Best Time: April – November
The world of tea has hardly changed in the past century in the Darjeeling, Assam and Dooars region. The culture surrounding the huge tea plantations is a unique phenomenon and is a lifetime experience. Darjeeling Tea is widely and universally acknowledged to be the finest tea, because its flavor is so unique that it cannot be replicated. Connoisseurs will assert that without Darjeeling, Tea would be like Wine without the prestige of Champagne. We will take you to the areas that produce some of the best teas in the world- Assam and Darjeeling. Visit some of the picturesque tea gardens, walk around the tea estates, interact with the planters and workers experience local culture, visit tea factory and witness the preparation, participate in tea tasting, stay in century old colonial tea bungalows and get pampered with planter’s hospitality.
Delhi: Heritage Tour of Old Delhi like Chandani Chowk, Red Fort etc.
Dibrugarh: Heritage Tea Garden, Mancotta Tea Estate
Jorhat: Nimati Ghat, Majuli, Vaishnava monasteries
Guwahati: Kamakhya Temple
Kurseong: Tea estate of Makaibari
Darjeeling: Tiger Hil, Ghum Monastery, Toy Train, Himalayan Mountaineering Institute.
Welcome to India- a country where hospitality is a way of life ; to a culture steeped in tradition, a land where history lives in music and dance. Shikhar Travel’s representative and your guide will receive you at the airport in a traditional manner and escort you to your hotel for overnight stay.
Morning after a relaxed breakfast we will take you for a half day city tour covering Heritage Tour through the narrow lanes of Old Delhi. Your leader would be your guide who would unfold the colorful history of Old Delhi which goes back thousands of years. Walk from Chandani Chowk—Silver Square (Once the centre of Delhi), to the various places of interest- just as the Royal Mughals would have done centuries ago. To name a few are Maulana Azad Tomb, Jama Masjid- India ’s largest mosque, Dariba Kalan (The Silver Bazaar), Kinari Bazaar, Paranthawalla Gali… You will also visit The Red Fort (Delhi’s most magnificent monument was built by Emperor Shah Jehan.Some of the buildings it encloses are Diwani-am,Diwani-Khas, Rang Mahal,The Pearl Mosque etc.) and Raj Ghat ( Set in the midst of deep green lawns, Rajghat is the place where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated. A memorial to the father of the nation, Rajghat is a simple square platform with a black memorial stone with “Hey Ram” inscribed on it. “Hey Ram” were the last words uttered by the Mahatma before collapsing after being shot at). Post sightseeing return to your. Spend the evening free at leisure.
Morning after breakfast you will be taken to the Domestic Airport to board flight for Dibrugarh. Our representative will receive you at Dibrugarh Airport on arrival and take you to Heritage Tea bungalow for overnight stay. Spend the evening at leisure.
Morning proceed on a tour of a Heritage Tea Garden to practically see the origin and the history of tea – how it is grown and its culture .Visit the tea factory to observe the full process of manufacturing of CTC (Crush, Tear and Curl) tea. Also visit Mancotta Tea Estate- known for traditionally producing the fine orthodox variety of tea. In the afternoon drive to Digboi (45 km/ 1 hour), the birthplace of oil industry in India. The first refinery was started here as early as 1901 by the British. Digboi has the oldest oil well in operation. This place still retains the British ambiance, complemented by the clubs and Golf courses nearby. Visit the World War II cemetery, the Oil museum, the Centenary Park here. Then proceed to the Singpho village of Ketatong. Singphos are a tribe belonging to the Kachin of Burma and are ethnically related to the Jingpo of China. It is said that the English learnt about tea from the Singpho tribe and introduced the beverage to in India. Also visit the Organic tea garden of the Singpho people. Thereafter drive back to Dibrugarh, Overnight stay at Heritage Tea bungalow.
