India And Bhutan

Delhi – Bagdogra – Darjeeling – Gangtok – Phuentsholing – Thimpu – Punakha – Paro – Kolkata (Calcutta)

16 days / 15 nights

Bhutan is as close as you can get to that mythical Shangri-La! Nestling in the mighty Himalayas, this small country remained secluded for long and opened up only recently. A Buddhist kingdom, it is a land of monasteries and fortresses, rising from subtropical plains and soaring up steep mountains and valleys. The country measures its wellbeing not in the ubiquitous GDP but a new concept of GNH – Gross National Happiness. Discover this land which lies on the border with the Indian state of Sikkim where your journey really begins.

India is the natural gateway to Bhutan, with easy access from the sub-tropical plains in the south. Get a peek into what makes Bhutan unique, enjoy nature’s bounty and discover a way of life that is being preserved so beautifully. Bhutan is deeply conscious of environmental issues and is the world’s first carbon neutral country if not carbon negative. In India, you visit the hill towns of Darjeeling and Gangtok, each with their own culture, history and way of life.

At a glance

  • Visit a tea estate in Darjeeling
  • Get to see Kanchenjunga, the third highest peak in the world, weather permitting, at sunrise
  • Ride the "Toy Train", one of the engineering marvels of the world
  • Visit Buddhist monasteries in Sikkim
  • Travel to the famous and oft photographed Taktsang Monastery, also called Tiger's Nest, in Bhutan
  • Discover the importance of the ‘dzong’ or fortress in Bhutan
  • Enjoy the easy pace of life in Bhutan
  • Acquaint yourself with the variety of colonial legacies in and around the city of Kolkata, formerly called Calcutta

The mountains have had a mystic magic over humans and it does not get any better than the mighty Himalayas. You spend most of your time in the mountains, during this tour, beginning with the ‘hill station’ of Darjeeling with its British colonial imprint to the serene monasteries in Sikkim before moving on to Bhutan, the focal point.

There is adventure during this trip, what with long drives in the mountains. There is culture, first in India then in Bhutan. There is tea in Darjeeling. There is serenity in Sikkim. There is a relaxed way of life in Bhutan. On the whole, this is a tour that offers variety with a capital.

Day 01

Arrive Delhi

Land in Delhi where our representative meets you and assists transfer to the hotel. Check-in and stay overnight.

Day 02

New Delhi

Post-breakfast visit to old and new Delhi with its medieval and modern cultures. The sights include Jama Masjid (mosque) built in the 17th century, the memorial to Mahatma Gandhi, the Red Fort, Humanyun’s Tomb, Qutab Minar and a drive past government buildings in Lutyen’s Delhi. Overnight in New Delhi.

Day 03

New Delhi – Bagdogre – Darjeeling

After breakfast leave for the airport to board the flight to Bagdogra. From Bagdogra, drive to Darjeeling. Relax for the rest of the day. Overnight in Darjeeling.

Day 04

Darjeeling

Visit to the Tiger Hill to view the sunrise over Kanchendzonga (8598m) dropping in at Ghoom Monastery on the way back. After a late breakfast visit Tukver Tea Estate to see the manufacturing the world famous Darjeeling tea followed by a tour of Darjeeling city, the Bhutiya Basty Gompa, Himalayan Mountaineering Institute and the Tibetan Refugee Centre. Board the toy train for a ride till Ghoom and back. Overnight in Darjeeling.

Day 05

Darjeeling – Gangtok

After breakfast embark on a scenic drive to Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim. After checking into the hotel visit the Enchey Monastery, the White Memorial Hall and Tibetology Institute followed by the Rumtek Monastery. Evening free to explore the bazaar or relax. Overnight in Gangtok.

Day 06

Gangtok – Phuentsholing

Drive to Phuentsholing, the border town in Bhutan, after breakfast. Your Indian Vehicle drops you at the border where you have to complete immigration formalities. Overnight in Phuentsholing.

Day 07

Phuentsholing – Thimpu

Complete your visa formalities and proceed to Thimpu, the capital Bhutan. The drive is beautiful and exciting and you visit the Taktsang Monastery viewpoint, perched on the side of a cliff 900m above the valley. It is said that Guru Rinpoche arrived here on the back of a tigress and meditated at this monastery hence it is called ‘Tiger’s Nest’. OVernight in Thimpu.

