Fascinating East India (11n/12d)

bells at the incredible Rumtek Monastery

Bells at the incredible Rumtek Monastery

Day 1: Arrive Delhi
Namaste and welcome to India. Our friendly staff will meet and assist you at the airport upon your arrival and transfer you to the pre-booked hotel. You will experience the many facets of this captivating capital—both the modern and the ancient—as you explore both New and Old Delhi.

Day 2: Delhi
Experience Old Delhi, from the opulent Red Fort and massive Jama Masjid mosque to the narrow bustling lanes of Chandni Chowk. New Delhi’s Gateway to India and the Presidential Palace showcase modern history, yet the 12th century Qutub Minar shows that even this new part of town has an ancient past. Walk through some parts of old Delhi with a local expert guide.

Day 3: Delhi- Bagdogra – Darjeeling
Fly to Bagdogra and transfer to Darjeeling. At 7,000 feet, this legendary hill station offers breathtaking views of snow-capped Himalayas and especially Kanchendzonga, the third highest mountain in the world. Tiny waterfalls, little villages and a narrow-gauge railway track add a fairy tale feel to this place, and its tea gardens are world famous.

Day 4: Darjeeling
Enjoy an early morning visit to Tiger Hill—during which you may see the horizon changing colors just before sunrise. It is truly a majestic sight. Later drive to Ghoom to see the 19th century Yiga-Choling Gompa, a “Yellow Hat” Buddhist monastery. Later, visit the famed Lebong Race Course, the Everest Museum and the house of Tenzing Norgay who, along with Edmund Hillary, was the first to climb Mt. Everest in 1953. Enjoy a ride on the World Heritage-listed toy train (subject to availability) from Darjeeling to Ghoom and back.

Day 5: Darjeeling- Gangtok
You’ll drive to Gangtok, capital of Sikkim, visiting the awe-inspiring Rumtek Monastery along the way. The monastery is home to Gyalwa Karmapa, head of the Kagyupa order of Tibetan Buddhism. According to legend, it is believed that the first Karmapa was visited by ten thousand fairies, each of whom offered a strand of her hair as a gift. These strands were woven into a black hat, which was passed down and is still at the Rumtek Monastery today.

Day 6: Gangtok
Enjoy a sightseeing tour of Gangtok, a city set on a ridge 5000 feet above sea level. One highlight of your tour will be a visit to Enchey Monastery. This monastery is built on a site blessed by Lama Druptok Karpo, a tantric master who was believed to have the power of flight.

Day 7: Gangtok – Kalimpong
Today, you be driven to Kalimpong, a city which provides a glimpse into the rich heritage of the Bhutanese and Nepalese peoples. Nestled in Himalayan West Bengal, the city’s places of interest include Thapa Choling Monastery, Buddhist Monastery, Durpin Dara and Zang Dog Palri Fo-Brang Monastery. Kalimpong is also renowned for its orchid flower export to Europe.

Day 8: Kalimpong – Bagdogra / Bagdogra – Guwahati
After breakfast, you’ll be taken to the airport in Bagdogra to board your flight to Guwahati, one of Asia’s oldest cities. Upon arrival in Guwahati transfer to the hotel and if time permits walk through old Guwahati bazaar. Later return to the hotel for overnight.

Day 9: Guwahati – Kaziranga
Today, travel to Kaziranga National Park (UNESCO World Heritage Site), famous as the last major home of the great one-horned rhino. The park also has numerous wild buffalo, sambar, swamp deer, wild boar, elephants and Tigers  and a wide variety of shallow-water fowl. You can even enjoy the wide variety of wildlife from atop an elephant on one of the safaris.

Day 10: Kaziranga
Explore more of Kaziranga on an early morning game drive through the park, and take the afternoon to simply relax in this beautiful natural environment.

Day 11: Kaziranga – Guwahati– Kolkata
As your tour of East India continues, drive to Guwahati airport to board your flight to Kolkata. Established by the British in 1690, this is an intellectual epicenter of India. The city retains some of India’s most impressive colonial buildings, and is also home to the country’s first underground railway.

Day 12: Kolkata Departure
After breakfast, enjoy a tour of this vibrant city. Visit the Indian Museum, considered one of the best in Asia, as well as St Paul’s Cathedral, the impressive Victoria Memorial, and Kalighat Temple. The 18th century Botanical Garden is home to a 200-year-old banyan tree believed to be among the largest in the world. Later, transfer to International Airport for your flight home. As your East India Tour comes to an end, depart knowing that you have memories that will last a lifetime.

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