Trip Highlights :- Kolkata | Sunderbans | Kolkata | Guwahati | Kaziranga | Darjeeling | Kolkata
Tour duration: 11 Nights / 12 Days
Indian Rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis) is also called Greater One-horned Rhinoceros and Asian One-horned Rhinoceros and belongs to the Rhinocerotidae family. Listed as a vulnerable species, the large mammal is primarily found in parts of north-eastern India and in protected areas in the Terai of Nepal, where populations are confined to the riverine grasslands in the foothills of the Himalayas. Weighing between 2260 kg and 3000 kg, it is the fourth largest land animal and has a single horn, which measures 20 cm to 57 cm in length. Another distinguishing feature of Rhinoceros is its skin, which is knobbly and falls into deep folds at its joints, giving a look like the Rhino is wearing a coat of armour.
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.
Sunderbans : The Sunderbans National Park is home to the Royal Bengal tiger, and is a part of the world's largest delta formed by the river Ganga and Brahmaputra. It is also known for its unique mangrove forest ecosystem. The reserve spreads across 2,585 sq km, 0 to 10 m above sea level. It is a tiger and biosphere reserve and has been designated as world heritage site by UNESCO. It extends about 260 km along the Bay of Bengal from the Hooghly River Estuary (India) to the Meghna River Estuary in Bangladesh. The forest passes into a mangrove swamp along the coast. The southern region, with numerous wild animals and crocodile-infested estuaries, is virtually devoid of habitation.
Kaziranga : Kaziranga is the title of the remarkable success story for the conservation of One Horned Rhinoceros in India as well as other wild lives of North East India. It is homeland of One Horned Rhinoceros, and offers shelter to different wild lives like wild water Buffalos and Elephants. This Park is the birding paradise as well, as it rivals Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary for wetland birds and supports localised and endangered grassland species such as Swamp Partridge and Bengal Florican. One can sight Greater Adjutant Stork, Pallas' and Grey-headed Fishing Eagle and a great variety of waterfowl. Otters are frequently seen on a nearby river and the woodlands harbour Woodpeckers, Fairy Bluebirds, flocks of Spot-winged Stares, Warblers and much more. It is amongst the significant natural home for the conservation of biological biodiversity for universal value. The criteria and values made the Kaziranga National Park to have included in UNESCO World Heritage Site List of 1985. The National Park has 429.93 Sq. Km. tract of low-lying grassland sprinkled with shallow lakes and woodlands, situated in two districts of the Assam, namely Nagaon and Golaghat.
Darjeeling : Darjeeling is considered
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.
This morning, you are collected from your hotel for half-day tour of Kolkata. The tour includes the imposing Victoria Memorial, a splendid example of British architecture, this building was built in memory of Queen Victoria and was inaugurated by Prince of Wales in 1921, Birla Planetarium - One of the earliest planetariums in India, St Paul's Cathedral and the Indian Museum - This museum was established in 1878, built in Italian architectural style and is considered as the largest museum in the country and one of the best in Asia. Afternoon at leisure to perhaps venture out and discover the city on your own. Overnight stay at Hotel.
This morning you drive to Basanti Port (120 kms / 03 hrs). On arrival, transfer by boat to Sunderbans. Upon arrival in Sunderbans, check-in at Camp / hotel. Overnight stay at the Camp / Hotel.
After breakfast, this morning you are collected from your hotel for full day boat cruise in Sunderban National Park. Safaris in Sunderbans are conducted in Boats, which cruise through the estuarine backwaters and mangrove forests. Overnight stay at the Camp / Hotel.
This morning you are collected from your hotel for full day boat cruise in Sunderban National Park. Overnight stay at the Camp / Hotel.
Early breakfast at hotel and check-out. This morning you will be transferred to the Basanti Port by boat. On arrival drive to Kolkata airport (125 kms/03 hrs.) in-time to board flight for Guwahati. (Flight SG 528: 1250/1405 hrs)
Upon arrival at Guwahati airport you will be met and driven to the Kaziranga National Park (220 Kms / 05 hrs). Upon arrival check-in to Lodge / hotel. Overnight stay at the Lodge / Hotel.
