Cultural Tours - The Himalayan Jewel
Day 01 : Arrive Delhi
Meeting & assistance on arrival and transfer to the hotel for overnight
Day 02 : Delhi / Paro by Air
Druk Airways flight to Bhutan is one of the most spectacular in entire
Himalayas. Whether flying along the Himalayan range from Kathmandu or over
the foothills from Calcutta, each flight is a mesmerizing aeronautical
feat and offers an exciting descent into the Kingdom.
On arrival at Paro airport, immigration and custom formalities, then
received by our representative and transfer to the hotel.
Evening take a stroll around town’s main street. Overnight at the hotel in
Day 03 : Paro
Morning take an excursion to Taktshang Monastery, also known as Tiger’s
Nest. It is believed that Guru Rimpoche, the father of the Bhutanese
strain of Mahayana Buddhism, arrived here on the back of a tigress and
meditated at this monastery. Taktshang was severely damaged by fire in
1998 and at present its restoration work is in progress. But tourists are
still able to visit the look-out point.
After lunch, visit Ta Dzong, the National Museum. The museum collection
includes ancient Bhutanese art and artifacts, weapons and country’s
exquisite postage stamps. Then walk down the trail to visit Rinpung Dzong
situated at commanding height, overlooking Paro valley. This Dzong is
symbolic as the religious and secular centre of all affairs of the valley.
Evening visit a traditional farm house to get an idea on lifestyle of
local people. Overnight at the hotel in Paro.
Day 04 : Paro – Punakha (125 km, 4.1/2 hours)
After breakfast drive to ruins of Drukgyel Dzong, about 18 km from the
town. From this fortress, Bhutanese repelled several invading Tibetan
armies during the 17th century. Then visit Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the
oldest and most sacred temples of the Kingdom, reflecting the introduction
of Buddhism in Bhutan.
After that drive to Punakha across Dochula pass (3,050m) which heralds the
most enchanting views of Bhutan.
Until 1955, Punakha served as the capital of Bhutan and still it is the
winter seat of Je Khenpo. Visit Punakha Dzong built in 17th century at the
junction of Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu rivers. It has been destroyed by four
fires and an earthquake in 1897 and has frequently been devastated by
flood water coming from the great northern glaciers. The Dzong has now
been fully restored to its original splendor.
Evening visit to local market. Overnight at the hotel in Punakha.
Day 05 : Punakha – Wangduephodrang - Thimphu (90 km, 3 hours)
After breakfast, drive to Wangduephodrang. The last town in the west
before arriving at the central region of Bhutan, Wangdue is typical small
Bhutanese town. The town’s formidable Dzong is its most visible feature.
In the 17th century Wangdue played a critical role in unifying the
western, central and southern Bhutanese districts.
After lunch, drive to Thimphu, small charming city sandwiched in the heart
of Himalayas. Thimphu’s charm is not only embedded in its wealth of
museums or places of historic interest but visitors must wander along the
main street and into shops, all of which are decorated in traditional
style. Afternoon at leisure.
Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu.
Day 06 : Thimphu
Morning visit, Trashichhodzong, situated on the banks of Wang Chhu. It is
home of the National Assembly and the summer residence of capital’s
venerated monastic community. The Dzong is the impressive result of a
redesign of the original medieval structure sanctioned by the Third King,
HM Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, when he moved Bhutan’s permanent capital to
Bhutan’s National Library is located close to the Thangkha painting school
and contains arguably the best collection of religious and historic
literature in the Himalayas. The country has its own brand of Himalayan
medicines and this can be seen at the Indigenous Hospital. The Memorial
Chhorten, a pious landmark for Thimphu’s residents, was erected in 1974 by
the mother of Third King, in memory of her son. Visit Handicrafts Emporium
which displays wide assortment of beautifully hand-woven and crafted
Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu.
Day 07 : Thimphu – Phuentsholing (179 km, 6 hours)
After breakfast, drive to Phuentsholing enroute visit Simtokha Dzong, the
oldest fortress of the Kingdom built in 1629, which now houses the School
for Buddhist studies. Thimphu / Phuentsholing road was built in 1962 by
Dantak, the Indian Border road organization. The drive on this route is
very pleasant with numerous scenic spots enroute.
Just before, arriving Phunetsholing, visit Kharbandi Goemba, the monastery
built in 1967. It houses the large and fascinating statues of Sakyamuni,
Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and Guru Rimpoche.
Overnight at the hotel in Phuentsholing.
Day 08 : Phuentsholing – Darjeeling (200 km, 6 hours)
After breakfast depart Phuentsholing driving through lush green tea garden
en route. Lunch stop at Siliguri, the commercial hub of North-Eastern part
of India. Overnight at the hotel in Darjeeling.
Day 09 : Darjeeling
Full day sightseeing of Darjeeling. It includes ;
Early morning sunrise view from Tiger Hill. The view from this point is
unforgettable, for colours changing from grey to pink and to luminous
gold. Mt. Everest (8,848m), the world’s highest peak is visible from Tiger
Hill but being 170 km away does not stand out as strikingly as the nearer
After breakfast, visit Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, the house of
Late Tenzing Norgay, the sherpa who first climbed Mt. Everest with Edmund
Hillary in 1953. Then visit Natural History Museum, Lloyd Botanical Garden
established in 1878 and the Zoo, specializing in high altitude species.
Afternoon visit to Tibetan Refugee Self Help Centre which produces and
sells a wide range of Tibetan artifacts and curios. Here you can see
Tibetan craftsman making traditional items like carpets, woolen boots,
wood carvings and leather boots. The centre was established in 1954 to
rehabilitate those refugees who had fled Tibet with Dalai Lama in the wake
of the Chinese invasion.
Overnight at the hotel in Darjeeling.
