At the foot of the Himalayas: the journey to Darjeeling and Sikkim

On the route from the tea valleys of Darjeeling, to the Sikkim’ holy places of Buddhism and Hinduism.

New Delhi – Bagdogra – Darjeeling – Mirik – Darjeeling – Pelling – Gangtok – Mangan – Gangtok – Darjeeling – Bagdogra – New Delhi


12 days / 11 nights

  • Our price :1550 USD

The following are journey’s dates to Darjeeling and Sikkim in 2019:


  • 1st of April – 12th of April


  • 22nd of April – 3rd of May


Our price includes:

  • Stay in 3* hotels in different cities, which are on the road of our journey. Hotels offer daily breakfast. The price goes up to $ 200 in the case of booking a single room on the road of our journey.

  • Transport by AC buses, jeeps, taxis, and air ticket: New Delhi – Bagdodra – New Delhi.

  • Escorted by our experienced tour manager.

  • Arranging the journey.


Our price does not include:

  • Return flights to India and payment for Indian visa. One can apply for a visa to India online. While applying for a visa to India one should also apply for a permit to enter Sikkim. This permit can be obtained in India, but it is easier to get it before the journey.

  • Personal expenses during the stay in India.

  • Meals at the restaurants and tips, which are normally paid in India.

  • Sightseeing tickets and passes.

  • Travel insurance that is absolutely necessary while making this journey.


The very important matter referring to our journey is to have travel insurance! There are many travel insurance companies, like Avanti Travel Insurance.

www.avantitravelinsurance.co.uk

Telephone – 0800 888 6195


The choice of a travel insurance company is yours, and the information about Avanti insurance company should be treated just like a little help in searching for a company which is the most suitable for you.

All information about the journey to India will be shared with those, who decide to take this journey with us. One should plan the journey a couple of months in advance because it can make difference regarding the price of an air ticket. The sooner reservation is made the better!


We would like to inform you of the following matters:

  1. Notification of participation in the journey takes place after sharing with us your personal data / full name, country, postcode, street address, town/city ,phone number, email/.

  2. Notification of participation in the journey is confirmed after deposit of $ 300 was made. A bank account number will be send to a participant after making declaration of a currency to be used to pay for the journey.

  3. The deposit is not returnable.

  4. The rest of the money should be paid 60 days before the journey.

All information about the journey to Darjeeling and Sikkim will be shared with those, who decide to take this journey with us. One should plan a journey a couple of months in advance because it can make difference regarding the price of an air ticket. The sooner reservation is made the better!

The purpose of our journey is not just to admire the amazing beauty of the Darjeeling’s and Sikkim’s landscape, but also to experience the mystical atmosphere we can feel in many monasteries of Tibetan Buddhism, Vajrayana, and Hindu temples , which we are going to visit while traveling to this part of India. The most people, who live in these areas, are Hindu followers, although people, who follow both religions, live together in peace and harmony. Many places are considered as holy ones by Buddhist and Hindu followers.


Darjeeling – the hill town is located in West Bengal. It is famous of cultivation of Chinese tea brand, which gardens spread in the picturesque valleys surrounded by Himalayas, and on the slopes of rolling hills. Darjeeling is located at an attitude of 2, 042 m. over sea level. It is inhabited by different ethnic groups like Gurkhas from Nepal, Tibetans and other tribes that live in nearby Sikkim. Kanchenjunga Mountain overlooks the town. It is the third highest mountain in the world, rises with an elevation of 8, 568 m. above sea level, and it is situated on the border between Sikkim and eastern Nepal. In Darjeeling, there are many Tibetan monasteries, Japanese temple and Peace Pagoda, which are located in the place offering magnificent view of the snow peaks and Kanchenjunga itself. We can admire the sunrise over this splendid mountain from Tiger Hill, which is the highest place in Darjeeling.

One should not miss Observatory Hill and Mahakala Temple while being in Darjeeling. The temple is dedicated to god Shiva, but it was built in the place where stood the original Buddhist monastery. It was destroyed and plundered during Gorkha invasion in the beginning of the 19th century AD. This monastery was later rebuilt and relocated to its former location. Nowadays, Hindu devotional songs not only sound together with Buddhist prayers recited by Tibetan monks, but also they are singing in typical Tibetan scenery with a lot of Tibetan prayer flags. It will take us about 20 minutes by walk to get to the top of this hill. From this viewpoint, we can admire splendid views of Darjeeling and Himalayas’ peaks covered with snow.