Early morning & evening game safaris into the Kaziranga National Park. Safaris in Kaziranga are organized in Jeeps and Elephant safaris are also available. Elephant safaris are regarded as the best way to view the wildlife in Kaziranga, since the vantage point of being on the back of an Elephant, allow the best chances of viewing wildlife hidden in the tall elephant grass. Local guides and naturalists are at hand to enhance the experience. Overnight stay at the Lodge / Hotel.
Early morning & evening game safaris into the Kaziranga National Park to enjoy the flora and fauna of this reserve. Overnight stay at the Lodge / Hotel.
After early breakfast check-out from hotel. Early in the morning drive to Guwahati airport (220 kms / 05 hrs) in-time to board flight for Bagdogra (G8 151 1330/1425 hrs). Upon arrival in Bagdogra, drive from airport to Darjeeling.
Reach Darjeeling and proceed to hotel for check-in. Remaining day at leisure for independent activities.
Or, in the evening stroll around Chowrasta and Mall - Chowrasta, a wide promenade atop a ridge lined with shops and restaurants, is the heart of the town. Here people gather to chat and spend time basking in the Sun. The Brabourne Park is attached to the Chowrasta and now features a musical fountain. This place is an open place and free from vehicular movements from where one can watch the scenic beauty of the mountain range and take charm of walking at the Darjeeling Mall. Chowrasta is the central place of the Mall road. (Though it can be approached from different roads, the access to the Mall from Nehru Road is suggested)
Overnight stay at hotel.
Breakfast at hotel. This morning proceed for the full day sightseeing in and around Darjeeling, visit to the following places:-
Botanical Garden: It is the oldest Botanical Garden named as Lloyd Botanical Garden, this place is worth a visit for its exotic and exclusive collection of a variety of Himalayan Plants, Flowers and Orchids. The garden also has a green house.
Zoological Park: Established on the 14th Aug 1958, this Zoo was dedicated to the memory of Padmaja Naidu, former Governor of West Bengal on the 21st Nov 1975. Considered as one of the best Zoo in the country, it is the only center that breeds the Tibetan Wolf in captivity. Breeding programmes for the endangered Red Panda, Snow Leopard and the Siberian Tiger are also carried out at PNHZP (Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park). Open on all days except Thursdays and other National Holidays.
Mountaineering Institute: The Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (HMI) was established in Darjeeling, India on 04th Nov 1954 to encourage mountaineering as an organized sport in India. This institute was set up following the successful ascent of the Mount Everest-the highest peak in the world by the local hero Tenzing Norgay Sherpa and Sir Edmund Hillary on 28th May 1953. Tenzing Norgay was the first director of field training for HMI. It regularly conducts Adventure, Basic and Advanced Mountaineering courses, they are also highly subsidised to encourage mountaineering as a sport. The institute is presently under the purview of the Minstry of Defence, Government of India and its museum is worth a visit.
Japanese Peace Pagoda: It is one of the most popular attractions in the Darjeeling. It is one of those Peace Pagodas (Buddhist Stupas) in the world that have been established with the aim of creating a special niche for enlightening people from all religions, creeds and origins, to come together and work for World Peace. It was build under the supervision of a Buddhist Monk, Nichidatsu Fujii, who was also the founder of Nipponzan Myo-ho-ji, a Buddhist order for World Peace. Perturbed by the tragedy that followed the dropping of atom bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, in 1945, Nichidatsu Fujii pledged to teach the world the importance of non-violence, goodwill and harmony. There are four statues of Buddha in Gold polish and eight carvings on sandstone depicting different stages of Buddha's life in the wall of the Pagoda.
