SIKKIM & WEST BENGAL & BHUTAN & ASSAM

HIGHLIGHTS

In this unique tour you will experience four different cultures and different way of living.
Discover a mystical wonderland of spectacular natural beauty in Sikkim. The panoramic perfection of the snow-capped Himalayas, the heady scent of flower-bedecked meadows, the vibrant culture and joyous festivals, the infinite variety of its flora and fauna makes it a holiday that is at once fascinating and challenging.

The crowning glory of Sikkim is Mt. Khangchendzonga, the third highest mountain in the world. With magnificent snow and ice scenery it is often regarded as the undisputed monarch among the peaks of the world. But for the Sikkimese Khangchendzonga is much more than a mountain and is revered as the abode of their guardian deity Dzo-nga. Nestled among the rolling mountains with the glistening Mt Kanchenjunga towering over the azure sky, Darjeeling fondly called "Queen of the Hills", provides a perfect gateway for those seeking to be in harmony with nature. This is the land of the muscatel flavoured Darjeeling tea revered by connoisseurs across the globe. This is the land of the world heritage Darjeeling Himalayan Railway where the century old miniature steam engine still chugs uphill vying for space with the fast disappearing Land Rovers.

You will experience the Bhutan from most urban cities to the most remote rural villages. This tour will take you through West Bhutan to East Bhutan en route Central Bhutan where you can see three cultures& languages. The real experience of local people is only interacting with them personally where they use to live from many generations. You will visit some villages where you can really see a century old houses, try a local authentic food.

Your tour ends in Assam. The safari in Kaziaranga national park will make your jorney unforgettable.

ITINERARY

Day 01: Arrival Bagdora-Pelling
Day 02: Pelling
Day 03: Pelling-Gangtok, 135km/3 hrs
Day 04: Gangtok
Day 05: Gangtok-Kalimpong, 50km/1 hr
Day 06: Kalimpong-Darjeeling
Day 07: Darjeeling-Jaigon, 212 km/8 hrs
Day 08: Phuntsholing-Paro, 176 km/8 hrs
Day 09: Paro
Day 10: Paro-Thimphu, 60 km/1 hr
Day 11: Thimphu-Punakha, 77km/3 hrs
Day 12: Punakha-Gangtey, 78 km/3 hrs
Day 13: Gangtey-Bumthang, 188km/6 hrs
Day 14: Bumthang
Day 15: Bumthang-Trashigang,290km/10 hrs
Day 16: Trashigang
Day 17: Trashigang-Trashi Yangtse, 57km/2 hrs
Day 18: TrashiYangtse-Samdrup-jongkhar, 230km/9 hrs
Day 19: S/jongkhar-Jorhat, 380km/7-8 hrs
Day 20: Jorhat-Majuli,32km/1 hrs
Day 21: Majuli
Day 22: Majuli-Kaziranga,125km/03 hrs
Day 23: Kaziranga
Day 24: Kaziranga-Guwahati Airport, 250km/5 hrs
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Day 1: IXB airport - Pelling
Meet & Greet on arrival at Bagdogra Airport & transfer to Pelling.On arrival check-in to your hotel & rest of the day at leisure.Overnight at hotel.

Day 2: Pelling
After breakfast start for full day sightseeing, which includes Sims Ore Bridge, Pemayangtse Monastery, Rimbi Falls, and Kanchendzonga Water Falls, Khecheopalri Lake? Overnight Halt at Pelling.

Day 3: Pelling-Gangtok
viaTashiding monastery
After breakfast check out from the hotel & transfer to Gangtok via Tashiding Monastery. On arrival at Gangtok, check in your hotel. Overnight stay in the Hotel in Gangtok.

Day 4: Gangtok
Morning after breakfast, start City Tour of Gangtok covering Rumtek Monastery, Ban Jakhri Falls, Tashi View Point, Flower Show, Cottage Industry and Handicraft Centre, Institute of Tibetology, Dro-dulChorten, Enchey Monastery. Overnight stay at hotel, Gangtok.

