NATURE AND CULTURE WALKING & CAR TOURS

NATURE AND CULTURE

Walking & Car Tours

Rating

Our nature & culture walking holiday evolved 20 years back when we started our small walks around the villages and next door forest. Realising our visitors’ satisfaction and appreciation of  the cultural exposure that they got and good impressions of the simple village way of life, farming practices, family support system, appreciation of simple but healthy bio organic food encouraged us to go to many villages in different areas with the concept of walking holiday. This healthy way of travelling is much appreciated and opt by our guests. The walking tour discourages the use of the transport so it helps the environment too. On the process of guiding our guests on our walks, it was always reciprocal, many times we also learnt a lot from our guests about the farming,vegetations and even birds in the initial stage. Thanks to our many guests who supported many of our children of Awake and Shine School. Ever since it has been unending  learning -teaching- supporting process with our guests and the village folks  with walks at  personal pace. 

Our first Nature & cultural walking circuit is Kalimpong-Pedong-lava-Lolegaon-Samthar-Samco Ropeway( now Teesta Dam)- Kalimpong with 1- 4 hours walk a day or alternatively as per the demand, fitness and interest of the guests. We have been doing this from ages till today.

  

We have expanded our walking circuit in West Sikkim around Renchenpong village where we encouraged a local homestay to host guests and today they are very successfully running their homestay.

Around Renchenpong  our walks extends to Versey National park at an altitude 9000 ft.

  

Our other walks are in 
in West Sikkim, Tashiding Monastery  -Yoksom-Khechepalry Holy Lake, Darap Homestay & surrounding walk. Other short walks are  around Pemayangtse Monastery-Sangacholing Monastery -Rabdentse old capital ruin walks are easy with historical and Ningma Buddist monastic cultural background makes it interesting.

At South Sikkim, Kewzing & surrounding villages walking circuit  and its Jungle walk is very popular with our guests.

Around Turuk village ; Sadam walk is good for those looking for little challenge.

We have developed working circuit around the villages of Mongpa tribes in Dirang and Tawang area in Arunachal Pradesh.

We have been taking our Guests to Naga Villages for walks to experience the incredible Tribal Culture and their admiring way of life.

Walks around the cleanest village in Asia, Mawlingnong in Meghalaya and their famous living root Bridge is fabulous 

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Explore Our Walking & Car Tour Destinations

Kalimpong, is an exotic town of beautiful people, mystical and enchanting. Ruled by Bhutan for 155 years, and annexed by the British in 1865, it was developed as a centre of the wool trade with Tibet. This trade flourished until the Chinese took control of Tibet, in the 1950’s The Lepchas, who were the original in habitants, were subjected to Bhutanese, Tibetan, British, and Nepalese influences. A gentle and docile people, they have almost lost their identity, and are now called “The vanishing tribe”. However history has left behind a fascinating ethnic blend of Lepcha, Bhutia and Nepalese people. Here Buddhism rubs shoulders with Christianity, Hinduism, and Islam. Gumpas, churches, temples, monasteries, monks and missionaries; all coexist in a jovial and tolerant society. Flower and orchid nurseries, colonial bungalows, churches of the “Raj”, and Buddhist monasteries are there to explore. A quaint bustling bazaar, is a Pandora’s box of surprises?. Kalimpong is a wanderer’s delight. Buddhist tankhas, hand beaten silver, Bhutanese weaves, Chinese lamps, hand crafted paper, Lepcha daggers, Nepali Khukaris and Buddhist masks, are some of the shopping attractions. The Wednesday and Saturday “Hat”, or village market, brings together people from surrounding areas, selling an amazing variety of products.

Day 01: Pick up from Bagdogra/ NJP/Darjeel;ing/ Gangtok/West Sikkim/ Phuntsholing. Met by car with driver. Drive to kalimpong. Check in at Gurudongma house/hotel. In the evening walking exploration of fascinating bazaar. Overnight

Day 02: Kalimpong exploration: Car with driver provided for local sightseeing. On request take a guided walking tour. Overnight Gurudongma House/hotel

Day 03: Drive to next destination. Car with driver on request.

Day 01: Pick up from Bagdogra/ NJP/Darjeel;ing/ Gangtok/ West Sikkim/ Phuntsholing. Met by car with driver. Drive to kalimpong. Check in at Gurudongma house/hotel. In the evening walking exploration of fascinating bazaar. Overnight

Day 02: Kalimpong exploration: Car with driver for local sightseeing. On request Guided driving cum walking tour. Overnight Gurudongma House/hotel

Day 03: Kalimpong Nature & Culture trek:

Explore the countryside close to Kalimpong , get a peep into the lifestyle of rural folks. Take a 03 hrs easy trek to visit a local village; home to warm, friendly, hospitable hard working village folks. Get an insight into agriculture & live stock farming, and get to know about the cultivation of ginger, broomsticks & vegetables You will walk along a gently descending trail, passing through lovely bio diverse forests. All the way there are magnificent views of the Khangchendzonga Range. (Weather permitting) and the mighty Teesta River winding its way from Sikkim.

At the village meet village folks, go round the village and enjoy an ethnic lunch. Stay overnight at a village homestay, or drive back to Kalimpong, for overnight at Gurudongma house/hotel.

Day 04: Drive to next destination. Car with driver on
request.

Day 01: Kalimpong, 1400 m – Lava, 2100 m – Lolegaon, 1700 m: drive cum trek to Samthar Farm House, 1400 m

Drive 35 Kms, in 1.30 hrs along old trade route to Tibet passing through virgin forests to Lava, a small bazaar and village, at an altitude of 2100 m amidst forested hills. It originated as a halting place for trade caravans going to Bhutan. It was fortified during the Bhutan rule, and captured and destroyed by the British during the Anglo-Bhutan War. A Buddhist monastery of the same period has been expanded and is active. At Lava you can view the Rachela Pass, which opens into Bhutan, and visit the Monastery. Drive back 4 kms to take the forest road to Lolegaon. Now you have the choice of taking one or both the Nature & Culture walks, described below. If you choose walk 1, it starts after driving 6 kms to a village Buddhist Gompa, 1700 m. It descends 300 m through forests, to the waist of the hill, continues fairly level with a steady ascent by 100 m through hamlets, terraced cultivation, and cascading streams to terminate at a village bazaar, 1600 m from where we ride our jeeps to the heritage forest ( described below) to start Walk 2. Trekking time is 3-4 hrs.

  

If you choose to take only walk 2, you will first drive for 25kms, in 1.30 hrs, through unspoiled forests, with hardly any habitation. Enjoy nature at its best, and see the incredible variety of flora. After a picnic lunch and a visit to over 100 years old heritage forest, take a short down hill trek, whilst your jeep traverses a wilderness trail. You will descend from 1900m to 1600 m. Trekking time is 02 hrs, and you will walk through the heart of the forest, to a Tamang Village, cross a mountain stream, and reclaim your jeep, for the last 06 kms to the Samthar Farm House, 1400 m. Dinner and overnight at The Samthar Farm House (www.awakeandshine.org >Samthar Farm House)

Scenic and remote, The Samthar Valley, at an elevation of 1500 Meters, is isolated by river valleys, forests and ill- developed communications. The inhabitants are a blend of various ethnic groups-Lepchas, Bhutias and Nepali. The original Lepcha tribals lived in the valleys. They were woodsman, and utilized the forest resources to live off the land. Knowing no religion, they worshiped nature spirits. When the Bhutanese ruled this land, many were converted to Buddhism. Latter the British rulers brought in Christian missionaries, who converted some of them to Christianity. Hinduism arrived with the Nepalese settlers, who taught the Lepchas to farm the land. Today the ethnic groups are fused together in harmony. They have adopted Nepali as a link language, yet maintained their diverse cultural identity. It is an ideal place to peep into lifestyles of this fascinating hill community. It also has diverse flora, well-developed mountain agriculture, forests, and river valleys, and offers breathtaking views of the Panorama of snows.

The Farmhouse is an old Lepcha house built of stone and timber, converted by General “jimmy” Singh for comfortable living, whilst maintaining its ambience. It has a lovely nature garden with scenic views.

Day 02: Samthar Valley Village lifestyle trek

Early morning sunrise views, Weather permitting, you see the entire panorama of snows – Khangchenganga group of peaks, Simvo, Siniolchu, Lama Anden, Chomoyomo, and Paunhari, and then in an easterly arc the passes of Chola, Natula, and Jalepla, leading into Tibet.

  

 

After breakfast, your local guide will take you by village paths for a exploration of the valley, with its mixed Christian Lepcha and Hindu Nepali hamlets You will walk along the waist of the hill, fairly level with short climbs and descents. Pass through forests, terraced cultivation and homesteads.. Meet people in their homes and fields, visit Awake & Shine pre School and get a glimpse of rural lifestyles. Divided in two parts with lunch at Samthar farm House the trek takes 04 hrs. Dinner and Overnight at The samthar Farm House.

Day 03: Samthar- Yang Valley trek

Day trek to remote Yang Valley to visit over 100 years old Yang Gompa ( Lepcha temple) Terraced cultivation, good views, forests and ethnic homesteads. 4-5 hrs trekking with picnic lunch. Return to Samthar farm house for overnight

Day 03: Samthar, 1450 m – trek to Teesta Valley, 300 m – Drive to your next destination.

Paddy sowing is the focal point of Himalayan village lifestyles. It is the beginning of the cycle to provide the family requirements of rice – the staple diet of the Nepali and the Lepcha people. Preparations begin as soon as the monsoon rains start. Terraced paddy fields, hewn by generations out of steep mountain sides are manually cleaned free of weeds and mud dykes and water channels rebuilt laboriously, to get them ready for flooding. As the rains flood the paddies, young men with pairs of oxen plough the flooded paddies, whilst the older generation of men folks level the ploughed paddies wielding hand held wooden leveling tools. This is followed by the women sowing the rice seedlings in regimented unison, singing whilst they sow.. Another group of women work in the family kitchen preparing a feast for the time when the days sowing is done. Whole families work together, mustering additional numbers from the community on a coThis tour is set up to enable visitors to witness the entire ritual of paddy sowing and to participate to the extent operative basis. It is hard work but the ambience is that of a community picnic.desired

Itinerary:

Day 01. Kalimpong to Samthar

Your tour starts from Kalimpong.

A Car with driver and guide will pick you up from your designated hotel at Kalimpong at 0800 hrs in the morning. Drive to Samthar . It is a scenic journey through the Himalayan foot hills with its isolated hamlets, Buddhist monasteries, river valleys and forests. You can opt for one or two short treks enroute. Arriving at Samthar you will be met by members of the host family and walk down 15 -20 minutes to the Nepali or lepcha family home stay . Dinner and overnight.

Day 02 Explore samthar Valley

Awake to the breathtaking panorama of the snows, that Samthar offers as the sun rises – Khangchenganga group of peaks, Simvo, Siniolchu, Lama Anden, Chomoyomo, and Paunhari, and the passes of Chola, Natula, and Jalepla, leading into Tibet will be there every morning to see from your cottage ( weather permitting) . Today you will take a walking tour of the village visting families in their homes and fields. visit the Awake & Shine primary School. In the evening a session of Nepali and Hindi songs and Bhajans ( devotional songs), as you join the family ” puja” ( prayers) invoking blessings for the paddy crop. . Overnight at the home stay

Day 03: Paddy sowing

Walk down to the paddy terraces and watch the men working at preparing the terraces for flooding. You will see and may participate in the operation of scrapping and weeding, rebuilding dykes and water channels, as also getting the seedling ready for transplanting. Overnight at the home stay

Day 04: Paddy Sowing  

Get up early to join the women folk as they make preparations for the sowing feast. Latter join the family and community members for the actual sowing of the paddy terraces, followed by the sowing feast in the late afternoon. 

In the evening singing and dancing with the local folks. Overnight at the home stay

Day 05 Depart Samthar Valley

Choose one of the following options:-

Option 01: Drive to Siliguri or Bagdogra in 4.30 hrs

Option 02: Trek down to Teesta Valley Dam in 03 hrs, and drive to Darjeeling ( 2.30 hrs) / Siliguri ( 02 hrs) / Kal;impong ( 01 hr)

Option 3: Drive to Kalimpong in 3.30 hrs. TOUR ENDS.

Tour S/06: 09 days The Heart of Darjeeling & Kalimpong

  

Easy paced popular holiday, featuring Kurseong, Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Samthar. Breathtaking snow views, spectacular sunrises, mountains, forests , hill stations of the “raj:, remote villages, Buddhist monasteries, shopping in exotic bazaars, tea gardens. toy train journey, walking, cooking, interaction with local people and more. Staying at selected atmospheric hotels/ home stays.

Day 01: Bagdogra- Kurseong

Arrive at Bagdogra Airport. Met by your car with driver and driven to Kurseong. Check in at your hotel for lunch. In the evening explore the bazaar. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 02: Kurseong – Darjeeling

  

Visit a premium Tea Estate Drive back to the hotel for lunch. After lunch transfer to rail station to board toy train. Travel by train from Kurseong to Darjeeling.

The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR) conferred World Heritage status is a nineteenth century engineering feat. A journey by this “Toy Train” in a memorable experience. You will be traveling through forests, paddy cultivation, vast tea gardens, and tiny hamlets as well as hill towns of the “raj” period. You will see breathtaking views, diverse flora, waterfalls, gurgling mountain streams, and the lovely people. The panorama unfolding at a leisurely pace out side your carriage window enables a peep into life styles of the Darjeeling Hills. You marvel at the builders of this unique railway, as the tiny “B” Type steam locomotive huffs and puffs uphill with just three carriages. The highest point on this line is at Ghoom, at an elevation of 2225 m, where the ascent is achieved through a double loop.
Upon arrival, transfer to hotel. Overnight.

Day 03: Darjeeling

Early morning visit tiger Hill for sunrise views. Thereafter take a half day guided tour of Darjeeling. Afternoon and evening is free for exploring the exotic bazaar and shopping.

Day 04: Darjeeling- Kalimpong

After breakfast drive to Kalimpong. Check in at hotel or home stay of choice Afternoon a guided walking tour of Kalimpong and the interesting bazaar.

Day 05: Kalimpong

Free day to explore Kalimpong on your own.

Day 06: Kalimpong – Lava – Lolegaon – Samthar

Drive cum trek to the remote village of Samthar through virgin forests. Enroute visit Lava Buddhist Monastery. Two short treks.( 2-3 hrs each). Biodiverse flora, isolated hamlets, terraced cultivation, mountain streams, and more.
Not interested in trekking ?. You can drive all the way in 3.30 hrs.
Overnight at Samthar Farm House.

Day 07: Samthar : Nature & Culture Walk

Get up early for breathtaking sunrise views. After breakfast, take a easy guided Village exploration walk, (02 hrs) visiting Nepali and Lepcha homes peopled by Buddhist, Hindu and Christian folks. Visit the Awake & Shine School. Overnight at Samthar Farm House.

Day 08: Samthar – trekking options

Choose from several trekking options for guided day trek. Walk through forests, terraced fields, isolated hamlets and take in views of both mountains and plains. ( 04 hrs of easy to moderate trekking).

Alternatively, just relax , take cooking lessons, visit the village blacksmith, make an appointment with the shaman, learn how to make bamboo baskets or spend time with the children at the Awake & Shine School.

Day 09: Samthar to Bagdogra or any destination in Sikkim / Bhutan

Drive to Bagdogra in 2.30 hrs to board your departure flight. Enquire about options of transfer to destinations in Sikkim and Bhutan. TOUR ENDS.

Featuring: Kurseong, Darjeeling, Pamayangtse, Kewzing, Rabang la- Samduptse, Turuk, Kalimpong, Lava and Samthar.

Day 01: Bagdogra – Darjeeling, 2143 m

Arrive Bagdogra Airport by air

Met by your guide and transfer by car to Darjeeling via Kurseong. Visit Tea estate and factory, famous internationally for production of biodynamic tea.

Continue drive 18 Kms ( 1.30 hrs) to Darjeeling, through more tea estates, and small villages, climbing steadily to 2143, Mtrs, and reaching Darjeeling by late evening. Enroute we have a chance to see the Darjeeling Railway’s heritage toy train, which was opened in 1881, primarily for the tea traffic. The railway line is laid alongside the road, and to see the tiny steam engine huffing and puffing, uphill with just three carriages, is an unusual sight. The highest point on this line is at Ghoom, at an elevation of 2225 Mtrs, where the ascent is achieved through a double loop.
Upon arrival at Darjeeling Check in at your hotel for overnight.

Day 02: Darjeeling Exploration

Visit tiger Hill early morning for sunrise views. Thereafter take a half day guided tour of Darjeeling. Afternoon and evening is free for exploring the exotic bazaar and shopping.

Day 03: Darjeeling, 2143 m- Naya Bazar, 900 m- Pamayangtse
(W. Sikkim), 2080 m

Drive 21 kms in 1.15 hrs, through Tea estates to Naya Bazar on Sikkim border.
FOREIGN PASSPORT HOLDERS: Sikkim is restricted entry area, requiring a permit. Apply for your Sikkim entry visa when applying for the India Visa. We can also arrange to procure the permit at Siliguri upon arrival on Day 01
After border documentation at Naya Bazar Check Post, drive 59 Kms through the scenic Rangit Valley, in 2.30 hrs, to check in at a village retreat ,close to Pamayangtse; with direct views of Mount Khangchendzonga.
In the afternoon sightseeing Rabantse and Pamayangtse Monastery. Overnight at Village Retreat

Day 04: Pamayangtse exploration

Wake up early to view close-up, the sunrise on the great peaks of the Khangchendzonga group. Latter explore the local village. and visit the holy lake Khichepheri. Overnight at Village Retreat.

Day 05: Pamayangtse– Turuk, 1400 m via Rabang la and Samduptse

Wake up early to once again see the sunrise on the great peaks of the Khangchendzonga group. Later drive 50 Kms in 02 hrs to Kewzing, located amidst pristine forests at elevation of 1700 m. Take a easy nature trek to Doling Monastery, along a lovely forest trail Thereafter drive to Samduptse; famous for the largest statue of Guru Padmasambhava in the world, and the Namchi Rock Garden.

Continue for one hour to reach Turuk.- a small village at an altitude of 1400 m. A 160 years old heritage house and estate, surrounded by nine acres of flora, and lawns, at an off beat location.. Here time stands still and the air is filled with the fragrance of wild flowers and bird song. The tranquil surroundings offer quite walks, village explorations and bird watching. Check in at the atmospheric Heritage house. for overnight.

Day 06: Turuk Exploration

A day to relax and take quite walks to visit local homesteads, wonder at the diverse flora, learn some sikkimese recipes from your hostess and take a walk along the razor sharp edge of humongous cliff called Taray Bhir – with panoramic views Overnight at Turuk heritage house.

Day 07: Turuk- Kalimpong, 1400 m

Exit Sikkim at Malli and drive to Kalimpong in 2 hrs. Great views as you descend to the Teesta valley and again climb up along the forested road to Kalimpong.

Check in at Gurudongma House homestay in a lovely garden cottage Afternoon a guided walking tour of Kalimpong and the interesting bazar. Overnight at Gurudongma House homestay.

S/09: 14 days Village homestay Experience in Sikkim and Kalimpong

With optional alternative 12 nights village homestay plus 02 night extention packages to either Darjeeling or Gangtok

This tour offers a chance to stay with families in villages to enable you to experience local lifestyles . You get to see everything that the region offers- Magnificent snow clad mountains, forests teeming with bio diverse flora, river valleys, terraced cultivation, rural hamlets, Buddhist monasteries, and a fascinating blend of beautiful ethnic people. You have a opportunity to explore the varied cuisine, peep into Himalayan lifestyles, walk and explore the countryside, meet people in their homes and fields, and make friends. We offer memorable eexperiences, with plenty of photo opportunities.
Village Home stay accommodation caters for comfortable Double / Twin Guest rooms, with furnishings bed and toilet linen. Attached western style toilets are provided, for all. Hot water is available on request. Room heaters are provided in winter. Extra beds can be arranged for children. Guests are served on a table set with crockery, cutlery, and table linen. They can also choose a traditional floor sitting service, served in traditional utencils / leaves The cuisine provides for semi western style breakfasts with Indian, Nepali Chinese and Lepcha dishes, for lunch and dinner. Food is home cooked. Local products are used to the maximum extent.

Itinerary

Day 01: Arrive Bagdogra and drive to Kalimpong
Fly in to Bagdogra airport from Delhi, Kolkata, Paro, or Guwahati

Met by car with driver.
Drive to Kalimpong. Check in at Gurudongma house. Overnight

Day 02: Kalimpong local tour

Explore Kalimpong. Colonial buildings, Orchid and Cactii nurseries, Hindu Temple, Dr Grahams homes, view points ,atmospheric bazaar, Hand made paper, River rafting , para gliding and more.
Driving cum walking tour. Car with drtiver + guide provided Overnight Gurudongma House.

Day 03: Kalimpong – Lava – Lolegaon – Samthar

Drive cum trek to the remote village of Samthar through virgin forests.Enroute visit Lava Buddhist Monastery. Two short treks.( 2-3 hrs each). Biodiverse flora, isolated hamlets, terraced cultivation, mountain streams, and more.

Not interested in trekking ?                                                        You can drive all the way in 3.30 hrs. Overnight at Lepcha homestay at Kabi West Village.
Scenic and remote,The Samthar Plateau, at an elevation of 1500 Meters, is an “off beat” location.It is inhabited by a blend of various ethnic groups-Lepchas, Bhutias and Nepali. It is an ideal place to peep into lifestyles of this fascinating hill community. It also has diverse flora, well-developed mountain agriculture, forests, and river valleys, and offers breathtaking views of the Panorama of snows.

The Samthar Farmhouse is an old Lepcha house built of stone and timber, converted for comfortable living, whilst maintaining its ambience. It has a lovely nature garden with scenic views. Lepcha home stay in the village of Kabi West is hosted by Charles Lepcha and Nepali home stay on the premises of Awake & Shine School is hosted by the Bhujel family. Both home stays provide comfortable Double / Twin Guest rooms, with furnishings bed and toilet linen, and attached Western style toilets are provided.

Day 04: Samthar: Walking exploration of Lepcha village
Explore Lepcha hamlets. Meet people and join in song and dance.

Overnight at Lepcha homestay

Day 05: Samthar valley exploration trek to Gairigaon Nepali village

Short easy walk through the Samthar Valley to Gairigaon.
Visit awake & Shine school ,explore Gairigaon village, and surroundings and meet the folks. Join in Nepali song and dance
Overnight at Nepali home stay.

Day 06: Lower Samthar valley trek to the Samthar Farm House

  

Trek down to Khola Gari hamlet. Explore the lower Samthar Valley and have lunch with a local family.
Trek back to Samthar Farm House for overnight.

Day 07: Samthar Farm House

A day of leisure. Option of cooking lessons, chang beer making, straw mat making, basket making. Village market day is Wednesday.
Overnight at Samthar Farm House.

Day 08: Teesta valley trek and drive to Hi barmoik village near Rinchenpong ( West Sikkim)

Trek for 04 hrs down to Teesta Valley Dam with guide and one porter per head. Transfer by car with driver to Hi Barmoik via Rinchenpong, in West Sikkim. Enroute complete border documentation at Malli Check Post. ( For Foreign nationals)
FOREIGN PASSPORT HOLDERS: Sikkim is restricted entry area, requiring a permit. Foreign Tourist can get the permit at the entry check post at Malli. Passports with valid India visa and 3 copies of passport sized photos are required.
Upon arrival check in at the Chettri family homestay for overnight.

