Today on arrival in Kolkata, also known as Calcutta you will be transferred to your hotel. Kolkata is an important commercial and cultural point in East India. In the 17th century, the Nawab of Bengal granted the East India Company a trading license. Kolkata was the Capital of India till 1911, under the British rule after which the Capital was shifted to Delhi. Kolkata is also called as the City of Joy and also the Cultural Capital of India. The Bengalis of Kolkata are known to be educated, cultured and soft spoken. The sweets of Kolkata are world famous, specially sweets made from milk. Durga Puja is celebrated with a lot of show and pomp. Bengal was home of famous personalities like Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay, Rabindranath Tagore, Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar, Swami Vivekananda, Chaitanya, Ramakrishna, Prabhupada, Paramahansa Yogananda, etc.
The afternoon Calcutta sight-seeing will take you to the most important Jain Temple dedicated to Parasvanath, the 23rd Jain Tirthankara. Devout Jains from all parts of India flock to the Temple precincts all round the year. The complex consists of four temples inside it. The deity of Lord Sitalnathji is seated in the sanctum sanctorum, and his diamond-studded forehead is a major attraction. You will continue with your tour visiting the Victoria Memorial which is one of India's most beautiful monuments built between 1906 and 1921 in white marble. The memorial was the inspiration of Lord Curzon, who in 1901, felt that his lately departed Queen Empress, required a suitable monument to her memory. It houses paintings, manuscripts, and other objects of historic value in its Museum and Art Gallery (Closed on Mondays & National Holidays).
You will drive past Howrah Bridge, Dalhousie Square, Fort Williams, Secretariat Building and Old Court House Street. Dalhousie Square named in the memory of Lord Dalhousie who was the Governor General of India from 1847 to 1856. But it was renamed as BBD Bagh (Binoy, Badal, and Dinesh) three patriotic sons of Bengal who attained martyrdom during India's struggle for independence. The Dalhousie Square is surrounded by some of Kolkata's most enduring Raj-era monuments like the magnificent GPO (General Post Office), the regal Raj Bhawan, the Town Hall, the St. John's Church and the Gothic style Writer's Building. In terms of heritage, no other city square is as rich as Dalhousie Square. Overnight in Kolkata.
This morning, you will be transferred to Kolkata airport in time for your Bagdogra flight. On your arrival in Bagdogra, you will be transferred to Darjeeling by road. Darjeeling is known to be a wonderful hill station worldwide for its everlasting wonderfulness and rich green tea gardens. This enchanting land offers the visitors with picturesque beauty and excellence with flawless components of nature. The nearby monasteries represent the culture of the Lepcha community. The society, its custom, mountain crests, fauna, lavish green valleys, slopes, the sanctuaries, waterways all are important part of the beauty of the nature. It is a quite perfect and most delightful holiday place for nature lovers. The excellent and the salubrious atmosphere fill the travelers with freshness. There are numerous engaging places to visit and the nature in this part of the country has an enchanting effect. It is truly a paradise for people who need to break from the regular life. Rest of the day is at leisure. Overnight in Darjeeling.
The sight seeing tour of Darjeeling includes a visit to Tiger Hill and Ghoom Monastery early in the morning. From the Tiger Hill, on a clear day, you will witness a beautiful sunrise, Kanchandzonga and Mount Everest. If there are no clouds, you can see the horizon changing colors before the sunrise and then the entire mountain stretch turns golden. The beautiful sight will be embedded in your mind for life. On your return, you will be visiting Ghoom Monastery which is the oldest Monastery - built in 1875.
After breakfast, you will be visiting Tukvar Tea Estate. The lavish green tea gardens are the primary attractions of this charming hilly region. The sweet-smelling tea leaves of the surrounding tea garden add a mesmerizing effect to nature. There is no processing on Mondays and also during winter which is from middle of November till March as there is no plucking or processing of tea. Tea grown in this area of Darjeeling, known as the ‘Champagne of Tea’ is famous world over for its taste. The best Darjeeling teas are mild and have a distinctive fruity flavor. You will be witnessing the different steps in the manufacturing of tea at the Tukvar Tea Estate.