Day 5: Gangtok-Kalimpong
After breakfast check out from the hotel, transfer to Kalimpong. On arrival at Kalimpong, check in your hotel. After that, visit Dello Flower/ Orchid Nursery, Dr. Graham's Home, MangalDham, Zelepla View Point and Buddhist Monastery. Back to Hotel. Overnight stay at Kalimpong.

Day 6:Kalimpong-Darjeeling
After breakfast transfer to Darjeeling. On arrival at Darjeeling, check in your hotel. Then, visit Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, PNZ Zoological Park (closed on Thursday) Tenzing Rock, Tibetan Refuge Centre (closed on Sunday), Tea Garden (outer view), and back to hotel. Overnight Halt at Darjeeling.

Day 7: Darjeeling-Jaigon
Early Morning at 04.00 AM visit Tiger Hill famous for sunrise over Mt. Kanchendzonga, on way back visit Ghoom Monastery, Batasia Loop and back to hotel. After breakfast check out from the hotel, transfer to Jaigaon (Bhutan Border) for onward journey with Sweet memories.

Day 8: Phuntsholing- Paro
Your Bhutanese guide and car will wait you at Bhutan border. Today is long journey to Paro. Check it to hotel, rest.

Day 9: Hike to Taktsang monastery
Morning hike to Taktsang Monastery. The trail is broad and the walk of approximately 1.5 to 2 hours uphill takes you high above the Paro valley. The view of Taktsang Monastery built on a sheer cliff face 900 meters above the valley floor is a spectacular sight. The great Guru Rinpoche is said to have flown here on the back of a tigress when he brought the teachings of the Buddhist Dharma to Bhutan in the 8th Century. Nearby there is a cafeteria where you can stop for lunch.
On the return drive to Paro, visit 7th Century Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the 108 temples constructed by the Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo. Kyichu is built in a manner similar to the Jokhang in Lhasa.

In the afternoon drive to the ruins of the 17th Century Drukgyel Dzong, an historic monument built by the Shabdrung to commemorate his victory against invading Tibetans in 1644. In fine weather the towering peak of the sacred Mount Jomolhari (7314m) appears as a stunning backdrop.

Day 10: Paro - Thimphu
Thimphu has a special charm and it is fascinating to sit and watch a gathering of local people in the town square, wearing their traditional dress and going about their business in a typically unhurried Bhutanese way.
Visit the National Memorial Chortenand 12th century Changangkha Temple.
Visit the National Memorial Chorten and 12th century Changangkha Temple.

After lunch visit the School of Arts and Crafts, The National Library housing the collection of Bhutanese scriptures dating back to the 8th century, the Traditional Paper Factory displaying the Bhutanese paper making process, and a fascinating replica of a medieval farmhouse at the Folk Heritage Museum.

In the evening drive to Tashichoe Dzong, the main secretariat which houses the summer residence of the central monk body and main seat of government. Its majestic architecture in finely balanced proportions is complemented by artistic decorations and paintings and followed by visit to the Handicraft shop and return to your hotel.

Altitude at Thimphu: 2400m

Day 11: Thimphu-Punakha
Drive over the Dochu-La pass (3,100 meters), which on a clear day offers an incredible view of Himalayan peaks before descending into balmy Punakha valley (about 3 hrs total driving time).

Punakha was the ancient capital of Bhutan. On arrival, drive to Punakha Dzong, the ‘Palace of Great Happiness'. Built in 1637 by the Shabdrung, the ‘Unifier of Bhutan', Punakha Dzong is situated at the confluence of the Mo Chu and Pho Chu (Mother and Father Rivers). The three story main temple of the Punakha Dzong is a breathtaking example of traditional architecture with four intricately embossed entrance pillars crafted from cypress and decorated in gold and silver. It was here in 1907 that Bhutan's first king was crowned.

Hike to Chimi Lhakhang, temple of the DrukpaKuenly who is also known as the Divine Madman. He inherited the Divine Madman title since he revolted against the orthodox Buddhism in his time. He taught the people that religion is an inner feeling and it's not necessary that one should be an ordained monk. He is also considered a symbol of fertility and most childless couples go to his temple for blessing.

Afterwards, drive 30 minutes towards northern part of Punakha valley and hike to Khumsum chorten. It's about less than 2 hours hike, worth to do hike as when you approach on hill, you will have splendor view of valley.

