Jewels of the East

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Jewels of the East

Trip Highlights :-: Trip Highlights – Kolkata | Darjeeling | Pemayangtse | Gangtok | Kalimpong - Baghdogra - Kolkata | Bhubaneswar | Puri | Kolkata |

Tour duration : 14 Nights / 15 Days


Experience the jewels of east and explore the best Eastern Himalayas including Sikkim. The region that constitutes the Eastern Himalayas is sheer natural paradise. You can witness the fabulous sunrise over the Kanchenjunga range in Darjeeling, soak in the culture and breathtaking views in Sikkim or visit the famous Sun Temple in Konark and Lord Jagannath Temple in Puri.
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Jewels of Information :-

Darjeeling Tea : Darjeeling Tea occupies a place of pride for the whole of India. The aroma and taste of Darjeeling conventional tea is unparalleled in the world. There are a total of 78 tea estates in the hills which have been accorded the status for its produce, as Darjeeling Tea by the Tea Board of India. These estates cover over 17,500 hectares producing over 9 million kg of tea engaging about 50 percent people of the district. The Darjeeling Tea industry is the mainstay of the economy up in the hills and provides a rewarding life to its workers by way of a steady livelihood. In Darjeeling the first trial plantation of seed was planted at an altitude of 700 ft. by Dr. A Campbell and in 1845 an experimental nursery in Darjeeling was set up by the Government. In 1847 the Government planted a nursery at Lebong and the rest, as they say, is history. Tea plantations in Darjeeling are restricted to Darjeeling and Kurseong sub-divisions only. Kalimpong sub-division was left out as it already had agricultural holdings and reserve forest. Tea is grown at an altitude ranging from 600 to 2000 meters above mean sea level and requires a minimum of 50" to 60" of rainfall in a year and for this Darjeeling did not lack. The cool and moist climate, the soil, the rainfall and the slopping terrains all combine to give Darjeeling tea its unique "Muscatel flavour" and "Exquisite Banquet".

Cities visited: :-

Kolkata : The bustling capital city of West Bengal state, it is the hub of Bengali culture in India. It is seen as the land of the intellectuals. Communist in ideology and very politically aware and was the capital of British India before Delhi assumed this position. It was earlier known as Calcutta as it was pronounced since the British rule and has changed to Kolkata officially in 2001, it has derived the name from Kalikata, which is a village name in the area before the British arrival, means the land of Goddess "Kali". Kolkata boasts of a rich cultural heritage, evident in its distinct cuisine, clothing, lifestyle, its literature and even architecture. It is a cosmopolitan city where people, technology and ideas have blended together with the socio-political culture to give the city a new shape. The city is full of historical monuments and palaces. Its glorious history dates back to 1690 when it was selected by the British for their trade settlements and you definitely won't forget the city on the Hooghly river bank. It is also the city where Mother Teresa worked tirelessly for the poor and homeless and the city where Rabindra Nath Tagore wrote his famous books.

Darjeeling : Darjeeling, the land of thunderbolt, is located in West Bengal. This place is the epitome of natural beauty making it popularly known as the 'Queen of the hills'. It is most popular for it aromatic tea, is home to only a few thousand residents. Darjeeling's total turnover and economy is dependent on its tourism and tea production every year. Although, this beautiful town is blessed with mild temperatures during summer and spring, yet its temperature conditions are not too favourable for survival during the winters. It rains quite frequently here. The town has a major British impact on its lifestyle, cuisine, clothes etc. At present Darjeeling encompasses 86 active tea gardens that produce more than 11 million kg tea in a year. It belonged to Sikkim until 1780, when it was annexed by invading Gorkhas and later in 1816 British East India gained control over it and returned to Sikkim. In 1835, it was leased to British, who then established tea plantations, built colonial houses and even railway in 1881. Darjeeling provided cool hill retreat and sanatorium for the Bristish officer from their capital in Calcutta. Today, it is a semi autonomous state under West Bengal state called DGHC (Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council).