Morning drive to Nimati Ghat (Closest bank to Brahmaputra on Jorhat side). Take a Ferry to Majuli. After approximately one and half hours of sailing we will arrive at Majuli Island (Majuli has been the cultural capital and the cradle of Assamese civilization for the past five hundred years. Sociologists have stressed on the preservation of these unique peoples, whose culture and dance forms are untouched by modernism. This world’s largest river islandis famous for its Satras or Vaishnava monasteries which are the centre of learning, art and culture. Although the origins of Majuli may be uncertain, it is known for a fact that the social reformer Sankardeva visited the island in the early sixteenth century. Sankardeva propagated a form of Vaishnavism that was simpler and more accessible than the ritualistic Hinduism of the time. His approach was rooted in faith and prayer, and stressed on the cultural aspects of life and living.Upon arrival, check-in at Tourist Lodge / Monastery Guest House. Afternoon visit Uttar Kamalabari Satra (Srimanta Sankardeb Established Satra or Vaishnav Monasteries in Majuli to nurture this philosophy and practice of life. Post visit, return to your Tourist Lodge / Monastery Guest House for dinner and overnight stay.
Today, we will explore the rest of the important sites of Majuli covering Auniati Satra (Founded by Niranjan Pathakdeva, the satra is famous for the “Paalnaam” (Monastery Prayer) and Apsara Dances (Dance of the Angels) and also its extensive assortment of ancient Assamese artefacts, utensils, jewellery and handicrafts. It also has a hundred and twenty five disciples and over seven hundred thousand followers worldwide) and Natun Samaguri Satra ( Shamaguri Satra is a unique feature of Vaishnavism in Assam. Afternoon we will take you to Salmara Village to show the Art of Pottery Making (Pottery in Majuli is probably the single most important heritage of all. The day would come to an end with a visit to Dhapak Village of the Mishying Tribes (Mishyings are a plains tribe who prefer to have their settlements next to the Brahmaputra River. They are of the Arunachal hill tribe origin especially of the Adi tribes of the Abor hills of Arunachal. Like some of the Arunachal tribes they worship the Donyi Polo). Evening back to Tourist Lodge / Monastery Guest House for dinner and overnight stay.
Take a Ferry to reach till road head and start your drive to Guwahati. Upon arrival check in your hotel for overnight stay.
Day: 8 Guwahati – Bagdogra – Kurseong
Morning visit Kamakhya Temple one of the most venerated Shakti shrines in India, associated with the legend of Shiva and Daksha Yagna. Kamakhya is a major center for Tantric practices and temple is a good specimen of Assamese sculptural work. Later transfer to airport to board flight for Bagdogra. Our representative will receive you at Bagdogra Airport and drive to Kurseong. Arrive in your resort Cochrane Palace situated near tea state.
Morning we will take you guided tour in and around tea estate of Makaibari and a brief overview of how tea is grown, manufactured and tasted. Followed by a mixer of walk and drive around the tea estate visiting plantations, nurseries witnessing how the fabled Darjeeling Tea is grown, nurtured. Interact with the workers and participate in tea plugging if one is in progress. Visit to the tea factory to see different stages of tea processing such as Withering, Rolling, Fermenting, Drying and finally sorting. End your day with a tea tasting session, where one can discover the differences in aroma, flavor and appearance of tea manufactured in different ways, and during different time of the year. The session also includes tasting teas from other parts of India and the world, and examples of flavored and blended teas. Overnight at Cochrane Palace.
Early morning drive to Tiger Hill to see the magnificent view of sunrise over Mount Kanchenjunga and the great Eastern Himalayan ranges. On the way back we visit Ghum Monastery (Yiga Choling Buddhist Monastery) which has the image of Maitreya Buddha ( the future coming Buddha). After breakfast we we ride on the Famous Toy Train of Darjeeling. It takes us 45 minutes ride towards Ghum railway station which used to be the second highest in the world.( Now the 5th highest ). Post lunch, we visit the famous Himalayan Mountaineering Institute which has a museum specializing on the various expeditions on peaks of the Himalayas and an exclusive Everest Museum which tells us the history along with its expeditions to Everest. Return to Darjeeling and take a walk relaxed stroll on the Chowrasta (Main Local Market Street). Overnight at your hotel.
Morning after an early breakfast, drive down to Bagdogra Airport to board flight to Delhi. Shikhar Travels representative will receive you at the airport and transfer to your hotel. Later will take you to your “Farewell Dinner”. Later our representatives will escort the group to the International Airport to board flight for onward destination