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Welcome to India and the start of your exclusive odyssey! You will be met upon arrival into Delhi Airport by our friendly local team and drive onto your hotel. OVERNIGHT - Lemon Tree Premier, Delhi Airport
This morning a transfer to the airport and onward flight brings you to your next Himalayan port of call, Enchanting Kathmandu! Here, meet with our Nepalese team who await to drive you onto your hotel.
Today enjoy guided sightseeing tour of the Kathmandu Valley. Admire the view from Swayambhunath Stupa, the most ancient of the Valley’s holy shrines, also known as Monkey Temple because of the many holy monkeys residing here. Visit the large and beautiful Buddhist stupa of Bodhnath, adorned with thousands of candles made with butter. Conclude the day with a visit to the Pashputinath Temple complex which is one of the most significant Hindu temples in the world and exploring the royal town of Bhaktapur with its magical Durbar Square - a complex of royal palaces and temples, and the social, religious and urban focal point of the city.
We continue our exploration today with a visit to the historic town of Patan, sometimes referred to as Lalitpur, meaning City of Beauty, and admire the rich collection of temples and monasteries in the area. After, spend some time in a Tibetan refugee camp to get a taste and understanding for everything Tibetan.
This morning transfer to the airport for your flight to Bhutan. Upon arrival at Bhutan/Paro airport you will be met by our local team and transferred to your hotel. Spend the afternoon exploring the cities wonders such as Ta Dzong (watch tower) which was built between 1656-1667 and now houses the National Museum. The Museum is considered one of the best of its kind in Asia. It boasts an exhaustive collection of Bhutanese Textiles, Armoury, Earth & Stone Wares, Buddhist Scriptures and Manuscripts. Last stop before returning to your hotel will be the fascinating Paro market for an insight to more local life. (HOTEL ZHIWALING)
Taktshang Pelphung monastery or Tiger's Nest as it often referred to, is one of the most venerated and famous of Bhutan's monasteries. It is located on the face of a sheer 900m cliff above the floor of Paro valley. Today with our expert local guide take a scenic hike to view this spectacular and unmissable sight! (HOTEL ZHIWALING)
This morning we drive to Punakha. In the afternoon hike to Chimi Lhakhang, the divine mad monk’s temple. It is a beautiful walk through a lovely village. The temple can be visited and there is a tree outside which is supposed to have sprouted up after Drukpa Kunley sent a thunderbolt from an adjoining valley to kill some evil spirits who had gathered at the site. We also visit the courtyard of Punakha Dzong before resting at the hotel. (HOTEL DHENSA RESORT)
Today you explore Khamsum Yulley Namgyal stands majestically on a strategic ridge above the Punakha valley. Built over a period of 9 years, Bhutanese craftsmen including carpenters, painters, and sculptors consulted holy scriptures rather than engineering manuals, to construct this 4-storey temple. (HOTEL DHENSA RESORT)
Today we drive on to Thimpu. Stop for lunch at Docho la, where if the weather permits you’ll be treated to an incredible panoramic view of the Bhutanese Himalayas. We also stop to explore Simtokha Dzong, the oldest fortress of the Kingdom which now houses the School for religious and cultural studies. (HOTEL TERMALINCA)
This morning enjoy a walk around Thimphu city with it's breathtaking scenery and buildings and then a visit to the Memorial Chorten built in memory of Late His Majesty, the 3rd King of Bhutan. Also visit a handmade paper unit. Bhutan boasts of some of the best handmade papers in the world. The Handicrafts Emporium is yet another interesting place to visit, where you will fine an excellent variety of well woven Bhutanese textiles. (HOTEL TERMALINCA)
This morning take in views of the incredible Himalayas on your journey to Phuntsholing on the India-Bhutan border. After passing customs you will meet our Indian driver who will take you onto Kalimpong.
This morning take some free time to explore Kalimpong’s attractions, which include three monasteries including Tharpa Choeling, Tongsa and Zong Dog Palri Fo-Brang, a handful of ancient churches and a colourful bazaar area known as Tenth Mile bulging with Tibetan and Buddhist curios and handicrafts. Kalimpong is also renowned for its horticulture, with some 50 nurseries devoted to orchids and many other flower varieties. Later, you will be driven to your next hill station Darjeeling.
Early we make our way to Tiger Hill to witness sunrise over the snowy peaks of Kanchenjunga; followed by a visit to Ghoom Gompa (monastery) on the Toy Train.
Today is free for you to explore Darjeeling your way. See some Buddhist monasteries or visit the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, a training school for mountain climbers. Its museum features memorabilia from the first ascent of Everest. It is also worthwhile taking a stroll through town. Owing to Darjeeling’s proximity to Tibet, the town also has a Tibetan Refugee Centre comprising care for the young and old and craft workshops that produce carpets, leather work and other Tibetan curios, hunt for a bargain or simply go trekking!
Later this afternoon, the journey continues to New Jalpaiguri, from where you board the North East Express sleeper train to Varanasi. Sleeper trains in India are a must-do experience for any visitor young or old! The friendly locals will be vying for a chat with you.
Your train arrives into Varanasi in the morning to the start of a new day and the gathering hustle and bustle. Our rep will be waiting for you, but make sure you take a moment to try some chai, hot tea from one of the vendors, before transferring to your hotel for breakfast. After a free afternoon to relax, this evening we witness the Aarti ceremony that takes place on the river banks.
Early this morning we enjoy a boat ride on the River Ganges to view the sunrise and the ancient religious tradition of ritual cleansing that takes place on the ghats (riverside steps). Abundant with temples and a labyrinth of streets, Varanasi is exciting, enticing and a city not to be missed. This afternoon enjoy a tour of the city, with its numerous temples and wonderful historic feel.
Close behind the Taj Mahal and up there with Varanasi, are the amazing temples of Khajuraho, which is where you fly to in the early afternoon.
Immortalised in stone is a wealth of sensuous and erotic sculptures which you will explore this morning with our expert guide. Later you return to the airport for your flight to Delhi. Meet back up with our Delhi team on arrival who will take you to your hotel. OVERNIGHT - Lemon Tree Premier, Delhi Airport
Sadly your epic journey has come to an end, we will be sure to drive you to the airport in timer for your onward journey home.