Pemayangtse : It is a popular Buddhist pilgrim centre in the western part of Sikkim, located 140 km west of Gangtok, Surrounded by the Eastern Himalayas, the destination is known for its scenic beauty and tranquil atmosphere. During the ancient times, when Sikkim and areas of Tibet, Bhutan and Darjeeling were under the kingdom of Sikkim, the region around it was controlled by Nyingamapa sect of Tibetan Buddhism. In 1705, Lama Lhatsun Chempo founded Pemayangtse Monastery in the region, which is today a part of Buddhist religious pilgrimage circuit starting with the Dubdi Monastery at Yuksom. Pemayangtse Monastery, which is the main attraction of the region, is situated at an altitude of 2,085 metres. Tourists visiting the destination also frequent Sangacholing Monastery, which was founded by Lhatsum Chempo in 1697. It is one of the largest monasteries Sikkim. With several hiking and trekking trails within the close vicinity of Pemayangtse, this place is popular vacation destination among adventure lovers. The main festival celebrated in the region is festival of Losar, which marks Tibetan New Year. It is celebrated in the month of February/March every year in the Pemayangtse monastery. Traditional Kagyat Dance festival, which involves mask dancing, is also held every month in the monastery.

Gangtok : Its strategic location, a strong Buddhist presence and heady cultural offerings make the first city of Sikkim - Gangtok, a tempting insight into this stimulating land. Sensational views of Mt. Kangchendzonga….orchid nurseries….great shopping. Gangtok is a blend of the traditional and modern, where modern concrete multi-storeyed structures clinging to the hillside stand alongside 'chortens' (stupas) and monasteries. Gangtok, the state capital, is a picturesque town which cascades down the mountainside from a ridge 1,520 meters high. Gangtok means the "lofty hill", but which was flattened in 1716 to build Gangtok monastery. Gangtok presents a perfect example of harmony between traditions and modernity. Gangtok offers a lot of trinkets and tribal handicrafts that can be bought and cherished from the streets as well as showrooms that are spread throughout the city.

Kalimpong : A small hill station Kalimpong is surrounded by mountains, Kalimpong derived its name from 'Kalon' means King's minister and 'Pong' means the stockade. Thus, a stockade of the King's minister. Local people also pronounce it as 'Kalayboong' or the 'Black spur'. According to some Kalimpong derive its name from a tree Kahlyem-Kung (in Lepcha language). Kalimpong situated at an altitude of 1250 m. provide a great panoramic view of Himalayas. Being a historical town, Kalimpong offers many places to visit like Deolo, Durbin dara, Dr. Graham's Homes etc. The attraction of this place also includes Monasteries, Churches and Temples. It is famous for its indigenous arts and crafts and has developed good silk trading business with Tibet till 1950. Until the 18th century Kalimpong was a part of Sikkim. It was then taken over by the Bhutanese. In the 19th century Kalimpong became a part of Darjeeling district.

Bhubaneswar: A thriving centre of art and culture, once the heart land of erstwhile Kalinga Kingdom, Bhubaneswar is presently renowned as the capital city of State of Orissa. Bhubaneswar, literally means the Lord (Eswar) of the Universe (Bhuban), is a hub of historic temples and the city is webbed with many concrete lanes. The present modern city of Bhubaneswar was established in 1946 which is designed by the world renowned German architect Otto Königsberger. Once known for its architecture and grand temples, is presently a thriving centre for commerce and business. Having blended very nicely its formidable past with its modern aspirations and facilities, it forms a part of the Golden Triangle of holy temple cities Puri and Konark. The grand city is renowned for its temples as well as appliqué work of Pipli, Ikat sarees, cane furniture and Bidri-ware. Art is an integral part of the city life from time immemorial, the world renowned Odissi dance form has originated in this city. The city is endowed with many tourist attractions and religious spots. It houses more than 500 temples, including the world famous temples like Lingaraj Temple, Mukteswar Temple, Bindu Sagar, Shatrughaneswar Temple, Vaital Temple, Parashurameswar Temple and Raj Rani Temple. Thousands of devotee throng to these temples in Bhubaneswar on a regular basis.

