Day 05: Darjeeling-Gangtok
Drive in 4.30 hrs to Gangtok – the capital of Sikkim, located on a series of ridges in the shadow of the high mountain ranges bordering Tibet. Enroute complete entry formalities ( For foreign nationals only), as you enter Sikkim at Rangpo.
Entry to Sikkim is restricted. All foreign tourist visiting Sikkim must be in possession of valid visa endorsement on their passport. Apply for permission to enter Sikkim, while applying for India Visa. You can also get a Sikkim Entry permit at Rangpo. Keep 03 passport photos handy.
Upon arrival at Gangtok, Check in at hotel / homestay of choice. Afternoon free to explore the bazaars on your own. Car with driver at disposal.
Day 06: Gangtok
After Breakfast, take a local tour. You will drive around the local sightseeing circuit visiting the Govt. Institute of Cottage Industry which is keeping the local handicrafts alive. Here you see skilled teachers and trainees working at various handicrafts. There is also a sales outlet, where you can buy handicrafts at reasonable prices.. Continue to the Enchay Monastery, the Research Institute of Tibetology - with its large collection of Buddhist, icons, religious paintings and literature and the Do-Drul Chorten. Back to the hotel for lunch. After lunch a round trip of 52 Kms to Rumtek Monastery and join in the solemn evening prayers. Foreign nationals to keep passports handy, They are checked at the monastery entrance.
Headquarters of the Karamapa branch of the kargyu sect, Rumtek Monastery was rebuilt in 1964, as a replica of the Tsurphu Monastery, which was the original headquarters of the Kargyu Sect in Tibet. The 16th Gyalwa Karamapa, head of the order undertook this, after he fled from Tibet, and settled in Sikkim. Behind the main temple are the Dharma Chakra Center, and the Nalanda Institute of Buddhist Studies. Here monks spend a minimum of nine years, in study, followed by three years of meditation. The gilded chorten or stupa studded with precious stones containing the remains of the Karamapa, as also the main temple, are the main attractions. With its traditional architecture, exquisite paintings, intricate woodwork, housing treasures of manuscripts and icons, Rumtek is a splendid example of Tibetan monastic art.
Back to your hotel at Gangtok for overnight.
Day 07: Gangtok – Kalimpong
Retrace our steps down the Teesta Valley for 02 hrs. Therafter a half hours drive up the lovely forested road to Kalimpong. Check in at hotel /homestay of choice. Afternoon free to take a walk , explore bazaar or relax.
Kalimpong, is an exotic town of beautiful people, mystical and enchanting? Ruled by Bhutan for 155 years, and annexed by the British in 1865, it was developed as a center of the wool trade with Tibet. The Lepchas, who were the original inhabitants, were subjected to Bhutanese, Tibetan, British, and Nepalese influences. History has left behind a fascinating ethnic blend of Lepcha, Bhutia and Nepalese people. Here Buddhism rubs shoulders with Christianity, Hinduism, and Islam. Gompas, churches, temples, monasteries, monks and missionaries; all coexist in a jovial and tolerant society. Flower and orchid nurseries, colonial bungalows, churches of the "Raj", and Buddhist monasteries are there to explore. A quaint bustling bazaar, is a Pandora's box of surprises? Kalimpong is a wanderer's delight. Buddhist tankhas, hand beaten silver, Bhutanese weaves, Chinese lamps, hand crafted paper, Lepcha daggers, Nepali Khukaris and Buddhist masks, are some of the shopping attractions. The Wednesday and Saturday "Hat", or village market, brings together people from surrounding areas, selling an amazing variety of products.
Day 08: Kalimpong
Car tour of Kalimpong. Visit Buddhist Monastery, Orchid & Flower nursery, Churches and homes of the colonial era, Dr Grahams Homes campus and chapel, Durpin and Deolo Hill view points, and the exotic bazaar.
Day 09: Kalimpong – Bagdogra
After breakfast drive for 2.30 hrs, down the Teesta Valley to Bagdogra to board your departure flight.