Sikkim

In the past, Sikkim was independent kingdom, which was founded in the 17th century by the Tibetan Namgyal Dynasty. Two hundred years later, Sikkim became the British protectorate, and after that, as the Indian protectorate won a status of the independent principality. In 1975, as a result of a referendum, Sikkim obtained the full Indian statehood. On the ground of its history, geographical position and people, who inhabited this land, Sikkim, in terms of culture, belongs to Himalaya cultures rather than to India. Nevertheless, we can find the Hindu holy places here as well. One of them is Kirateshwar Mahadev Temple. According to Hindu mythology, it is the place where god Shiva manifested himself as a hunter, Kirateshwar, to give Arjuna blessing for successful battle, which is described in Mahabharata. Mahabharata is one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India. The temple is considered by Hindu people, as the one, where a visit with true devotion fulfils one’s wishes particularly a wish for children and also the wishes for health, peace and harmony.

Sikkim is the Indian state with the smallest population, where the main religions, Tibetan Buddhism and Hinduism, exist in peace and harmony. The majority of the state’s inhabitants are of Nepali ethnic origin, but there are people of Tibetan origin as well. Bhutias, migrated to Sikkim from eastern Tibet in the 14th century. Sikkim is the melting pot of cultures and people. It is inhabited by 650, 000 people, who speak as many as eleven different languages. It is the land of the holy lakes, picturesque valleys, towns and villages, Tibetan monasteries, Hindu temples and splendid landscape. It is the land of magical tales and legends.

The famous Buddhist master, Padmasambhawa, known as Guru Rinpoche, walked through this land in the 8th century, and converted the local demons to Buddhism. There is the famous Tibetan monastery, Rumtek, built in the 1960s by Gyalwa Karmapa, the main master of Tibetan Buddhist School, Karma Kagyu. The architecture of this monastery is fabulous, and resembles the original one in Tsurphu, Tibet.

There is a very interesting story about this master. He displayed his spiritual attainments and skills in front of some people dissolving himself into the rainbow!

Sikkim is the land, where one can get unforgettable experience. This is the land of inexpressible beauty.

 

The itinerary of the journey to Darjeeling and Sikkim

Day 1

After landing at New Delhi airport, the next destination is Bagdogra. It is within 2 hours flight from the capital of India. From Bagdogra, we will set off to Darjeeling. The trip will take us about 2 hours and 30 minutes. Upon arrival, we will be transferred to the hotel, where we can take a rest and relax.

Photo 1: View of Kanchenjunga mountain and tea gardens of Darjeeling. Photo by  Dimmushu /Getty Images/.

Day 2

The very early in the morning, we will set off to Tiger Hill, which is the highest place in Darjeeling’s area. We can admire the sunrise from Tiger Hill over Kanchenjunga Mountain. Subsequently, we go to Ghum Monastery. It was built in 1850 and it belongs to Gelugpa School of Tibetan Buddhism. It is known as The Yellow Hats. The Gelugpa order is the youngest school of Tibetan Buddhism. It is led by Dalai Lama, and it was founded in the 14th century. This monastery is the oldest one in Darjeeling’s region. It is situated at the altitude of 2,226 m. above sea level. We can catch glimpses of the lives of the Buddhist monks and experience tranquillity and silence of that place.


Photo 2: Bhutia Busty Gompa, Darjeeling. Photo by Davidevison /Getty Images/.

There is the Japanese temple and the Peace Pagoda, which are the next places we will visit. From the top of the hill, where the Peace Pagoda is situated, we can get panoramic views of Darjeeling and Kanchenjunga range as well. The temple was built in 1972 in a traditional Japanese style. Another place, which offers wonderful, panoramic views of the mountain, is the Observatory Hill. There is also a temple there called the Mahakala Temple. We are going to see these places during our second day in Darjeeling. Before coming back to our hotel, we will visit a Tibetan camp, which was founded in 1959. It was set up for Tibetan refugees, who fled Tibet after it was invaded by China in 1959. The local shops offer the very original, Tibetan handicraft like the wooden carpets, leather goods and beautiful shawls.