Day 09: Hi Barmoik sikkimese village exploration Nature and culture walk

Guided village walk to meet various ethnic groups living in the village- Rais, Bhutias, Sherpaa, Gurung, Chhetri, Sanyashi, Bahun, You will be welcomed to their homes, meet families, and peep into lifestyles. You can also talke a short trek to the fringes of the Vershay Rhododendron sanctuary.
Overnight at Chettri family home stay.

Day 10: Hi Barmoik to Pamayangtse, 2200 m

 

Drive to Pamayangtse in 1.30 hrs Pamayangtse is the heart of Western Sikkim; known as the the cradle of Buddhism in Sikkim. On various hill tops inter- visible to each other, are located a string of holy sites. Pamayangtse – the sublime perfect lotus, was built in 1705. It is the paramount of the Nyingmapa monasteries of Sikkim, and regarded the most prestigious. Sangacholing Monastery – the place of secret spells was founded in 1697. Clay statues dating back to the 17th Century are amongst the oldest in Sikkim. Both monasteries have splendid views of the snows and river valleys.

Take a tour of Pamayangtse. Monastery with guide. Continue short drive to Dara Gaon Village home stay for overnight.

Day 11: Pamayangtse: Dara Gaon Sikkimese village exploration

 

Rise early for spectacular sunrise view over Mt Khandchendzonga. Latter walking exploration of village and surroundings. Overninght at Dara Gaon Village home stay.

Drive to Pamayangtse in 1.30 hrs Pamayangtse is the heart of Western Sikkim; known as the the cradle of Buddhism in Sikkim. On various hill tops inter- visible to each other, are located a string of holy sites. Pamayangtse – the sublime perfect lotus, was built in 1705. It is the paramount of the Nyingmapa monasteries of Sikkim, and regarded the most prestigious. Sangacholing Monastery – the place of secret spells was founded in 1697. Clay statues dating back to the 17th Century are amongst the oldest in Sikkim. Both monasteries have splendid views of the snows and river valleys.

Take a tour of Pamayangtse. Monastery with guide. Continue short drive to Dara Gaon Village home stay for overnight.

Day 11: Pamayangtse: Dara Gaon Sikkimese village exploration

Rise early for spectacular sunrise view over Mt Khandchendzonga. Latter walking exploration of village and surroundings. Overninght at Dara Gaon Village home stay.

Day 12: Pamayangtse– Turuk, 1400 m via Rabang la and Samduptse

Wake up early to once again see the sunrise on the great peaks of the Khangchendzonga group. Later drive 50 Kms in 02 hrs to Kewzing, located amidst pristine forests at elevation of 1700 m. Take a easy nature trek to Doling Monastery, along a lovely forest trail Thereafter drive to Samduptse; famous for the largest statue of Guru Padmasambhava in the world, and the Namchi Rock Garden.

Day 13: Turuk Exploration

A day to relax and take quite walks to visit local homesteads, wonder at the diverse flora, learn some sikkimese recipes from your hostess and take a walk along the razor sharp edge of humongous cliff called Taray Bhir – with panoramic views Overnight at Turuk heritage house.

Day 14: Pamayangtse- Bagdogra

Drive to Bagdogra in Car with driver in 06 hrs.. TOUR ENDS.

Optional alternative itinerary: 12 nights village homestay plus 02 night extention packages to either Darjeeling or Gangtok

Delete 02 nights at Turuk and instead extend your tour from Pamayangtse to either Gangtok or Darjeeling.

Extention 1: 02 Nights at Darjeeling

Day 12: Turuk – Darjeeling

Rise early for spectacular sunrise view over Mt Khandchendzonga. Transfer by car with driver to Darjeeling in 3.30 hrs. Explore bazaar on your own. Overnight at hotel / home stay.

Day 13: Darjeeling

Local Sightseeing with guide. Overnight Hotel / home stay.

Day 14: Darjeeling- Bagdogra

Transfer Darjeeling to Bagdogra in car with driver.
TOUR ENDS

Extention 2: 02 nights Gangtok

Day 12: Pamayanmgtse- Gangtok

Rise early for spectacular sunrise view over Mt Khandchendzonga. Transfer by car with driver to Gangtok in 5.30 hrs. check in Overnight hotel.

Day 13: Gangtok sightseeing

Local sightseeing tour with guide. Overnight hotel.

Day 14: Gangtok- Bagdogra

Transfer Darjeeling to Bagdogra in car with driver.
TOUR ENDS

Featuring : Kalimpong-Samthar- Rinchenpong- Pelling-Turuk- Temi- Gangtok and Tsangmo Lake-

Sikkim, and the adjoining mountains of Darjeeling and Kalimpong, together forms a homogenous mountain mass. This region has the most magnificent range of snow clad mountains in the world, which rise to a maximum elevation of 8859 Meters. In this small area of less than 10000 sq. kms, there is an unbelievable richness of culture, customs heritage, flora and fauna.

On this tour you will see everything that the region offers- Magnificent snow clad mountains, forests teeming with bio diverse flora, river valleys, alpine lakes, , terraced cultivation, tea gardens, rural hamlets, Buddhist monasteries, exotic bazaars and a fascinating blend of beautiful ethnic people. You have a opportunity to explore the varied cuisine, peep into Himalayan lifestyles, walk and explore the countryside, meet people in their homes and fields, and make friends. We offer memorable experiences, with plenty of photo opportunities.

Itinerary

Day 01: Arrive Bagdogra and drive to Kalimpong

Fly in to Bagdogra airport from Delhi, Kolkata, Paro, or Guwahati
Met by car with driver.
Drive to Kalimpong. Check in at Gurudongma house. Overnight

Day 02: Kalimpong local tour

Explore Kalimpong with guide. Driving cum walking tour. Colonial buildings, budhist Monasteries, Orchid and cactus nurseries, hindu temples, hand made paper factory, view points and atmospheric bazaar.
Additional activities offered: para gliding, and river rafting
Car with driver + guide provided
Overnight Gurudongma House.

Day 03: Kalimpong – Lava – Lolegaon – Samthar

Drive cum trek to the remote village of Samthar through virgin forests. Enroute visit Lava Buddhist Monastery. Two short guided treks.( 2-3 hrs each). Biodiverse flora, isolated hamlets, terraced cultivation, mountain streams, and more.

Not interested in trekking ?. You can drive all the way in 3.30 hrs.
Overnight at Samthar Farm House.

Scenic and remote,The Samthar valley at an elevation of 1500 Meters, is an “off beat” location.It is inhabited by a blend of various ethnic groups-Lepchas, Bhutias and Nepali. It is an ideal place to peep into lifestyles of this fascinating hill community. It also has diverse flora, well-developed mountain agriculture, forests, and river valleys, and offers breathtaking views of the Panorama of snows.

The Samthar Farmhouse is an old Lepcha house built of stone and timber, converted for comfortable living, whilst maintaining its ambience. It has a lovely nature garden with scenic views.

Day 04: Samthar : Nature & Culture Walk

Get up early for breathtaking sunrise views. After breakfast, take a easy guided Village exploration walk, (02 hrs) visiting Nepali and Lepcha homes peopled by Buddhist, Hindu and Christian folks. Visit the Awake & Shine School – a Charitable model rural school, which is bringing quality education to this valley.

Day 05: Samthar: Full day Nature & Culture trek

Option 1
Trek down to Khola Gari hamlet. Explore the lower Samthar Valley and have lunch in as local house. Trek back to Samthar Farm House for overnight

Option 2
Trek to Hungay Dara hamlet through forests and return to Samthar Farm House via Samthar Ridge.

Option 3
Trek to Yang Lecha Gompa through forests, terraced cultivation, visiting ethnic homesteads.

Option 4
Mountain biking to Ponbu and back along easy road with spectacular views of snows and plains.

Option 5
A day of leisure. Village market day is Wednesday. Option of cooking lessons, chang beer making, straw mat making, basket making
Overnight at Samthar Farm House.

Day 06: Teesta valley trek and drive to Rinchenpong ( West Sikkim)

Trek for 04 hrs down to Teesta Valley Dam with guide and one porter per head. Transfer by car with driver to Rinchenpong, in West Sikkim. Enroute complete border documentation at Malli Check Post. ( For Foreign nationals)

FOREIGN PASSPORT HOLDERS: Sikkim is restricted entry area, requiring a permit. Foreign Tourist can get the permit at the entry check post at Malli. Passports with valid India visa and 3 copies of passport sized photos are required.
Upon arrival check in at the atmospheric Yangsum Farm for overnight

Day 07: Rinchenpong ( West Sikkim)

Walking exploration of Sikkimese village with guide. visiting Rinchenpong Monastery established in 1730. It is the 3rd oldest monastery in Sikkim, The monastery houses a rare Ati Buddha statue is said to be the true Buddha, symbolically represented as a naked Buddha in blue. In the Yab-Yum position, the Buddha is shown meditating while embracing a woman. In Buddhism it signifies the power of union of the male and female. Latter visit Lepcha village.
Overnight at Yangsum Farm.

Day 08: Rinchenpong: Day trip to Rhododendron Sanctuary

Day Drive cum trek to Vershay Rhododendron Sanctuary with guide ( Bloom from 15 March to 07 Apr approx)
Alternative: Walking exploration of countryside with guide,
Overnight at Yangsum Farm

Day 09: Rinchenpong- Pamayangtse- Pelling

Transfer by car with driver to Pamayangtse.
Visit Pamayangtse Monastery and Rabantse ruins.
Overnight at hotel/home stay at Pamayangtse/Pelling/ Gayshaling/ or Dara Gaon.

Day 10: Pamayangtse– Turuk, 1400 m via Rabang la and Samduptse

Wake up early see the sunrise on the great peaks of the Khangchendzonga group. Later drive 50 Kms in 02 hrs to Kewzing, located amidst pristine forests at elevation of 1700 m. Take a easy nature trek to Doling Monastery, along a lovely forest trail Thereafter drive to Samduptse; famous for the largest statue of Guru Padmasambhava in the world, and the Namchi Rock Garden. Continue for one hour to reach Turuk , a small village at an altitude of 1400 m. Check in at the atmospheric Heritage house. for overnight.

Day 11: Turuk Exploration

A day to relax and take quite walks to visit local homesteads, wonder at the diverse flora, learn some sikkimese recipes from your hostess and take a walk along the razor sharp edge of humongous cliff called Taray Bhir – with panoramic views Overnight at Turuk heritage house.

Day 12: Turuk- Temi- Gangtok

Drive to Gangtok via temi Tea Estate Visit the Tea Garden and factory. This is the only tea garden in Sikkim growing and manufacturing Darjeeling Tea.
Upon arrival at Gangtok , check in at your hotel.
In the evening take a stroll through the exotic bazar. Overnight at hotel.

Day 13: Gangtok Sightseeing tour: Monasteries , gardens and handicrafts

Early morning visit the Tashi view point; which offers clear views of Mt Khangchendzonga, Return to hotel for breakfast

After breakfast visit :-
The Govt. Institute of Cottage Industry which is keeping the local handicrafts alive. Here you see skilled teachers and trainees working at various handicrafts. There is also a sales outlet, where you can buy handicrafts at reasonable prices.
The Enchay Monastery, – located on a hilltop above Gangtok, this monastery rebuilt in 1910 belongs to the Nyingmapa order and was once the hermitage site of Lama Drupthob Karpo renowned for his ability to fly.
The Research Institute of Tibetology -, with its large collection of Buddhist, icons, religious paintings and literature ,
The Do-Drul Chorten. :was built to commemorate the victory of good over evil
The Rumtek Monastery. (For foreigb passport holders: Passports are checked at the monastery entrance.)

Afternoon and Evening is free to explore Gangtok on your own. Some of the options are :-

Flowers and flora You may like to visit the International Flower show, The show features exotic varieties of local flowers, orchids and other plants of Sikkim. Sikkim has about 600 species of orchids, 240 species of trees and ferns, 150 varieties of gladioli, and 46 types of Rhododendrons, along with a variety of magnolias and many other foliage plants. The flora displayed mainly comprises of climbers, alpine plants, cacti, herbs orchids, creepers, gladioli, ferns, roses, etc.

Botanical gardens, and Samsara Gardens Also known as Ipecac Garden is located 14 Kms from Gangtok enroute to Rumtek Monastery. It preserves several Orchids as well as tropical and temperate plants and other blooms.

Shopping: Gangtok is the only hill town in India, which converts its main street into a walking promenade, with fountains, lights and flowers. MG (Mahatma Gandhi) road is the best place to spend your evening at Gangtok. Tuesday is a closed day Enjoy shopping and strolling along the main street, with its enchanting bazar.

Cable car rides : The Gangtok ropeway is about 1 km long. It has three entry points or stops. The lowest point is at Deorali market and the highest point is at Tashiling ( below the state secretariat ). There is a mid point stop at Nam-Nang. One can enter from any point and return to the same point after touching other two points. Cable car journey provides spectacular view of Gangtok town and surroundings on its 15 to 20 minutes journey.

Day 14: Day trips from Gangtok

Option 1: Kyangnosla Alpine Sanctuary and Tsongmo Lake, 3900 m

Depart after early breakfast.at 0700 hrs. Drive to Tsongmo Lake, through the KyangnosLa Alpine Sanctuary. It is a 70 Kms round trip taking 04 hrs of driving. The road, which is the old trade route to Tibet, winds, up the cliff like mountain. It is cut through sheer rock faces, with awe inspiring sheer drops to narrow valleys below. Look at the vegetation changing from subtropical to Alpine, as passing through the Kyangnosla Pass, we finally arrive at this sacred lake. We will spend about one hour here. Yak rides are available at extra cost.

Indian National;s can go also up to the Tibet border and visit Natula Pass and Baba Mandir Prior intimation for permits is required.

Return to Gangtok, for overnight at your hotel

Special permits are required.

For Indian Nationals permit requires proof of identity and photographs
For foreign nationals, we will need photocopies of passport and visa Plus 3 coloured passport photos.

Warning: Because of high altitude and sudden ascent, you will need suitable parkas, heavy socks, and balaclava caps. Avoid exerting, such as fast walking and shouting. Those suffering from high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma, and other respiratory problems, are advised to avoid this trip. In case of severe headache, Nausea or vomiting, return immediately to lower altitude.

Option 2: White water rafting in the Teesta River

The River Teesta , offers the exhilaration of white water rafting. The river offers some fine Grade III rapids and one Grade IV rapid. Sandy beaches line the river at intervals allowing river rafters to pull up alongside. The slopes on either side are covered with evergreen forest, occasional villages with their terraced cultivation are part of the landscape. It is one hrs drive to the Rafting site. About 6 hrs are required to do a half day trip with 02 hrs of rafting.

Option 3: Day trip to Phodong and Labrang monasteries.

Drive to Phodong and Labrang to visit monasteries. Return to Gangtok in the evenings for overnight at your hotel.

Option 4: Explore Gangtok and surroundings on your own

Car with driver and guide will be provided. Overnight at your hotel.

Day 15: Gangtok- BagdograTransfer Gangtok to Bagdogra in car with driver. TOUR ENDS.

Tour S/12: 21 Days Sikkim & Darjeeling Hills Grand Tour

Featuring: Kurseong, Darjeeling, Rumtek, Gangtok, North Sikkim, Turuk, Samduptse, Kewzing, Pamayangtse, Rinchenpong, Kalimpong, Lava and Samthar.

Sikkim, and the adjoining mountains of Darjeeling and Kalimpong, has the most magnificent range of snow clad mountains in the world, which rise to a maximum elevation of 8859 Meters. In this small area of less than 10000 sq. kms, there is an unbelievable richness of nature, culture, customs heritage, flora and fauna.

 

This Grand tour offers a panorama of the entire region, going up to altitude of 3543 m by car You will see magnificent snow clad mountains, forests teeming with bio diverse flora, river valleys, alpine lakes, , terraced cultivation, tea gardens, rural hamlets, Buddhist monasteries, exotic bazaars and a fascinating blend of beautiful ethnic people. You have a opportunity to explore the varied cuisine, peep into Himalayan lifestyles, walk and explore the countryside, meet people in their homes and fields, and make friends. We offer memorable eexperiences, with plenty of photo opportunities.

Day 01: Bagdogra- Kurseong,1458 m

Arrive at Bagdogra Airport. Met by your car with driver and guide and driven to Kurseong. Check in at your hotel for lunch. In the evening explore the quaint bazaar where the toy train goes through the main street of the town, and visit Eagles Crag is rewarding for its breathtaking sunset and splendid views of the plains and the Teesta Valley.
Overnight at the hotel.

Day 02: Visit Tea Estate at Kurseong and travel by train to Darjeeling

  

Visit a premium Tea Estate, and the Forest Museum. After lunch board the Toy train, and travel from Kurseong to Darjeeling.

The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR) conferred World Heritage status is a nineteenth century engineering feat. A journey by this “Toy Train” in a memorable experience. You will be traveling through forests, paddy cultivation, vast tea gardens, and tiny hamlets as well as hill towns of the “raj” period. You will see breathtaking views, diverse flora, waterfalls, gurgling mountain streams, and the lovely people. The panorama unfolding at a leisurely pace out side your carriage window enables a peep into life styles of the Darjeeling Hills. You marvel at the builders of this unique railway, as the tiny “B” Type steam locomotive huffs and puffs uphill with just three carriages. The highest point on this line is at Ghoom, at an elevation of 2225 m, where the ascent is achieved through a double loop.
Upon arrival, at Darjeeling, transfer to hotel. Overnight.

Day 03: Darjeeling, 2134 m
Darjeeling:

The town derived its present name from the Tibetan Dorjee-Ling, meaning Place of the thunderbolt. It is located in the state of West Bengal. It has a population of 200 000, comprising an ethnic mix of Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha and some Bengalis. Common language is Nepali.

Until the nineteenth century, it was a part of the kingdom of Sikkim, but was overrun by the Nepalese. The British intervened to broker peace, and in return pressurized the Sikkim raja, to gift Darjeeling, to the British, in 1835. Finally in 1861, after a short war, the British annexed Darjeeling and the adjoining territory upto the Rangit River The British developed Darjeeling, due to its strategic location as a base to develop trade with Tibet.

In early 1840’s, tea plantations were developed, extensively, and Nepali labour was imported. This resulted in a change in the demographic balance, with Nepalese ( Gorkhas) gradually gaining ground over others. Recently after a violent agitation, for formation of a Gorkhaland state, the Bengal government granted the Darjeeling District, autonomy, under a Gorkha Hill Council, with limited powers. This was dismantled due to a second agitation, and lead to the formation of the Gorkha Terretorial Authority, which provides for more funds and autonomy under Bengal.

Darjeeling retains it colonial flavor, and the region grows the best quality of tea. The fantastic views of the great snow capped ranges, is a major tourist attraction, along with Buddhist monasteries and the exotic bazar.

Early morning visit Tiger Hill for panoramic views at sunrise of the Everest and Khangchendzonga. Later visit the Ghoom Monastery. Return to hotel for breakfast. Afterwards, Visit Zoological park and Everest Museum. and the botanical gardens. Return to the hotel for lunch. Afternoon and evening free to explore the exotic bazar. Overnight at your hotel.

Day 04: Drive Darjeeling to Rumtek in Sikkim

Drive 58 Kms in 03 hrs through Tea estates to Rangpo in the Teesta valley. Enter Sikkim by Registering at the Sikkim Police Entry Check post. You will need to obtain your Sikkim Entry Permit. Keep 3 x Passport size photos ready, along with photocopies of passport and Visa. Your Gurudongma escort will be at hand to assist.

After border documentation, continue 40 Kms drive to Rumtek, 1650 m, through picture post card countryside of terraced fields and small hamlets. Check in at the the Bamboo Resort – an atmospheric family hotel; in time for lunch.

  

In the afternoon explore the surroundings and take a tour of the Rumtek Monastery to attend the evening prayers.

Headquarters of the Karamapa branch of the kargyu sect, Rumtek Monastery was rebuilt in 1964, as a replica of the Tsurphu Monastery, which was the original headquarters of the Kargyu Sect in Tibet. The 16th Gyalwa Karamapa, head of the order undertook this, after he fled from Tibet, and settled in Sikkim.

Behind the main temple are the Dharma Chakra Center, and the Nalanda Institute of Buddhist Studies. Here monks spend a minimum of nine years, in study, followed by three years of meditation. The gilded chorten or stupa studded with precious stones containing the remains of the Karamapa, as also the main temple, are the main attractions. With its traditional architecture, exquisite paintings, intricate woodwork, housing treasures of manuscripts and icons, Rumtek is a splendid example of Tibetan monastic art.

Return to Bamboo Resort for overnight.

Day 05: Drive Rumtek to Gangtok , 1767 m

After breakfast drive 24 Kms to Gangtok – The capital city of Sikkim. Enroute you can visit Botanical gardens, Samsara Gardens, the Research Institute of Tibetology -, with its large collection of Buddhist, icons, religious paintings and literature and the Do-Drul Chorten – built to commemorate the victory of good over evil. check in at your hotel.
Gangtok – the capital of Sikkim, is a modern hill town with ancient monasteries It is located in the shadow of the Chola Range at an altitude of 1767 m. Dating back to mid 19 th centurary, it sprawls down the West side of a massive ridge. It has a rich cultural heritage, bustling modern bazaar, exotic handicrafts, and lovely people. The main attractions are Rumtek Monastery, for its gilded “chorten”, traditional architecture, exquisite paintings, intricate woodwork, treasures of manuscripts and icons, The Tibetology Institute, displaying Buddhist icons, religious paintings, and literature and . The Directorate of Handicrafts, where ancient skills are kept alive.

After lunch you may like to visit the the Govt. Institute of Cottage Industry which is keeping the local handicrafts alive. Here you see skilled teachers and trainees working at various handicrafts.. Continue to the Enchay Monastery. Thereafter, take the kilometer long cable car ride, from Tashiling to Deorali for spectacular view of Gangtok town and surroundings.

In the evening explore bazaar on foot. Gangtok is the only hill town in India, which converts its main street into a walking promenade, with fountains, lights and flowers. MG (Mahatma Gandhi) road is the best place to spend your evening at Gangtok. Tuesday is a closed day Enjoy shopping and strolling along the main street, with its enchanting bazar. Overnight at your hotel.

Day 06: Gangtok- Lachen ( North Sikkim), 2750 m

Today you have a fascinating drive as you head for North Sikkim- the land of high altitude glaciers, medows, Rhododendrons, fast flowing rivers and yaks. The drive of 126 Kms will take you through rugged terrain , and narrow river valleys to Lachen, 2838 m. The driving time is 05 hrs. Overnight at your hotel.

Day 07: Lachen, 2750 m

Explore the Lachen Valley lying under the shadow of 5856 m high Lama Angden. Visit the Lachen Monastery; dating back to 1858, and the handicraft centre. Take a short trek or just relax and enjoy this pastoral ambience.

Day 08: Lachen to Lachung 2838 m

   

Retrace your steps back down the scenic Teeta Valley to Chungthang, 26 Kms Continue up the Lachung River Valley to the village of Lachung, 21 Kms. Explore Lachung and visit the monastery. Overnight at your Hotel.

Day 09: Lachung, 2838 m- Yamthang Valley, 3543 m- Lachung

Take a day trip up the lachung valley to Yumthang. Drive 24 Kms through the Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary. The road runs through picture postcard landscape. Climbing steadily upto 3543 m. It is nature at its best. Fast flowing glacial river, banks of forests, upland meadows with grazing yaks, and snow clad ridges enclosing the narrow valley on three sides. During the season ( Apr- may); 24 species of Rhododendrons bloom, creating a nature paradise. Walk around Yumthang valley. After a picnic lunch drive back to Lachung, for overnight at your hotel.