Day 10 : Darjeeling – Gangtok (98 km, 4.1/2 hours)
After breakfast drive to Gangtok. Afternoon free for shopping and leisure.
Overnight at the hotel in Gangtok.
Day 11 : Gangtok
Full day sightseeing including visit to ;
Enchey Monastery; it is a beautiful monastery, in an equally beautiful
setting, approached along an avenue of hundreds of multi-coloured prayer
Government Institute of Cottage Industries; here you can watch young
students being taught the traditional art of thangkha paintings along with
weaving, wood carving and carpet making.
Also visit the Institute of Tibetology, housed in a beautiful building,
built in traditional Tibetan style, with mural decorated columns and a
wonderful smell of beeswax polish from the creaky wooden floor.
Then drive through picturesque, terraced rice fields to the headquarter of
Dharma Chakra Centres (Rumtek Monastery), the present seat of His
Holiness, the Gyalwa Karmapa, head of the Kagyupa sect. Said to be the
replica of the monastery at Tsurphu, Tibet with its traditional
architecture, exquisite paintings, intricate wood work, housing treasures
of manuscripts and icons. Rumtek is a splendid example of Tibetan monastic
Overnight at the hotel in Gangtok.
Day 12 : Gangtok – Kalimpong (77 km, 3 hours)
Morning drive to Kalimpong. Afternoon visit to Tharpa Choling Monastery,
belonging to the Gelugpa sect of Dalai Lama. Then drive to Deolo Hill, the
highest point in Kalimpong at 5,500 ft, which offers good view of the
surroudnign region. It also has two water reservoirs, the source of
Kalimpong drinking water.
Then visit Zong-Dog Palri Fo-brang Monastery followed by visit to Gauripur
House, the favorite retreat of Rabindra Nath Tagore who wrote many of his
Overnight at the hotel in Kalimpong.
Day 13 : Kalimpong – Biratnagar (210 km, 7 hours) / Kathmandu
After breakfast drive to Biratnagar, the nearest airport town of Nepal
from Kalimpong and later fly to Kathmandu. Meeting & assistance on arrival
and transfer to the hotel for overnight stay.
Upon arrival in Kathmandu, received by our representative and transfer to
the hotel. Overnight at the hotel in Kathmandu.
Day 14 : Kathmandu
After breakfast, Kathmnadu sightseeing. Visit to Swayambhunath, perhaps
the most glorious stupa in the world and one of the holiest Buddhist sties
in Nepal. Its establishment is linked to the creation of Kathmandu valley
out of a primordial lake. The whole area around the stupa is an array to
small chaityas and monsteries.
Then sightseeing of Kathmandu city, known as Kantipur; the capital of King
of Nepal. Visit here the temples of living Goddess who acknowledge the
greetings of devotees from the balcony of her temple residence.
Kasthamandap; the source of the word Kathmandu and supposed to be made
from the timber of a single tree and Durbar Square, the area holding the
array of temples overlooked by Hanuman, Dhoka Palace, the ancient palace
of Nepalese Royalty.
Overnight at the hotel in Kathmandu.
Day 15 : Kathmandu – Pokhra
After breakfast drive to Pokhra, a very scenic drive lasting for above six
hours through the beautiful riverbanks and gorges.
Pokhra, the enchanting city nestled in a tranquil valley is starting point
for many of Nepal’s most popular trekking and rafting trips. Here the
serenity of Pehwa lake and the magnificent Mt. Fishtail rising behind it,
creates and ambience of peace and magic. The valley surrounding Pokhra is
home to thick forests, gushing rivers and emerald lakes and world famous
view of the Himalayas. The major attractions of Pokhra are; Pehwa Lake,
Barahi Temple, Devid’s fall, Bindabasini Temple and Seti Gorge.
Overnight at the hotel in Pokhra.
Day 16 : Pokhra – Chitwan National Park
After breakfast, enjoy a pleasant boat ride in Pehwa Lake reflecting the
panoramic view of Mt. Fishtail on its backdrop. Then drive to Chitwan.
Day 17 : Chitwan National Park
Whole day jungle activities including jungle walk, elephant ride and also
visit to villages. Chitwan National Park is most famous n Nepal which
offers 450 species of birds including four species of deer, leopard, sloth
bear, wild boar and many other faunal species. The park is well known of
one horned Rhinoceros and it also offers shelter to Royal Bengal Tiger.
Day 18 : Chitwan – Kathmandu
After breakfast drive to Kathmandu (6 hours) passing through beautiful
valleys. Evening free. Overnight at the hotel in Kathmandu.
Day 19: Kathmandu
Today’s sightseeing in Kathmandu includes, visit to;
Boudhnath; this stupa stands with four pairs of eyes in the four cardinal
direction keeping watch of righteous behavior and human prosperity. It was
built by King Man Deva on advice of Goddess Mani Jogini. Situated on the
octagonal base inset with prayer wheels, this shrine is ringed by houses
of Lamas or Buddhist priests.
Pashupatinath Temple; one of the holiest Hindu temple dedicated to Lord
Shiva. Situated amidst lush green natural settings on the bank of the
sacred Bagmati river, the temple built in Pagoda style has gilted roof and
richly carved silver door.
Bhaktapur City; also known as Bhadgaon, this place is the home of medieval
art and architecture. Bhaktapur was founded in the 9th century and is
shaped like a conch shell. Visit Durbar square with range to temples
overlooking the palace of 55 window built by King Bhupindra Malla and
Overnight at the hotel in Kathmandu.
Day 20 : Kathmandu – Delhi by Air
Drive to Kathmandu’s international airport for onward flight to Delhi.
Meeting & assistance on arrival in Delhi and transfer to the hotel /
airport for onward programme.