In Search Of Shangri-La (21n/22d)

Pemayangtse Monastery

Pemayangtse Monastery

Day 01 – Arrive Delhi    
Upon arrival in Delhi meet and assist at the airport and transfer to hotel.

Day 02 – Delhi. Sightseeing.
A half day sightseeing tour of Old and New Delhi.

Day 03 – Delhi to Bagdogra flight and drive to Darjeeling.
In time departure transfer to the airport to board flight to Bagdogra. Upon arrival in Bagdogra transfer to Darjeeling. A beautiful hill station with stunning views of the mighty “Kanchanjunga” Mountain peaks.

Day 04 – In Darjeeling. Sightseeing
Visit the Tibetal Refugee and self help centre and also visit a Tea factory and visit the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute and the adjoining zoo to see the snow leopard and red panda’s.

Day 05 – Darjeeling to Pelling
Check out from Darjeeling and drive to Pelling in West Sikkim (Alt 7175Ft / 2150M). Enjoy scenic beauty of Rangeet River Valley on the way. On arrival check in at Hotel. Free evening. Overnight at Pelling

Day 06 – At Pelling
Local tour in Pelling with visits to Pemayangtse Monastery, Khecheopalri Lake, Kunchenjungha Falls and Rimbi Falls

Day 07 – Pelling to Gangtok drive via Rumtek Monastery
A hilly but a very scenic drive to Gangtok. On the way visit the famous Rumtek Monastery. Later proceed to Gangtok and stay at one of the finest hotels in Sikkim with fabulous views and superb hospitality and comfort.

Day 08 – In Gangtok.
Today sightseeing of Gangtok and visit Enchey Monastery, Institue of Tibetology and meet a Rimpoche.

Day 09 – Gangtok to Kalimpong drive. Visit the Bhutanese Monastery.
A scenic drive to Kalimpong. Kalimpong is also called the city of Orchids. It ha fabulous views and is a friendly small town. Visit the Bhutanese monastery here and enjoy walking through its colorful bazaar.

Day 10 – Kalimpong to Phuntsholing. Drive
A very scenic drive through hills and the Terai region (foothills). Upon arrival at the India/Bhutan border complete the border formalities and meet the Bhutan crew. Transfer to a hotel on Bhutan side in Phuntsholing. Our guide will carry out the entry formalities.

Day 11 – Phuntsholing to Paro. Drive
Again a very scenic drive in the hills to Paro. Upon arrival in Paro transfer to the hotel. Enjoy the hospitality of Bhutanese hotels and if time permits than visit the town centre for a walk.

Day 12 – In Paro. Sightseeing
The main highlight of the day is the hike to one of Bhutan’s most  venerated pilgrimage sites, the Taktsang  Goemba, commonly referred to as the ‘Tiger’s Nest’. According to legend, Guru Rinpoche miraculously flew here on the back of a tigress, meditated in a cave here for three months and converted the whole of Paro valley to Buddhism. Resting at an altitude of 900 m above the valley, Taktsang is an architectural wonder and the spectacular four hour walk will be your most overwhelming experience ever. Drive on to visit Drukgyel Dzong (the ruined fortress -17 km from the town), built in 1647 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to commemorate his victory over the Tibetans in 1644.Drukgyel means ‘fortress of the victorious Drukpas’. The Dzong, with a delightful village nestling at its foot, and the Mount of Jumolhari (Alt 24,000 feet) appearing as a back drop on a fine weather is an awe-inspiring sight. Later visit Ta-Dzong, the National Museum (closed on Sundays and Mondays), which was originally the watch tower of the Paro Dzong and stands imposingly on a hillock overlooking the Paro valley. Overnight in Paro.

