India Eastern Horizons
Northeast India is the emerging destination for the intrepid traveller. The Northeast shares its borders with Bhutan and North Bengal, the latter being the jumping board for the pristine and beautiful state of Sikkim and the ‘Queen of the Hill Stations’, Darjeeling. Sikkim and Darjeeling provide legendary trekking trails and breath-taking views of the world’s highest mountain peaks including Kanchenjunga, the third highest mountain. The famous Kaziranga and Manas National Parks are in the plains of Assam.
This tour starts in Kolkata (Calcutta), former capital of the British Raj. Visit Take a comprehensive tour to include; the white-marble Victoria Memorial, the St Paul's Cathedral and Fort William. Further in the Himalayas, Darjeeling, provides breath-taking views of Mt. Kanchenjunga and Mt Everest mountains from Tiger Hill. Visit Pemayangtse Monastery, the oldest in Sikkim. Tour Gangtok and Kalimpong, beautiful hill stations before taking safari in the Kaziranga National Park, near Guwahati, Assam.
TRAVEL UNTAMED ON THIS 12-DAY EXPERIENTIAL TOUR OF EAST INDIA…
And, explore Darjeeling, Sikkim and Kaziranga National Park.
Eastern India encapsulates some of the most striking contrasts in the whole subcontinent. In the north lies the great Himalayan range with Mt Kangchenjunga, the world’s third highest mountain overlooking the tea gardens of Darjeeling and rainforest of Sikkim, a quaint state with its Buddhist influence and rich flora and fauna.
Further in the east are the plains of Assam where you can see the majestic tiger prowling in a jungle, or elephants and rhinos trampling their way through tall grass. The low hills with coniferous forests, grasslands, temples and tea gardens make it a relaxing tour with echoes of romance and nostalgia.
This tour is very popular with travellers who have an association with eastern India, but it also attracts many first time visitors, some of whom take this tour along with their north India option to broaden their experience.
The tour begins in Kolkata or Calcutta, India’s second largest city and generally regarded as the intellectual and cultural capital of the nation. As the former capital of British India, Kolkata retains a feast of dramatic colonial architecture, with more than a few fine buildings.
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. Famous for Darjeeling tea, revered by connoisseurs across the globe and the century old miniature steam engine, that still chugs uphill.
Pemayangtse, the ‘Perfect Sublime Lotus’, is one of Sikkim’s oldest and most significant gompas. Magnificently set on a hilltop overlooking the Rabdentse ruins, the atmospheric compound is ringed by gardens and traditional monks’ cottages walled in unpainted stone.
Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim, located on a hill-top is a beautiful town that was once a major stopover destination on the trade route between Lhasa in Tibet and cities such as Kolkata (then Calcutta) in British India.
Flaunting blissful beauty and old world charm, Kalimpong is one of the most striking and outstanding hill stations in the northeastern region of India. The town is rich in colour and fragrance, thanks to the stunning flora. Once a trading post on the famous Silk Road between India and Tibet, it is a secluded retreat, perfect for travellers seeking peace and serenity in the lap of nature.
Finally, we travel to the Kaziranga National Park, known for its one horned rhino. It is also recognised as an important Bird Area and a breeding ground for elephants, wild water buffalo and swamp deer. And, it boasts the highest density of tigers among protected areas in the world.
India Eastern Horizons A popular with travellers who have an association with eastern India, but it also attracts many first time visitors who take this tour along with their north India option to broaden their experience.
Kolkata - Bagdogra / Darjeeling - Pemayangtse - Gangtok - Kalimpong – Kaziranga - Guwahati /Kolkata
(12 Days – Travel Any Day)
Day 1 – Arrive
Kolkata (Calcutta) Arrive at Kolkata. You will be met by our representative and transferred to the Oberoi Grand, a luxury period hotel, for two nights. The day is at leisure. The hotel is in the heart of the city, within walking distance of the famous New Market and the fabled Park Street.
Oberoi Grand (Nil)
Day 2 – Tour
Kolkata Kolkatta, the former capital of British Raj and India’s second largest city is regarded as the cultural capital of the nation. It continues to spawn generations of poets, writers and film producers. The city is overcrowded, central avenues are choked with traffic but love it or hate it; you definitely won’t forget this ‘City of Joy’.
With your private guide visit the gems of the British Raj; including the white-marble Victoria Memorial, the St Paul's Cathedral, Fort William, Secretariat buildings and the marble palace. Explore through local markets and you will find local artisans engaged in such antiquities as making idols of the Hindu gods.
Oberoi Grand (B)
Day 3 – Transfer & Tour
Darjeeling Fly to Bagdogra at the foothills of the Himalaya. Followed by drive to Darjeeling, often called the “Queen of the Hills” and famous for its breathtaking views of snow-capped mountain peaks. The British love for tea is well known and where else can you find the best tea in the world than in the tea plantations of Darjeeling. Visit and taste it for yourself.
