Mount Kanchenjunga, permanently snow-capped and towering at 28,156 feet, the third highest mountain in the world, is considered the guardian deity of the Darjeeling hills, the Dooars, Sikkim and the Kingdom of Bhutan. The peak dominates the landscape and you get to meet the unique people and the culture that thrives in the shadow of this great mountain. We take you a whirlwind tour that includes visits to tea plantations, interactions with the local community, the local arts and crafts and the cuisine from the region.
Route: Bagdogra - New Jalpaiguri - Darjeeling - Tinchuley - Ghoom - Tinchuley - Kalimpong - Neora National Park - Bagdogra
Activities: Tea plantation visits, village tour, cultural performances, heritage tour, toy train ride, soft trekking
Duration: 6 days
Bagdogra/New Jalpaiguri to Darjeeling: You arrive at Bagdogra and transfer by car to Darjeeling (3 hours). Darjeeling, a hill station, is a town which is the hub for tea plantations, which is the main source of livelihood in the region. The plantations are dotted with heritage colonial bungalows set amidst acres of tea gardens and forests. The bungalows were once used by British tea estate officers and therefore come with a heavy colonial feel which includes fireplaces, bay windows and huge rooms
Darjeeling: After breakfast we proceed to visit tea gardens around Darjeeling. There is nothing like an early morning walk through the crisp mountain air amidst the greenery of the tea gardens. We visit Tungsum, considered one of the best organic tea gardens in the region. You will also visit their tea factory to understand more about the cultivation and processing of organic tea. We visit more local communities and gardens, through the day.
Tinchuley Eco Village: From Tungsum we will take a short drive to Tinchuley for a farm tour. Tinchuley, which means three chulas (ovens) is a model village and a community tourism initiative of Help Tourism, local villagers and WWF-India (West Bengal State Office) in the Darjeeling Hills. You will be hosted by one of the oldest and largest joint families of the Darjeeling hills (about 22 family members) in their guest house. We visit organic farms and orchards to understand the livelihood processes of the local villagers, metre-square gardening process and vermi composting. We also visit the local market in Takdah.
Tinchuley Eco Village: We set out early to visit the main points of attraction around Darjeeling - Tiger Hill, Ghoom Monastery, Batasia Loop Zoological Garden, Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Ropeway, Tensing - Gumbo Rock, Tibetan Refugee Self Help Canter, Lebong Race Course, Peace Pagoda & Rock Garden - Gangamaya Park. Later we embark on the Himalayan Railway, a narrow gauge train service to Darjeeling, and also visit the home of the legendary mountaineer Tenzing Norgay who ascended Mt. Everest along with Sir Edmund Hillary. Darjeeling has since 1954 housed the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute where he trained a generation of mountaineers. The earliest Everest expeditions started their journey from here.
Tinchuley - Kolakham – Neora: We drive early to the Neora Valley Eco Resort, which has a view to the snow-capped mountains. Nearly 35 kms from Kalimpong town and adjacent to the Neora Valley National Park that is home to a wildlife species such as the Red Panda, Barking Deer, Himalayan Black Bear, Blue Sheep, Bengal Tiger and more than 200 species of birds including many rare ones. Take a walk around Kalimpong, a heritage town, meet the villagers and trek through the lush greenery.
Bagdogra/New Jalpaiguri: Depart for New Jalpaiguri or Bagdogra.
Glimpse of West Bengal
Gives you insights into the lifestyle of a Bengali family, villages and the contribution of Shantiniketan to the richness of Indian art and culture.
In this trip, you will witness two different shades of West Bengal.
Classic West Bengal
This heady journey takes you from the high of the Darjeeling hills to the mud flats of the Sunderban mangroves, and from the bustling hill towns to the tranquil of Shantiniketan.
Shadows of the Himalaya
We head into the foothills of the Kanchenjunga range to take you on a spectacular journey where you will be spellbound by the sheer beauty of nature and the richness of the culture.