Day 08

Thimpu

Post breakfast, full day sightseeing of Thimphu valley including the National Library with its vast collection of ancient Buddhist texts, the National Memorial Chorten, a monument to world peace and prosperity and Tashichho Dzong, the seat of the Bhutanese government. Later, there is an excursion to the famous Cheri Goemba monastery. Overnight in Thimpu.

Day 09

Thimpu – Punakha

Leave for Punakha after breakfast visiting the Textile and Folk Heritage Museum on the way. You drive up to Dochu-la, a pass at 3,088m (10,130 ft) stopping briefly to view and admire the chorten, mani wall and prayer flags. If the skies are clear you may be able to see the soaring peaks of Masagang (7,158m), Tsendagang (6,960m), Terigang (7,060m), Jejegangphugang (7,158 m), Kangphugang (7,170 m), Zongphugang (7,060 m ) and Gangkar Puensum - the highest peak in Bhutan at 7,497 mts. Relax after arrival in Punakha and later visit Punakha Dzong and the local market.

Day 10

Punakha

Post-breakfast excursion to Chimi Lhakhang, dedicated to Lama Drukpa Kuenley who lived in the 15th century and known as ‘Divine Madman’, with the temple of fertility. In the afternoon visit Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten - beautiful hike to the regal chorten built to remove negative forces and promote peace, stability and harmony in the changing world. The Chorten dominates the upper Punakha Valley with commanding views across the Mo Chhu and up towards the mountainous peaks of Gasa and beyond. Overnight in Punakha.

Day 11

Punakha – Wangdue Phodrang – Paro

After breakfast leave for Paro visiting Wangdue Phodrang for its Dzong and local market followed by a farmhouse. In Punkaha, visit Ta Dzong, which in the past served as a watch tower and now houses the National Museum, walk down to Rinpung Dzong where the approach is through a traditional covered bridge called Nemi Zam. The walk through the bridge, over a stone inlaid path, provides a good view of the architectural wonder of the Dzong as well as life around it. Overnight in Punakha.

Day 12

Paro

After breakfast, drive up the valley to Drukgyel Dzong, built in 1647 to commemorate the Bhutanese victory over the Tibet. On the way back visit Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest temples in Bhutan, built in the 7th century. Overnight in Paro.

Day 13

Paro – Kolkata

Board flight to Kolkata after breakfast. Relax in the hotel in Kolkata and visit Dakshineswar Temple in the evening. This is said to be the birthplace of modern Hinduism founded by Swami Vivekanand to promote Vedanta Philosophy. Overnight in Kolkata.

Day 14

Kolkata

Visit the Kalighat Temple after breakfast, followed by Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, the Jain Temples, Victoria Memorial, Dalhousie Square, St. Paul’s Cathedral and St John's Church. Afternoon trip to the flower market, Botanical Gardens and the Bazaar in the old quarter. Overnight in Kolkata.

Day 15

Kolkata

Leisurely breakfast followed by a full day European extension tour visiting Jafargazi’s tomb at Tribeni, Hanseswari temple and Basudev temple at Banshberia. This is followed by a visit to Bandel, a Portuguese Colony and Chinchura, an Old Dutch Colony and Chandannagar an old French Colony. Stop for lunch on your own at a local restaurant. Proceed to Sreerampore to see Rev. Cerey Memorial Museum, churches, cemetery and other interesting buildings. Overnight in Kolkata.

Day 16

Kolkata – Onward Destination

After breakfast board flight to onward destination.

The mountains have had a mystic magic over humans and it does not get any better than the mighty Himalayas. You spend most of your time in the mountains, during this tour, beginning with the ‘hill station’ of Darjeeling with its British colonial imprint to the serene monasteries in Sikkim before moving on to Bhutan, the focal point.

There is adventure during this trip, what with long drives in the mountains. There is culture, first in India then in Bhutan. There is tea in Darjeeling. There is serenity in Sikkim. There is a relaxed way of life in Bhutan. On the whole, this is a tour that offers variety with a capital.

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