Puri : Among all the things that could be said about Puri, the most important one is that it is the abode of Lord Jagannath (The Lord of Universe). Considered to be one of the four cardinal institutions or 'Dhams', it is visited by huge number of ardent devotees almost throughout the year. Along with Lord Jagannath, Subhadra and Balabhadra are also revered at this famed pilgrimage spot for the Hindus. Being positioned on the coast of the Bay of Bengal, the town of Puri is blessed with some of the most gorgeous sun-kissed beaches in India. Apart from Indians, a large number of foreigners also visit this holy city of Puri quite frequently. It is approximately 60 kilometers away from Bhubaneshwar. Apart from the Temple dedicated to Lord Jagannath, the Sun Temple at Konark also draw huge crowds. It is constructed in the form of a colossal chariot that is drawn by seven horses. This temple was built in the 13th century. It was referred to as the 'Black Pagoda' by the ancient European mariners. The sea beach at Puri is approximately 150.4 kilometers long. This town is positioned at such a unique place that both the sunset and the sunrise can be viewed from the sea beach itself. One of the most important festivals known as 'Ratha Yatra' is held at Puri with great pomp and gaiety. Particularly, during this time of the year, this town in Orissa is practically flooded by pilgrims.

Day 01: Arrive Kolkata

Arrival at Kolkata International Airport, meeting assistance by our representative who will welcome you and will provide transfer to the hotel. Upon reaching your hotel, you will be handed over the travel documents with a complete briefing of tour by the representative. Check-in and proceed to your room. Overnight stay at Hotel.

Day 02: In Kolkata

After breakfast proceed for a full day city tour visiting Dalhousie Square (Covering Raj Bhavan, St. John's Church, High Court, GPO, Town Hall, Writer's Building and other important colonial buildings), Flower Market, Howrah Bridge, Kumhartoli (The Potter's Village), Marble Palace, Indian Museum, St. Paul's Cathedral Church & Victoria Memorial.
The Heritage tour will give insight in to the historical aspect of old Calcutta. This square has many old historic buildings, to name a few - Silver Mint (1824-31) built in Greek style is presently in a dilapidated condition, The Writers Building - designed by Thomas Lyon as a trading house for East India Company in 1780 has 57 sets of identical windows on 3 storeys built like a barrack inside. The Old Mission Church, built by Swedish missionary Johann Kiernander was consecrated in 1770, General Post Office designed by Walter Granville in 1868 has a white dome and Corinthian pillars, The Raj Bhawan, once a residence of British Governors-General and Viceroys, it is now the home of Governor of West Bengal, next to it is the most important Gothic building of Kolkata - the Calcutta High Court, built in 1872.
The Pareshnath Jain Temple is an ornate Digambar Jain temple built in central Indian Style in 1867 by a jeweller. The interior is richly decorated in European baroque and Italianate styles with mirrors and Venetian glass mosaics. The gardens have formal geometric flower beds.
Belur Math was founded in 1899 by Swami Vivekanand, a disciple of Saint Ramakrishna. It is presently the international headquarters of Ramakrishna Mission and preaches the unity of all religions. Symbolizing the belief of "Math" (monastery) it has Hindu, Christian and Islamic style of architecture.
Visit to the Ninth oldest regular Museum of the world, Indian Museum, Kolkata. It was established in the year 1814 at the Asiatic Society and was transferred to the present site in 1878. It has over sixty galleries of Art, Archaeology, Anthropology, Geology, Zoology and Botany sections, spreading over 10000 sq. feet area. Many rare specimens both Indian and Trans - Indian origin relating to Humanities and Natural Science are preserved and displayed in the galleries of these sections. It has a collection of more than 50,000 coins of Gold, Silver and other metals. It also has a mummy in its Egyptian section.
In the afternoon visit the Victoria Memorial - a gift by Lord Curzon to Queen Victoria in honor of her commemoration and as a symbol of her Indian Empire. It has been designed in Italian Renaissance-Mughal style and built in White Marble in 1921 and has many galleries with over 3000 exhibits. At the entrance it has an impressive 'weather vane' in form of a 5mt tall bronze figure of Victory, weighing over 3 tons. Overnight stay at hotel.

Day 03: Kolkata / Bagdogra / Darjeeling

Breakfast at Hotel. Morning transfer to airport to board flight to Bagdogra. Arrive Bagdogra and drive to Darjeeling. Darjeeling is one of the most magnificent hill resorts in the world. This heavenly retreat is bathed in hues of every shade. The flaming red rhododendrons, the sparkling white magnolias, the miles of undulating hillsides covered with Emerald Green tea bushes, the exotic forests of Silver fir - all under the blanket of a brilliant azure sky dappled with specks of clouds, compellingly confounds Darjeeling as the QUEEN OF HILL STATIONS. Rest of the day at leisure. Overnight stay at hotel.