Rangit valley passenger cable car: Darjeeling-Rangit Valley Passenger Cable Car is popularly known as the Ropeway. It is about 03 Kms North of the town and situated at what is known as the North Point. The Ropeway is India's oldest passenger ropeway and connects Darjeeling with Singla Bazaar at the bottom of the valley. The present ropeway has been extensively modernized and visitors can now safely travel over the clouds to witness the aerial view of the lush green tea gardens below.
Overnight stay at hotel.
Early in the morning at 0400 hrs (Pre-Dawn) drive to Tiger hill: Situated at an altitude of 2590 mt (8482 ft) 13 Kms from the town, this spot has earned international fame for the magnificent view of the sunrise over the "Kangchenjunga" (28,208 ft. world's 3rd highest peak) and the great eastern Himalayan Mountains. The first rays of Sun shoot ahead and shed light upon the twin peaks of Kangchenjunga painting it Pink and then bathing it in a beautiful Orange colour. From Tiger Hill, Mt. Everest (29,002 ft) is visible too, peeping out through two other peaks standing by its side. Makalu (27,799 ft) looks higher than Mt. Everest, owing to the curve in the horizon, as it is several miles closer than Everest. The distance in straight line from Tiger Hill to Everest is 107 miles.
On your way back visit Ghoom Monastery and Batasia Loop. Ghoom Monastery is the popular name of Yiga Choeling Monastery located at Ghoom at an elevation of 8,000 ft, 08 Kms from Darjeeling. The monastery belongs to the Gelukpa (Yellow Hat sect) school of Tibetan Buddhism and is famous for its 15 ft high special statue of the Maitreya Buddha. The external structure of the building was established in 1850 by the famous Mongolian astrologer and monk Sokpo Sherab Gyatso. It contains images of Buddha's disciples, Chenrezi and Chongapa. Amongst the Buddhist texts available are the Kangyur, the Tibetan Buddhist canon, running into 108 volumes. The monks fly prayer flags in the Tibetan tradition.
Afterwards visit, Batasia Loop and War Memorial: The Batasia Loop situated almost 5 kms away from the town, it is a gigantic railway loop where the Toy Train makes a 360 Degree turn. It was basically built to make it possible for the Toy Train to cut the deep ascend. Strategically located the Batasia Loop offers a panoramic view of the Kangchenjunga Range. A War Memorial constructed in the memory of the brave sons of the soil who laid down their lives in the different wars since the independence of the nation adds to its attraction.
Return to hotel for wash and change and for breakfast, rest of the morning at leisure.
Later during the day, in-time transfer to Darjeeling Railway station - Hill Cart Road.
Joy Ride Train: If you do not want to spend 07 hrs journey from Darjeeling to New Jalpaiguri in the toy train, you can still have a taste of it by going for a ride on one of the two-hour joy-ride trains from Darjeeling - Ghum - Darjeeling. Ghum being - World's highest narrow gauge railway station at 7,407 ft. Train takes 10 minutes stoppage at Batasia Loop and 30 minutes stoppage at Ghum Museum. Grab a window seat on the right side of the train facing Ghum. At Batasia loop you get a chance to click excellent photographs of Kangchenjunga.
(Joy Ride trains depart daily at 1040 hrs and 1320 hrs. Buy the ticket in advance because during tourist seasons tickets sometimes sell out. The fare includes entry fee of the Ghum Museum)
The DHR - Darjeeling Himalayan Railway is a UNESCO World Heritage narrow gauge rail network still operates with the original steam engines and the loops along the route are all remarkable feats of human endeavor and engineering. The journey from Darjeeling town to Ghoom is a "joyride" in the true sense of the word. The Toy Train is a modern engineering marvel and deserves its spot in the limelight.
Later during the day visit Tea Garden.
Overnight stay at Hotel.
Breakfast, check-out from hotel. Later drive to Bagdogra airport (67 Kms) to board flight for Kolkata (SG 324 1525 hrs/1625 hrs). Arrive in Kolkata transfer assistance to International airport terminal, to board return journey flight.
Departure early in the morning, by an international flight.