Day 3

After breakfast, we will go to Mirik. This picturesque town, situated on the India –Nepal border, is within 2, 5 hours’ drive from Darjeeling. It is another place one can get wonderful views of the Kanchenjunga snow peaks, and to admire many rolling tea plantations on the mountain slopes. There is Bokar Manastery, the Tibetan monastery, which was founded by one of the greatest Tibetan Buddhist master, Bokar Rinpoche, who meditated in retreat for over 19 years. The Master died in 2004. After the whole day in Mirik, we will get to our hotel in Darjeeling.

Photo 3: Bokar Monastery. Photo by Sujay 25 /commons.wikimedia.org/.  


Day 4

We will be traveling for 5 hours to Pelling, the small town at the foot of Kanchenjunga. Pelling is situated at an altitude of 2, 150 m. It is inhabited mainly by Buddhists. The best part of traveling to Pelling is admiring the picturesque scenery including Rangeet River valley. Rangeet River originates in the Himalayan Mountains. After our journey, we can take a rest in a hotel.


Day 5

During this day, we are going to visit the most interesting places nearby Pelling. If we want our wishes to be fulfilled, we should visit Khecheoparli Lake, which is considered as the holy one by Buddhists and Hindus. The Tibetan monastery, Pemayangtse, was built 300 years ago. It is within 24 km. from the holy lake. This place offers magnificent scenery of Himalaya, and also meditative atmosphere. We can experience here the peace and tranquillity.

Photo 4: Full view of Sanga Choeling Monastery. Photo by Walter Callens /commons.wikimedia.org/.

There is other Buddhist monastery nearby, Sangachoeling Monastery, where we can get the same experience. It was built in 1697, and is regarded as one of the most important and sacred Buddhist site in Sikkim.

We will visit a serene village, Darap Subba, which is inhabited by different communities and, which is the perfect place for those, who seek the peace and tranquillity. The village offers breath-taking sights with the snow-capped mountains and terrace fields.

After living this village, we set off to a small town, Legship, where is one of the most sacred Hindu temple in Sikkim, Kirateshwar Mahadev. As it was said before, it is the site, where god Shiva manifested himself as a hunter to Arjuna for giving him some advises before the battle described in Mahabharata. It is the Sanskrit epic of ancient India. The importance of this epic poem in Hinduism can be compared to that of the Bible in Judaism. Later we go back to our hotel.


Day 6

After breakfast, we leave for Gangtok. It is the capital of Sikkim, and is situated at an altitude of 1,676 m. above sea level. The trip will take us more than 4 hours despite the fact that both places are just within 112 km. from each other. But, we are in the mountains! After getting to the hotel we can take a walk through the city to become familiar with its atmosphere. Afterwards, we can come back to the hotel.

Photo 5: Panoramic view of Gangtok. Photo by jmjsig /pixabay.com/.


 

Day 7


A good place to begin our exploration of Gangtok is Tashi View Point. It is another site, which offers a magnificent sight of Kanchenjunga, which you will remember all your life.

Close to Tashi View Point is Ganesh Tok, which is located at an altitude of 1981 m. above sea level. It is the temple of Lord Ganesh, who is widely respected in Hinduism as the remover of obstacles, and the deva of intellect and wisdom. Ganesh is portrayed as the deity with an elephant’s head. The Ganesh Temple is a perfect location giving all round views of Gangtok, the rolling hills and the snow-capped mountains including Kanchenjunga.

According too many travellers, the place offering the best views of Kanchenjunga and Gangtok is situated higher then Ganesh Tok. There is the temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman, the monkey god. Hanuman Tok /Hanuman Temple/ is situated on an altitude of 2194 m. above sea level. We need to climb the paved stairs to get to the temple, but it is relatively easy for all. Hanuman is considered as a reincarnation of god Shiva, and he embodied the wisdom and courage. The next place to be visited by us is the famous Tibetan institute.

Namgyal Institute of Tibetology promotes and carries researches in the field of Tibetan culture, language, art and religion as well. Its library has one of the largest collections of Tibetan documents and literature in the world. After leaving Hindu temples, we are now in the different world. There is the museum here, which has the unique collections of statues, masks and thangkas, the Tibetan religious paintings on fabrics. After such an exciting day, we will go back to the hotel.​

Photo 6: Namgyal Institute of Tibetology. Photo by Subhrajyoti 07 /wikimedia.commons. org/.