Day 10: Lachung- Turuk, 1400 m

Drive to Turuk via Dikchu and Damthang in 6 hrs Check in at the atmospheric Heritage house for overnight.

Day 11: Turuk Exploration

A day to relax and take quite walks to visit local homesteads, and experience life in a small sikimese village. Wonder at the diverse flora, learn some sikkimese recipes from your hostess and take a walk along the razor sharp edge of humongous cliff called Taray Bhir – with panoramic views . Overnight at Turuk heritage house.

Day 12: Turuk,1400 m- Pamayangtse, 2200 m via Samduptse- Rabang la, 2200 m and Kewzing, 1700 m

An hours drive to Samduptse; famous for the largest statue of Guru Padmasambhava in the world, and the Namchi Rock Garden.. Continue to Rabang la and Doling monaster in another hour. Visit the monastery and take a nature walk along a lovely forest trail downhill to Kewzing village, located amidst pristine forests at elevation of 1700 m. Drive down to the Rangit River at Legship, and continue up the winding road to Pamayangtse , in 02 hrs

Check in at your hotel for overnight.

Day 13: Pamayangtse

Pamayangtse is the heart of Western Sikkim; known as the the cradle of Buddhism in Sikkim. The legendary installation of the Namgyal dynasty, by three monks in 1642, introduced Buddhism in Sikkim. They came together at Yoksom, and as it had been prophesied, in sacred texts, they searched, and found Phuntsog Namgyal; anointed him with holy water, gave him the title of “chogyal” – meaning king of religion, and urged him to spread Buddhism, amongst the ethnic Lepchas. At that time the local people were animist worshipping nature spirits.
On various hill tops inter- visible to each other, are located a string of holy sites. Pamayangtse – the sublime perfect lotus, was built in 1705. It is the paramount of the Nyingmapa monasteries of Sikkim, and regarded the most prestigious. Sangacholing Monastery-the place of secret spells was founded in 1697. Clay statues dating back to the 17th Century are amongst the oldest in Sikkim. Both monasteries have splendid views of the snows and river valleys.

Wake up early to view close-up, the sunrise on the great peaks of the Khangchendzonga group. It is an unforgettable sight as the great mountain, changes various colors and hues Latter Visit the Sangacholing Monastery. In the late afternoon visit the Rabdentse Ruins. this was the second capital of the erstwhile Kingdom after Yuksom, and till the year 1814 AD, the King of Sikkim ruled from this place. Today, the ruins lie hidden from the main road. A short walk along a neatly laid out footpath leads to it. Latter visit the Pamayangtse Monastery, see the sunset on the great ranges and attend evening prayers. Overnight at your Hotel.

Day 14: Pamayangtse, 2200 m- Rinchenpong, 1500 m

 

A 41 kms scenic drive in 02 hrs. to Rinchenpomg. Check in at Yangsum heritage farm built in 1833 and remodeled in 1966. The host family, manage a 44 Acre mountain farm, consisting of open mixed forest of Pine, Himalayan Alder, Schima, Chestnut, Magnolia, Rhododendrons, cherry, and others. It grows cardamom, avocados, oranges, banana, pears, apricots, and mangoes. Cultivated agriculture yields maize, paddy, millet, potatoes, ginger, turmeric, and sweet potatoes.
Enjoy the surroundings and views, explore local hamlets, Try out home cooked Sikkimese food. Overnight at Yangsum Farm.

Day 15: Rinchenpong exploration and drive to Kalimpong, 1400 m

In the morning take a short guided trek to Rinchinpong Monastery, Reshung Gompa, and Lepcha village. After lunch drive to Kalimpong via the Rangit Valley. 55 Kms in 3 hrs. Overnight at hotel / Homestay.
Kalimpong, is an exotic town of beautiful people, mystical and enchanting? Ruled by Bhutan for 155 years, and annexed by the British in 1865, it was developed as a center of the wool trade with Tibet. This trade flourished until the Chinese took control of Tibet, in the 1950’s. Here Buddhism rubs shoulders with Christianity, Hinduism, and Islam. Gumpas, churches, temples, monasteries, monks and missionaries; all coexist in a jovial and tolerant society. Flower and orchid nurseries, colonial bungalows, churches of the “Raj”, and Buddhist monasteries are there to explore. A quaint bustling bazaar, is a Pandora’s box of surprises?

Day 16: Kalimpong exploration

Take a guided tour of Kalimpong,. You will see. Churches and Colonial buildings, of the British period, view points, Buddhist monastery, flower nursery, hand made paper factory, and the exotic bazaar. Above all the lovely ethnic mix of people. Overnight at your hotel/home stay.

Day 17: Drive cum trek- Kalimpong, 1400- Lave 2100 m- Samthar, 1400 m

Take a guided 80 Kms fascinating journey by jeep with two trek options enroute- each of 2-3 hrs. Enroute you get to visit Lava Monastery Virgin forests, bio diverse flora, terraced cultivation, ethnic villages and more. Guests not inclined to walking can go all the way by car in 4.30 hrs.

Scenic and remote, The Samthar Valley, at an elevation of 1500 Meters, is surrounded by river valleys, terraced cultivation and forests. The inhabitants are a blend of various ethnic groups-Lepchas, Bhutias and Nepali. The original Lepcha tribals were woodsman, and utilized the forest resources to live off the land. Knowing no religion, they worshiped nature spirits. When the Bhutanese ruled this land, many were converted to Buddhism. Latter the British rulers brought in Christian missionaries, who converted some of them to Christianity. Hinduism arrived with the Nepalese settlers, who also taught the Lepchas to farm the land. Today the ethnic groups are fused together in harmony. It is an ideal place to peep into lifestyles of this fascinating hill community. It also has diverse flora, well-developed mountain agriculture, forests, and river valleys, and offers breathtaking views of the Panorama of snows. The Samthar Farmhouse is an old Lepcha house built of stone and timber, converted for comfortable living, whilst maintaining its ambience. It has a lovely nature garden with good views. Income generated from guests goes to run the Awake & Shine Primary School.

Day 18: Samthar Valley Nature & Culture walk and vist to the Awake & Shine Primary School

Get up at sunrise to see the views. Weather permitting, you see the entire panorama of snows – Khangchenganga group of peaks, and the peaks named; Simvo, Siniolchu, Lama Anden, Chomoyomo, and Paunhari, and then in an easterly arc the passes of Chola, Natula, and Jalepla, leading into Tibet.
Take a guided walk along village paths for a exploration of the valley, with its mixed Christian Lepcha and Hindu Nepali hamlets walk through forests, terraced cultivation and homesteads.. Meet people in their homes and fields, and get a glimpse of rural Himalayan lifestyles. Visit the Awake & Shine Primary School which is bringing quality education to the local community.

The Awake & shine Integrated village tourism model, seeks to generate earnings by developing tour circuits based on home stay holidays, It also provides for empowering the future generations by teaching spoken English, Started in Feb 2007, Awake & Shine has built model infrastructure for Village home stay holidays, set up interesting village tours, and started a path breaking rural English medium Primary School. All earnings go directly to host families, other community members, and to support the Awake & Shine Primary School. Additional income comes from tourists sponsoring individual children.

Overnight at The samthar Farm House.

Day 19: Samthar Nature & Culture trek

Nature & Culture trek with guide through forests, terraced cultivation, and homesteads, visiting people in their homes and farms, Peep into local lifestyles and See basket and mat making, blacksmith, shaman and more . Overnight at the Samthar farm house.

Day 20: Trek Samthar to Teesta Dam and drive to Siliguri

Today you will exit the Samthar Valley by trekking down to the Rilli Valley. It is a nature trail, passing through forests, river valley and isolated hamlets. It descends steeply from 1400 m to 300 m in 04 hrs to reach the confluence of the Rilli and Teesta rivers, to cross the Teesta River over a bridge on a newly constructed dam. Transfer to car and drive to siliguri in 02 hrs. Overnight at hotel.

Day 21: Transfer to Bagdogra for departure

A 30 minutes transfer to Bagdogra airfield to board your departure flight. TOUR ENDS.

S/08 : 03 to 05 days Tour to Explore Gangtok ( Sikkim) and surroundings

Explore the most atmospheric hill town in India, peopled by a fascinating blend of beautiful people- Lepchas, Nepali and Bhutias. Visit the world renowned Rumtek Monastery, and the Tibetology Institute with its large collection of Buddhist, icons, religious paintings and literature, roam the exotic bazaar ride the cable car for birds eye views, and admire a spectacular collection of orchids, plants and flowers. Ride the white waters of the Teesta or take the breath taking drive to the Kyangnosla Alpine Sanctuary and Tsongmo Lake, located at an elevation of 3752 m and Natu la pass on the Tibet birder. Shorter duration tours are also available.

Itinerary

Day 01: Arrive Bagdogra airport. and transfer to Gangtok

Arrive by air at Bagdogra. Met by car weith driver and transferred to Gangtok in 05 hrs.-

The drive to Gangtok is along NH 31 A . The road follows the scenic Teesta River valley most of the way There are lovely forests, terraced cultivation, and picture postcard villages on the way. The distance is 124 Kms and the driving time is 4.30 hrs. At Rangpo –the entry point to Sikkim, Foreign visitors ( if any) have to stop for entry formalities.

Entry to sikkim for foreign Nationals is restricted. In addition to an Indian visa, foreign nationals must obtain an Inner Line Permit (ILP)to visit Sikkim. The permits can be obtained at the entry check post at Rangpo, on the spot without any delay provided photocopies of Passport and Visa details along with two passport photos of applicants are made available then and there.

Upon arrival at Gangtok check in at your hotel for overnight.

Gangtok – the capital of Sikkim, is a modern hill town with ancient monasteries It is located in the shadow of the Chola Range at an altitude of 1767 m. Dating back to mid 19 th centurary, it sprawls down the West side of a massive ridge. It has a rich cultural heritage, bustling modern bazaar, exotic handicrafts, and lovely people. The main attractions are Rumtek Monastery, for its gilded “chorten”, traditional architecture, exquisite paintings, intricate woodwork, treasures of manuscripts and icons, The Tibetology Institute, displaying Buddhist icons, religious paintings, and literature and . The Directorate of Handicrafts, where ancient skills are kept alive. Around Gangok you can ride the white waters of the Teesta , take the spectacular day trip through the the Kyangnosla Nature Park, to the holy Tsangu Lake at 3752 m altitude, and the second trip to the Buddhist monasteries at Phodong and Labarang.

Day 02 : Gangtok Sightseeing tour: Monasteries , gardens and handicrafts

Guided sightseeing tour comprising:-

  • Early morning visit the Tashi view point; which offers clear views of Mt Khangchendzonga, Return to hotel for breakfast
  • The Govt. Institute of Cottage Industry which is keeping the local handicrafts alive. Here you see skilled teachers and trainees working at various handicrafts. There is also a sales outlet, where you can buy handicrafts at reasonable prices.
  • The Enchay Monastery, – located on a hilltop above Gangtok, this monastery rebuilt in 1910 belongs to the Nyingmapa order and was once the hermitage site of Lama Drupthob Karpo renowned for his ability to fly.
  • The Research Institute of Tibetology -, with its large collection of Buddhist, icons, religious paintings and literature ,
  • The Do-Drul Chorten. :was built to commemorate the victory of good over evil
    Latter drive to Rumtek

Headquarters of the Karamapa branch of the kargyu sect, Rumtek Monastery was rebuilt in 1964, as a replica of the Tsurphu Monastery, which was the original headquarters of the Kargyu Sect in Tibet. The 16th Gyalwa Karamapa, head of the order undertook this, after he fled from Tibet, and settled in Sikkim. Behind the main temple are the Dharma Chakra Center, and the Nalanda Institute of Buddhist Studies. Here monks spend a minimum of nine years, in study, followed by three years of meditation. The gilded chorten or stupa studded with precious stones containing the remains of the Karamapa, as also the main temple, are the main attractions. With its traditional architecture, exquisite paintings, intricate woodwork, housing treasures of manuscripts and icons, Rumtek is a splendid example of Tibetan monastic art.

The drive to and fro Rumtek, is through picture post card country. As the road winds down through terraced fields and smiling hamlets, we get a full view of Gangtok, and marvel at the multistoried structures, dotting the hillsides.

Afternoon and Evening is free to explore Gangtok on your own.. Your guide will be happy to arrange transportation on request. Some of the options are :-

  • International Flower show, The show features exotic varieties of local flowers, orchids and other plants of Sikkim. Sikkim has about 600 species of orchids, 240 species of trees and ferns, 150 varieties of gladioli, and 46 types of rhododendrons, along with a variety of magnolias and many other foliage plants. The flora displayed mainly comprises of climbers, alpine plants, cacti, herbs orchids, creepers, gladioli, ferns, roses, etc.
  • Samsara Gardens( also known as Ipecac Garden) preserves several Orchids as well as tropical and temperate plants and other blooms, and various fruit trees.
  • The Botanical Gardens , covered with shades of green is a treasure trove of uncommon plant and species of Sikkim flowers. Dense sylvan surroundings of Oak forests and almost 50 varieties of tree species, several of plants, flowers and shrubs characterize the Botanical Garden as a result of altitude variation. Numerous other tropical plants that form a intermixture of tropical and temperate condition plants can often be viewed inside the gardens.
  • Cable car rides : The Gangtok ropeway is about 1 km long. It has three entry points or stops. The lowest point is at Deorali market and the highest point is at Tashiling ( below the state secretariat ). There is a mid point stop at Nam-Nang. One can enter from any point and return to the same point after touching other two points. Cable car journey provides spectacular view of Gangtok town and surroundings on its 15 to 20 minutes journey.
  • Shopping: Gangtok is the only hill town in India, which converts its main street into a walking promenade, with fountains, lights and flowers. MG (Mahatma Gandhi) road is the best place to spend your evening at Gangtok. Tuesday is a closed day Enjoy shopping and strolling along the main street, with its enchanting bazar.

Day 03: Day trip to Kyangnosla Alpine Sanctuary Tsongmo Lake, 3752 m and Natu la pass on the Tibet border

Drive to Tsongmo Lake, through the KyangnosLa Alpine Sanctuary. It is a 70 Kms round trip taking 04 hrs of driving. The road, which is the old trade route to Tibet, winds, up the cliff like mountain. It is cut through sheer rock faces, with awe inspiring sheer drops to narrow valleys below. Look at the vegetation changing from subtropical to Alpine, as passing through the Kyangnosla Pass, you finally arrive at this sacred lake. Yak rides are available at extra cost. Return to Gangtok, in time for a well-earned lunch at your hote.

Indian Nationals can extend the trip to include Natu La on the Tibet border and Baba Mandir.

Special permits are required.

To visit Tsongmo Lake & beyond, permit application for Indian Nationals requires proof of identity and photographs
For foreign nationals, we will need photocopies of passport and visa Plus 3 coloured passport photos.

Warning: Because of high altitude and sudden ascent, you will need suitable parkas, heavy socks, and balaclava caps. Avoid exerting, such as fast walking and shouting. Those suffering from high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma, and other respiratory problems, are advised to avoid this trip. In case of severe headache, Nausea or vomiting, return immediately to lower altitude.

Day 04: Day trip options:

White water rafting in the Teesta River: The River Teesta , offers the exhilaration of white water rafting. The river offers some fine Grade III rapids and one Grade IV rapid. Sandy beaches line the river at intervals allowing river rafters to pull up alongside. The slopes on either side are covered with evergreen forest, occasional villages with their terraced cultivation are part of the landscape. It is one hrs drive to the Rafting site. About 6 hrs are required to do a half day trip with 02 hrs of rafting. Depart at 0700 hrs. to return for lunch at your hotel.

Day trip to Phudong and Labrang Monasteries and ruins of Tumlong- the ancient capital of Sikkim

Drive 28 Kms along the North Sikkim highway to visit Phudong and Labrang Monasteries

  • Phudong Monastery was established in 1740.It has extensive murals in the two storied prayer Hall and a large statue of the 9 th Karmapa. The monastery has a residence of approximately 260 monks
  • Labrang monastery is located 2 kms further up hill from Phodong Monastery. This monastery was built in 1884 and belongs to the Nyingmapa sect. The building still retains the original structure.the prayer hall murals repeat the same Padmasambhava pose 1022 times. Just below the road between the Phodang and Labrang Monastery are the ruins of Tumlong, the third capital of Sikkim.

Day 05: Gangtok- Bagdogra

Drive from Gangtok to Bagdogra Airport in 05.00 hrs. TOUR ENDS

Short Versions

Version 1: 04 day option by deleting day 4 trips
Version 2: 03 day option by deleting Day 3 and 4 trips

S/10: 04 Days North Sikkim Escapade

Escape to the pristine charms of North Sikkim. Travel by car to the quaint villages of Lachung and Lachen and drive through Yumthang Valley – the vale of Rhododendrons up to altitude of 4200 m. Forests, snows, meadows with grazing yaks, cascading glacial rivers, waterfalls, Budhist Gompas, Lachungpa tribals and more. Indian nationals can extend the tour to Gurudongmar Tso, 5136 m which is located across the Great Himalayan Range. For trekking enthusiasts the moderate 3 day Lama Anden view point trek, 4615 m, provides spectacular views of Lama Anden peak and surroundings Special entry permits required. Will be arranged by us. Short version of this tour is also available.

Itinerary

Day 01: Gangtok- Lachung ( North Sikkim), 2838 m

Drive 121 Kms in 6 hrs to Lachung, located at an altitude of 3000m. On the way visit the Kabi Longchok – is the spot where the Lepcha chieftain Thekung Tek and the Tibetan Kham king Khye Bumsa signed a treaty of blood brotherhood in the 15th century, paving the way for the Bhutias to settle peacefully in Sikkim. A circle of nine stones; erected by Thekung Tek, stand as witness to the pact.

The road can be rough in parts, with scenic views, forests, terraced cultivation, neat villages and waterfalls. The quant village of Lachung can be described as Alpine in a Buddhist setting with a sprinkling of concrete. Overnight at hotel.

Day 02: Lachung – Yumthang Valley, 3543 m – Lachung

Drive 24 Kms to Yumthang at an altitude of 3543 m. The valley is couched between snow-capped mountains on one hand, green hills on the other. The sound of the rushing Yumthang Chhu, fed by glaciers accompanies you through the day. This is natures playground – a fascinating blend of breathtaking rugged Himalayan upland, hot springs, yak meadows, and a Rhododendrom sanctuary with 24 species. ( Blooms in Apr-May). The valley is rich in ground flora –Potentillas, Gentians, Saxifrages, Poppies, and Aconites. On view are Silver Fir, Spruce, Larch, Juniper, Maple . Trees are festooned with trailing lichens. There is a carpet of moss protecting the ground from the severe winters. The sanctuary has amongst others; Goral, Serow, Blue Sheep, Red Panda, Himalayan Black Bear, Weasals, Martens, Common Langur, and Musk deer. Some of the most sought after birds are found here – Blood Pheasant, Monal, Satyr Tragopan, snow partridge, snow pigeon, Choughs, Rose finches, snow finches. Migratory birds such as Ibisbill, ducks and waders are also seen. Angling for Brown trout is permitted with permission.

Return to Lachung for a visit to the Lachung monastery, one of the oldest in Sikkim, founded in 1800 AD. Overnight at hotel.

Day 03: Lachung- Lachen, 2750 m

Drive to Lachen , 47 Kms. A fascinating 3 hrs journey through narrow river valleys covered with forests. Lachen is a scenic mountain village, located amidst grassy mountain slopes, mixed conifer and rhododendron forests, set against a backdrop of imposing snow capped peaks, glaciers and rock cliffs.

Explore Lachen, and peep into local lifestyles. Visit the ancient Lachen Monastery, and the handicraft centre to view weaving of blankets made from yak and sheep wool, Carpets , shawls, hand bags, and wood crafted Buddhist symbols are other products. Overnight at your hotel at Lachen.

Day 04: Lachen- Gangtok

Drive back to Gangtok 120 Kms in 5-6 hrs. Weather permitting view Khangchendzonga from Singhik, and visit Phodong and Labrang Monasteries. Tour ends after arrival at your hotel in Gangtok.

Extentions

E/01: Half day trip to Gurudongmar Tso, 5136 m

Open to Indian Nationals only
Warning: Because of high altitude and ascent, from 2750 m to 5136 m, you will need suitable parkas, heavy socks, and balaclava caps. Avoid exerting, such as fast walking and shouting. Do not wander off the road . If you are suffering from high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma, and other respiratory problems, you are advised to avoid this trip. In case of severe headache, Nausea or vomiting, return immediately to lower altitude.

Take a stunning mountain drive across the great Himalayan Range to the Pristine Gurudongmar Tso lake, located on the Tibetan Plateau. You can also visit Tso Lhamu- the source of the Teesta River. The 45 Kms journey takes 2.30- 03 hrs. The first 30 Kms to village of Thangu, 4200 m , is through Rhododendron forests. The close by Chopta Valley is carpeted with beautiful alpine flowers from early April to July, Beyond Thangu the road cuts through the great Himalayan Range and enters the Karen Plateau which is geographically a part of the Tibetan plateau. Vegetation is very limited. There is no human habitation apart from the Indian army.

E/02: 03 day Lama Anden View Point Trek

The massive Lama Angden Peak shadows the lachen village. It can be seen standing right on the top of the village. This short trek takes you to a view point, which offers breathtaking views of Lama Anden and surroundings..

Day 01: Lachen to Lama Anden Camp. Easy trek along scenic route to camp overnight
Day 02: Lama Anden camp to view point and return. Three hours trek from the camp is the view point, at the base of the Peak. Trek back to Lama Anden camp.
Day 03: Trek back Lama Anden camp to Lachen.

Version 1: Short Tour to North Sikkim

Day 1 Gangtok to Lachen; overnight Lachen
Day 2: Lachen – Gurudongmar- Lachen – Lachung

Indian Nationals: Lachen to Gurudongmar and Chopta Valley and Back. Continue travel to Lachung; overnight Lachung
Foreign Nationals: Morning :Explore Lachen. Afternoon drive Lachen to Lachung . Overnight

Day 3 – Visit to Yumthang valley. Back to Lachung. Overnight Lachung
Day 4 – Travel Back to Gangtok.

 

S/11: 15 days Town & Country Experience in Sikkim, Kalimpong & Samthar

Featuring : Kalimpong-Samthar- Rinchenpong- Pelling-Turuk- Temi- Gangtok and Tsangmo Lake-

Sikkim, and the adjoining mountains of Darjeeling and Kalimpong, together forms a homogenous mountain mass. This region has the most magnificent range of snow clad mountains in the world, which rise to a maximum elevation of 8859 Meters. In this small area of less than 10000 sq. kms, there is an unbelievable richness of culture, customs heritage, flora and fauna.

On this tour you will see everything that the region offers- Magnificent snow clad mountains, forests teeming with bio diverse flora, river valleys, alpine lakes, , terraced cultivation, tea gardens, rural hamlets, Buddhist monasteries, exotic bazaars and a fascinating blend of beautiful ethnic people. You have a opportunity to explore the varied cuisine, peep into Himalayan lifestyles, walk and explore the countryside, meet people in their homes and fields, and make friends. We offer memorable experiences, with plenty of photo opportunities.

Itinerary

Day 01: Arrive Bagdogra and drive to Kalimpong

Fly in to Bagdogra airport from Delhi, Kolkata, Paro, or Guwahati
Met by car with driver.
Drive to Kalimpong. Check in at Gurudongma house. Overnight

Day 02: Kalimpong local tour

Explore Kalimpong with guide. Driving cum walking tour. Colonial buildings, budhist Monasteries, Orchid and cactus nurseries, hindu temples, hand made paper factory, view points and atmospheric bazaar.
Additional activities offered: para gliding, and river rafting
Car with drtiver + guide provided
Overnight Gurudongma House.