In the afternoon tour of Darjeeling, you will visit Himalayan Mountaineering Institute and Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park (Closed on Thursdays). The Mountaineering Institute was started to give training for Mountaineering and other adventure sports and one can see equipment used by Tenzing Norgay. You can visit the Himalayan Zoological Park to see the Snow Leopard, Tibetan Wolf, Tibetan Yak, Himalayan Black Bear and several varieties of birds. Also visit the Refugee Centre (Closed on Sundays) run by Tibetan Refugees to preserve their handicrafts. Here you can observe the making of Tibetan Carpets, Leather work, Paintings and Wooden work etc. Overnight in Darjeeling.
This morning, you will be driven from Darjeeling to Pemayangste. Pemayangtse the second oldest city of Sikkim is located in the Pelling region towards west of Sikkim and was established at the period of the third generation of the Chogyal Chador Namgyal in the year 1705. The term “Pemayangtse” literally means “an ideal sublime lotus” that symbolizes one of the four retes in human body. You will mesmerized by the ambience of the place. At the backdrop one can see snow-capped and lush green valleys and mountains covered with dense forest.
In the afternoon sight seeing tour of Pemayangtse, you will be taken to visit the Pemayangtse Monastery built in the 17th century which is at a great height and is the second oldest monastery. This monastery is one of the most important monasteries and is the only one where the monks of this monastery enjoy the title of ‘Tasang’ or pure monks. The view from this place of the Kanchandzonga range is quite beautiful. The monastery belongs to the order of the Nyigma and first level of monastery has outstanding sculptures, ancient scrolls and paintings with various statues of the eight incarnations of Padmasammbhava from a seven layered structure made up of wood depicting heavenly abode of the Guru Rinpoche. Overnight in Pemayangtse.
This morning you will be transferred from Pemayangste to Gangtok by road. Gangtok is the capital and the largest city of Sikkim and has been populated by Nepalese, Lepcha and Bhutia’s and means "Hill Top". The Sikkim’s ruler Tutor Namgyal shifted the capital to Gangtok from Tumlong in 1894. Gangtok is a centre of Buddhist learning and culture and boasts of several monasteries. In the 19th century, Gangtok was an important centre for trading between the Tibetans and the British. The borders to Tibet were closed for trading in 1962 due to the war between India and China. Rest of your day is at leisure. Overnight in Gangtok.
In the morning sight seeing tour of Gangtok, you will be visiting Namgyal Institute of Tibetology (Closed on Sunday) and Do Drul Chorten Rumtek Monastery. The Tibetology built in a traditional style in 1958 lies amidst a serene surrounding of oak, birch and ash and promotes research in Mahayana Buddhism and the traditions of Tibet. It has large collections of rare books and manuscripts on Mahayana Buddhism. The two exquisite stupas Do Drul Chorten were built to celebrate the victory of good over the evil. Near by two giant statues of Lord Buddha and Guru Padmasammbhava are housed, also known as Guru Rinpoche, the patron saint of Sikkim.
Rumtek Monastery is the world's Dharma chakra Centre and the seat of His Holiness, the Gyalwa Karmapa - head of the Kagyupa order of Buddhism. Behind the monastery is the well decorated Karmae Nalanda Institute of Buddhist Studies. Opposite the entrance is a small hall featuring a beautiful jewel studded Chorten the Golden Stupa containing the ashes and remains of His Holiness the xvi Gyalwa Karmapa. It is said that the first Karmapa was visited by fairies who came to congratulate him each offered a strand of her hair as a gift. The hair was woven into a black hat and is still at the Rumtek Monastery today. It is said that unless held on to by the wearer (who cannot be anyone else but the Karmapa) or kept in a box, the hat would fly away.
Enchey Monastery is perched on a ridge above Gangtok, the Enchey Monastery is nestled within lush woods with a spectacular view of Gangtok town. Built in 1910 on the site of the hermitage of the great tantric saint, Lama Droop Karoo, who was renowned for his powers of levitation, this monastery houses the monks of the Nyigma Order of Tibetan Buddhism. Your visit continues and you will be taken to the Directorate of handloom and handicrafts which was set up to promote traditional Sikkimese art and handicrafts. Exquisitely carved wooden friezes, intricate bamboo work, along with beautiful hand woven carpets and handlooms are on exhibit here. Watching the artisans at work is quite interesting. Overnight in Gangtok.