Day 13 – Paro to Thimpu. Sightseeing
The 1 -1 ½ hour picturesque drive (57 km) along the course of the Paro Chhu (Paro River) and the Wang Chhu (Thimphu River) will bring you to the capital city of Bhutan, Thimphu. Enroute visit Simtokha Dzong, It is the first dzong in Bhutan built in 1629 AD by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. This Dzong houses the largest monastic school in the country. It is also the Institute for language and Cultural Studies.) Check into the hotel in Thimphu and begin the sightseeing with a visit to the Memorial Chorten, Changangkha Lhakhang and drive up to the BBS (Bhutan Broadcasting Service) tower view point and enjoy the stunning view of the entire Thimphu town. On the drive back, stop at the mini Takin Zoo (Takin is the national animal of Bhutan). Later visit Tashichhodzong, the fortress of the glorious religion. It is a majestic fortress in all of its grandeur and serves as the seat of Bhutan’s government. The Dzong houses the secretariat, the throne room, the offices of His Majesty, the King and the ministries of home affairs and finance. Overnight in Thimphu.

Day 14 – In Thimpu. Sightseeing
Visit Bhutan National Library, (Open 9:30 am-1pm & 2pm-5pm, Mon-Fri).It was   established in 1967 to preserve many ancient Dzongkha and Tibetan texts. Also visit the National Institute for Zorig Chusum (commonly known as painting school). It offers course that provides instruction in many of Bhutan’s traditional arts to students from throughout the country and later visit National Textile Museum-(Closed on Sundays and Government    holidays) – Contains the vast collection of most intricate Bhutanese Textiles. Afternoon: Visit the Post Office in town to see/buy a wondrous collection of Bhutanese stamps and postcards, also visit the  paper factory and Folk Heritage Museum- A three-storey rammed mud and timber building house will give you a glimpse into the way most Bhutanese lived then, and how many rural people still live today. Overnight in Thimphu.

Day 15 – Thimpu to Punakha
Drive on to the beautiful valley of Punakha, the former capital of Bhutan. After a dramatic 45 minutes  drive, the zigzag course of the road brings you to Dochula, a beautiful mountain pass (alt 3,140 m) with its fluttering prayer flags and a spectacular set of 108 miniature chortens. On a clear fine day, you will also get awe-inspiring glimpses of the towering Himalayan peaks around. The remaining part of the drive is mostly a gradual descent into Punakha valley.  Check into your hotel. Once in Punakha visit  the Punakha Dzong, strategically built between the two rivers, the Pho chhu (Male River) and the Mo chhu (Female River), the winter residence of the Je-Khenpo (the religious leader of Bhutan). This is followed by an evening hike to Khamsum Yule Namgyel Chorten, a three- storey shrine built by the Queen of Bhutan. It’s a brief 30-40 min walk uphill through terraces of paddy fields, chilly plantations etc. Overnight in Punakha.

Day 16 – Wangdi and Punakha sightseeing and later drive back to Thimpu.
Morning: visit Chimi Lhakhang in the village of Lobesa (20 mins from Punakha), the auspicious fertility temple built by the famous divine madman. It’s a beautiful 30 min walk amidst paddy fields and typical Bhutanese houses. Stop at some of the local village homes here to get a feel of the traditional Bhutanese way of living. The temple is beautifully perched on a small hill top overlooking the entire village. And drive to Wangdiphodrang. Right before arriving Wangduephodrang, you will catch a glimpse of the very distinctive Rinchengang village whose inhabitants are all celebrated stonemasons. Visit the impressive Wangduephodrang Dzong built in 1638 A.D and local market and drive back to Thimphu. Overnight in Thimphu.

Day 17 – Thimpu to Paro drive and catch flight to Kathmandu.
After breakfast another scenic drive to Paro for flight to Kathmandu.