Day 03: Kalimpong – Lava – Lolegaon – Samthar

Drive cum trek to the remote village of Samthar through virgin forests. Enroute visit Lava Buddhist Monastery. Two short guided treks.( 2-3 hrs each). Biodiverse flora, isolated hamlets, terraced cultivation, mountain streams, and more.

Not interested in trekking ?. You can drive all the way in 3.30 hrs.
Overnight at Samthar Farm House.

Scenic and remote,The Samthar valley at an elevation of 1500 Meters, is an “off beat” location.It is inhabited by a blend of various ethnic groups-Lepchas, Bhutias and Nepali. It is an ideal place to peep into lifestyles of this fascinating hill community. It also has diverse flora, well-developed mountain agriculture, forests, and river valleys, and offers breathtaking views of the Panorama of snows.

The Samthar Farmhouse is an old Lepcha house built of stone and timber, converted for comfortable living, whilst maintaining its ambience. It has a lovely nature garden with scenic views.

Day 04: Samthar : Nature & Culture Walk

Get up early for breathtaking sunrise views. After breakfast, take a easy guided Village exploration walk, (02 hrs) visiting Nepali and Lepcha homes peopled by Buddhist, Hindu and Christian folks. Visit the Awake & Shine School – a Charitable model rural school, which is bringing quality education to this valley.

Day 05: Samthar: Full day Nature & Culture trek

Option 1
Trek down to Khola Gari hamlet. Explore the lower Samthar Valley and have lunch in as local house. Trek back to Samthar Farm House for overnight.
Option 2
Trek to Hungay Dara hamlet through forests and return to Samthar Farm House via Samthar Ridge.
Option 3
Trek to Yang Lecha Gompa through forests, terraced cultivation, visiting ethnic homesteads.
Option 4
Mountain biking to Ponbu and back along easy road with spectacular views of snows and plains.
Option 5
A day of leisure. Village market day is Wednesday. Option of cooking lessons, chang beer making, straw mat making, basket making
Overnight at Samthar Farm House.

Day 06: Teesta valley trek and drive to Rinchenpong ( West Sikkim)

Trek for 04 hrs down to Teesta Valley Dam with guide and one porter per head. Transfer by car with driver to Rinchenpong, in West Sikkim. Enroute complete border documentation at Malli Check Post. ( For Foreign nationals)
FOREIGN PASSPORT HOLDERS: Sikkim is restricted entry area, requiring a permit. Foreign Tourist can get the permit at the entry check post at Malli. Passports with valid India visa and 3 copies of passport sized photos are required
Upon arrival check in at the atmospheric Yangsum Farm for overnight.

Day 07: Rinchenpong ( West Sikkim)

Walking exploration of Sikkimese village with guide. visiting Rinchenpong Monastery established in 1730. It is the 3rd oldest monastery in Sikkim, The monastery houses a rare Ati Buddha statue is said to be the true Buddha, symbolically represented as a naked Buddha in blue. In the Yab-Yum position, the Buddha is shown meditating while embracing a woman. In Buddhism it signifies the power of union of the male and female. Latter visit Lepcha village.
Overnight at Yangsum Farm.

Day 08: Rinchenpong: Day trip to Rhododendron Sanctuary

Day Drive cum trek to Vershay Rhododendron Sanctuary with guide ( Bloom from 15 March to 07 Apr approx)
Alternative: Walking exploration of countryside with guide,
Overnight at Yangsum Farm

Day 09: Rinchenpong- Pamayangtse- Pelling

Transfer by car with driver to Pamayangtse.
Visit Pamayangtse Monastery and Rabantse ruins.
Overnight at hotel/home stay at Pamayangtse/Pelling/ Gayshaling/ or Dara Gaon.

Day Drive cum trek to Vershay Rhododendron Sanctuary with guide ( Bloom from 15 March to 07 Apr approx)
Alternative: Walking exploration of countryside with guide,
Overnight at Yangsum Farm

Day 09: Rinchenpong- Pamayangtse- Pelling

Transfer by car with driver to Pamayangtse.
Visit Pamayangtse Monastery and Rabantse ruins.
Overnight at hotel/home stay at Pamayangtse/Pelling/ Gayshaling/ or Dara Gaon.

Day 10: Pamayangtse– Turuk, 1400 m via Rabang la and Samduptse

Wake up early see the sunrise on the great peaks of the Khangchendzonga group. Later drive 50 Kms in 02 hrs to Kewzing, located amidst pristine forests at elevation of 1700 m. Take a easy nature trek to Doling Monastery, along a lovely forest trail Thereafter drive to Samduptse; famous for the largest statue of Guru Padmasambhava in the world, and the Namchi Rock Garden. Continue for one hour to reach Turuk , a small village at an altitude of 1400 m. Check in at the atmospheric Heritage house. for overnight.

Day 11: Turuk Exploration

A day to relax and take quite walks to visit local homesteads, wonder at the diverse flora, learn some sikkimese recipes from your hostess and take a walk along the razor sharp edge of humongous cliff called Taray Bhir – with panoramic views Overnight at Turuk heritage house.

Day 12: Turuk- Temi- Gangtok

Drive to Gangtok via temi Tea Estate Visit the Tea Garden and factory. This is the only tea garden in Sikkim growing and manufacturing Darjeeling Tea.
Upon arrival at Gangtok , check in at your hotel.
In the evening take a stroll through the exotic bazar. Overnight at hotel.

Day 13: Gangtok Sightseeing tour: Monasteries , gardens and handicrafts

Early morning visit the Tashi view point; which offers clear views of Mt Khangchendzonga, Return to hotel for breakfast
After breakfast visit :-

The Govt. Institute of Cottage Industry which is keeping the local handicrafts alive. Here you see skilled teachers and trainees working at various handicrafts. There is also a sales outlet, where you can buy handicrafts at reasonable prices.
The Enchay Monastery, – located on a hilltop above Gangtok, this monastery rebuilt in 1910 belongs to the Nyingmapa order and was once the hermitage site of Lama Drupthob Karpo renowned for his ability to fly.
The Research Institute of Tibetology -, with its large collection of Buddhist, icons, religious paintings and literature ,
The Do-Drul Chorten. :was built to commemorate the victory of good over evil
The Rumtek Monastery. (For foreigb passport holders: Passports are checked at the monastery entrance.)

Afternoon and Evening is free to explore Gangtok on your own. Some of the options are :-

Flowers and flora You may like to visit the International Flower show, The show features exotic varieties of local flowers, orchids and other plants of Sikkim. Sikkim has about 600 species of orchids, 240 species of trees and ferns, 150 varieties of gladioli, and 46 types of Rhododendrons, along with a variety of magnolias and many other foliage plants. The flora displayed mainly comprises of climbers, alpine plants, cacti, herbs orchids, creepers, gladioli, ferns, roses, etc.

Botanical gardens, and Samsara Gardens Also known as Ipecac Garden is located 14 Kms from Gangtok enroute to Rumtek Monastery. It preserves several Orchids as well as tropical and temperate plants and other blooms.

Shopping: Gangtok is the only hill town in India, which converts its main street into a walking promenade, with fountains, lights and flowers. MG (Mahatma Gandhi) road is the best place to spend your evening at Gangtok. Tuesday is a closed day Enjoy shopping and strolling along the main street, with its enchanting bazar.

Cable car rides : The Gangtok ropeway is about 1 km long. It has three entry points or stops. The lowest point is at Deorali market and the highest point is at Tashiling ( below the state secretariat ). There is a mid point stop at Nam-Nang. One can enter from any point and return to the same point after touching other two points. Cable car journey provides spectacular view of Gangtok town and surroundings on its 15 to 20 minutes journey.

Day 14: Day trips from Gangtok

Option 1: Kyangnosla Alpine Sanctuary and Tsongmo Lake, 3900 m

Depart after early breakfast.at 0700 hrs. Drive to Tsongmo Lake, through the KyangnosLa Alpine Sanctuary. It is a 70 Kms round trip taking 04 hrs of driving. The road, which is the old trade route to Tibet, winds, up the cliff like mountain. It is cut through sheer rock faces, with awe inspiring sheer drops to narrow valleys below. Look at the vegetation changing from subtropical to Alpine, as passing through the Kyangnosla Pass, we finally arrive at this sacred lake. We will spend about one hour here. Yak rides are available at extra cost.

Indian National;s can go also up to the Tibet border and visit Natula Pass and Baba Mandir Prior intimation for permits is required.
Return to Gangtok, for overnight at your hotel

Special permits are required.

For Indian Nationals permit requires proof of identity and photographs
For foreign nationals, we will need photocopies of passport and visa Plus 3 coloured passport photos.

Warning: Because of high altitude and sudden ascent, you will need suitable parkas, heavy socks, and balaclava caps. Avoid exerting, such as fast walking and shouting. Those suffering from high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma, and other respiratory problems, are advised to avoid this trip. In case of severe headache, Nausea or vomiting, return immediately to lower altitude.

Option 2: White water rafting in the Teesta River

The River Teesta , offers the exhilaration of white water rafting. The river offers some fine Grade III rapids and one Grade IV rapid. Sandy beaches line the river at intervals allowing river rafters to pull up alongside. The slopes on either side are covered with evergreen forest, occasional villages with their terraced cultivation are part of the landscape. It is one hrs drive to the Rafting site. About 6 hrs are required to do a half day trip with 02 hrs of rafting.

Option 3: Day trip to Phodong and Labrang monasteries.

Drive to Phodong and Labrang to visit monasteries. Return to Gangtok in the evenings for overnight at your hotel.

Option 4: Explore Gangtok and surroundings on your own.

Car with driver and guide will be provided. Overnight at your hotel.

Day 15: Gangtok- Bagdogra

Transfer Gangtok to Bagdogra in car with driver. TOUR ENDS.

Tour S/12: 21 Days Sikkim & Darjeeling Hills Grand Tour

Featuring: Kurseong, Darjeeling, Rumtek, Gangtok, North Sikkim, Turuk, Samduptse, Kewzing, Pamayangtse, Rinchenpong, Kalimpong, Lava and Samthar.

Sikkim, and the adjoining mountains of Darjeeling and Kalimpong, has the most magnificent range of snow clad mountains in the world, which rise to a maximum elevation of 8859 Meters. In this small area of less than 10000 sq. kms, there is an unbelievable richness of nature, culture, customs heritage, flora and fauna.

This Grand tour offers a panorama of the entire region, going up to altitude of 3543 m by car You will see magnificent snow clad mountains, forests teeming with bio diverse flora, river valleys, alpine lakes, , terraced cultivation, tea gardens, rural hamlets, Buddhist monasteries, exotic bazaars and a fascinating blend of beautiful ethnic people. You have a opportunity to explore the varied cuisine, peep into Himalayan lifestyles, walk and explore the countryside, meet people in their homes and fields, and make friends. We offer memorable eexperiences, with plenty of photo opportunities.

Day 01: Bagdogra- Kurseong,1458 m

Arrive at Bagdogra Airport. Met by your car with driver and guide and driven to Kurseong. Check in at your hotel for lunch. In the evening explore the quaint bazaar where the toy train goes through the main street of the town, and visit Eagles Crag is rewarding for its breathtaking sunset and splendid views of the plains and the Teesta Valley.
Overnight at the hotel.

Day 02: Visit Tea Estate at Kurseong and travel by train to Darjeeling

Visit a premium Tea Estate, and the Forest Museum. After lunch board the Toy train, and travel from Kurseong to Darjeeling.

The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR) conferred World Heritage status is a nineteenth century engineering feat. A journey by this “Toy Train” in a memorable experience. You will be traveling through forests, paddy cultivation, vast tea gardens, and tiny hamlets as well as hill towns of the “raj” period. You will see breathtaking views, diverse flora, waterfalls, gurgling mountain streams, and the lovely people. The panorama unfolding at a leisurely pace out side your carriage window enables a peep into life styles of the Darjeeling Hills. You marvel at the builders of this unique railway, as the tiny “B” Type steam locomotive huffs and puffs uphill with just three carriages. The highest point on this line is at Ghoom, at an elevation of 2225 m, where the ascent is achieved through a double loop.

Upon arrival, at Darjeeling, transfer to hotel. Overnight

Day 03: Darjeeling, 2134 m

Darjeeling: The town derived its present name from the Tibetan Dorjee-Ling, meaning Place of the thunderbolt. It is located in the state of West Bengal. It has a population of 200 000, comprising an ethnic mix of Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha and some Bengalis. Common language is Nepali.

Until the nineteenth century, it was a part of the kingdom of Sikkim, but was overrun by the Nepalese. The British intervened to broker peace, and in return pressurized the Sikkim raja, to gift Darjeeling, to the British, in 1835. Finally in 1861, after a short war, the British annexed Darjeeling and the adjoining territory upto the Rangit River The British developed Darjeeling, due to its strategic location as a base to develop trade with Tibet. In early 1840’s, tea plantations were developed, extensively, and Nepali labour was imported. This resulted in a change in the demographic balance, with Nepalese ( Gorkhas) gradually gaining ground over others. Recently after a violent agitation, for formation of a Gorkhaland state, the Bengal government granted the Darjeeling District, autonomy, under a Gorkha Hill Council, with limited powers. This was dismantled due to a second agitation, and lead to the formation of the Gorkha Terretorial Authority, which provides for more funds and autonomy under Bengal. Darjeeling retains it colonial flavor, and the region grows the best quality of tea. The fantastic views of the great snow capped ranges, is a major tourist attraction, along with Buddhist monasteries and the exotic bazar.

Early morning visit Tiger Hill for panoramic views at sunrise of the Everest and Khangchendzonga. Latter visit the Ghoom Monastery. Return to hotel for breakfast. Afterwards, Visit Zoological park and Everest Museum. and the botanical gardens. Return to the hotel for lunch. Afternoon and evening free to explore the exotic bazar. Overnight at your hotel.

Day 04: Drive Darjeeling to Rumtek in Sikkim

Drive 58 Kms in 03 hrs through Tea estates to Rangpo in the Teesta valley. Enter Sikkim by Registering at the Sikkim Police Entry Check post. You will need to obtain your Sikkim Entry Permit. Keep 3 x Passport size photos ready, along with photocopies of passport and Visa. Your Gurudongma escort will be at hand to assist.

After border documentation, continue 40 Kms drive to Rumtek, 1650 m, through picture post card countryside of terraced fields and small hamlets. Check in at the the Bamboo Resort – an atmospheric family hotel; in time for lunch.

In the afternoon explore the surroundings and take a tour of the Rumtek Monastery to attend the evening prayers.

Headquarters of the Karamapa branch of the kargyu sect, Rumtek Monastery was rebuilt in 1964, as a replica of the Tsurphu Monastery, which was the original headquarters of the Kargyu Sect in Tibet. The 16th Gyalwa Karamapa, head of the order undertook this, after he fled from Tibet, and settled in Sikkim. Behind the main temple are the Dharma Chakra Center, and the Nalanda Institute of Buddhist Studies. Here monks spend a minimum of nine years, in study, followed by three years of meditation. The gilded chorten or stupa studded with precious stones containing the remains of the Karamapa, as also the main temple, are the main attractions. With its traditional architecture, exquisite paintings, intricate woodwork, housing treasures of manuscripts and icons, Rumtek is a splendid example of Tibetan monastic art.
Return to Bamboo Resort for overnight.

Day 05: Drive Rumtek to Gangtok , 1767 m

After breakfast drive 24 Kms to Gangtok – The capital city of Sikkim. Enroute you can visit Botanical gardens, Samsara Gardens, the Research Institute of Tibetology -, with its large collection of Buddhist, icons, religious paintings and literature and the Do-Drul Chorten – built to commemorate the victory of good over evil. check in at your hotel.

Gangtok – the capital of Sikkim, is a modern hill town with ancient monasteries It is located in the shadow of the Chola Range at an altitude of 1767 m. Dating back to mid 19 th centurary, it sprawls down the West side of a massive ridge. It has a rich cultural heritage, bustling modern bazaar, exotic handicrafts, and lovely people. The main attractions are Rumtek Monastery, for its gilded “chorten”, traditional architecture, exquisite paintings, intricate woodwork, treasures of manuscripts and icons, The Tibetology Institute, displaying Buddhist icons, religious paintings, and literature and . The Directorate of Handicrafts, where ancient skills are kept alive.
After lunch you may like to visit the the Govt. Institute of Cottage Industry which is keeping the local handicrafts alive. Here you see skilled teachers and trainees working at various handicrafts.. Continue to the Enchay Monastery. Thereafter, take the kilometer long cable car ride, from Tashiling to Deorali for spectacular view of Gangtok town and surroundings.

In the evening explore bazaar on foot. Gangtok is the only hill town in India, which converts its main street into a walking promenade, with fountains, lights and flowers. MG (Mahatma Gandhi) road is the best place to spend your evening at Gangtok. Tuesday is a closed day Enjoy shopping and strolling along the main street, with its enchanting bazar. Overnight at your hotel.

Day 06: Gangtok- Lachen ( North Sikkim), 2750 m

Today you have a fascinating drive as you head for North Sikkim- the land of high altitude glaciers, medows, Rhododendrons, fast flowing rivers and yaks. The drive of 126 Kms will take you through rugged terrain , and narrow river valleys to Lachen, 2838 m. The driving time is 05 hrs. Overnight at your hotel.

Day 07: Lachen, 2750 m

Explore the Lachen Valley lying under the shadow of 5856 m high Lama Angden. Visit the Lachen Monastery; dating back to 1858, and the handicraft centre. Take a short trek or just relax and enjoy this pastoral ambience.

Day 08: Lachen to Lachung 2838 m

Retrace your steps back down the scenic Teeta Valley to Chungthang, 26 Kms Continue up the Lachung River Valley to the village of Lachung, 21 Kms. Explore Lachung and visit the monastery. Overnight at your Hotel.

Day 09: Lachung, 2838 m- Yamthang Valley, 3543 m- Lachung

Take a day trip up the lachung valley to Yumthang. Drive 24 Kms through the Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary. The road runs through picture postcard landscape. Climbing steadily upto 3543 m. It is nature at its best. Fast flowing glacial river, banks of forests, upland meadows with grazing yaks, and snow clad ridges enclosing the narrow valley on three sides. During the season ( Apr- may); 24 species of Rhododendrons bloom, creating a nature paradise. Walk around Yumthang valley. After a picnic lunch drive back to Lachung, for overnight at your hotel.

Day 10: Lachung- Turuk, 1400 m

Drive to Turuk via Dikchu and Damthang in 6 hrs Check in at the atmospheric Heritage house for overnight.

Day 11: Turuk Exploration

A day to relax and take quite walks to visit local homesteads, and experience life in a small sikimese village. Wonder at the diverse flora, learn some sikkimese recipes from your hostess and take a walk along the razor sharp edge of humongous cliff called Taray Bhir – with panoramic views . Overnight at Turuk heritage house.

Day 12: Turuk,1400 m- Pamayangtse, 2200 m via Samduptse- Rabang la, 2200 m and Kewzing, 1700 m

An hours drive to Samduptse; famous for the largest statue of Guru Padmasambhava in the world, and the Namchi Rock Garden.. Continue to Rabang la and Doling monaster in another hour. Visit the monastery and take a nature walk along a lovely forest trail downhill to Kewzing village, located amidst pristine forests at elevation of 1700 m. Drive down to the Rangit River at Legship, and continue up the winding road to Pamayangtse , in 02 hrs
Check in at your hotel for overnight.

Day 13: Pamayangtse

Pamayangtse is the heart of Western Sikkim; known as the the cradle of Buddhism in Sikkim. The legendary installation of the Namgyal dynasty, by three monks in 1642, introduced Buddhism in Sikkim. They came together at Yoksom, and as it had been prophesied, in sacred texts, they searched, and found Phuntsog Namgyal; anointed him with holy water, gave him the title of “chogyal” – meaning king of religion, and urged him to spread Buddhism, amongst the ethnic Lepchas. At that time the local people were animist worshipping nature spirits.

On various hill tops inter- visible to each other, are located a string of holy sites. Pamayangtse – the sublime perfect lotus, was built in 1705. It is the paramount of the Nyingmapa monasteries of Sikkim, and regarded the most prestigious. Sangacholing Monastery-the place of secret spells was founded in 1697. Clay statues dating back to the 17th Century are amongst the oldest in Sikkim. Both monasteries have splendid views of the snows and river valleys.
Wake up early to view close-up, the sunrise on the great peaks of the Khangchendzonga group. It is an unforgettable sight as the great mountain, changes various colors and hues Latter Visit the Sangacholing Monastery. In the late afternoon visit the Rabdentse Ruins. this was the second capital of the erstwhile Kingdom after Yuksom, and till the year 1814 AD, the King of Sikkim ruled from this place. Today, the ruins lie hidden from the main road. A short walk along a neatly laid out footpath leads to it. Latter visit the Pamayangtse Monastery, see the sunset on the great ranges and attend evening prayers. Overnight at your Hotel.

Day 14: Pamayangtse, 2200 m- Rinchenpong, 1500 m

A 41 kms scenic drive in 02 hrs. to Rinchenpomg. Check in at Yangsum heritage farm built in 1833 and remodeled in 1966. The host family, manage a 44 Acre mountain farm, consisting of open mixed forest of Pine, Himalayan Alder, Schima, Chestnut, Magnolia, Rhododendrons, cherry, and others. It grows cardamom, avocados, oranges, banana, pears, apricots, and mangoes. Cultivated agriculture yields maize, paddy, millet, potatoes, ginger, turmeric, and sweet potatoes.
Enjoy the surroundings and views, explore local hamlets, Try out home cooked Sikkimese food. Overnight at Yangsum Farm.

Day 15: Rinchenpong exploration and drive to Kalimpong, 1400 m

In the morning take a short guided trek to Rinchinpong Monastery, Reshung Gompa, and Lepcha village. After lunch drive to Kalimpong via the Rangit Valley. 55 Kms in 3 hrs. Overnight at hotel / Homestay.

Kalimpong, is an exotic town of beautiful people, mystical and enchanting? Ruled by Bhutan for 155 years, and annexed by the British in 1865, it was developed as a center of the wool trade with Tibet. This trade flourished until the Chinese took control of Tibet, in the 1950’s. Here Buddhism rubs shoulders with Christianity, Hinduism, and Islam. Gumpas, churches, temples, monasteries, monks and missionaries; all coexist in a jovial and tolerant society. Flower and orchid nurseries, colonial bungalows, churches of the “Raj”, and Buddhist monasteries are there to explore. A quaint bustling bazaar, is a Pandora’s box of surprises?

Day 16: Kalimpong exploration

Take a guided tour of Kalimpong,. You will see. Churches and Colonial buildings, of the British period, view points, Buddhist monastery, flower nursery, hand made paper factory, and the exotic bazaar. Above all the lovely ethnic mix of people. Overnight at your hotel/home stay.

Day 17: Drive cum trek- Kalimpong, 1400- Lave 2100 m- Samthar, 1400 m

Take a guided 80 Kms fascinating journey by jeep with two trek options enroute- each of 2-3 hrs. Enroute you get to visit Lava Monastery Virgin forests, bio diverse flora, terraced cultivation, ethnic villages and more. Guests not inclined to walking can go all the way by car in 4.30 hrs.