Day 8

One of the most beautiful Tibetan monasteries in Sikkim is located south of Gangtok. Rumtek Monastery belongs to the Karma Kagyu School, one of the four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism, which originated in the 12th century in Tibet. We will go there after breakfast. Architecture is fabulous. It reflects the best of Tibetan architecture, and it is almost replica of Thsurpu Monastery in Tibet. We need to climb about 500 m. uphill to reach the monastery, but Rumtek Monastery is definitely worth visiting.​

Photo 7: Rumtek Monastery. Photo by Aapthamithra /Getty Images/.

Lingdum Monastery is within 1 hour drive from the former site. It is our next destination. This monastery is regarded as one of the most magnificent Tibetan monasteries in this region. It is also a Buddhist pilgrimage centre. Inside the monastery there is a large statue of Buddha. Like many others Tibetan monasteries in Sikkim, Lingdum Monastery reflects the beauty of Tibetan sacred architecture.

Photo 8: Lingdum Monastery. Photo by Subhrajyoti 07  /creative.commons org from wikimedia commons. org/.

The last Tibetan monastery, we will visit today is Enchey Monaster. This monastery belongs to Nyingmapa School, which is the oldest of the schools of Tibetan Buddhism. It was founded in the 8th century AD. At the end of the exciting day, we can go back to the hotel.

Photo 9: Enchey Monaster, Sikkim. Photo by Saiko 3p  /Getty Images/.

Day 9

The next day, we are on the road again. After breakfast, we set off to Mangan. This very charming little village offers not just magical, scenic beauty, but also the spiritual atmosphere. Mangan is soaked with the Buddhist vibrations created by the Tibetan prayers flags, and the chanting mantras resounding in the air. Upon arrival at the hotel and taking some rest, we will travel to Phodong Monaster. It was founded in the early the 18th century AD. It belongs to Karma Kagyu School of Tibetan Buddhism. The monastery has a large collection of ancient murals. It is located at an altitude of 1, 371 m. above sea level, and offers magnificent view of the mountains. It is among the most important Buddhist monasteries in Sikkim. The next monastery on our way is located slightly higher than Phodong Monastery. It is Labrang Monastery, which style of architecture is a mixture of Tibetan and Indian one.

After soaking up in the Buddhist aura, we take a trip to Singhik. It is a small hamlet situated at an altitude of 1,560 m. above sea level. It offers a spectacular view of Kanchenjunga, Siniolchu Mountain /6,888m/ and other ranges. Later, we go back to the hotel in Mangan, which is within 4 kilometres drive from this magnificent site.


Day 10

The Tsomgo Lake is regarded as a sacred one by Buddhists and Hindus. After breakfast, we will take a trip to Tsomgo Lake. It is located at an altitude of 3,779 m. above sea level. According to the legends, long time ago Buddhist monks observed the lake’s surface to predict the future. During the winter time the lake becomes frozen, but it is surrounded by the flowers bloom in the late spring. While being here, we can take pleasure observing the mountains, which reflect on the water. If you would like to ride a yak, you cannot find the better place in Sikkim then the Tsomgo Lake’s area. The travel to this lake takes about 2 hours from Gangtok. After spending some time here, we can return to the hotel in Gangtok.

Photo 10: Tsomgo Lake.Photo by Orpheus26 /Getty Images/.

Day 11

This day we go back to Darjeeling. Before getting to the city, we will visit the very unique Hindu place, Solophok Chardham.

There are four replicas of the main Hindu temples, which are the places of Hindu pilgrimage. It is assumed that visiting these temples can help to get rid of so called bad karma, and attain Moksha, liberation from the cycle of the death and rebirth.

The four main temples are located in the different parts of India. After the replicas of these sacred original temples were built, the Hindu pilgrimages become much easier. On the main temple the statue of god Shiva is established. It is almost 27 m. high. After visiting this impressive site, which was constructed also to promote religious and eco-tourism in Sikkim, we go back to the hotel in Darjeeling.

Photo 11:  Char Dham Namchi, Sikkim. Photo by Jainish Rana /creative.commons.org from wikimedia.commons.org/.


Day 12

We set off to Bagdogra, were we take a flight to New Delhi. In the capital of India our journey is over. Have a safe flight back home.

 
Day 1
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Day 2
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Day 3
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Day 5
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Day 6
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Day 7
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Day 8
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Day 8
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Day 8
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Day 10
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Day 11
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