sites to explore within our day-trip range; Swayambhunath, Pashupatinath and Bodnath.

 

The hilltop temple of Swayambhunath is just across the River Vishnumati. Monkeys scamper amongst the statues that line the stairway to the summit, where the prayer wheels spin and the eyes of the Buddha watch over the valley in all directions.

Just to the east of the city, Pashupatinath is one of the most sacred Shivite temples in the whole subcontinent, attracting ascetic pilgrims from throughout the region. The Bagmati River is holy, and cremation ghats line the temple riverbanks.

Further on, surrounded by brightly painted monasteries, lies the huge Bodnath Stupa. As the sun falls behind the rugged mountains you can watch the Bhuddists leave their homes to join the daily devotional procession. Overnight in Kathmandu.

Early transfer to the airport for our flight to Bhadrapur. On arrival we will meet our Indian guide and then transfer to our chartered bus for the drive to Darjeeling. As the road climbs up to Darjeeling we gain impressive views back down to the Indian plains. On arrival in Darjeeling we savour the cool mountain air and our first glimpse of the snow capped Himalaya.

Transfer to your pre-booked hotel on arrival. Overnight in Darjeeling.

Darjeeling is set on the top of a wooded ridge commanding views both to the plains and to the high mountains including Kangchenjunga. During the day we will organise sightseeing to the Tibetan Refugee Centre and also to the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute. We also visit one of the famous tea plantations that were established in the middle of last century. Later we explore the local bazaars and appreciate the rich variety of peoples including Sherpas, Tibetans and Bengalis who have made Darjeeling their home.

A visit to the Tea Planters Club is also recommended, for it was here that the British inter-war expeditions stayed before assembling their Sherpa crews that would accompany them on the long march through Sikkim and across Tibet to the base of Everest. Overnight in Darjeeling.

This spectacular drive winds through the rice paddies and pine forests of the Sikkim foothills. The drive to Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim taking around five to six hours. On arrival, you are transferred to your pre-booled hotel. Overnight in Gangtok.

The drive to Thimphu winds up from the Indian plains to the Thimphu Valley. On arrival in Thimphu we are transferred to our hotel for overnight stay.

Thimphu has been the capital since 1960 (the previous being Punakha). The town is by no means large and easily explored on foot. There are some interesting markets and bazaars, and the Handicraft Emporium with famous weaving, woodcarvings and paintings and the Post Office sells Bhutan’s world renowned stamps. Overnight in Thimpu.

Our sightseeing in Thimphu will include the main Secretariat building – the Tashichho Dzong is the most prominent building consisting of the main Secretariat, the National Assembly Hall, the Office of the King and the Throne Room. Its remarkable construction is in traditional Bhutanese style without the use of nails or metal of any kind. We also visit the large Stupa dedicated to the late King HM. Jimge Dorji Wangchuk, regarded as the founder of modern day Bhutan.

From Thimphu, we drive for about three hours to Wangduephodrang (locally known as “Wangdi”), changing climatic zones from mountainous to tropical. On the way, we cross over Dochu La, a 3150-metre-high pass marked by prayer flags and a chorten and, if the weather is fine, a view of the eastern Himalaya including the highest mountain in Bhutan, Mt Gangar Punsum (7520m). We drive through forests of rhododrendron and magnolia, before the road descends into the warmer lowlands around Punakha.

On arrival transfer to our pre-booked hotel. Overnight in Wangduephodrang.

This morning we visit the Punakha Dzong, which once served as the old capital of Bhutan. This remarkable fortress was built in 1637 between two rivers and has survived many glacial floods and fire. Every February there is a procession known as the Punakha Serda to commemorate the victory over the Tibetans. No journey in Bhutan is complete without a visit to this fascinating and visually stunning Dzong.

Transfer to Paro ( approx, 5 hrs). On arrival we check into our pre-booked hotel.

Our sightseeing program in Paro includes visits to the Paro Dzong and the even older Ta Dzong that now houses the National Museum of Bhutan. While we are not permitted inside the monastery at the Dzong we can take a look around inside this impressive building which is the monastic and administrative centre for South-West Bhutan. Ta Dzong is the original fort and has been carefully transformed into a museum with excellent displays of all facets of Bhutan’s rich cultural history. Old costumes and battle dress, together with priceless jewellery and specimens of the kingdoms unique flora and fauna are included within the museum. Overnight in Paro.

We drive to the foot of the Taktsang Monastery – the famous Tigers Nest Monastery said to have been one of the divine resting places of the Guru Ringpoche. However, although much of the building was once destroyed by fire it is now restored and it is still worthwhile to ascend the walking trail to appreciate the monasteries breathtaking location on a cliff edge about 800 metres above the valley floor.

The rest of the day is free to complete sightseeing and purchases before our early morning departure the following day. Overnight in Paro.

Early morning transfer to the Airport to board flight for Delhi. On arrival in Delhi we are transferred to a hotel close to the Airport where a room is held for the group to wash and change. If the Paro flight is not delayed, we’ll have an afternoon tour of the Qutub Minar and Humayun’s tomb.

Late evening transfer to the airport for departure on homeward bound flights.

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