Scenic and remote, The Samthar Valley, at an elevation of 1500 Meters, is surrounded by river valleys, terraced cultivation and forests. The inhabitants are a blend of various ethnic groups-Lepchas, Bhutias and Nepali. The original Lepcha tribals were woodsman, and utilized the forest resources to live off the land. Knowing no religion, they worshiped nature spirits. When the Bhutanese ruled this land, many were converted to Buddhism. Latter the British rulers brought in Christian missionaries, who converted some of them to Christianity. Hinduism arrived with the Nepalese settlers, who also taught the Lepchas to farm the land. Today the ethnic groups are fused together in harmony. It is an ideal place to peep into lifestyles of this fascinating hill community. It also has diverse flora, well-developed mountain agriculture, forests, and river valleys, and offers breathtaking views of the Panorama of snows. The Samthar Farmhouse is an old Lepcha house built of stone and timber, converted for comfortable living, whilst maintaining its ambience. It has a lovely nature garden with good views. Income generated from guests goes to run the Awake & Shine Primary School.

Overnight at the Samthar Farm house.

Day 18: Samthar Valley Nature & Culture walk and vist to the Awake & Shine Primary School

Get up at sunrise to see the views. Weather permitting, you see the entire panorama of snows – Khangchenganga group of peaks, and the peaks named; Simvo, Siniolchu, Lama Anden, Chomoyomo, and Paunhari, and then in an easterly arc the passes of Chola, Natula, and Jalepla, leading into Tibet.

Take a guided walk along village paths for a exploration of the valley, with its mixed Christian Lepcha and Hindu Nepali hamlets walk through forests, terraced cultivation and homesteads.. Meet people in their homes and fields, and get a glimpse of rural Himalayan lifestyles. Visit the Awake & Shine Primary School which is bringing quality education to the local community.

The Awake & shine Integrated village tourism model, seeks to generate earnings by developing tour circuits based on home stay holidays, It also provides for empowering the future generations by teaching spoken English, Started in Feb 2007, Awake & Shine has built model infrastructure for Village home stay holidays, set up interesting village tours, and started a path breaking rural English medium Primary School. All earnings go directly to host families, other community members, and to support the Awake & Shine Primary School. Additional income comes from tourists sponsoring individual children.

Overnight at The samthar Farm House.

Day 19: Samthar Nature & Culture trek

Nature & Culture trek with guide through forests, terraced cultivation, and homesteads, visiting people in their homes and farms, Peep into local lifestyles and See basket and mat making, blacksmith, shaman and more . Overnight at the Samthar farm house.

Day 20: Trek Samthar to Teesta Dam and drive to Siliguri

Today you will exit the Samthar Valley by trekking down to the Rilli Valley. It is a nature trail, passing through forests, river valley and isolated hamlets. It descends steeply from 1400 m to 300 m in 04 hrs to reach the confluence of the Rilli and Teesta rivers, to cross the Teesta River over a bridge on a newly constructed dam. Transfer to car and drive to siliguri in 02 hrs. Overnight at hotel.

Day 21: Transfer to Bagdogra for departure

A 30 minutes transfer to Bagdogra airfield to board your departure flight. TOUR ENDS

 

 

 

Travel along a mind boggling road from the Assam plains to the 3048 meters high Tawang valley, crossing over the 4150 m high Se la pass.

Explore Bomdila with its several Buddhist monasteries, and the picture postcard Dirang Valley. See the entire range of flora from Subtropical to Alpine, Himalayan uplands, Alpine lakes and, tribal hamlets.

Peep into the lifestyle of the Monpas. The highlight of the trip is a visit to the 150 years old Tawang Monastery – the fountain-head of the spiritual life of the Gelupa Sect of the Mahayana School of Budhism. The Monastery retains priceless tankhas and the Ka-gyur (scriptures) written out in gold and silver , as also a 26 feet high gilded statue of Lord Buddha. Also included in the tour are Ani gompas (Buddhist nunneries), and more.

The Monpas are Buddhist by religion and the Tawang Monastery is the fountainhead of their spiritual life. They are courteous, friendly, gentle and industrious.

The traditional dress of the male members consists of a short woolen trouser called Kangnom or a full-length woolen trouser called Dhorna. The upper garments consists of an shirt of Tibetan style over which a full sleeved woolen jacket of red colour with opening in the front called Chuba is worn with red colored sash wound round the waist.

The ladies dress consists of an upper garment comprising a lavishly embroidered shirt with opening in the front called Kyanchen Thoe-thung, over which is worn a red colored gown with white stripes covering the body right from the shoulders to the knee level called Shingka and is girdled at the waist by a sash. A flat rectangular piece of woolen cloth is worn at the rear of the waist. Monpa women love jewellery.


Monpa headdress for both males and females is the characteristic Yak hair cap with five drain pipes to drain off the rain water.

Agriculture and animal husbandry is their main occupation of the Monpas. The main crops are Rice, Millet, Potatoes, buck wheat, and pulses. Horticulture is being developed and Apple, walnut, almonds and oranges are grown taking advantage of altitudinal variations.

Monpas live in cozy double-storied houses, constructed of stone with plank floors, often with carved doors and window frames.

Artistic by nature the Monpas weave cotton and woolen cloth and carpets, and are adept at wood carving, and bamboo handicraft. They have earned a niche for themselves as skilled painters of Buddhist monastic art –such as “thankas” and hand-made paper.

The Monpas specialize in the manufacture of incense, out of Juniper stems, barks of other trees and herbs. The incense is generally used for Puja prayer offering and purification, but it is also used as air freshener in homes and as a mosquito repellent.

Although polygamous and polyandrous marriages are in vogue, monogamy is practiced by the majority. Marriage by negotiation is the general practice. Divorce is admissible. Widow has the right to re-marry.

Itinerary

Day 01: Fly to Guwahati and drive to Tezpur

Arrive Guwahati. Drive by car to Tezpur. 195 Kms in 4 hrs. Overnight at hotel (transit halt).

Day 02: Drive Tezpur to Dirang, 1600 m

Drive to Dirang, 211 Kms in 06 hrs, crossing over the 2800 m high Bomdila pass to the picture postcard Dirang Valley at an elevation of 1600 m. Enroute visit the Tippi Orchid research centre. Overnight at hotel

Day 03: Dirang Valley sightseeing

Explore Dirang Valley visiting an ancient Monpa Village and Gompa, the Kalachakra Monastery, and the Sangti Valley to get a peep into the life styles of the Monpas, and see their unique method of agriculture. Overnight at hotel.

Day 04: Drive Dirang- Tawang

Drive to Tawang, 165 kms. In 5.30 hrs. over the 4150 meters high Se-la Pass, which was once the battle ground between the Indian and Chinese armies. Enroute visit an Alpine Lake and Se-la temple. Overnight at hotel.

Day 05: Tawang

Explore the 350 years old Tawang Monastery

The famous Galden Namgyal Lhatse, was founded in the year 1860-81. This monastery is the fountain-head of the spiritual life of the Gelupa Sect of the Mahayana School of Budhism, The inner walls of the Dukhang – the assembly hall are painted with murals of various divinities and saints. The silver casket wrapped in silk containing the Thankas of Goddess Sri Devi (Palden Lhamo) the principal deity of the monastery, is kept here. It was given to Merak Lama by the Vth Dalai Lama. The Thankas were painted with blood drawn from the nose of the Fifth Dalai Lama. A colossal richly – gilded statue of Lord Buddha occupies the middle of the northern side. It is the largest image of the monastery and is about 26 feet high.
In the afternoon visit the Urgelling Monastery dating back to 1489 followed by the Seru Monpa village, and the craft center.
The Urgelling Monastery – the birth place of the Sixth Dalai Lama, who was deposed in 1706. In 1714 the destruction of all Gelupa Gompas was carried out by Sokpa Jomkhar, a Mongolian warrior who invaded from Bhutan. During this campaign, the Dalai Lama’s original monastery at Urgelling was destroyed. All valued possession of Urgelling monastery were taken to Tawang Monastery. It was during this time that the Ka-gyur (scriptures) written out in gold and silver arrived at the Tawang monastery, where they are preserved to this day. Today a modest Gompa stands at the site of the original monastery Overnight at your hotel.

Day 06: Day excursion to Himalayan uplands, Alpine lakes and Buddhist Monasteries

Tawang-monastery panorama-Tsela
Drive up the “spiral staircase” road leading to the Tibet frontier, to Peng Teng Tso ( PTSO) Lake at an altitude of 4100 meters. Continue to Shungetser Lake and Taksang Gompa . Amazing scenery of Himalayan uplands. On return journey visit a Ani Gompa ( Budhist monastery) close to Tawang town. Overnight at your hotel.
Note:This trip to PTSO lake may be modified or curtailed depending upon local restriction imposed, due to security concerns relating to the Indo- Tibet border. In such a case alternative will be offered.

Day 07: Tawang- Sela—Dirang- Bomdila

Drive back 165 Kms in 5.30 hrs over the Se-la pass to Dirang. On the way stop over at Jang to visit the Indo-China War memorial. Continue from Dirang to Bomdila, another 45 kms in 1.30 hrs. Upon arrival visit the Rabgyaling Gontse Gompa, Upper Gompa , and the Thupchob Gatseling Gompa. Overnight at hotel.

Day 08: Bomdila- Tezpur

Drive back to Tezpur 166 Kms in 05.30 hrs. Overnight transit halt at hotel

Day 09: Tezpur- Guwahati

Drive 195 kms to Guwahati airport in 04 hrs to board your departure flight to Kolkata or Delhi.

Extention: 02 nights extension available to visit Kaziranga National Park.

Travel along a mind boggling road from the Assam plains to the 3048 meters high Tawang valley, crossing over the 4150 m high Se la pass.

See the entire range of flora from Subtropical to Alpine, Himalayan uplands, Alpine lakes and, tribal hamlets. Peep into the lifestyle of the Monpas. The highlight of the trip is a visit to the 150 years old Tawang Monastery – the fountain-head of the spiritual life of the Gelupa Sect of the Mahayana School of Budhism. The Monastery retains priceless tankhas and the Ka-gyur (scriptures) written out in gold and silver , as also a 26 feet high gilded statue of Lord Buddha. Also included in the tour are Ani gompas (Buddhist nunneries), and more.

On the return journey take a 2 days trek to explore Monpa Villages This is a chance to Interact with people in the quaint Monpa villages, and view Gori Chen, 6500 meters and Kangdo, 7090 Meters. ( weather permitting). After the trek explore Bomdila with its several Buddhist monasteries.

The Monpas are Buddhist by religion and the Tawang Monastery is the fountainhead of their spiritual life. They are courteous, friendly, gentle and industrious.

The traditional dress of the male members consists of a short woolen trouser called Kangnom or a full-length woolen trouser called Dhorna. The upper garments consists of an shirt of Tibetan style over which a full sleeved woolen jacket of red colour with opening in the front called Chuba is worn with red colored sash wound round the waist.

The ladies dress consists of an upper garment comprising a lavishly embroidered shirt with opening in the front called Kyanchen Thoe-thung, over which is worn a red colored gown with white stripes covering the body right from the shoulders to the knee level called Shingka and is girdled at the waist by a sash. A flat rectangular piece of woolen cloth is worn at the rear of the waist. Monpa women love jewellery.

Monpa headdress for both males and females is the characterestic Yak hair cap with five drain pipes to drain off the rain water.

Agriculture and animal husbandry is their main occupation of the Monpas. The main crops are Rice, Millet, Potatoes, buck wheat, and pulses. Horticulture is being developed and Apple, walnut, almonds and oranges are grown taking advantage of altitudinal variations.

Monpas live in cozy double storied houses, constructed of stone with plank floors, often with carved doors and window frames.

Artistic by nature the Monpas weave cotton and woolen cloth and carpets, and are adept at wood carving, and bamboo handicraft. They have earned a niche for themselves as skilled painters of Buddhist monastic art  such as “thankas” and hand made paper.

The Monpas specialize in the manufacture of incense, out of Juniper stems, barks of other trees and herbs. The incense is generally used for Puja prayer offering and purification, but it is also used as air freshener in homes and mosquito repellent.

Although polygamous and npolyandrous marriages are in vogue, but Monogamy is practiced by the majority. Marriage by negotiation is the general practice. Divorce is admissible. Widow has the right to re-marry.

Itinerary

Day 01: Fly to Guwahati and drive to Tezpur

Arrive Guwahati. Drive by car to Tezpur. 195 Kms in 4 hrs. Overnight at hotel (transit halt).

Day 02: Drive Tezpur to Dirang, 1600 m

Drive to Dirang, 211 Kms in 06 hrs, crossing over the 2800 m high Bomdila pass to the picture postcard Dirang Valley at an elevation of 1600 m. Enroute visit the Tippi Orchid research centre. Overnight at hotel.

Day 03: Dirang Valley sightseeing

Explore Dirang Valley visiting an ancient Monpa Village and Gompa, the Kalachakra Monastery, and the Sangti Valley to get a peep into the life styles of the Monpas, and see their unique method of agriculture. Overnight at hotel.

Day 04: Drive Dirang- Tawang, 3048 m

Drive to Tawang, 165 kms. In 5.30 hrs. over the 4150 meters high Se-la Pass, which was once the battle ground between the Indian and Chinese armies. Enroute visit an Alpine Lake and Se-la temple. Overnight at hotel.

Day 05: Tawang

Explore the 350 years old Tawang Monastery,

The famous Galden Namgyal Lhatse, was founded in the year 1860-81. This monastery is the fountain-head of the spiritual life of the Gelupa Sect of the Mahayana School of Budhism, The inner walls of the Dukhang – the assembly hall are painted with murals of various divinities and saints. The silver casket wrapped in silk containing the Thankas of Goddess Sri Devi (Palden Lhamo) the principal deity of the monastery, is kept here. It was given to Merak Lama by the Vth Dalai Lama.

The Thankas were painted with blood drawn from the nose of the Fifth Dalai Lama. A colossal richly – gilded statue of Lord Buddha occupies the middle of the northern side. It is the largest image of the monastery and is about 26 feet high.

In the afternoon visit the Urgelling Monastery dating back to 1489 followed by the Seru Monpa village, and the craft center.
The Urgelling Monastery – the birth place of the Sixth Dalai Lama. Who was deposed in 1706. In 1714 the destruction of all Gelupa Gompas was carried out by Sokpa Jomkhar, a Mongolian warrior who invaded from Bhutan. During this campaign, the Dalai Lama’s original monastery at Urgelling was destroyed.

All valued possession of Urgelling monastery were taken to Tawang Monastery. It was during this time that the Ka-gyur (scriptures) written out in gold and silver arrived at the Tawang monastery, where they are preserved to this day. Today a modest Gompa stands at this site Overnight at your hotel.

Day 06: Day Excursion to Himalayan uplands, Alpine Lakes, and Buddhist Monasteries.

Tawang-monastery panorama-Tsela
Drive up the “spiral staircase” road leading to the Tibet frontier, to Peng Teng Tso ( PTSO) Lake at an altitude of 4100 meters. Continue to Shungetser Lake and Taksang Gompa . Amazing scenery of Himalayan uplands. On return journey visit a Ani Gompa ( Budhist monastery) close to Tawang town. Overnight at your hotel.

Note: This trip to PTSO lake may be modified or curtailed depending upon local restriction imposed, due to security concerns relating to the Indo- Tibet border. In such a case alternative will be offered. Day 07: Tawang- Sela- Dirang Drive back 165 Kms over the Se-la pass to Dirang. On the way stop over at Jang to explore another village and visit the Indo-China War memorial. Overnight at hotel.

Day 08: Drive to Chander and trek to Namshu

Early morning drive to Chander, 2788 m. It is a 40 kms (2 hrs) drive for panoramic mountain views. The village stands near a good view point On a clear day you can see the entire Sela Range and even Gori Chen, 6500 meters and Kangdo, 7090 Meters.

Start on a 9 Kms trek down to Namshu in 3-4 hrs. Check in at village homestay.

Spend the rest of the day exploring the exquisite Buddhist Gumpa, Kakaling gate, Chusker (traditional water mill), and village houses. It is a unique experience to meet the gentle village folks and get an idea of their peaceful lifestyles. Overnight at village homestay.

Day 09: Trek Namshu to Sangti Valley and drive to Dirang

Todays trek will take us downhill to the scenic Sangti Valley. It is 12 Kms and will take us 4-5 hrs. Visit the high altitude yak and sheep breeding farm and drive 10 Kms, back to Dirang for overnight at hotel.

Day 10: Dirang- Bomdila – Baulakpong- Tezpur

Our 211 kms, 06 hrs drive, will first take us back to Bomdila 45 kms. Here we will spend time visiting the Rabgyaling Gontse Gompa, Upper Gompa , Thupchob Gatseling Gompa., and Bugin tribal village. After lunch continue through Tenga Valley back to Tezpur in the Assam Plains, for transit halt at hotel.

Day 11: Tezpur- Guwahati

Drive 195 kms to Guwahati airport in 04 hrs to board your departure flight to Kolkata or Delhi.

Extention

02 nights extension available to visit Kaziranga National Park.

Visiting tribal habitat of Mishing, Apatani, Nishi, Hill Miri, Tagin and Adi tribes and Kaziranga National

This tour is designed for travelers interested in the land, its people and wildlife. The focus is on nature, wildlife and tribal culture. The tour starts at Guwahati; explores wildlife at Kaziranga and crossing the mighty Brahmaputra River by boat, moves on to Majauli Island- the largest river island in the world, with its unique Hindu monasteries and riverine tribal culture of the Mishing tribe. Thereafter you cross the river to the North bank and enter Arunachal Pradesh to travel to Ziro. Now begins a traverse of the river valleys of the Subhansiri, Syiom, and Siang rivers.

You will journey through the fascinating tribal habitat of Apatani, Nishi (Daflas), Tagin, Hill Miri, and Adi tribes . Explore ethnic homesteads, visit tribal shamans, and peep into beliefs and culture, see their handicrafts and incredible cane and bamboo suspension bridges. During the journey we will pass through miles of forests, and marvel at the incredible variety of flora. Finally we will cross the mighty Brahmaputra River by ferry, for the third time, navigating through sand bars to Dibrugarh in Assam.

Itinerary

Day 01: Guwa

hati – Kaziranga NP.

Arrive Guwahati airport. Transfer by car from Guwahati to Kaziranga. Drive East through the wide a scenic Brahmaputra Valley ( Also called the Assam Vallkey), for 220 Kms in 4.30 hrs to Kaziranga National Park. Upon arrival, check in at Wild Life Resort for overnight.

The World Heritage Kaziranga National Park. has more than 70% of the world’s one-horned rhino population, 70% of the world population of the Eastern Swamp Deer and 75% of the world’s wild Asiatic water buffalo. It has a significant population of the Asian Elephant. Close encounters with the Great Indian one horned Rhino, and wild Indian Elephants Swamp Deer, Asiatic Water buffalo, and a host of animals are assured. The Park also has more than 450 species of birds, 18 of them are globally threatened species. The Bengal Florican is the main attraction.

Day 02: Kaziranga

Two wild life safaris by jeep in the outlying ranges of the park. Overnight at hotel / lodge.

Day 03: Kaziranga- Majauli Island

Early morning Elephant safari followed by one wildlife safaris by jeep.

After early lunch transfer to Nimati Ghat via Jorhat 140 Kms in 2.30 hrs. Arrive in time to board the afternoon ferry and cross the Brahmaputra River to Kamlabari ghat at Majauli Island in 1.30 hrs.

Transfer to community home run by the Mishing tribe – a unique property constructed exactly like a Mishing tribal house out of Bamboo and thatch; with modern toilets. Overnight.

Majauli is famous as the world’s largest river Island. But it is really more interesting, for its 22 satras – Hindu Vaishnava monastries that are also centres for the arts. At the satras, Lord Vishnu is worshipped through dance dramas re-enacting the stories of the Mahabharata, with music and poetry. The satras take in young boys and groom them. The daily routine includes working in the fields, tending cattle, prayer, discussion and study. The satras have also nurtured certain arts and craft traditions, which can now be found only here. In Natun Samugri satra for instance, one can still find the craft of mask-making; Kamlabari satra still makes the finest boats.

Day 04: Majauli exploration

Explore the Island, Visit a Satra and tribal villages. See locals engaged in riverine agriculture, fishing, weaving and pottery making Explore the shoreline in a country boat for water birds, and watch the breathtaking sunset on the great river. Overnight at Community home.

Day 05: Majauli – Zero ( Arunachal Pradesh)

Drive North from Majauli to cross the river by ferry to North Lakhimpur, Continue up the forested mountain road . The 220 Kms journey will take 6-7 hrs. Enroute there will be time to peep into some tribal villages. Ziro, is the headquarters of the Lower Subhansiri District located in the the Apatani valley – plateau. Overnight at your hotel.

The Apatanis occupy a 26 sq Kms valley-plateau in central Subhansiri at an altitude of 1524 m. The plateau is enclosed by steeply rising ridges rising to 2438 m. Drained by the Kali River it is entirely taken up with wet-field cultivation. Population is near 22000 (1991). They can be best described as “animist-shamanist”. Experts at wet-farming methods, the people are agriculturists growing rice, and millet. Field work is done entirely by iron hoes, digging sticks and batons.

Day 06: Ziro

Take a 03 hours walk to explore three Apatani tribal villages. E.T. Dalton noted in 1845, “The men do not rejoice in much drapery, they wear a girdle of canework painted red which hangs behind in long bushy tail.” Just as the tail is the distinctive part of the male dress, so is the nose plug peculiar to the Apatani women” Return to the hotel for lunch. In the afternoon, we drive to Hung Apatani village – the largest village of this tribe. Overnight at your hotel.

Day 07: Ziro- day trip to Nishi tribal village

Drive 15 kms to Nishi Tribal Village. Visit the tribal long house. Return to your hotel for lunch.

Neighbours of the Apatanis, the Nishis are a strudy and proud hill tribe, considered independent, and turbulent during the British “Raj”. They live in “long houses” – each may shelter up to 20 families. More warlike the Nishis are not proficient in arts. They are adept at cane work and some weaving. They are individualistic – the society has no chiefs, and no council of elders. They have a strong belief in different spirits – good and evil, each with assigned habitat. The spirits are placated by sacrifice of animals.

In the afternoon, visit the local handicraft centre, tribal museum, orchid centre and bazaar. Overnight at hotel.

Day 08: Ziro- Domporijo

Drive 180 kms to Domporijo – a small market town of the Tagin Tribe, close to Daporijo the headquaters of the Upper Subhansiri District. On the way we will stop; to walk up to Raga – a village of the Hill Miri Tribe in the Kamala River Valley.

Hill Miris numbering about 11000 (1991), occupy the valley of the Kamala River at altitudes of 900 to 1200 m. Living in very small villages – seldom more than 20 houses each 60-70 feet long sited on slits with gabled roofs made of leaves. A chief heads the village. Like others the Hill Miris also believe in a host of benevolent and malevolent spirits and the Sun-Moon god.

Overnight at Damporijo circuit house / homestay / hotel.

Day 09: Domporijo

Explore the habitat of the Tagin tribe. Drive for about 30 Kms into the surrounding areas to explore the Tagin tribal villages of Dolum and Sappi.

Numbering around 18800 ( 1991) souls, the Tagins inhabit the upper Kamala Valley. Difficult terrain isolated the tribe. They were first surveyed in 1911. Very volatile and independent people, they have a history of massacring outsiders – the last outrage was in 1953 when 47 out of a government party of 165 were killed. Road building and setting up of administrative centers at Daporijo and Limakang have helped in bringing the tribe into the mainstream. The society is divided into distinct classes in hierarchical order – rich, middle-class, poor, hunters, priests, shamans, and slaves (no longer). Religious practices are shamanistic with rites and sacrifices propitiating inimical spirits. The sun-moon god is at the apex with unlimited powers – all benevolent. They practice shifting cultivation producing rice, maize, tubers, and vegetables. They also grow tobacco and are persistent smokers. Tagins are expert hunters and use poison from plants for arrows. Selling of land is considered taboo, as the presiding spirit is likely to be annoyed and bring misfortune.