Today, you will be driven from Gangtok to Bagdogra airport in time for your Kolkata flight. Your visit of Sikkim comes to an end. Sikkim means new house and Kanchenjunga, the world's third-highest peak, is located on Sikkim's border. The original inhabitants were the Lepcha and it is said that Guru Rinpoche introduced Buddhism in 8th century. In 1642, Sikkim's Namgyal dynasty was established and for the next 150 years, Sikkim was attacked by the Nepalese rulers quite frequently. It allied itself with British in the 19th century and in 1975 it merged with India. Presently, Sikkim also has the only open land border between India and China. On your arrival in Kolkata, you will be transferred to your hotel. Overnight in Kolkata.
This morning you are transferred to Kolkata airport for your to Bhubaneshwar. On your arrival in Bhubaneshwar, you will be transferred to Puri by road. On your arrival, check-in at your hotel. Rest of the time is at leisure in Puri to discover this religious town. Puri is one of the holiest places for Hindus and has many names like Jagannath Puri, Srikshetra, Shankhakshetra, Purusottama Puri, Neelachala, Neeladri, etc. Puri has one of the four Mathas (Hindu monastery) established by Adi Shankaracharya. The others are at Jyotirmath, Sringeri and Dwarika. Overnight in Puri.
The morning sight seeing tour of Puri will take you to the various temples of Puri. Puri is the only shrine where Radha, Lakshmi, Durga, Parvati, Sati and Shakti abode with Krishna. Thousand of pilgrims flock to Puri every year to participate in the Ratha Yatra (Festival of Chariots). Every Hindu would like to make a pilgrimage tour to four temples town at least once in his life and Puri is one of them and the other three are Badrinath, Dwarika and Rameshwaram. Shree Lokanath Temple is where Lord Shiva hid himself from Shani, in a pond and the Shivalinga is partially submerged. Afternoon is at lesiure for more visits or to visit the beach. Overnight in Puri.
This morning you will be transferred by road from Puri to Konark. Konark is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is famous for its Sun Temple of 13the century also known as the Black Pagoda as it was built in black granite. The name Konark comes from the Sanskrit words Kona (angle) and Arka (Sun) and is dedicated to Surya the Sun God. The Temple is designed as a huge chariot of the Surya with twelve pairs of wheels, some of them 3 meters wide and pulled by seven horses. Konark is home to the Konark Dance Festival devoted to the classical Indian dance forms, including Odissi. After the visit of Konark, you will proceed to Bhubaneshwar. Afternoon is at leisure. Overnight in Bhubaneshwar.
The morning sight seeing tour of Bhubaneshwar will take you to the different ancient temples. Bhubaneshwar is the capital of Odisha and has a history of over 3,000 years. Bhubaneswar gets its name from Tribhubaneswar, meaning the Shiva who is the Lord of the Three World and was mentioned during the Kalinga War where Emperor Ashoka was shocked with the brutalities of war and shifted to Buddhism. Bhubaneswar due to the Oriya cinema industry is called as dubbed Ollywood. The world famous Odissi classical dance originated from this place. Odissi is the oldest classical dance forms of India and can be traced to the ancient temples. Bhubaneswar known as the Temple City of India had over a thousand temples and some of the important temples are Lingered Temple, Muktesvara Temple, Rajarani Temple, and Ananta Vasudeva Temple.
If you have time, you could opt for an optional tour of Khandagiri & Udayagiri caves. Carved into cave-like chambers in the hill is a Jain temple with inscriptions from the 2nd century BC giving an account of that era. Edicts of Emperor Ashoka, from 272 to 236 BC are carved in rock 8 km away. Most of the temples built between 7th and 11th century are of Lord Shiva. Ananta Vasudeva Temple and Bindusagar Tank are one of the few Vishnu temples. A tour of Bhubaneshwar Konark Puri is known as the Golden Triangle Travel Circuit of East India. The festivals celebrated here are the Ratha Yatra, Durga Puja, Diwali, Shivaratri, Ganesh Puja, Nuakhai and Saraswati Puja, Eid and Christmas. The State Museum houses artifacts, weapons and local arts and crafts. A visit to the Nandankanan Zoological Park is quite interesting. The botanical garden has a good collection of exotic and regional fauna. Bhubaneshwar is a base for excursions to the tribal areas. Overnight in Bhubaneshwar.
Today you will be transferred to Bhubaneshwar airport in time to board your Kolkata flight. On your arrival at Kolkata, you will connect to your return/onwards flight. There is no accommodation for this night in Kolkata.
END OF YOUR EAST INDIA VACATION TOUR.