Pearl of East India tour
13 Nights / 14 Days
Kolkata - Kurseong - Darjeeling - Gangtok - Bhubaneswar -
Day 1 : Arrive Kolkata
Traditional welcome on arrival at Kolkata airport by Travel Pals India representative with fresh marigold flower garlands and then transferred by air-conditioned exclusive car to your reserved hotel.
Kolkata, formerly Calcutta, a colonial city built in the 18th century. Like Mumbai & Chennai, Kolkata originated largely due to the expansionist ambitions of the European powers, especially the 'British Raj'. Little wonder, Kolkata has some of the finest Raj edifices built in a variety of styles. Kolkata was once the capital of the British Empire and is now the capital city of the state of West Bengal.
Day 2 : Kolkata
A full day guided tour of Kolkata which can start with a ride on the iconic Tram of Kolkata, started in 1873 by horse-drawn till 1901 after which it started operating electric trams from 1902. Presently there are 125 Tram vehicles running in the city. Visit Flower Market, probably one of Asia’s largest one, over 130 years old, situated ideally under the iconic Howrah Bridge on river Hooghly, a miracle of engineering skill, a huge cantilever bridge supported by two piers 270 ft. high from the road level. The hustle bustle, noisy, full of fresh aromas of variety of flowers is worth the effort.
Further visit Kumartuli, a traditional potter’s colony in the north of Kolkata. It’s renowned for its sculpting prowess, which not only manufactures clay idols for various festivals but also regularly exports them. The potters, who fashioned the clay from the river beside their home into pots to be sold at Sutanuti Bazar (later Burrabazar), managed to survive in the area. Gradually they took to making the images of gods and goddesses, worshipped in large numbers in the mansions all around and later at community pujas in the city and beyond.
Visit the Victoria Memorial, a splendid architectural structure in white marble built in the early 20th Century in memory of Queen Victoria between 1906 and 1921. We will visit the hall and the gardens.
Evening free to explore the city on own with leisurely walk into the Park Street main market area.
Day 3 : Kolkata
Continue your guided tour of this culturally super rich city of India to visit the Kali Mandir & Belur Math temples.
Visit the Mother Teressa Home - The Missionaries of Charity’s Mother House is a holy place of pilgrimage and reverence for those who are searching for a more meaningful existence. It was established by the Blessed Mother Teresa in 1950 with the purpose of selfless service to mankind and to uplift the plagued humanity towards the path of salvation.
Return to your hotel for late afternoon.
Day 4 : Kolkata - Bagdogra (by air) - Kurseong
Fly to Bagdogra airport which is the nearest airport for Darjeeling Hills.
Met on arrival and driven to Kurseong (40 kms / 2 hrs). A hill station (and sub-divisional town) situated in Darjeeling District of West Bengal state located at an altitude of 1458 mt. The Chogyal (Monarch) of Sikkim ceded Kurseong to the British Empire in 1835. Later in 1880, this small hamlet became a tourist destination for the colonial authorities and was a preferred place for sanatoriums where the sick would recuperate.
Upon arrival at Kurseong check-in a cozy colonial tea bungalow overlooking tea plantation.
Day 5 : Kurseong - Darjeeling (by train)
After an enjoyable breakfast meet your guide for a visit to the Makaibari Tea Estate. This will give an excellent insight into tea plantation and cultivation of the world famous Darjeeling Tea.
By noon transfer to Kurseong railway station to catch the toy train at for Darjeeling. On arrival met at Darjeeling railway station and transferred to a colonial heritage hotel.
Day 6 : Darjeeling
Introduced with your guide for an interesting short tour of Darjeeling attractions visiting the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (HMI) - which is dedicated to the great 'Sherpa' Tenzing Norgay who first climbed Mt. Everest with Sir Edmund Hillary, visit the adjoining Zoological Park where you will have an opportunity to see the Himalayan wild animals & birds.
Further visit the Tibetan Refugee Self-Help Centre. This complex was setup by the Tibetan refugees in Darjeeling on October 2, 1959 after they followed Dalai Lama and escaped from Tibet. The refugees adopted the principle of self help so that they could become self-independent and completely rehabilitate themselves in a foreign country, which they did gracefully.
Return to your hotel for the well deserved cup of Darjeeling tea and time at leisure.
Day 7 : Darjeeling
We have an excursion for the early risers by jeep (35 mints drive) to Tiger hill for a sunrise view over Mt. Kanchenjunga peak along with a chance to view the tip of Mt. Everest (if the sky is really clear). It's worth an effort for that couple of minutes of show of sunrays on the tip of Mt Kanchenjunga, the third highest peak in the world.
On the way back we pay our respect at the Ghum Buddhist Monastery which enshrines a 10-foot idol of the 'Maitreya Buddha' (the Coming Buddha).
Return to hotel in time for breakfast.
Rest of the day free to enjoy the views of the Himalayan range and walk around the mall road or to explore the city on own.