Mayfair Hotel, Darjeeling (B, D)
Day 4 – Tour
Darjeeling The beauty of Darjeeling lies in its accessibility to the Great Himalayan Range. Within a few hours you can reach its inner range and from viewpoints like the Tiger Hill, see majestic sunrise views of Mt Kanchenjunga, the world’s third highest mountain. On a clear day, you can see 360° view of the Himalayan panorama including Mt. Everest.
Later in the day, take an exhilarating and memorable journey on the toy train, another reminisces of the British legacy. Built in 1881, it still runs its 86 kilometres (53 mi) distance climbing to over 2,000m through tunnels and steep bends.
Mayfair Hotel, Darjeeling (B, D)
Day 5 – Transfer & Tour
Pemayangtse Take a private leisurely drive to Pemayangtse Monastery, the oldest and most important in Sikkim, sometimes called as the land of the Yeti or abominable snowman. It is one of the most beautiful drives that I have undertaken where every ridge top flutters with Buddhist prayer flags, chortens and monasteries and the mountain landscapes are exhilarating.
Mt Pandim Hotel (B, D)
Day 6 – Transfer & Tour
Gangtok Continue drive to Gangtok, the capital city of Sikkim. This unique town, like any other, is Darjeeling’s envy with regards to the magnificent views of Mt Kanchenjunga. But the memories you will take home are your experiences of the unique Sikkimese hospitality, the ever-smiling children, the tasty cuisine (Momo and Thukpa) and Tumba, their unique alcoholic beverage made from fermented millet or other cereals.
Mayfair Hotel, Gangtok (B, D)
Day 7 – Tour
Gangtok A private tour of city that includes the Cottage Industry (showcasing Sikkim hand-woven carpets, hand carved tables and traditional handicrafts). Later visit Buddhist institutions and the viewpoints to enjoy magnificent views of Mt Kanchenjunga, Sikkim’s holy mountain.
Mayfair Hotel, Gangtok (B, D)
Day 8 – Transfer & Tour
Kalimpong Drive to Kalimpong, the beautiful hill station town, once a meeting point on the old trade route between Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan. Kalimpong is a beautiful little town with a distinct beauty of its own. You don’t need to visit sites here but just sit and enjoy the mist laden ridges and the peaceful way of life enjoyed by this Buddhist culture.
Silver Oak (B, D)
Day 9 – Transfer & Tour
Guwahati Drive to Bagdogra airport and from there fly to Guwahati. After a warm welcome, you will be driven to Kaziranga National Park - a World Heritage site and a paradise for great Indian one horned Rhinoceros as well as birdwatchers.
Iora Retreat (B, D)
Day 10 – Safari
Kaziranga National Park Morning and afternoon safaris to see the Rhino, other species found are hog deer, swamp deer, wild buffalo, elephants and if you are lucky, the tiger. It is virtually a paradise for bird watchers, with a variety of migratory and resident birds darting from tree to tree. It is also home to pelicans, storks and darters as there are a number of water bodies inside the Park.
Iora Retreat (B, L, D)
Day 11 – Safari
Kaziranga National Park Morning safari to see the Rhino. During the day explore the local villages around the park and meet the ‘missing’ tribes of the Assam valley who migrated from the hills and settled here. Learn from the local the secret of survival between man and animals
Iora Retreat (B, L, D)
Day 12 – Depart
Guwahati Transfer to the airport to board your flight for onward journey.
Make this your holiday
Getting There All major international airlines fly to India’s main airports: Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad. Airports tend to be on the outskirts of cities. Pre-paid taxi services and auto-rickshaws are stationed outside the terminus to get you into the city.
When to go The best time to travel to India is between September and March. This is a high season and it is advisable to book your holiday well in advance. Summer starts in April and by June, it becomes very hot. By July there is the south-west monsoon, which brings heavy rains to the west coast. September is a generally a clear month though later, between October and December there may be a reverse pattern called the north-east monsoon that appears in the Bay of Bengal, bringing rains to the east coast. The best time for trekking in the Indian Himalaya is between April and November but it varies from region to region and the altitude you are planning to reach.
Passport/Visa Visas are required to enter, exit or transit through Indian territories. The most common is a single entry 30-day visa. Multiple entry, 60-day and 90-day visas are also available. Passports must have a minimum of six months validity. Enquiries should be directed to the nearest Indian High Commission, embassy or consulate.
All visa applications in UK should be filled online at http://in.vfsglobal.co.uk. Cost of six months tourist visa for UK nationals including handling charges is £92.20.