Eastern Himalayas Land Package: 4 Nights / 5 Days
Eastern Himalayas Land Package: 4 Nights / 5 Days
The perennially snow-capped mountains, lush green tropical and temperate forests, gurgling streams and the rich flora and fauna make East Himalaya a true Shangri-La or “Nye-mae-el” which simply means “heaven”.
Day 1 : Bagdogra to Kurseong
We fly into Bagdogra in West Bengal and transfer to Kurseong which is about 55 kms (2 hours) away. Check-in at the Cochrane Place and spend your evening at leisure.
Kurseong (locally known as Kharsang) is a hill station located at an altitude of 1,458 meters. Stories suggest that the town’s name comes from the Lepcha language word for “small orchid” because of the little white orchids dotting the surrounding valleys. Kurseong is surrounded by a myriad of tea gardens and the serenity and tranquillity of this place is what mostly attracts tourists. Nestled on the foothills of the Himalayas, Cochrane Place is the restored stately British colonial home of Percy John Cochrane, MBE.
This boutique hotel is perched high up on a ridge with rooms overlooking the mighty Himalayan mountain range and the lush tea gardens far below.
DAY 2 : Kurseong – Darjeeling transfer
In the morning, enjoy a tour of the Makaibari Tea Factory, the world’s first tea factory established in 1859 and the first in the world to be certified organic in 1988. Makaibari follows a form of integrated forest management utilizing permaculture where the tea bush is part of a multi-tier system of trees and plants typical of sub-tropical rainforest, as opposed to a monocultural farm that grows only one crop. The company sustains seven villages and employs close to 1600 people. Prime Minister Modi presented Makaibari Darjeeling Silver Tips Imperial tea to H.H. the Queen during his 2015 visit to England.
Enjoy an authentic Anglo Indian lunch at the Cochrane Place, before heading to the Kurseong Toy Train Station for a picturesque train ride to Darjeeling (approximately 3 hours). This unique Himalayan Railway was built between 1879 and 1881 by the initiative of Sir Ashley Eden, the Lieutenant Governor of Bengal, and was declared a World Heritage Site in 1999. The entire railway is 78 kms long between Siliguri and Darjeeling and has 13 active stations.
Enjoy your evening at leisure. Overnight in Darjeeling.
Darjeeling, also called the Queen of the Hills, comes from the Tibetan word dorje, meaning the thunderbolt sceptre of the Hindu deity Indra. During the British Raj, Darjeeling’s temperate climate led to its development as a hill station for British residents seeking to escape the summer heat of the plains. The development of a sanatorium for British soldiers and health resort quickly followed.
Extensive tea plantations were established and tea growers developed hybrids of black tea resulting in the internationally recognized and most popular black Darjeeling tea. The snow clad Himalayan ranges tower over the town in the distance and Kanchenjunga, the world’s third-highest peak at 8, 598 m is the most prominent mountain visible. On a clear day, you can also see Mount Everest, the world’s tallest mountain at 8,850 m.
DAY 3 : Darjeeling
After breakfast, we will explore Padmaja Naidu Zoological Park (also called the Darjeeling ZOO) and the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute. The zoo was opened in 1958 and is the largest high altitude zoo in India. It specializes in breeding animals adapted to alpine conditions, and has a successful captive breeding program for the snow leopard, the critically endangered Himalayan wolf and the red panda. The Mountaineering Institute (MI) was established in 1954 to encourage mountaineering as an organized sport in India and was sparked by interest created by the first ascent of Mount Everest in 1953 by Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary.
Tenzing Norgay was the first director of field training and to this day, adventure, basic and advanced mountaineering courses are being conducted by the institute. There are two museums attached to the MI. The Mountaineering Museum (MM) which was established in 1957 and features a collection of historical mountaineering equipment and the Everest Museum (EV) showcasing history of Mount Everest climbs.
DAY 4 : Darjeeling
Today we visit the Tibetan Refugee Self Help Center established on October 2, 1959, following the dramatic escape of His Holiness the Dalai Lama from Tibet. During this period of mayhem, thousands of Tibetans left their home country and fled into neighbouring countries bringing with them nothing but the clothes they wore and provisions they could carry. In support of these refuges, a center was established to help them assimilate in their new country. The production of Tibetan handicrafts remains to be the main activity and source of income for the center. Tibetan carpets, thankas, wood carved items, metal and leather items such as shoes and boots are being exported to 36 countries around the world.
In the evening, enjoy a short walk across the Mall (or Chowrasta, a place where four roads meet), the social center of Darjeeling. Take a seat on one of the many benches and watch the people, mountains and valleys around you. Or visit some of the old heritage stores to browse or shop.
DAY 5 : Darjeeling – Bagdogra Transfer
After breakfast, we transfer to Bagdogra airport (3 hours) for your onward journey.