Day 18 – In Kathmandu. Visit the famous sights
Kathmandu City: Known as Kantipur, is the capital of the Kingdom of Nepal. A 218 square miles of land, situated above 4400 ft above sea level, Kathmandu is the hub of Nepal’s traditional culture and arts.  This is the place for rest, relaxation and easy-day sightseeing of historic and artistic temples and monuments, and mountain views. Kashtamandap the source of the name Kathmandu and  supposed  to be made from the  timber of  a single tree and the Durbar Square are with its array of temples overlooked by the Hanuman Dhoka,  Seto Machendranath and the ancient place of the Nepalese Royalty. Swayambhunath: Located approximately 4 kms. /2.5 miles, this Buddhist Stupa is said to be 2000 years old. The Stupa which forms the main structure is composed of a solid hemisphere of brick and earth supporting a lofty conical spire capped by a pinnacle of Copper gilt. Painted on the four sided base of the spire are the all seeing eyes of Lord Buddha. This hill is a mosaic of small Chaityas and Pagoda temples. PM: Pashupatinath and Boudhnath. Pashupatinath: 6kms/4miles from Kathmandu City, Pashupatinath Temple is one of the holiest Hindu Temples dedicated to Lord Shiva. Situated amidst a lush green natural setting on the bank of the sacred Bagmati River, the temple built in Pagoda Style has gilded roof and richly carved silver doors. Visitors will be permitted to view the temple from the east bank of River Bagmati, entrance in the temple being strictly forbidden to all non Hindus. Pashupatinath is the centre of annual pilgrimage on the day of Shivaratri which falls in the month of February/March. Behind the temples are the cremation grounds. Boudhnath: One of the oldest and the biggest Buddhist monuments ever built in Nepal, Furthermore it is one of the holiest Buddhist sites in Kathmandu. Boudhanath is an imposing structure standing some 36 meters. The Stupa stands on the massive three level mandala style Platforms surrounded by colourful private family houses. Listed in the UNESCO World Heritage list this site is considered very much like Mecca for the Buddhists and every year tens of thousands of pilgrims from all over the Himalayan region visit the stupa.

Day 19 – Kathmandu – Excursion Bakhtapur
Bhaktapur (Bhadgaon): Also known as city of devotees, this place is the home of medieval art and architecture. Lying 14 kms./9 miles east of Kathmandu City, this place was founded in the 9th Century and is shaped like a conch shell. The city is at the height of 4600 ft. above sea level. In Bhadgaon, you will visit the Durbar Square with its array of temples overlooked by the Palace of 55 windows built by King Bupatindra Malla. The Nyatapola Temple, also built by King Bhupatindra Malla, is the best example of Pagoda style and stands on five terraces on each of which stands a pair of figures – two famous strong men, two elephants, two lions, two griffins and two goddesses.

Day 20 – Kathmandu to Pokhara Flight.
Pokhara: Imagine a perfect triangular mountain, capped by snow and buffeted by the icy winds of the Himalaya and the tranquil lake, perfectly reflecting the snowy peaks. Now imagine a village on the lakeshore, thronged by travelers and reverberating to the sound of ‘Om Mani Padme Hum’ from a hundred shops selling prayer flags, carpets, masks, singing bowls and CDs of Buddhist mantras. That’s Pokhara. A place of natural beauty, centre of relaxation, is situated at an altitude of 827m from the sea level and 200km west of Kathmandu valley. Phewa Lake: The ultimate lake for boating where an island temple is located at the middle of the lake. The reflection of Mt. Machhapuchhre and Annapurna can be seen in its serene water. Thick forest lies on the adjoining southern slopes of the lake. Overnight at Pokhara.

Day 21 – In Pokhara. Sightseeing
Begnas and Rupa Lakes: Begnas & Rupa lakes lies in the northeast of Pokhara valley at the distances of 13 km from the main city. These lakes are located at the foothill of Begnas-mountain and are separated by the Pachabiya hill. Seti River Gorge: It is carved by Seti River and is one of the natural wonders of Pokhara. KI Singh Bridge at the Bagar, Mahendra Pool & Prithivi Highway Bridge near Bus Park provides a perfect view of the river’s dreadful rush and the deep gorge made by the turbulent flow of white water like milk. Mahendra Cave: Mahendra Cave lies north of the Pokhara valley. It is a large limestone cave, which is one of the few stalagmite stalactite caves found in Nepal. Tibetan Village: Tibetan Village Tashiling in the south and Tashil Palkhel in the north of Pokhara Valley are the two Tibetan villages, which is inhabited by the Tibetan people who keeps themselves busy by producing and trading woolen carpets and other handicrafts.

Day 22 – Pokhara to Kathmandu
Take a flight from Pokhara to Kathmandu and take connecting flight out.

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