Day 8 : Darjeeling - Gangtok (98 kms / 4.5 hrs)
After breakfast driven to Gangtok in Sikkim state. Gangtok is located in the Eastern Himalayan range, at an altitude of 1,800 mt. Gangtok rose to prominence as a popular Buddhist pilgrimage site after the construction of the Enchey Monastery in 1840. In 1894, the ruling Sikkimese Chogyal, Thutob Namgyal, transferred the capital to Gangtok. In the early 20th century, Gangtok became a major stopover on the trade route between Lhasa in Tibet and cities such as Kolkata (then Calcutta) in British India. After India won its independence from Britain in 1947, Sikkim chose to remain an independent monarchy, with Gangtok as its capital. In 1975, after the integration with the Union of India, Gangtok was made India's twenty-second state capital.
Evening stroll around Gangtok Mall Road. Which also known as M.G. Marg, the main street of Gangtok town is a great place to chill out in the evenings. The country's first litter and spit free zone, no vehicular traffic is allowed into the Marg.
Day 9 : Gangtok
A pleasurable sightseeing around city. Visit Namgyal Research Institute of Tibetology, it is the most prestigious research institute of its kind in the world, it is a treasure of vast collection of rare Lepcha, Tibetan and Sanskrit manuscripts, statues and rare Thankas (colourful tapestries used in Buddhist liturgy). Apart from an attractive museum, it has over 200 Buddhist icons and other prized objects of art. As far as its collections are concerned, it is only next to an institute in Tibet, Do - drul Chorten (It's a mound-like or breast-shaped structure containing Buddhist relics,) was built by the Venerable Trullshi Rimpoche, head of the Nyingma order of Tibeten Buddhism, in 1945. Around the Chorten, there are 108 Mani Lhakor (Prayer Wheels). These are turned by devout Buddhists while chanting 'Om Mane Padme Hum' (O Jewel in the Lotus) to invoke the Bodhisattva. It is surrounded by Chorten Lakhang and Guru Lakhang, where there are two huge statues of Guru Padmasambhava.
On the way we take a short Gondola ride (Rope way / Cable car) it takes the passenger to the highest point of the city of Gangtok, covering the distance of about 1 km in only seven minutes. One can truly enjoy the panoramic view and thrilling rise as the Ropeway goes over the City.
Afteroon visit The Rumtek monastery, a replica of the Tsurphu monastery of Kham region of Tibet belongs to the Kargyupa sect. Having a four storeyed building, it is the biggest monastery of Sikkim. Consequent upon the Chinese aggression over Tibet, His Holiness the Gyalwa Karmapa, the 16th incarnate of the Gyalwa Karmapa of Tibet came to Rumtek with a number of monks.
Day 10 : Gangtok - Bagdogra (124 kms / 4 hrs) - Kolkata - Bhubaneswar (by air)
Early breakfast at hotel then you will transfer to Bagdogra airport to board flight for Bagdogra via Kolkata
Bhubaneswar is presently renowned as the capital city of state of Odisha. It is a thriving centre of art and culture, once the heart land of erstwhile Kalinga Kingdom. Bhubaneswar, literally means the Lord (eswar) of the Universe (bhuban). 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 Konigsberger. The capital city, once known for its architecture and grand temples.
Upon arrival met by Travel Pals India representative & transfer you to your reserved hotel.
Day 11 : Bhubaneswar
Enjoy guided city tour to visit Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves are the caves of archaeological, historical and religious importance near the city of Bhubaneswar. The caves are situated on two hills Udayagiri and Khandagiri, mentioned as Kumari Parvat in Hathigumpha inscription and face each other across the road. They have a number of finely and ornately carved caves. It is believed that most of these caves were carved out huge residential blocks for the Jain monks, during the reign of King Kharavela. The Odisha State Museum, houses a rich collection of sculptures, coins, copper plates, stone inscriptions, lithic and Bronze Age tools, rare manuscripts written on palm leaves, traditional and folk musical instruments. Rare epigraphic records are preserved in the Epigraphy Gallery.
Day 12 : Bhubaneswar - Konark Sun Temple - Puri (115 kms / 3.5 hrs)
This morning drive to Puri via Konark Sun Temple visit. It is a 13th century Sun Temple (also known as the Black Pagoda) at Konark, Odisha. It was constructed from oxidized and weathered ferruginous sandstone by King Narasimhadeva I (1238-1250 CE) of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty. The temple is an example of Odissan architecture of the Ganga dynasty. The temple is one of the most renowned temples in India and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The temple takes the form of the chariot of Surya (Arka), the Sun God, and is heavily decorated with stone carving. The entire complex was designed in the form of the God's huge chariot drawn by seven spirited horses on twelve pairs of exquisitely decorated wheels at its base.
Further, driven to Puri. A holy city of the Hindus and is a part of the Char Dham (four points) pilgrimages. However, only Hindus are allowed to enter the temple. Puri is endowed with one of the best beaches for swimming in India and is therefore also a popular beach resort area, especially as it is positioned geographically so that both sunset and sunrise can be viewed from the beach.
Day 13 : Puri
Time free at leisure to enjoy the day on the beaches for sunbath & swimming.
Day 14 : Puri - Bhubaneswar (56 kms / 1.5 hrs) - Delhi
Afternoon driven to Bhubaneswar airport to board flight for Delhi for further connection to your international flight for onward destination with sweet memories of Pearl of East India Tour.
You may like to extend your visit by a night in Delhi before your flight. Ask us for our various extension programmes to choose from.