Altitude at Punakha: 1300 m. Overnight: Punakha.

Day 12: Punakha-Gangtey
Drive to Wangduephodrang and visit the Dzong which is perched on a spur at the confluence of two rivers. The position of the Dzong is remarkable as it completely covers the spur and commands an impressive view both up and down the valley.

Then drive up a winding mountain road through oak and rhododendron forest, and over a high pass down into the Phobjikha valley, surely one of the loveliest high altitude valleys in Bhutan and chosen winter home of black necked cranes, migrating from the Tibetan plateau. Explore Phobjikha valley and also visit Gangtey Gompa (Monastery), the only Nyingmapa monastery in western Bhutan.

Altitude at Gangtey: 3000 m

Day 13: Gangtey-Bumthang
After breakfast, proceed to Bumthang, one of the most spectacular valleys in Bhutan and also the holy heartland of Buddhism. The road winds steeply up to Yutong La (3,400 m / 11,155 ft), and then run down through dense coniferous forest to enter a wide, open, cultivated valley, known as Chumey valley.

After arriving we will visit Kurje Lhakhang, one of the most sacred places in the kingdom as Bhutan's "patron saint", Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava) meditated here. From Kurje monastery, a tarmac road heads south along the right bank of the river to Jambey Lhakhang. This temple, erected by the Tibetan king SongtsenGampo in the 7th century, is one of the two oldest in Bhutan (the other being KyichuLhakhang in Paro).

Altitude at Bumthang: 2700 m

Day 14: Tang valley
[Day Excursion to Tang valley, situated at 3000m, north east of Chhokor valley and on the way visit ‘Me-bar tsho' (burning lake). En route to Tang valley, visit Nunnery Monastery established in 90's by the 9th re-incarnation of Pema Lingpa (mind). Drive through open field and crossing several villages and school.

We will visit Orgyen Chholing Museum established by Ashi Kunzang Choden, descended of Deb Tshoki Dorji (Temporal ruler). The hike to museum begins crossing Tang River, and village. Short walk, you will come across small wooden bridge, after that there is chorten and from there it is gradual ascend to the museum for less than hour. Before climbing there is small hut beside the trail. It is water mill back to the 18th century and still it is active perhaps you may see local people using it. Upon arrival at Museum, overlooking view of Tang valley and after visiting Museum, hike further down to suspension bridge for an hour. Lunch Picnic lunch at river bank. Later, drive back to Bumthang.

Day 15: Bumthang-Trashigang
The journey continues eastwards, winding through more rugged terrain. The drive to Mongar takes about 8 hours, with spectacular views en route. We will drive up into the hills above the valley and then past Ura village, before climbing sharply to the highest point on Bhutan's motor able road network, Thrumsing La (3760 m).

From here, the road gradually descends to the alpine valley of Sengor, with wonderful views of cascading waterfalls and the hills of eastern Bhutan along the way. Vegetation changes from alpine to subtropical with the loss of height, and bamboos and luxuriant ferns overhang the road as we drop down to the valley floor. The descent stops at 700 m / 2,300 ft, where we cross the Kuri Chu (river). We ascend again through pine forests, maize fields and eastern hamlets to reach Mongar town, high on a gentle slope above the valley. After lunch continue our trip to Trashigang. This trip of about 96 km takes only 3 hours. The first part of journey is through leafy forest filled with ferns. After driving through the Kori-la pass (2,450 m / 8,040 ft), marked by a pretty Chorten and a Mani wall, we descend rapidly through corn fields and banana groves to reach the famous road zigzags just below Yadi, a fairly recent and now fast-growing settlement.

After zigzagging down the hillside, the road east runs along the Gamri River. A turnoff on the left leads up to Drametse. The temple, perched on top of a steep hill above the village, was founded by Choeden Zangmo and is the most important monastery of eastern Bhutan. This is the place of origin of the famous Drametse Nga Chham, a masked dance with drums.

About 30 km onwards lays Trashigang (1,100m/3,610ft), which clings to a steep hillside above the Gamri River. Trashigang is the principal township of the biggest and most populated district in the country.