Day 04: In Darjeeling

Breakfast at Hotel. Early morning excursion to Tiger Hill. Situated at an altitude of 2590 metres (8482 ft.) and 13 kms from the town, this spot has earned international fame for the magnificent view of the Sunrise over "Kanchenjunga" and the great Eastern Himalayan Mountains. On your way back visit Ghoom Monastry More correctly known as Yogachoeling Gompa, this is probably the most famous monastery in Darjeeling, just below Hill Cart road and the train station near Ghoom. It enshrines an image of the Maitreya Buddha. Rest of the day at leisure. Overnight at hotel.

Day 05: In Darjeeling

Breakfast at Hotel, visit Tea Plantations / Gardens nearby. Overnight at hotel.

Day 06: Darjeeling / Pemyangtse

Breakfast at Hotel. Morning drive to Pemyangtse. Rest of the day at leisure. Overnight at Hotel.

Day 07: In Pemyangtse

Breakfast at hotel. Morning city tour visiting Pemyangtse monastry etc. Rest of the day free to explore the area. Overnight stay at hotel.

Day 08: Pemyangtse / Gangtok

Breakfast at Hotel. Morning drive to Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim is situated at a height of 5,500ft. The present capital was shifted from Tumlong in 1894 by Chogyal Thutob Namgyal and is today the centre for political, commercial, religious and cultural activities of the Sikkimese people. Gangtok offers the tourists all modern amenities for pleasure and comfort. Rest of the day at leisure. Overnight stay at Hotel.

Day 09: In Gangtok

Breakfast at hotel. This morning visit some of the fascinating sights in Gangtok. Visit Phodong Monastery, it was built in the early 18th century but an older monastery had pre-existed the current one. The 9th Karmapa was invited by the king of Sikkim, where he founded three monasteries: Rumtek, the most important monastery of the Kagyu sect of Tibetan Buddhism, Phodong and Ralang Monastery. This beautiful monastery makes the abode of not less than 250 monks and it is adorned by the old mural paintings. Phodong Monastery is the major monastery of Karmapa sub-sect of Kagyupa sect. Afternoon visit the Namgyal Institute of Tibetology - It is a premiere institute and research center located atop a small hill. The main attraction here is the museum which houses around 200 Buddhist icons, antique Paintings, Thangkas, Statues, Shrines, Tapestries, Masks and other religious works of Tibetan Art. Establishment in 1958, it has sponsored and promoted research on the religion, history, language, art and culture of the people of the Tibetan cultural area which includes Sikkim. Its library holds one of the largest collections of Tibetan works in the world outside Tibet. Later visit Do Drul Chorten - an imposing white stupa. This holy stupa was built under the direction of Late Truslshi Rimpoche in 1945. It is part of the Nyingma sect of Tibetan Buddhism. There are 108 prayer wheels and the wheels have a special meaning. Turning of these wheels goes along with the chanting of the mantras engraved on them. The sound of a collective chant emanates from the prayer and meditation rooms in the monastery can also be heard in the background. The famous Do Drul Chorten has a gold plated spire. The Chorten is encircled by Chorten Lhakhang and Guru Lhakhang that boast of the two colossal statues of Guru Rimpoche (as Guru Padmasambhava is popularly referred as in these parts). Overnight stay at hotel.

Day 10: Gangtok / Kalimpong

Breakfast at Hotel. Morning drive to Kalimpong. Situated at an altitude of 1250 metres, it enjoys temperate climate throughout the year. Somewhat secluded and tucked away in the corner under big Darjeeling umbrella, Kalimpong offers a quiet and relaxed holiday, against the backdrop of the Kanchenjunga. Arrive and check-in at hotel. Rest of the day at leisure for independent activities. Overnight stay at Hotel.

Day 11: Kalimpong / Bagdogra / Kolkata / Bhubaneshwar (by Flight/s)

After breakfast, check-out from Hotel. Morning drive to Bagdogra airport (76 Kms /02 hrs) to board flight for Kolkata (Flight SG324 1420 / 1520 hrs). Arrive in Kolkata, your connecting flight for Bhubaneshwar (9W 7073 departs at 1835 hrs and arrives at 1940 hrs). Transfer assistance upon arrival from airport to the hotel. Check-in at hotel for overnight stay.

