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

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TOUR DETAILS

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.

ITENERIES

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.
    Later 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.
  • Saramsa 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 hotel.

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.

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