In the afternoon visit the local handicraft centre and the bazaar. Overnight at circuit house / homestay / hotel.

Day 10: Damporijo– Along

Drive 147 kms in 05 hours, to the town of Along- the Headquarters of the West Siang District.. Located at an altitude of 350 m it is set in a wide open valley where the Sippu River joins the Siyom River The people are mostly Adi-Gollongs with some Adi- Miniyongs.

Adis ( Abhor) are the dominant tribe of the Siang River Valley. They are also the largest with a population of around 1,58000. ( 1991). They comprise of two sub-groups: 1) Gallongs – include Gallongs, Ramos, Bokars, and Palbos 2) Padam-Miyong sub group: Includes Padams, Ninyongs, Pasis, Panggis, Shimongs, Boris, Asings, and Tangams. All groups are bound together by common language and culture with dialectal differences. A unique hairstyle – with short cropping with a knife are a distinctive feature. The British considered the Adis as powerful people, proud and outspoken, friendly, hospitable and social –but suspicious of strangers, Today the community is considered as “progressive”. Adi society is highly organized with political institutions like the village council. Originally dominated by priests and shamans and deriving authority from supernatural sanctions, it was transformed into a secular body during the British period when power was vested in nominated village headmen. The institution of separate boys and girls dormitory has far reaching influences on personality development and community cooperation. The Adis also believe in numerous spirits and the sun-Moon- God ( Dony- polo). They are great agriculturist cultivating rice, maize, millet, buckwheat, mustard, ginger, potatoes, tobacco, chilly, and vegetables. There is a vast store of folklore. Elders are endowed with prodigious memory. This oral literature takes the form of rhapsodies called “Abang”. People love to dance. The “Tapu” war dance ( Minyong tribe) by males and “Ponung” welcome dance by girls are well known. Over the years the Adis have demonstrated a rare native ingenuity in constructing cane and bamboo bridges over great spans. They are adept at making cantilever bridges of bamboo, suspension bridges with ribbed bamboo footways, trestle bridges and their combinations. Cane suspension bridges are indeed a marvel of “untutored engineering skills.”

Day 11: Along countryside exploration

Trek to visit Paia and Kabu Villages inhabited by the Adi- Galongs. This entails walking over a cane suspension bridge. Return to Along to visit local handicraft centre and bazaar. Overnight at your hotel.

Day 12: Along- Passighat

Drive Along to Passighat. The distance is only 68 Kms. The road follows the Siyom River till it joins the Siang river; which originates as the Tsang Po in Tibet, and latter is called the Brahmaputra. Enroute we will take time to visit an Adi Minyong tribal village, and experience crossing the Siang over the longest suspension bridge, to take a nature and culture walk using inter-village tracks to explore more tribal villages in the countryside. Arrive at Passighat late afternoon. Overnight at your hotel / government guest house.

Day 13: Passighat – ferry crossing – Dibrugarh

Drive to Urium Ghat in 02 hrs to board our local ferry boat to cross the mighty Brahmaputra river in 03-04 hrs. Once across, drive to Dibrugarh. Overnight at hotel.

Day 14: Departure

Transfer to airport to board your flight to Kolkata or Delhi. TOUR ENDS.

Visit the Syiom, river valley, to peep into the tribal habitat of Memba , Adi Ramo and Adi Gallong tribals.

Travel to the enchanting Mechuka Valley on the border with Tibet. Marvel at the spectacular scenery of the river Valley , visit ethnic villages, explore homesteads, peep into local lifestyles, see their handicrafts and the incredible cane and bamboo suspension bridges. During the journey you will pass through miles of forests, with an incredible variety of flora. The crossing of the mighty Brahmaputra by ferry boat, navigating through sand bars, is another high light of this trip.

Itinerary

Day 01: Arrive Dibrugarh

Arrive Dibrugarh airport from Kolkata or Delhi. Transfer to hotel. Time permitting explore a tea garden. Overnight at hotel.

Day 02: Dibrugarh- Along ( Aalo), 350 m

Drive from Dibrugarh to Boghibheel ghat 43 Kms, and cross the river Brahmaputra by Ferry boat along with your car to Silapather to enter arunachal Pradesh at Likabadi. The entire journey will take 3-4 hrs
From Likhabadi drive 130 Kms to Along in 4.30 hrs. Located at an altitude of 350 m, Along is set in a wide open valley where the Sippu River joins the Siyom River.

The people are mostly Adi-Gollongs with some Adi- Miniyongs.
Adis ( Abhor) are the dominant tribe of the Siang River Valley. They are also the largest with a population of around 1,58000. ( 1991). They comprise of two sub-groups: 1) Gallongs – include Gallongs, Ramos, Bokars, and Palbos 2) Padam-Miyong sub group: Includes Padams, Ninyongs, Pasis, Panggis, Shimongs, Boris, Asings, and Tangams. All groups are bound together by common language and culture with dialectal differences.

A unique hairstyle – with short cropping with a knife are a distinctive feature. The British considered the Adis as powerful people, proud and outspoken, friendly, hospitable and social –but suspicious of strangers, Today the community is considered as “progressive”. Adi society is highly organized with political institutions like the village council. Originally dominated by priests and shamans and deriving authority from supernatural sanctions, it was transformed into a secular body during the British period when power was vested in nominated village headmen. The institution of separate boys and girls dormitory has far reaching influences on personality development and community cooperation. The Adis also believe in numerous spirits and the sun-Moon- God ( Dony- polo). They are great agriculturist cultivating rice, maize, millet, buckwheat, mustard, ginger, potatoes, tobacco, chilly, and vegetables. There is a vast store of folklore. Elders are endowed with prodigious memory. This oral literature takes the form of rhapsodies called “Abang”.

People love to dance. The “Tapu” war dance ( Minyong tribe) by males and “Ponung” welcome dance by girls are well known.

Over the years the Adis have demonstrated a rare native ingenuity in constructing cane and bamboo bridges over great spans. They are adept at making cantilever bridges of bamboo, suspension bridges with ribbed bamboo footways, trestle bridges and their combinations. Cane suspension bridges are indeed a marvel of “untutored engineering skills.

Time permitting, in the afternoon visit Paia and Kabu Villages inhabited by the Adi- Galongs. This entails a short trek and crossing over a cane suspension bridge.

Return to Along for overnight at hotel.

Day 03: Along- Mechuka, 1829 m

Drive 181 kms (5-6 hrs) along the scenic Siyom Valley, to the remote Mechuka Valley Lush forests in the Lower Siyom Valley give way to the spectacular Mechuka Valley. Open and barren, with the blue river separating the valley in two parts, the village, is surrounded by snow-capped mountains, The landscape is similar to Ladakh, with a sprinkling of green forests. Overnight at homestay/ hotel.

Day 04-05-06: Mechuka

03 days to explore Mechuka Valley, visit the Gompa, and enjoy nature.
A short trek to visit a tribal village and get a peep into lifestyles will be arranged.

Overnights at homestay/hotel

The remote Mechuka Valley in the West Siang district, is just 30 kilometers from the line that separates India and China. Recently opened to foreign tourist, it is a place of pristine natural beauty. The river Siyom (locally known as Yargyap Chu), meanders through the valley surrounded by snow capped mountains on three sides.

The major tourist attraction here is a 400-year-old Buddhist Monastery, Many ancient statues can also be found here. During winters, one can get great views of the snow-clad mountains and snow fall.

The inhabitants are a mix of Memba, Ramo and Bokhar tribes, who migrated from Tibet, many centuries ago. The Membas settled down in the Upper reaches of the siyom Valley, whilst The Ramos and Bokhars choose to live in the Lower Siyom valley.
The Membas are a subgroup of the Monpas, and speak the Tshangla language. They live in the Mechuka valley; where the population is around 4000 to 5000 The religious life of the Memba revolves around the Mechuka Gompa. The Membas follow Nyingmapa Tibetan Buddhism and have their own script, Hikor, which is derived from the Tibetan script. Local genealogies suggested that they came from Tawang and settled in the region several centuries back.

The Membas are agriculturalists and grow cash crops in the terraced fields, and crops like rice, maize, millet, potato, cereals and paddy.

The Ramos are animists and practice the Donyi Polo ( Sun- Moon worship).

They are agriculturists and hunters. The main crop is maize. They also grow rice, chillies, garlic, ginger, onion, potatoes, sweet potatoes, cotton, tobacco, mustard, cucumbers, and pumpkins, Main villages of this tribe on the periphery of Mechukha valley are Gapo, Pauk, Padusa, Lipusi, Hiri, Purying, Rapum, Charung, Rego and Karte.

Day 07: Mechuka- Along

Drive back to Along. Overnight at homestay/ hotel.

Day 08: Along – Passighat

Drive along the Siyom River, till its confluence with the mighty, Siang, which originates as the Tsang Po in Tibet, and latter is called the Brahmaputra.

Following the course of the river downstream, we drive to Passighat, the Headquaters of the East Siang District. The drive is 68 kms, and takes 02 hrs. On the way we will take time off to see one of the longest cane bridges, across the Siang.

The Adi’s are expert at building cane suspension bridges. You can also cross it to get the experience of a lifetime. Time permitting we will also take a nature and culture walk using inter-village tracks to explore the countryside. Passighat is located at a point where the river emerges from the hills into the Assam Plains, and whilst driving down, there are wonderful views. Overnight at the Government Guest House or hotel.

Day 09: Passighat – ferry crossing – Dibrugarh

Drive to Urium Ghat in 02 hrs to board our local ferry boat to cross the mighty Brahmaputra river in 03 hrs. Once across, drive to Dibrugarh. Overnight at hotel.

Day 10: Departure

Transfer to airport to board your flight to Kolkata or Delhi.

 

NE/21 : 05 Days Kohima and the Angami tribal heartland

A short tour visiting the Angami tribal villages combined with a local tour of Kohima. You get to explore Angami tribal villages of Khonoma, Touphema, and Jakama for gaining insight into Naga lifestyles and agricultural practices..Stay with local community, and interact with the locals. At Kohima visit the fascinating local bazaar, and the handicraft emporium. A highlight is the Second world war cemetery and the historical tennis court; where the Japanese invasion of India was halted in a bloody battle during World War 2.

Itinerary

Day 01 : Dimapur to Khonoma

Arrival at Dimapur Airport. Met by guide/ escort. Drive to Kohima (74km/ 2hrs 30mins). Continue to Khonoma Angami Tribal Village 16 Kms. Overnight village homestay.

Day 02 : Khonoma – Village Exploration Nature & Culture walk

After breakfast explore the village and take a Nature & Culture walk with picnic lunch.

A chance to peep into local agricultural methods. The village is well known for fallow management of its Alder trees.
See the beautiful terraces carved out of the hill slopes. growing over 40 varieties of paddy at different elevations.

Also visit the Khonoma Nature conservation and Trogopan sanctuary (KNCTS), managed by the Village as a community conserved area. This project aims to conserve the Blyth’s Trogopan- an endangered pheasant of the state, as also many other endemic, endangered, vulnerable and rare species of plants and animals.

In the evening join your hosts for a cultural gathering. Try the Local brews.

Day 03 : Khonoma – Kohima – Touphema Village

After breakfast drive to Touphema village (57kms 2.30 hrs drive). This is a village resort managed by the village community.
After lunch take a tour of both the old Touphema village and the new. Visit the village museum and we go on a nature walk through the forest. Return by dusk. In the evening enjoy traditional folk songs and dancing followed by dinner.

Day 04 : Touphema Village – Kohima sightseeing – Jekhama village exploration

After breakfast drive back to Kohima ( 41 Kms in 1.30 hrs)
Kohima the capital city, located at an altitude of 1444 m, has an amazing diversity in dress, Customs, language and traditions of 15 major tribes. The state museum provides an over view of tribal lifestyles, The handloom and handicraft emporium has a fine collection of saleable tribal shawls, hand bags, wood carvings, sarongs, cane and bamboo handicrafts, and ready wear garments of traditional weaves designed for modern tastes. The rare Blyth’s Trogopan, and other fauna., are on view at the Zoological Park.

Take a local tour visiting local market where many insects and variety of food products that the Nagas call ‘delicacies’ are sold. Later visit the Second World War Cemetery and memorial where the famous ‘Tennis Court’ battle took place, which many historians have called the ‘ bloodiest battle’. It was here that the Japanese invasion of India was halted. Also visit the handicraft emporium.

After lunch, continue 04 kms to the gate of Jekhema village. Take the 02-03 hrs long village walk to gain further insight into Angami Naga Lifestyles.

Drive back to overnight at homestay in Pherima, on the outskirts of Kohima / or hotel at Kohima.

Day 05 : Kohima – Dimapur

After early breakfast, drive to airport 74 Kms in 2-3 hrs to board your departure flight.
TOUR ENDS.

NE/22 : 09 days Nagaland Hornbill festival and Tribal Tour

Designed to combine the Hornbill festival with a village tribal tour, this tour enables you to experience the essence of Nagaland. Enjoy Tribal dances , song, and food, See the habitat of all the Naga tribes and more for two days. Also tour Kohima and explore the fascinating local bazaar, and the handicraft emporium. Visit the the Second world war cemetery and the historical tennis court; where the Japanese invasion of India was halted in a bloody battle during The Second World War. Thereafter; for 5 days explore the Angami tribal villages of Khonoma, , Secuma, Mezoma and Toupehma, gaining insight into Naga lifestyles and agricultural practices, and exploring the countryside. Stay with local community, and interact with the locals. The Tour can be adjusted to allow more days for the hornbill festival.

Itinerary

01 Dec / Day 01 : Kolkata – Dimapur – Kohima

Arrive Dimapur Met by your Naga Guide with car and driven to Kohima. 75 Kms in 03 hrs. Kohima the capital town is located at an altitude of 1444 metres above the sea level. It is a cosmopolitan town for 16 major tribes with their diversity in dress, custom, language and tradition. Overnight at Hotel.

02 Dec / Day 02 : Kohima Hornbill festival

Drive 12 Kms to Kisama hertage village for the Hornbill festival
Tribal dances, song, habitat, food, sports etc. Return to your lodgings. Overnight at Hotel.

03 Dec / Day 03 Kohima Hornbill festival

Morning Explore Kohima town & surroundings with your guide. You will visit the local market where many insects and variety of food products that the Nagas call ‘delicacies’ are sold. Also visit the handicraft emporium and the state museum.

Later visit the Second World War Cemetery and memorial where the famous ‘Tennis Court’ battle took place, which many historians have called the ‘ bloodiest battle’. It was here that the Japanese invasion of India was halted. Afternoon at the Hornbill festival. Overnight at Hotel.

04 Dec / Day 04 : Drive cum walk Secuma to Khonoma village:

After breakfast drive to Secuma tribal village.

Explore the village and take a 02-03 hrs walk through forests and paddy field to reach Mezoma village. Lunch at the village. After Lunch drive or walk to Khonoma village. Overnight at the village Homestay.

05 Dec / Day 05: Khonoma- village exploration walk

After breakfast explore the village for half a day,lunch at the village In the afternoon you can participate in the local games ‘Kheneh’, and visit people in their homes. Overnight at the village homestay.

06 Dec / Day 06 : Khonoma- Nature walk

After breakfast, full day nature walk with picnic lunch. A chance to peep into local agricultural methods. The village is well known for fallow management of its Adler trees, which regenerates the soil due to nitrogen fixing element in the roots. See the beautiful terraces carved out of the hill slopes. These terraces grow over 40 varieties of paddy at different elevations.

Further afield is the Khonoma Nature conservation and Trogopan sanctuary (KNCTS).This is part of the Khonoma green village project, managed by the Village Tourism Board as a community conserved area. This project aims to conserve the Blyth’s Trogopan- an endangered pheasant of the state, as also many other endemic, endangered, vulnerable and rare species of plants and animals.
In the evening join your hosts for a cultural gathering. Try the Local brews. Overnight at the village Homestay.

07 Dec: Day 07 : Khonoma – Kohima (20 kms – ½ hr) – Touphema (41kms – 1 ½ hrs)

After breakfast drive to Touphema via Kohima. This is a northern Angami tribal village resort set up and manned by the local community.. You will be staying in Naga Ethnic huts with attached western style toilets. Overnight at the Touphema village resort.

08 Dec / Day 08 : Touphema Nature Walk and cultural evening

After breakfast explore Tuophema village and trek to the neighbouring tribal village Gariphema. It is an easy trail and the trek will take 3-½ hrs. Take a tour of this village. Lunch is served here. Return to your village resort by car.In the evening enjoy traditional folk songs and ritual followed by dinner. Overnight at the Touphema village resort. All meals.

09 Dec / Day 09 : Touphema – Dimapur

Drive 95 Kms in 04 hrs to Dimapur to board your return flight.
TOUR ENDS.

 

NE/ 23 : 14 days Tribal tour

Designed as a nature and cultural exploration for gaining insight into Naga lifestyles and agricultural practices., it offers living with local community, and interaction at tribal habitat of Angami, Lotha, Rengma, Sangtam, Yimchunger, Khiamniungans, Sumi, Chang, phom and Konyak tribes.
The tour starts from Dimapur and takes us to Khonoma village, to start our south West to North East motoring traverse through Nagaland to Mon. Finally we end up amongst the tea gardens of Dibrugarh in Assam. Some short hikes are included.

Itinerary

Day 01 : Dimapur to Khonoma

Arrival at Dimapur Airport. Met by guide/ escort. Drive to Kohima (74km/ 2hrs 30mins). Continue to Khonoma Angami Tribal Village 16 Kms. Overnight village homestay.

Day 02 : Khonoma- Village Exploration Nature Culture walk

After breakfast explore the village and take a Nature Culture walk with picnic lunch.

A chance to peep into local agricultural methods. The village is well known for fallow management of its Alder trees.

See the beautiful terraces carved out of the hill slopes. growing over 40 varieties of paddy at different elevations.

Also visit the Khonoma Nature conservation and Trogopan sanctuary (KNCTS), managed by the Village as a community conserved area. This project aims to conserve the Blyth’s Trogopan- an endangered pheasant of the state, as also many other endemic, endangered, vulnerable and rare species of plants and animals.

In the evening join your hosts for a cultural gathering. Try the Local brews.

Day 03 : Khonoma – Kohima

After breakfast drive back to Kohima ( 41 Kms in 1.30 hrs)

Kohima the capital city, located at an altitude of 1444 m, has an amazing diversity in dress, Customs, language and traditions of 15 major tribes. The state museum provides an over view of tribal lifestyles,The handloom and handicraft emporium has a fine collection of saleable tribal shawls, hand bags, wood carvings, sarongs, cane and bamboo handicrafts, and ready wear garments of traditional weaves designed for modern tastes. The rare Blyth’s Trogopan, and other fauna., are on view at the Zoological Park.

Take a local tour visiting local market where many insects and variety of food products that the Nagas call ‘delicacies’ are sold. Later visit the Second World War Cemetry and memorial where the famous ‘Tennis Court’ battle took place, which many historians have called the ‘bloodiest battle’. It was here that the Japanese invasion of India was halted. Also visit the handicraft emporium.

Drive to Khingwema Village on the outskirts of Kohima town for lunch at Demori Cove – a local hospitality complex.

After lunch, continue 04 kms to the gate of Jekhema village. Take the 02-03 hrs long village walk to gain further insight into Angami Naga Lifestyles.
Drive back to overnight at homestay in Pherima, on the outskirts of Kohima./ or hotel at Kohima

Day 04 : Khonoma – Kohima – Touphema Village

After breakfast drive to Touphema village (57kms 2.30 hrs drive). This is a village resort managed by the village community.

After lunch take a tour of both the old Touphema village and the new. Visit the village museum and we go on a nature walk through the forest. Return by dusk. In the evening enjoy traditional folk songs and dancing followed by dinner.

Day 05 : Tuophema – Wokha – Riphim village

We shall drive to Wokha the headquarter of the Lotha Naga. On the way we shall stop at Tseminyu village (Rengma Nagas), and Tsunglikha village where we can understand basic differences between the tribes. Next explore Longsa
Village (Lotha Naga).

Continue drive to Riphim village. In the evening we take part in a cultural program .Overnight. Riphim. Tourist Hut.

Day 06 : Riphim Explore surrounding villages

Walking cum driving exploration of Riphim village Old Riphim village, Old and New Chungsu village, and Doyang hydro project. There are countless trails that thread through the surrounding forest. Some lead to seasonal farms, and others are woodcutter trails that don’t lead to any particular destination at all. The viewpoint up and away from the tourist lodge, provides a spectacular view of a dam on the Doyan River.In the evening a get together with the villagers. Overnight. Riphim. Tourist Hut.

Day 07 : Riphim – Mopungchuket ( 140 Kms in 4-5 hrs)

Drive 107 Kms to reach Mokukchung – the cultural centre of the Ao Nagas., Enroute visit) Longkhim Village (Ao Tribe). Continue 35 Kms to Mopungchuket Ao Village. Close by is Impur Village; the headquaters of the Ao Baptist Missiom, which is attempting to revive the ancient Ao culture. Check in at the Nagaland Tourism Longrangtenem Resort with cottages built to resemble typical Naga Morung. . Indigenous cuisine is offered, and interested visitors can even try cooking their own meals. Several home stays are also available.

Day 08 : Mopungchuket & surroundings

Explore Mopungchuket. This ia a large well organized village. People are accustomed to visitors and welcome a chat. Cultural programs are held in an amphitheater overlooking the lake. Option of taking a village walk along interconnected village trails to the surrounding villages of Impur, Sungratsu, and Longjan.

Return to Mopungchuket for overnight.

Day 09 : Mopungchuket – Tuensang

Drive 107 Kms to reach Tuensang (1371 mt.) home of the Chang Nagas. Enroute visit Longkhim Village (Sangtam Tribe) and some tribal houses.

Day 10 : Tuensang – Mon

Drive Tuensang to Mon.(8-9 hrs due to rough road conditions). Overnight at Govt guest house.

Mon – The land of the Konyaks; well known for being former headhunters, retains some of its traditional heritage.

It offers a good opportunity for finding semi-traditional villages and tattooed warriors in loincloths. The main attraction in Mon is the remote geographical location, and the chance it affords to get a glimpse tribal life style.

Day 11 : Mon : exploration of Konayak tribal villages

Visit Konayak tribal villages of Mon, Chui, and Shangyu. Peep into lifestyles , see artisans and handicrafts and meet people. Overnight at Govt Guest house.

Day 12 : Mon : Day Trip Shangnyu and Longwa

Day trip to Longwa Village ( Konyak tribe) located astride the Indo- Myanmar border.

It is a difficult drive on a bad road and involves fording a river enroute.

At Longwa visit Angh’s house, explore the village and meet the locals.

The Angh’s house is bisected longitudinally by the border. Those sitting near the hearth will have half their body in Myanmar and the other half still in India. The Angh also has dozens of wives! And it is filled with trophies of various animal skulls. Return to Mon for Overnight at Government Guest house.

Day 13 : Mon – Dibrugarh

Drive Mon to Dibrugarh in 6-7 hrs ( transit Halt). Overnight hotel or Tea Bungalow

Day 14 : Departure from Dibrugarh

Transfer from hotel to the airport, for your departure. Fly from Mohanbari Airport to Kolkata, Guwahati or New Delhi.
TOUR ENDS.