Day 12: In Bhubaneshwar

Breakfast at Hotel. In the morning proceed for the sightseeing, visit following places of interest:-
The Rajarani Temple (AD 1100), set amongst picturesque paddy fields, derives its name from the stone known as the Rajarani. It was built earlier in comparison to the impressive Lingaraja, but what sets apart this relatively small temple is its celebration of the feminine form. Here women are portrayed in a stunning variety of amorous poses and moods reminding one of the temples of Khajuraho.
The 55-mt-high Lingaraja Temple is a rare masterpiece depicting the high point of Orissan architecture of the 10th-11th century. Described as 'the truest fusion of dream and reality' every inch of its surface is covered with elaborate carvings of Gods, Goddesses, Dryads, Nymphs and Fairies. The temple can be seen from miles away and the sculpture and architecture here fuse elegantly to create a perfect harmony. It is believed that all pilgrims, who wish to go to the Jagannath temple at Puri, must first offer worship at the Lingaraja temple. The temple has two added structures—the Natya Mandir (dance hall) and the Bhoga Mandap (offering platform). Note - Non-Hindus are not allowed inside the Lingaraja Temple.
Most ornate Temple in Bhubaneswar, the Mukteshwar Temple (7th-8th century) has intricate carvings of deities that show the amalgamation of Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain styles of architecture. The carvings on the roof, especially the Bho motifs of the grinning Lion and Monkey, are quite striking. There is a well to the south of the temple in which childless women toss a coin to wish for a child.
The Brahmeshwara Temple, stands in a courtyard flanked by four smaller temples and a Shivling. Besides, there are other minor shrines in every corner of the courtyard. Two interesting images are found inside this temple: a well-oiled image of Lakshmi, covered in cloth, and a miniature image of Nataraja sitting on a bull and playing a Veena.
Outside the city limits are the Udayagiri and Khandgiri caves, harking back to the time of Jain and Buddhist occupation of this region in the 2nd century BC. The Jain caves are among the earliest in India and all the caves were built or excavated during the 150 years before Christ. In contrast to the stark decor of the Jain caves, the Buddhist caves are decorated with excellent friezes and sculptures. Overnight stay at hotel.

Day 13: Bhubaneshwar / Puri (56 Kms)

Breakfast at Hotel. Morning visit Jagannath Temple. Remaining day at leisure for independent activities. Overnight stay at hotel.

Day 14: In Puri

Breakfast at Hotel. Day at leisure for independent activities. Overnight stay at hotel.

Day 15: Puri / Bhubaneshwar / Kolkata (Flight 9W 2865 1315 / 1435 hrs)

Breakfast at Hotel. This morning drive to Bhubaneshwar airport in-time to board flight for Kolkata. Transfer to International airport to board flight to back home.

Day 16: Departure from Kolkata

Departure by an early morning international flight.

PACKAGE INCLUSIONS: -

Accommodation in Double room in 05 Star or 04 Star category hotels on CP Basis (Room + Breakfast Basis) inclusive of all presently applicable taxes.

Welcome Garlanding upon arrival in India at Kolkata airport.

All Arrival / Departure transfers from hotel to railways station / airport and vice - versa

Monument entrance fees to places of visit as per the itinerary

Air ticket/s for sector/s KOLKATA / BAGDOGRA, BAGDOGRA / KOLKATA / BHUBANESHWAR & BHUBANESHWAR / KOLKATA in economy class.

Accompanying English speaking Guide.

All Transfers, City sightseeing/excursions and long drives as per itinerary using chauffeur driven air-conditioned Car / Mini Van / Coach.

01 bottle packaged drinking water per person per day

All presently applicable interstate & toll taxes

PACKAGE EXCLUSIONS: -

Return international air tickets from the city of origin.

Travel Insurance and Indian Visa.

Personal expenses such as: Any Meals other than specified above / Drinks / Laundry bill & Telephone calls at hotel. Tips for Guides & Driver / Camera Fees at the monuments or any other expenses not included in the clause "inclusions".

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