Altitude at Trashigang: 1600 m

Day 16: Trashigang
After breakfast we will visit After breakfast we will visit Trashigang Dzong, standing at the extreme end of a rocky outcrop far above the river gorge. It serves as the administrative seat for the district and part of the Dzong is occupied by the local monastic community.

Hike up to Rangshikhar Village from where you have a breath-taking view of the valley!

Day 17: Trashigang - Trashiyangtse
After breakfast, drive to TrashiYangtse which is situated in a small river valley, and it is a lovely spot from which to take walk in the surrounding countryside. This district is very near to the Tibetan border and in the olden days of Bhutan this village was popular place for trade. Trashiyangtse is famous for its wooden containers and bowls, which makes inexpensive, attractive and useful mementos of the visit to this remote region.

En route visit the GomKora. This temple is near the Drangmechuriver. The myth says in the 7th century there was a demon living in the river that used to attack the villagers. When Guru Rinpoche came to save the villagers the demon disappeared into the river. Guru meditated under the rock cave near the river bank and subdued the demon. This cave still contains the body print of the second Buddha hence it is worshiped by the Bhutanese. It is said that if anyone can climb below the rock cave and emerge from the summit, he will be forgiven of all his sins. A few kilometers from GomKora you will arrive Doksum village. Take a look around the village. The people from here are said to have great talents in weaving.

As you enter Trashiyangtse, drop by Chorten Kora (a huge stupa). Chorten Kora is one of the only two such stupas in the kingdom with styles similar to those found in Nepal and it host to a great festival which attract all of east residents. The stupa is entirely whitewashed and is ideally situated next to the running brook. Once you arrive Trashiyangtse visit the Zorig Chuksum "School for Thirteen Traditional Arts and Crafts" followed by a walking tour around the wonderful town of Trashiyangtse.

Altitude at TrashiYangtse: 1900 m. Overnight: Guest house / Farm house

Day 18: Trashiyangtse - Samdrupjonkhar
Lengthy drive to Samdrupjongkhar, road was completed in 1970's, and the journey down takes about 8 hours. Along the way, we pass by Sherubtse College in Kanglung, which was founded in 1978 and is a degree granting institution affiliated to the University of Delhi. We also visit the nearby Zangtho Pelri temple representing Guru Rinpoche's paradise, built in 1978 by the late Minister of Home Affairs.
Evening, stroll in the town for leisure.

Altitude at Samdrupjongkhar: 300 m.

Day 19: Samdrup-Jongkhar-Jorhat
Pick up from SamdrupJongkhar by 8 AM Indian time & drive to Jorhat. Halt for en route lunch at roadside Dhaba. On arrival at Jorhat, check in to hotel. Evening at leisure. Overnight at Jorhat.

Day 20: Jorhat-Majuli
After breakfast drive to Nimatighat (30 Mins) & take a public ferry (country boat fitted with motor) to Majuli. On arrival at Majuli, transfer to hotel. After refreshment, visit the monasteries & interact with monk people. Overnight at Majuli.

Day 21: Majuli
After breakfast visit a Missing village, see the lifestyle of this Assamese tribe. Later drive to Gormur where you can see the mask making process. Overnight at Majuli.

Day 22: Majuli-Kaziranga
After breakfast visit another sattra& interaction with local people. Later take a public ferry to Nimatighat. On arrival at Nimatighat, transfer to Kaziranga (100 Kms / 2 hrs). Check in hotel. Overnight at Kaziranga.

Day 23: Kaziranga
Early morning elephant ride. Return for breakfast. After breakfast jeep safari inside the park.After lunch visit Durgapur village (Assamese village) where you can see the Assamese culture, weaving process etc.Overnight at Kaziranga.

Day 24: Kaziranga-Guwahati airport
After breakfast drive to Guwahati airport (250 Kms / 5 hrs). TOUR ENDS HERE.


COST INCLUDES
- Transportation as per itinerary
- Accommodation on twin
- 3 Meals per day in Bhutan, only breakfast in India
- 01 elephant ride & 02 rounds of Jeep - Local guides (Bhutanese and indian), English speaking
- safari at Kaziranga.
- Public ferry charges for Majuli.
 
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