NE/25 : 17 days tribal tour with trek to Mount Saramati 3841m.

Designed around the trek to Mt Saramati, the tour is a driving cum walking exploration of tribal habitat of Angami, Chakasang, Yimchungur, Sangtam, Sema. Chang and Konyak tribes.

The tour starts from Dimapur airport and takes you to the “Green” Village of Khonoma – with its fascinating agricultural practices, The Trogopan sanctuary, and the cosmopolitan capital city of Kohima. Thereafter; we take a journey off the beaten track exploring the remoter and unpronounceable exotic villages of Pfuseromi, Thetsumi, Tsepfumi, Jamai, Pungro, Thanmir,, Kiphire, Tuensang, and Mon. Finally we end up amongst the tea gardens of Dibrugarh in Assam.

Itinerary

Day 01 : Kolkata – Dimapur – Mezoma

Arrive Dimapur by air from Kolkata. Met by your Naga guide with car and driver. Drive to Mezoma.(75 Kms in 03 hrs) Enroute visit the Naga craft village at Diezephe, to witness weaving, wood carving, bamboo and cane craft.
On approaching Mezoma , stretch your limbs and walk for 4 kms in 1.30 hrs through forests and terraced fields to reach Mezoma village.Overnight at Homestay in Mezoma village.

Day 02 : Walk cum Drive Mezoma to Khonoma village

After breakfast trek to Khonoma village in 03-04 hrs.. Khonoma – the Green village: Western Angami Tribes. Reach your homestay by lunch time. After Lunch, visit the village school. Interaction with the children. Overnight at the village Homestay.

Day 03: Khonoma – Nature & Culture walk

After breakfast, full day nature culture walk with picnic lunch. A chance to peep into local agricultural methods. The village is well known for fallow management of its Adler trees, which regenerates the soil due to nitrogen fixing element in the roots. See the beautiful terraces carved out of the hill slopes. These terraces grow over 40 varieties of paddy at different elevations.

Further afield is the Khonoma Nature conservation and Trogopan sanctuary (KNCTS) This is part of the Khonoma green village project, managed by the Village Tourism Board as a community conserved area. This project aims to conserve the Blyth’s Trogopan- an endangered pheasant of the state, as also many other endemic, endangered, vulnerable and rare species of plants and animals.

In the evening join your hosts for a cultural gathering. Try the Local brews.

Day 04 : Khonoma – Kohima

Drive from Khonoma to Kohima, 20 kms.

Kohima the capital city, located at an altitude of 1444 m, has an amazing diversity in dress, Customs, language and traditions of 15 major tribes. The state museum provides an over view of tribal lifestyles, The handloom and handicraft emporium has a fine collection of saleable tribal shawls, hand bags, wood carvings, sarongs, cane and bamboo handicrafts, and ready wear garments of traditional weaves designed for modern tastes. The rare Blyth’s Trogopan, and other fauna., are on view at the Zoological Park.

We will visit the local market where many insects and variety of food products that the Nagas call ‘delicacies’ are sold. We later visit the Second World War Cemetry and memorial where the famous ‘Tennis Court’ battle took place, which many historians have called the ‘ bloodiest battle’. It was here that the Japanese invasion of India was halted. as also the handicraft emporium. Drive to Khgwema Village on the outskirts of Kohima town for lunch at Demori Cove – a local hospitality complex. After lunch, continue 04 kms to the gate of Jekhema village. Take the 02-03 hrs long village walk to gain further insight into Naga Lifestyles. Return to Kohima for overnight at your hotel / homestay.

Day 05 : Drive Kohima – Thetsumi/6-7hrs

After breakfast drive to the Chakhasang Naga region. Enroute we shall stop at Pfuseromi village to explore some heritage houses decorated with wood carvings Drive to to Masolumi village where we will have traditional lunch, and a cultural presentation. Latter explore the village and meet people. Continue to Thetsumi Tourist Hut.

Day 06 : Drive Thetsumi – Tsepfumi – Jamai – Thetsumi

Today we shall first explore Thetsumi village which has a huge morung with human heads carved on the enterance.. Thereafter drive to Tsepfumi. This village leads in organic vegetable cultivation. Continue to Jamai village;. Here we will stop for a traditional lunch, followed by a hike in the ranges bordering Manipur state. Drive back to Thetsumi for overnight at Tourist hut.

Day 07. Drive Thetsumi – Pungro 200km/10-11hrs

Today we will spend the day on the road. The long journey will take us through differing topography and scenery, as we move to the domain of the Yimchungur Nagas. Overnight at Pungro Government Guest House.

Day 08 : Drive Pungro – Salumi and trek to Thanamir

Drive to Salumi which is famous for its Natural Caves. It is also base for excursion to Fakim Wildlife Sanctuary.

Sarmati Trek Starts: Trek Salumi to Thanamir – the last habitation on this route.
Enroute visit Sangtam Naga villages. Thanamir is also known as the Apple village of Nagaland. A lone apple tree planted by a Assam Rifles soldier has grown into 2000 trees. Over 125 hecteres are being brought under apple cultivation. Overnight in camp.

Note: You can also drive all the way to Thanmir from Pungro. It is just 37 Kms.

Day 09 : Thanamir – Water Point

A 4-6 hours trek will take you to Water Point (10 km) Overnight in camp.

Day 10 : Water point – Mt. Saramati Peak – Water Point

Full day trek to Mt. Saramati peak (3841 m). The trek to peak is moderate with few difficult portions due to a degraded trail. Return to water point for overnight in camp.

Day 11 : Water Point – Thanamir – Salumi–Pongru – Kiphire ( 80Kms in 4 hrs)

Trek down to Salumi village via Thanamir. From here drive to Kiphire , 896 m. The 80 Kms journey will take 04-05 hrs. It is the home town of the Sangtams, Yimchungers and Semas.
Overnight in tourist Lodge.

Day 12: Kiphire– Tuensang, 1371 m – 150Km / 7 hours

Drive to Tuensang – the land of changs, Kaimungans, Sangtams, Sumis and Yimchungers. The area is known for handicrafts and handloom products. Overnight at tourist lodge.

Day 13 : Tuensang – Mon

Drive Tuensang to Mon.(8-9 hrs due to rough road conditions). Overnight at Govt guest house.
Mon – The land of the Konyaks; well known for being former headhunters, It retains some of its traditional heritage.
It offers a good opportunity for finding semi-traditional villages and tattooed warriors in loincloths. The main attraction in Mon is the remote geographical location, and the chance it affords to get a glimpse tribal life style.

Day 14 : Mon: exploration of Konayak tribal villages

Visit Konayak tribal villages of Mon, Chui, and Shangyu. Peep into lifestyles , see artisans and handicrafts and meet people. Overnight at Govt Guest house.

Day 15 : Mon: Day Trip Shangnyu and Longwa

Day trip to Longwa Village ( Konyak tribe) located astride the Indo- Myanmar border. It is a difficult drive on a bad road and involves fording a river enroute
at Longwa visit Angh’s house, explore the village and meet the locals.
The Angh’s house is bisected longitudinally by the border. Those sitting near the hearth will have half their body in Myanmar and the other half still in India. The Angh also has dozens of wives! And it is filled with trophies of various animal skulls. Return to Mon for Overnight at Government Guest house.

Day 16 : Mon – Dibrugarh

Drive Mon to Dibrugarh in 6-7 hrs ( transit Halt). Overnight hotel or Tea Bungalow

Day 17 : Departure from Dibrugarh

Transfer from hotel to the airport, for your departure. Fly from Mohanbari Airport to Kolkata, Guwahati or New Delhi.
TOUR ENDS.

NE/26 : 21 days The Grand Nagaland Tribal Adventure

Designed as a driving cum walking exploration of tribal habitat of Zailangrong, Kuki, Angami, Chakasang, Yimchungur, Sangtam, Sema. Chang and Konyak tribes.

The tour starts from Dimapur airport and takes you to Benrue’s untouched wilderness, pristine forests of Dzuleke, the idyllic Dzukou valley with its unique flora, the Trogopan Sanctuary, the “Green” Village of Khonoma, with its fascinating agricultural practices, and the cosmopolitan capital city of Kohima. Thereafter; we take a journey off the beaten track exploring the remoter and unpronounceable exotic villages of Pfuseromi, Thetsumi, Tsepfumi, Jamai, Pungro, Mimi, Kiphire, Tuensang, and Mon. Finally we end up amongst the tea gardens of Dibrugarh in Assam.

The Tour is suitable for singles, couples and foursomes and involves three nights living in very basic lodgings

Itinerary

Day 01 : Fly Kolkata to Dimapur

Arrive Dimapur Airport from Kolkata,Upon arrival met by your Naga Guide.
We shall visit Diezephe village This village is otherwise known as ‘craft village’ as many families make their living by engaging themselves in producing handicrafts. Explore the village, meet the local craftsmen. You may also visit sales outlet and pick up souvenirs.Overnight Nuone resort 10 Kms from Dimapur.

Day 02 : Noune Resort to Benreu, 1950m. (4/5 hours)

Drive to Benreu village, Enroute visit Pelekie village to see the traditional way of making salt.

Benreu is nestled on the ridge leading to Mt Pauna – the third highest mountain in Nagaland. It, is home to the Zeliangrong and Kuki tribes. The area contains untouched nature at its best. Fauna, birds, and diverse flora abound.
Upon arrival visit traditional tribal morung, (Boys dormitory), and house decorated with hunting trophies. In the evening witness some indigenous games. Overnight at the Mount Pauna Community Village Resort. Stay in cottages of Naga design.

Day 03 : Trek Benreu – Mt. Pauna – Benreu

Today we shall trek to Mt. Pauna , 2460 m. You can expect to see wildlife, birds, herbal, and flora. Enjoy the bounty of nature, and your picnic lunch. Trek back to Benreu village. In the evening – a bonfire in one of the morungs with the locals where you will be served local brew. Overnight. Community resort.

Day 04 : Drive Benreu – Dzuleke – Khonoma 40km.

Drive 40 kms to Khonoma, Enroute visit Dzuleke village – surrounded by pristine forests. Enjoy a traditional Naga lunch. Post lunch a chance to see Mithum the state animal leisurely grazing. Stop at places where we can see the valley where the Angami Nagas of Khonoma practice jhum cultivation. Khonoma is well known for fallow management of its Adler trees, which regenerates the soil due to nitrogen fixing element in the roots. See the beautiful terraces carved out of the hill slopes. These terraces grow an amazing 40 varieties of paddy at different elevations.

Upon arrival check in at your home stay and explore the village. Meet people. Overnight. Khonoma Home Stay.

Day 05 : Trek Khonoma – Dzukou

Today we shall trek 08 kms to Dzukou valley via Siekhakie. Dzukue is located at an altitude of 2438 m Its Emerald green rolling hills are a visual delight. The valley is fully covered with tough bamboo brush which from afar looks like a mown lawn.

Serpentine streams flow through the valley. In spring endemic species of rhododendrons bloom. Summer and monsoons are the time when hundreds of wild flowers bloom. Overnight at Dzukou in camp.

Day 06 : Trek Dzukou – Khonoma

The return 08 Kms trek to Khonoma is through Huparathi and Dihujhu. We will be passing through the Khonoma Nature conservation and Trogopan sanctuary (KNCTS) This is part of the Khonoma green village project, managed by the Village Tourism Board as a community conserved area. This project aims to conserve the Blyth’s Trogopan- an endangered pheasant of the state, as also many other endemic, endangered, vulnerable and rare species of plants and animals .You can expect to see or hear the Byths Tragopan the State bird.
In the evening we shall be entertained by some indigenous games kene, later you shall have be served local brew. Overnight. Khonoma. Home Stay.

Day 07 : Drive Khonoma – Kohima (20km)

Morning we shall explore Khonoma – ‘ the first green village of the country’. Khonoma village is also known for their fighting prowess, ever since the village stood up to the British in the year 1879. On your village tour you will come across ceremonial gates, Old houses, cairn circle, and meet local craftsmen- cane basket making, weaving etc. Thereafter, we shall drive to Kohima (20km).


Kohima the capital town is located at an altitude of 1444 metres. It is a cosmopolitan town for 16 major tribes with their diversity in dress,
custom, language and tradition.

Upon arrival we shall visit the State Museum, local market, World War 2 cemetery, and handicraft Emporium. Overnight. Kohima. Hotel.

Day 11 : Drive Kohima – Thetsumi/6-7hrs

After breakfast drive to the Chakhasang Naga region. Enroute we shall stop at Pfuseromi village to explore some heritage houses decorated with wood carvings Drive to to Masolumi village where we will have traditional lunch, and a cultural presentation. Latter explore the village and meet people. Continue to Thetsumi Tourist Hut.

Day 12 : Drive Thetsumi – Tsepfumi – Jamai – Thetsumi

Today we shall first explore Thetsumi village which has a huge morung with human heads carved on the enterance.. Thereafter drive to Tsepfumi. This village leads in organic vegetable cultivation. Continue to Jamai village;. Here we will stop for a traditional lunch, followed by a hike in the ranges bordering Manipur state. Drive back to Thetsumi for overnight at Tourist hut.

Day 13. Drive Thetsumi- Pungro 200km/10-11hrs

Today we will spend the day on the road. The long journey will take us through differing topography and scenery, as we move to the domain of the Yimchungur Nagas. Overnight at Pungro Government Guest House.

Day 14 : Drive Pungro-Mimi. 70km 3-4hrs

Today we will drive to a group of remote villages- Longkhimong, Khongiri, and Mimi. All are off the beaten track and you have a chance at glimpsing remote tribal lifestyles. Numerous limestone caves, cliffs, waterfalls and rich flora and fauna surrounds Mimi village, one of the oldest in the area. Partake of traditional lunch, and. explore Mimi village, meeting people in their homes. In the evening a cultural presentation. Overnight Mimi homestay (very basic).

Day 15: Drive Mimi- Pungro – Kiphire. 110km/ 6-7hrs.

Today drive back to Pungro, and continue drive to Kiphire – a small town, which is the headquarters of Yimchungur, Sangtam, and Sema tribes. Overnight homestay (very basic).

Day 16 : Drive Kiphire- Tuensang. 122km/8-9hrs

Today we drive to Tuensang the headquarter of the Chang Nagas. Enroute explore tribal villages. Over night at Tuensang Circiut House (Basic).

Day 17 : Tuensang – Mon

Drive Tuensang to Mon.(8-9 hrs due to rough road conditions). Overnight at Govt guest house.
Mon – The land of the Konyaks; well known for being former headhunters, It retains some of its traditional heritage.
It offers a good opportunity for finding semi-traditional villages and tattooed warriors in loincloths. The main attraction in Mon is the remote geographical location, and the chance it affords to get a glimpse tribal life style.

Day 18 : Mon: exploration of Konayak tribal villages

Visit Konayak tribal villages of Mon, Chui, and Shangyu. Peep into lifestyles , see artisans and handicrafts and meet people. Overnight at Govt Guest house.

Day 19 : Mon: Day Trip Shangnyu and Longwa

Day trip to Longwa Village ( Konyak tribe) located astride the Indo- Myanmar border. It is a difficult drive on a bad road and involves fording a river enroute
At Longwa visit Angh’s house, explore the village and meet the locals.
The Angh’s house is bisected longitudinally by the border. Those sitting near the hearth will have half their body in Myanmar and the other half still in India. The Angh also has dozens of wives! And it is filled with trophies of various animal skulls. Return to Mon for Overnight at Government Guest house.

Day 20 : Mon – Dibrugarh

Drive Mon to Dibrugarh in 6-7 hrs ( transit Halt). Overnight hotel or Tea Bungalow.

Day 21 : Departure from Dibrugarh

Transfer from hotel to the airport, for your departure. Fly from Mohanbari Airport to Kolkata, Guwahati or New Delhi.
TOUR ENDS.

 

Tour BHT/ 01: 05 days Culture tour of West Bhutan

Thimphu and Paro including hike to Taktshang monastery

Itinerary

Day 01: Paro- Thimphu

The flight into Bhutan takes you close to the great Himalayas, offering dazzling scenic views of some world’s highest glacial peaks. As you enter Paro valley, you will sweep past forested hills with the silvery Pa Chu (Paro river) meandering down the valley below. Paro Dzong (fortress) and Ta Dzong (watchtower) on the hills above the town will be a fine sight.

Paro is situated in a beautiful valley at 2280 metres and is a fitting introduction to this charming kingdom. Your guide will meet you and take you on a short one-hour drive along the Paro and Thimphu river valleys to Thimphu, Bhutan’s capital, at 2320 metres. You can stop on the way to take in the magnificent Tamchhog Lhakhang, the hereditary place of worship for Bhutan’s iron bridge builder. Take a late afternoon walk around town and soak in the atmosphere of this magical capital with its busy shops and bazaars and photogenic citizens in national dress.

Overnight in Thimphu

Day 02: Thimphu local tour

We will visit the weekly market, the revered Memorial Chorten, the National Library and the School of Traditional Arts. You could visit Changangkha temple, perched on the hilltop overlooking the town. Devotees flock throughout the day to circumambulator and turn the prayer wheels. The temple also contains beautiful wall paintings and hundreds of religious scriptures written in gold. In the afternoon you can take in more of the sights and culture of the capital, with the option of a trip to Simtokha Dzong (one of the oldest fortresses in Bhutan, dating from 1629 AD). If you prefer to stay closer to town you could drive up to the Radio Tower (offering splendid views of the city from a hilltop festooned with prayer flags), visit the Takin Reserve showcasing the unique national animal, the Takin, browse the striking collection of intricate textiles at the National Textile Museum or visit the Folk Heritage Museum.

If you would like to view or buy Bhutanese handicrafts you may like to visit the new market opposite Taj Tashi hotel which has an array of stalls run by local handicraft shops selling purely home made articles with no imports. Tell your guide what takes your interest.
Overnight in Thimphu.

Day 03: Thimpu- Paro

This morning drive back to Paro after breakfast, to start your culture tour of Paro valley by visiting the impressive Paro Rinpung Dzong, one of the finest examples of Bhutanese architecture. You can also visit the National Museum. This was previously housed in the Ta Dzong (watch tower) built on top of the hill above Rinpung Dzong to defend Rinpung Dzong and the Paro valley during times of war, in an unusual circular construction resembling a conch shell.

Unfortunately, an earthquake in September 2011 damaged the Ta Dzong and the contents of the museum were moved to a neighbouring building. You can still see a magnificent collection of Bhutanese artefacts – costumes, religious paintings, arms, textiles and a fascinating collection of Bhutan stamps. The National Museum is due to reopen in the Ta Dzong in 2015.

In the afternoon you can visit the ruined Drukgyel Dzong (fortress of victory), constructed to commemorate the victory over Tibetan invaders in 1644 and destroyed by a butter lamp fire in 1951. Nearby you can also visit the 7th century Kyichu Lhakhang, a temple of historical significance and one of the most sacred shrines in Bhutan.
Overnight in Paro

Day 04: Paro – Hike to Taktshang monastery

Take a day walk to the ‘Tiger’s Nest’, the sacred Taktshang monastery which clings to the rock face 900 metres above the valley floor.

Guru Rinpoche is said to have flown to the site riding on a tigress. He subsequently meditated here for three months. It is one of Bhutan’s most holy sites and draws pilgrims not only from Bhutan but also from neighbouring Buddhist countries. You can have lunch at the Taktshang cafeteria from where you get a spectacular view of the monastery.

On the way back you can visit Dumtse Lhakhang, a temple built by Thangtong Gyalpo, the iron bridge builder. Overnight in Paro.

Day 05: Departure

Early in the morning your guide will accompany you to the airport to see you off onto your flight and wish you Tashi Delek (goodbye and good luck).

Tour BHT/02 : 07 days Classic Western Bhutan

Featuring Paro valley, hike to Takshang Monastery, Thimpu and Punakha Valley.

Itinerary

Day 01: Arrive Paro by Druk Air

The flight into Bhutan takes you close to the great Himalayas, offering dazzling scenic views of some world’s highest glacial peaks. As you enter Paro valley, you will sweep past forested hills with the silvery Pa Chu (Paro river) meandering down the valley below. Paro Dzong (fortress) and Ta Dzong (watchtower) on the hills above the town will be a fine sight. Paro is situated in a beautiful valley at 2280 metres and is a fitting introduction to this charming kingdom. Your flight arrives late afternoon and your guide will meet you and take you to your hotel. Later if you would like to you can go for a stroll around Paro town and start to take in the atmosphere and culture of this beautiful country and its gentle way of life.

Overnight in Paro

Day 02: Paro local Tour

This morning you can visit the impressive Paro Rinpung Dzong, one of the finest examples of Bhutanese architecture. You can also visit the National Museum. This was previously housed in the Ta Dzong (watch tower) built on top of the hill above Rinpung Dzong to defend Rinpung Dzong and the Paro valley during times of war, in an unusual circular construction resembling a conch shell. Unfortunately, an earthquake in September 2011 damaged the Ta Dzong and the contents of the museum were moved to a neighbouring building. You can still see a magnificent collection of Bhutanese artefacts – costumes, religious paintings, arms, textiles and a fascinating collection of Bhutan stamps.

The National Museum is due to reopen in the Ta Dzong in 2015. In the afternoon you can visit the ruined Drukgyel Dzong (fortress of victory), constructed to commemorate the victory over Tibetan invaders in 1644 and destroyed by a butter lamp fire in 1951. Nearby you can also visit the 7th century Kyichu Lhakhang, a temple of historical significance and one of the most sacred shrines in Bhutan.
Overnight in Paro

Day 03: Paro – hike to Takshang Monastery

Take a day walk to the ‘Tiger’s Nest’, the sacred Taktshang monastery which clings to the rock face 900 metres above the valley floor. Guru Rinpoche is said to have flown to the site riding on a tigress. He subsequently meditated here for three months. It is one of Bhutan’s most holy sites and draws pilgrims not only from Bhutan but also from neighbouring Buddhist countries. You can have lunch at the Taktshang cafeteria from where you get a spectacular view of the monastery. On the way back you can visit Dumtse Lhakhang, a temple built by Thangtong Gyalpo, the iron bridge builder.

Then you can meet your host family for an overnight stay in a local farmhouse allowing you to experience traditional Bhutanese village life. Take the opportunity to try the restorative properties of a hot stone bath laid on for you by your hosts. If however you prefer your creature comforts, we can book you into a hotel.

Day 04: Paro – Thimphu and local tour

This morning take a short 1-hour drive along the Paro and Thimphu river valleys to Thimphu, Bhutan’s capital, at 2320 metres.

In Thimphu we will visit the weekly market, the revered Memorial Chorten, the National Library and the School of Traditional Arts. You could visit Changangkha temple, perched on the hilltop overlooking the town. Devotees flock throughout the day to circumambulate and turn the prayer wheels. The temple also contains beautiful wall paintings and hundreds of religious scriptures written in gold.

In the afternoon you can take in more of the sights and culture of the capital, with the option of a trip to Simtokha Dzong (one of the oldest fortresses in Bhutan, dating from 1629 AD). If you prefer to stay closer to town you could drive up to the Radio Tower (offering splendid views of the city from a hilltop festooned with prayer flags), visit the Takin Reserve showcasing the unique national animal, the Takin, browse the striking collection of intricate textiles at the National Textile Museum or visit the Folk Heritage Museum. If you would like to view or buy Bhutanese handicrafts you may like to visit the new market opposite Taj Tashi hotel which has an array of stalls run by local handicraft shops selling purely home made articles with no imports. Tell your guide what takes your interest.

