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North East is a paradise for everybody who loves nature and adventure. This is the land of the seven sisters and is described best as virgin nature. If you want a break from your daily mundane life and wish to experience some serenity, then a short journey to North-East is what you need. The breathtaking beauty of the mountains and exotic fauna and flora will leave some delightful memories for you to look behind at.
A short 5 days’ tour to the majestic land of North East is what you need to get a break from your monotonous routine. Here is an itinerary of a Darjeeling- Gangtok tour which would provide you with a suggestion of what could be done once you get there. You could modify it and tailor it accordingly to suit yourself.
Arrive at the New Jalpaiguri Railway Station or the Bagdogra airport. Your North East trip starts right here with Darjeeling, also known as the queen of hills located 68 km away. Book a car or a cab and enjoy the scenic drive. Take a tour of the very famous toy train which is the UNESCO acclaimed Darjeeling Himalayan Railway.
About one and a half-hour later, you would reach the Darjeeling town. Once you arrive, quickly check into a hotel. You could make prior bookings as well. Then after a little bit of resting period, you could quickly start exploring the beautiful hill station which is very popular owing to its scenic Himalayan trenches and lush tea gardens. Take a calm and peaceful walk, visit the local market and enjoy the views. We stay overnight at the hotel.
Get into some really warm clothes because Day 2 starts with an early morning Darjeeling tour. You need to leave early and book a cab from your hotel to the Tiger Hill which is about 11 km from the Darjeeling town. A fresh day with a mountain trip to Tiger Hill is going to stay etched in your memory forever. The sunrise at the Tiger Hill will fill your soul with warmth and peace. Visualize this: You are standing against the huge Kanchenjunga peak and you witness its snow-clad crown gradually turning golden as the sun rises. Ask yourself if you can afford to miss this breathtakingly beautiful panoramic view.
As you embark upon your return journey down the hill, you should visit the Ghoom Monastery and the Batasia Loop. Point to be noted is that Ghoom monastery is one of the oldest Buddhist- Tibetan monasteries, you will find in Darjeeling. It is famous and attracts tourists due to its huge sculpture of Lord Buddha. Once you are done with that and return back to your hotel, have a warm breakfast in the cold weather.
The rest of the day could be spent sightseeing and visiting many of the major attractions in the town. The list is long but yet achievable. First up is the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, this could be followed by the Lebong race course, Tibetan Refugee Self Help Centre (Closed on Sunday), Peace Pagoda, Tenzing-Gumbo rock, ropeway, the Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park (closed on Thursday) which shelters the very rare Snow Leopard as well as the Tibetan Wolf and lastly enjoy the lush green views of the tea estates, which the town boasts about. Action-packed, isn’t it? Get rid of your tiredness with a cup of Darjeeling tea and don’t forget to take some home. Once done with all the sightseeing, head straight back to your hotel and enjoy a hearty meal, some rest and an overnight stay.
On the third day of our journey, we shall be driving from Darjeeling to Gangtok. Pack up all of your stuff, have breakfast, check out and head towards Gangtok. Gangtok, very much like Darjeeling, is an unspoiled and mystical natural beauty. This mystical hill station is located in the eastern Himalayan range. You will find a mesmerizing mix of nature and religion here. The quaint hill station of Gangtok lies in between the dense Himalayan forests and snow-clad mountain peaks.
The drive will take you at most 2 hours and 30 minutes. Now, take a short resting period and then you could head out to a sightseeing tour. Begin with the Enchey and Rumtek monasteries, which are two of the most significant ones in Gangtok. These are located just 3 km from the town. It was established about 200 years ago by a lama and is an important seat of the Nyingma order of Tibetan Buddhism. It flaunts a unique architecture and pagoda-style look. Rumtek monastery is a little older than Enchey and houses ancient relics.
After this spiritual episode, you could visit the Research Institute of Tibetology, Chorten and Orchid Sanctuary and Directorate of Handicrafts and Handlooms. Head for the hotel by the evening and end your day with an overnight stay.
Dedicate this day to excursions only. Head towards the famous Tsomgo Lake and Baba Mandir. Tsomgo Lake is about 38 km from the town and will take around two and a half hours. This glacial lake is very close to the Nathu La Pass, which is the entry to China, also known as the “Silk Route”. It remains frozen for almost the entire year. This tranquil lake is famous for its scenic beauty and makes a great outing place. On the banks, lies a Lord Shiva temple, which adds to the sacred feel of the region. This breathtakingly beautiful lake houses many migratory birds and Brahminy ducks.
Baba Harbhajan Singh Mandir is located nearby and unlike other shrines that are dedicated to deities, this one commemorates an army martyr. The army personnel holds a belief that the spirit of Major Harbhajan Singh always protects them. You could also pay a visit to the Nathu La Pass and then head back to your hotel and stay overnight.
Your journey ends here as you pack your bags and check out after having breakfast. Drive to the New Jalpaiguri railway station or the Bagdogra airport and have a safe journey home.