Sikkim & Darjeeling – Overview
Wedged between Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan, and the North Bengal Plains of India, this region is a tangled mass of mountains drained by the Teesta, and Rangit Rivers.
Click here to open map.
From the visitors angle, Sikkim Himalayas include the geographical area of Sikkim, Darjeeling and Kalimpong. The grain of the country rises from near sea level to 8500 meters, in a short distance, forming a giant amphitheater, hewn as it were from the great mountains. This provides an arc of the most magnificent snow clad mountains as a backdrop to your holidays. This region is connected to Delhi, , Calcutta, Guwahati by daily air services. The nearest airport is at Bagdogra. Train service from NJP railway station are avalable to all parts of India.
Darjeeling & Kalimpong
Nestling in the lush green midranges of the Eastern Himalayas, with an incredibly stunning backdrop of towering snow capped peaks; Darjeeling and Kalimpong, are twin hill stations of the “Raj”. Premium tea gardens, colonial bungalows and churches, Buddhist monasteries, exotic bazars, handicrafts, orchids, and the world heritage “toy” train, are the main attraction. The sparsely populated and least visited areas around Kalimpong are your best bet. These comprise forests, mountain streams and rivers, and the picture postcard valley of Samthar. All this and more, in a land peopled by an amazing ethnic mix, of Lepchas, Tibetans and Nepalese, forming a unique sub culture of their own.
Relax and laze, raft the white waters, explore forests and flora, hike, mountain bike, trek, or Para glide, and take in the breathtaking sunrise and sunset views. Apart from hotels and resorts, the area is rich in home stays scattered around several villages.
Kalimpong – More monasteries, Colonial buildings, exotic flora, lovely people, exotic bazaar, and great views
Kalimpong, is an exotic town of beautiful people, mystical and enchanting? Ruled by Bhutan for 155 years, and annexed by the British in 1865, it was developed as a center of the wool trade with Tibet. This trade flourished until the Chinese took control of Tibet, in the 1950’s The Lepchas, who were the original inhabitants, were subjected to Bhutanese, Tibetan, British, and Nepalese influences. A gentle and docile people, they have almost lost their identity, and are now called “The vanishing tribe”. However history has left behind a fascinating ethnic blend of Lepcha, Bhutia and Nepalese people. Here Buddhism rubs shoulders with Christianity, Hinduism, and Islam. Gompas, churches, temples, monasteries, monks and missionaries; all coexist in a jovial and tolerant society.
Located at a comfortable altitude of 1400 meters, it is famous for its panoramic views of the snow ranges, nature walks and flower and orchid nurseries. Colonial bungalows, churches of the “Raj”, and Buddhist monasteries are there to explore. A quaint bustling bazar, is a Pandora’s box of surprises.
Kalimpong is a wanderer’s delight. Buddhist “tankhas”, hand beaten silver, Bhutanese weaves, Chinese lamps, hand crafted paper, Lepcha daggers, Nepali Khukaris and Buddhist masks, are some of the shopping attractions. The Wednesday and Saturday “Hat”, or village market, brings together people from surrounding areas, selling an amazing variety of products.
Around Kalimpong – virgin forests, exotic flora, Lepcha culture, & great views.
The picture post card countryside around Kalimpong, is framed by the panorama of snowcaps, dominated by the mighty Khangchendzonga. The wild and protected Neora Valley is a store house of Himalayan flora and wildlife. The forested ridges and Buddhist monasterty of Lava, heritage forests of Lolegaon, the serene and enchanting Samthar Plateau, with its breathtaking sunrise & sunset views, virgin forests, the deep valleys, the lush plateaus – are all nature’s gifts.
Holidays in this area are forays into the remoter countryside. They provide jeep based and walking holidays to explore the area and meet people. Walking enthusiasts have a wonderful menu of treks; ranging for day treks exploring nearby villages, hidden valleys and the remote Neora National Park, reaching upto the Rache-la – the 3152 m high pass opening into Bhutan. Also you can river raft on the Teesta, visit remote Buddhist Gompas, explore forests and flora, bird watch, ride a mountain bike, and para sail over the mountains, and and meet the people. The Samthar Farm house, and several village homestays are suitable as a base, to live in comfort and to experience the finest hospitality.
You can walk everyday along different trails to explore nature and culture, watch birds, ride a mountain bike and enjoy the hospitality of premium village home stays.
An added attraction is the unique experimental Awake & Shine Primary School, which is bringing quality education to rural children. Visitors are welcome to visit the school and join the children in various class room and outdoor activities. The Awake & Shine guest room, and village home stays hosted by local families provides hospitality.
For details about our exciting activities in this region click on the appropriate button at the top of this page.