Overnight in Thimphu

Day 04: Paro – Thimphu and local tour

This morning take a short 1-hour drive along the Paro and Thimphu river valleys to Thimphu, Bhutan’s capital, at 2320 metres. In Thimphu we will visit the weekly market, the revered Memorial Chorten, the National Library and the School of Traditional Arts. You could visit Changangkha temple, perched on the hilltop overlooking the town. Devotees flock throughout the day to circumambulate and turn the prayer wheels. The temple also contains beautiful wall paintings and hundreds of religious scriptures written in gold. In the afternoon you can take in more of the sights and culture of the capital, with the option of a trip to Simtokha Dzong (one of the oldest fortresses in Bhutan, dating from 1629 AD). If you prefer to stay closer to town you could drive up to the Radio Tower (offering splendid views of the city from a hilltop festooned with prayer flags), visit the Takin Reserve showcasing the unique national animal, the Takin, browse the striking collection of intricate textiles at the National Textile Museum or visit the Folk Heritage Museum. If you would like to view or buy Bhutanese handicrafts you may like to visit the new market opposite Taj Tashi hotel which has an array of stalls run by local handicraft shops selling purely home made articles with no imports. Tell your guide what takes your interest.
Overnight in Thimphu

Day 05: Thimphu to Punakha

In the morning drive for approximately 3 hours to the old capital, Punakha, via Dochu La pass at 3050 metres, where we will stop for a hot drink and enjoy spectacular panoramic views of the Eastern Himalaya ranges. You will notice the change of climate and vegetation as we approach low-lying Punakha at 1250 metres. In the afternoon visit the imposing Punakha Dzong, “Palace of Great Happiness”. Built in 1637, it is strategically placed at the confluence of two rivers, the Po Chu and the Mo Chu. You may be interested to view an exhibition of traditional Bhutanese cantilever bridges (known as bazams) in the tower of the Puna Mo Chu Bazam.
Then take a pleasant walk for an hour or so across terraced fields to Chimi Lhakhang (Temple of Fertility) built in the 15th century by the ‘Divine Madman’ (Lama Drukpa Kuenley).
Overnight in Punakha

In the morning drive for approximately 3 hours to the old capital, Punakha, via Dochu La pass at 3050 metres, where we will stop for a hot drink and enjoy spectacular panoramic views of the Eastern Himalaya ranges. You will notice the change of climate and vegetation as we approach low-lying Punakha at 1250 metres. In the afternoon visit the imposing Punakha Dzong, “Palace of Great Happiness”. Built in 1637, it is strategically placed at the confluence of two rivers, the Po Chu and the Mo Chu. You may be interested to view an exhibition of traditional Bhutanese cantilever bridges (known as bazams) in the tower of the Puna Mo Chu Bazam.

Then take a pleasant walk for an hour or so across terraced fields to Chimi Lhakhang (Temple of Fertility) built in the 15th century by the ‘Divine Madman’ (Lama Drukpa Kuenley).

Overnight in Punakha

DAY 06: Drive to Thimphu or Paro

For departure by air

Drive Punakha to Paro On the way visit Wangduephodrang Dzong, which is perched on a spur at the confluence of two rivers. The position of Dzong is remarkable as it completely covers the spur and commands an impressive view over both the north-south and east-west. Wangdue district is also famous for its bamboo work, slate & stone carving.

Arrive Paro by afternoon. In the evening there will be time for some last minute shopping or sightseeing, or you can take a walk to explore the valley. Discuss with your guide what would suit you best.
Overnight at Paro

For departure by the land route

Drive Punakha to Thimphu. On the way visit Wangduephodrang Dzong, which is perched on a spur at the confluence of two rivers. The position of Dzong is remarkable as it completely covers the spur and commands an impressive view over both the north-south and east-west. Wangdue district is also famous for its bamboo work, slate & stone carving.

Arrive Thimpu by lunch. In the sfternoon there will be time for some last minute shopping or sightseeing, or you can take a walk to explore the town. Discuss with your guide what would suit you best.

In the afternoon there will be time for some last minute shopping or sightseeing, or you can take a walk to a hill top monastery – discuss with your guide what would suit you best

Overnight in Thimphu

Day 07: Departure by Air from Paro or by land Route to Phuntsholing

Departure by air

Early in the morning your guide will accompany you to the airport to see you off onto your flight and wish you Tashi Delek (goodbye and good luck)

Departure by the land route

Today you will drive south, for about 7 hours, from Thimphu to the warmer climes of Phuntsholing, where your Bhutan guide will hand you over to your Guide from India, for your onward journey.

BHT/03: 10 days Western and Central Bhutan classic Tour

Thimpu- Tsrongsa – Bumthang – Gangtey- Punakha- Wangduephodrang Paro

Day 01: Arrive Paro by Druk Air

The flight into Bhutan takes you close to the great Himalayas, offering dazzling scenic views of some world’s highest glacial peaks. As you enter Paro valley, you will sweep past forested hills with the silvery Pa Chu (Paro river) meandering down the valley below. Paro Dzong (fortress) and Ta Dzong (watchtower) on the hills above the town will be a fine sight. Our representative will meet you at Paro airport, and after completion of arrival formalities you will be transferred to Bhutan’s capital, Thimphu, an exciting blend of tradition and modernity.
Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu.

Day 02: Thimphu

Today’s full day of sightseeing in Thimphu valley includes:

National Library, which holds a vast collection of ancient Buddhist texts and manuscripts, some dating back several hundred years, as well as modern academic books mainly on Himalayan culture and religion.

Institute for Zorig Chusum (commonly known as Painting School) where students undertake a six-year course on the 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan.

Textile and Folk Heritage Museum: These museums, both of which opened in 2001, provide fascinating insights into Bhutanese material culture and way of life.

National Memorial Chorten: The building of this landmark was envisaged by the third king, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, as a monument to world peace and prosperity. Completed in 1974 after his untimely death, it is both a memorial to the Late King (“the Father of modern Bhutan”) and a monument to world peace. The paintings and statues inside the monument provide a deep insight into Buddhist philosophy.

Trashichhodzong: This impressive fortress/monastery houses Secretariat building, the throne room of His Majesty, the King and various government offices. It is also the summer residence of Chief Abbot and central monk body

Handicrafts Emporium: This government-run enterprise displays a wide range of beautifully hand-woven textiles and craft products. It also carries a small collection of books on Bhutan, Buddhism and Himalayan culture.

Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu.

Day 03: Thimphu / Trongsa (200 Km, 6 hours drive)

After early breakfast, drive up to Dochu-la pass (3,088m/ 10,130 ft) stopping briefly here to take in the view and admire the chorten, mani wall, and prayer flags which decorate the highest point on the road. If skies are clear, the following peaks can be seen from this pass (left to right): Masagang (7,158m), Tsendagang (6,960m), Terigang (7,060m ), Jejegangphugang (7,158 m ), Kangphugang (7,170 m ), Zongphugang (7, 060 m ), a table mountain that dominates the isolated region of Lunana – finally Gangkar puensum, the highest peak in Bhutan at 7,497m.

Then continue onwards, reaching Wangduephodrang town in time for lunch.From Dochu-la pass, it is a long, winding descent into the Wangduephodrang valley, which is about 1,700m below the pass. Take lunch at Wangduephodrang town, then continue on to Trongsa across Pele-la pass (3,300m/10,830 ft), the traditional boundary between east and west. The pass is marked by a large white chorten prayer flags. There is an abrupt change in vegetation at this point, with mountain forest replaced by high altitude dwarf bamboo.

Stop en route at Chendbji Chorten, patterned on Kathmandu’s Swayambhunath Stupa, with eyes panted at four cardinal points. It was built in the 18th century by Lama Shida from Tibet, to cover the remains of an evil spirit that was subdued at this spot.

Arrive at Trongsa late afternoon and check into the lodge for the night.

Day 04: Trongsa – Bumthang (68 Km, 3 hours drive )

After breakfast, visit Trongsa Dzong. Built in 1648 it was the seat of power over central and eastern Bhutan. Both the first and second Kings of Bhutan ruled the country from this ancient seat. All four Kings were invested as Trongsa Penlop (‘governer’) prior to ascending the throne, and the present Crown Prince now holds the post. The Dzong is a massive structure with many levels, sloping down the contours of the ridge on which it is built.
Then drive to Bumthang, 68 km from Trongsa, a journey of about 3 hours, over the Yutong-la pass (3,400m/ 11,155 ft). The road winds steeply up to the pass, 28 km from Trongsa, then runs down through coniferous forest into a wide, open cultivated valley known as the Chumey valley.
On arrival in Bumthang, check in at your lodge.

Day 05: Bumthang

Bumthang is the general name given to combination of four valleys – Chumey, Choekhor, Tang and Ura with altitude varying from 2,600m to 4,000m. It is home to many of prominent Buddhist temples and monasteries.
Visit Kurje Lhakhang, where the saint Padmasambhava subdued a local demon and left his body imprint on a rock., the Jambey Lhakhang (7th century temple), Tamshing Lhakhang (housing some of the oldest wall paintings in Bhutan) and Jakar Dzong (administrative center of the region). Stroll in the village, visit the little handicrafts shop at the entrance to the town, and perhaps take refreshments at a local restaurant.
Overnight at the lodge in Bumthang.

Day 06: Bumthang – Gangtey (Phobjikha valley) 190 km, 7 hours drive

After breakfast drive to Gangtey / Phobjikha. In the mountains east of Wangduephodrang lies the beautiful Phobjikha valley, on the slopes of which is ituated the great monastery of Gangtey, established in the 17th century. The village of Phobjikha lies a few km, down from the monastery, on the valley floor. This quite, remote valley is the winter home of black necked cranes, which migrate from the arid plains of Tibet in the north, to pass the winter months in a milder climate. Explore Gangtey village and Phobjikha valley.
Overnight at the lodge in Gangtey / Phobjikha.

Day 07: Gangtey (Phobjikha) – Punakha (70 km, 3 hours drive)

After breakfast drive to Punakha. On the way visit Wangduephodrang Dzong, which is perched on a spur at the confluence of two rivers. The position of Dzong is remarkable as it completely covers the spur and commands an impressive view over both the north-south and east-west. Wangdue district is also famous for its bamboo work, slate & stone carving.

Afternoon visit Punakha Dzong, a massive structure built at the junction of two rivers. Punakha was Bhutan’s capital until 1955, and Punakha Dzong still serves as the winter residence of the central monk body. Bhutan’s first King, Ugyen Wangchuck, was crowned here in 1907. The fortress has withstood several damages from fire, earthquake and flood over the centuries. The latest flood, in October, 1994, caused great damages to the fortress but miraculously spared its most holy statue. Also visit Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten, the newly built stupa. Overnight at the hotel in Punakha or Wangduephodrang.

Day 08: Punakha – Paro (125 km, 4.1/2 hours drive)

After breakfast, drive to Paro en route visit Simtokha Dzong. This dzong, built in 1627 is the oldest in Bhutan. It now houses the Institute for Language and Culture Studies.
Afternoon visit Ta Dzong, which in the past served as watchtower for Paro Dzong (Rinpung Dzong) and now houses the National Museum. Then walk down the trail to visit Rinpung Dzong, built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal , the first spiritual and temporal ruler of Bhutan, the Dzong houses the monastic body of Paro, the office of the Dzongda (district administrative head) and Thrimpon (judge) of Paro district. The approach to the Dzong is through a traditional covered bridge called Nemi Zam. A walk through the bridge, over a stone inlaid path, offers a good view of the architectural wonder of the Dzong as well as life around it. It is also the venue of Paro Tshechu, held once a year in the sprng. Overnight at the hotel in Paro.

Day 09: Paro

After breakfast, drive up the valley to Drukgyel Dzong, built in 1647 by the Shabdrung to commemorate the Bhutanese victory over the Tibetans in war of 1644. Then take an excursion to Taktsang Monastery view point. It is one of the most famous of Bhutan’s monasteries, perched on the side of a cliff 900 m above the Paro valley floor. It is said that Guru Rinpoche arrived here on the back of a tigress and meditated at this monastery and hence it is called “Tiger’s Nest”. This site has been recognised as a most sacred place and visited by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1646 and now visited by all Bhutanese at least once in their lifetime.

While returning to hotel visit en route, Kyichu Lhakhang, built in the 7th century by the Tibetan king, Songtsen Gampo.
Overnight at the hotel in Paro.

Day 10: Depart Paro

After early breakfast in the hotel, drive to the airport for flight to onward destination.

BHT/06: 14 days Grand Traverse of Bhutan

Paro- Thimpu- Punakha – Wangduephodrang -Gangtey (Phobjikha) Tongsa – Bumthang (Jakar) – Ura- Monger- Trashigang – Samdrung Jhongkar

Day 01: Arrive Paro

The flight into Bhutan takes you close to the great Himalayas, offering dazzling scenic views of some world’s highest glacial peaks. As you enter Paro valley, you will sweep past forested hills with the silvery Pa Chu (Paro river) meandering down the valley below. Paro Dzong (fortress) and Ta Dzong (watchtower) on the hills above the town will be a fine sight. Our representative will meet you at Paro airport, and after completion of arrival formalities you will be transferred your hotel at Paro Evening; take a stroll around Paro market and town. Overnight at the hotel in Paro.

Day 02: Paro

Paro is a picturesque valley with quaint clusters of hamlets amidst terraced paddy fields. The town still maintains traditions by way of its architecture and the simple way of life.

Morning trip to Ta Dzong or National Museum, which is among the best natural history museums in Asia. Ta Dzong offers a unique and varied collections ranging from ancient armor to textiles, thangkha paintings and natural life. Then walk down the trail to visit Paro Dzong (Rinpung Dzong), built during the time of Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1646. It now houses the Paro monastic school and office of the civil administration. Also Rinpung Dzong is the venue of Paro Tshechu, held once a year in spring.

Afternoon drive up the valley to the Drukgyel Dzong or the Fort of Drukpa victory. From this fortress Bhutanese repelled invasion by Tibetans throughout the course of history. Looming above the ancient ruins is the snowcapped peak of Mt. Chomolhari. Also visit traditional Bhutanese Farm House, nestled below the dzong. Then drive towards Paro town en route visiting Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest monasteries of the Kingdom reflecting introduction of Buddhism in Bhutan.
Overnight at the hotel in Paro.

Day 03: Paro – hike to Takshang Monastery

Take a day walk to the ‘Tiger’s Nest’, the sacred Taktshang monastery which clings to the rock face 900 metres above the valley floor. Guru Rinpoche is said to have flown to the site riding on a tigress. He subsequently meditated here for three months. It is one of Bhutan’s most holy sites and draws pilgrims not only from Bhutan but also from neighbouring Buddhist countries. You can have lunch at the Taktshang cafeteria from where you get a spectacular view of the monastery. On the way back you can visit Dumtse Lhakhang, a temple built by Thangtong Gyalpo, the iron bridge builder. Then you can meet your host family for an overnight stay in a local farmhouse allowing you to experience traditional Bhutanese village life. Take the opportunity to try the restorative properties of a hot stone bath laid on for you by your hosts. If however you prefer your creature comforts, we can book you into a hotel.
Overnight Farm stay or hotel at Paro.

Day 04: Paro – Thimphu (55 km, 1:30 hours)- local tour of Thimpu

This morning take a short one hour drive along the Paro and Thimphu river valleys to reach Thimphu, Bhutan’s capital, at 2320 metres.

At Thimphu we will visit the weekly market, the revered Memorial Chorten, the National Library and the School of Traditional Arts. You could visit Changangkha temple, perched on the hilltop overlooking the town. Devotees flock throughout the day to circumambulate and turn the prayer wheels. The temple also contains beautiful wall paintings and hundreds of religious scriptures written in gold. In the afternoon you can take in more of the sights and culture of the capital, with the option of a trip to Simtokha Dzong (one of the oldest fortresses in Bhutan, dating from 1629 AD). If you prefer to stay closer to town you could drive up to the Radio Tower (offering splendid views of the city from a hilltop festooned with prayer flags), visit the Takin Reserve showcasing the unique national animal, the Takin, browse the striking collection of intricate textiles at the National Textile Museum or visit the Folk Heritage Museum. If you would like to view or buy Bhutanese handicrafts you may like to visit the new market opposite Taj Tashi hotel which has an array of stalls run by local handicraft shops selling purely home made articles with no imports. Tell your guide what takes your interest.
Overnight at hotel at Thimphu.

Day 05: Thimphu – Punakha (75 km, 3 hours)

After early breakfast, drive up to Dochu-la pass (3,088m/ 10,130 ft) stopping briefly here to take in the view and admire the chorten, mani wall, and prayer flags which decorate the highest point on the road. If skies are clear, the following peaks can be seen from this pass (left to right): Masagang (7,158m), Tsendagang (6,960m), Terigang (7,060m ), Jejegangphugang (7,158 m ), Kangphugang (7,170 m ), Zongphugang (7, 060 m ), a table mountain that dominates the isolated region of Lunana – finally Gangkar puensum, the highest peak in Bhutan at 7,497m. A short stop for a hot drink, Enjoy the spectacular panoramic views of the Eastern Himalaya ranges.

Continue drive to Punakha. You will notice the change of climate and vegetation as we approach low-lying Punakha at 1250 metres. Upon arrival check in at your hotel.

In the afternoon visit the imposing Punakha Dzong, “Palace of Great Happiness”. Built in 1637, it is strategically placed at the confluence of two rivers, the Po Chu and the Mo Chu. You may be interested to view an exhibition of traditional Bhutanese cantilever bridges (known as bazams) in the tower of the Puna Mo Chu Bazam.

Then take a pleasant walk for an hour or so across terraced fields to Chimi Lhakhang (Temple of Fertility) built in the 15th century by the ‘Divine Madman’ (Lama Drukpa Kuenley).
Overnight in Punakha.

Day 06: Punakha – Wangduephodrang -Gangtey (Phobjikha) (70 km, 3 hours)

After breakfast drive to Wangduephodrang and visit the Dzong which is perched on a spur at the confluence of two rivers. The position of Dzong is remarkable as it completely covers the spur and commands an impressive view over both the north-south and east-west. Wangdue district is also famous for its bamboo work, slate & stone carving.

Our destination for today is Phobjikha Valley. It is a glacial valley famous as chosen home of black necked cranes, which migrate from the central Asiatic Plateau to escape its harsh winters. The approach to Phobjikha valley is through a forest of oak and rhododendron. Explore Phojikha valley and also visit Gangtey Monastery; the only Nyingmapa monastery in western Bhutan. Overnight at hotel / guest house.

Day 07: Gangtey (Phobjikha) – Trongsa (128 km, 4.1/2 hours)

Morning explore Phobjikha valley for Black Neck Cranes and later drive to Tongsa across Pelela pass (3,300m). This pass is traditionally considered the boundary between western and central Bhutan. Further ahead stop en route at Chendbji Chorten, built in 18th century in Nepalese style.

The landscape around Trongsa is spectacular and for miles on end the dzong seems to tease you so that you wonder if you will ever reach it. On arrival, check into the lodge for overnight.

Day 08: Tongsa – Bumthang (Jakar) (68 km, 3 hours)

Morning visit Tongsa Dzong, situated at the alt. of 2,200m and built in 1647 by the Shabdrung, it is the most impressive dzong in Bhutan. Then visit the Ta Dzong, standing on the side of the mountain and built to guard Trongsa.
After lunch proceed to Bumthang, one of the most spectacular valleys in Bhutan and also the heartland of Buddhism. After a drive of 29 kms cross Yutongla pass (3,400m) with its dense forests of conifers. On the other side enter the wide, open and well cultivated Chumey valley.
Overnight at the lodge in Bumthang.

Day 09: Bumthang

Bumthang is the general name given to a complex of four valleys — Chumey, Choekhor, Tang and Ura with altitude varying from 2,600m to 4,000m.
Visit Kurje Lhakhang, one of the most sacred places in Bhutan as Guru Rinpoche meditated here. From Kurje monastery; a tarmac road heads south along the right bank of the river to the Jambey Lhakhang. Like Kyichu Lhakhang in the Paro valley, this temple is said to be the first that King Songtsen Gampo of Tibet constructed in 7th century.

Afternoon visit Tamshing Lhakhang, founded in 1501 by Pema Lingpa. It contains interesting and ancient Buddhist paintings.
Later see the Jakar Dzong, “the dzong of the white bird”.

Evening take a stroll through Bumthang market area.Overnight at the lodge in Bumthang.

Day 10: Bumthang – Mongar (198 km, 7 hours)

The journey continues eastwards winding through more rugged terrain. The drive, with spectacular views will take about 7 hours. Pass through Ura village in Bumthang before climbing sharply to the highest motorable pass in the Kingdom, the Thrumshingla pass at 3780 m. From the pass the road drops precipitously from 3200 m to the Kuri chhu, at 550 m. Carved out of sheer rock faces, this marvel of engineering has created one of the most spectacular and wildest of road sections.
The road winds down hanging on a cliff side. It offers a thrilling journey with breathtaking scenery, traversing the entire range of flora from alpine to sub tropical in a span of just 02 hrs. At the bottom flows the Kuri Chhu. The road now ascents through pine forests, maize fields and hamlets to Mongar town. Visit Mongar Dzong; built albeit quite recently, the dzong still maintains the architectural traditions of old dzongs.
Overnight at the lodge in Mongar.

Day 11: Mongar – Trashigang (96 km, 3 hours)

This trip of about 96 kms takes 3 hours passing through Kori la pass (2,450m), the place marked by a pretty chorten and a stone wall. The first part of journey is through leafy forest filled with ferns. Later road descends rapidly through corn fields and banana groves and the famous zigzags of Yadi, which is a recent settlement. After that the road follows the Gamri River until the bifurcation to Dametsi, this temple perched on top of steep hill was founded by Choeden Zangmo and is the most important monastery of eastern Bhutan.

This is the place from where the famous Naga Chham, masks dance with drums originated. About 30km onwards lies Tashigang at l000m. Trashigang is the centre of the biggest and most populated district in the country.

Visit Trashigang Dzong, standing at the extreme end of the spur, overhanging the Gamri River. It serves as the administrative seat for the district and part of the dzong is occupied by the Drukpa monastic community. Overnight at the lodge in Trashigang.

Day 12: Trashigang (excursion to Trashiyangtse)

24 km from Trashigang, visit the temple of Gom Kora, set on a small alluvial plateau, overlooking the river.

Gom Kora is a famous place where Guru Rinpoche subdued a demon. Further ahead reach to Doksum village where you can see women busy in weaving traditional Bhutanese fabric and a chain bridge dating of the 15th century.

Visit Trashiyangtse Dzong, situated at the altitude of 1,850 m. In former times Trashiyangtse was important centre because it lies on one of the caraven routes leading from western and central Bhutan. The dzong is new and near by are the Art school and the famous chorten Kora.

Evening return to Trashigang.
Overnight at the lodge in Trashigang.

Day 13: Trashigang – Samdrup Jongkhar (180 km, 6 hours)

Trashigang – Samdrup Jongkhar road completed in 1965 and the journey takes about 6 hours. Along the way, pass by Sherubtse College, the only college in country founded in 1978.

Also visit the Zangtho Pelri temple built in 1978 by the late Minister of Home Affairs. It represents Guru Rinpoche’s paradise. Driving ahead, reach to Khaling to visit the Blind School and Weaving Centre. Deothang, 80 kms from Khaling is the centre of Technical training college and road maintenance head quarters for the east. From here the road descends fairly rapidly to the plain through a dense tropical forest with an abundance of teak, bamboo and ferns.

Overnight at your hotel at Samdrup Jongkhar.

Day 14: Depart Samdrup Jongkhar

After breakfast transfer to Bhutan border where you will be picked up by Indian agent for onward journey to Guwahati Airfied or other destinations in North East India.

 

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