Kolkata – the Gateway to Eastern India, was founded by the remarkable English merchant trader Job Charnock in 1690. It is a city with a rich heritage, bustling streets and a bewildering variety of facets. From October to March, Kolkata wears a radiant look. Sunshine, mild winter, lights, colours, fairs, festivals, galas and excursions, the mood is infectious and spirit sweeping. Overnight in Kolkata.
On your return, visit the Ghoom Monastery, 8 kms from Darjeeling. Built in 1875 in the Tibetan style, it enshrines a 5 metres high statue of the Maitreya Buddha (The Coming Buddha).
Afternoon city tour of Darjeeling visiting the Lloyd Botanical Gardens; the Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park which has high altitude animals, the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, where mountaineers are given training. Tea Estates can be seen all around. Visit the Tibetan self-help Centre. (The Mountaineering Institute is closed on Thursdays). Overnight in Darjeeling.
Arrive Ghoom Railway station and carry on to Pemayangtse (75 kms), enroute driving through Jorethang and Naya Bazaar. These two towns just 2 kms apart were once important stops on the road to Gangtok. Today they are just stops enroute. 20 kms before getting into Pemayangtse, at a place called Legsip, take a 20 kms round-trip diversion to see the remote Tashiding Monastery founded around 1716.
The town of Pemayangtse commands an impressive view of Mount Khangchendzonga. The monastery houses numerous religious idols and other objects of worship, most of which are precious because of their antiquity. On the top floor of the monastery there is a wooden structure depicting the Mahaguru’s Paradise `Sangthokpalri’
Afternoon: visit, one of the oldest Monasteries in Sikkim, Pemayangtse Monastery. This monastery was originally established by Lhatsun Chempo, one of the reverend Lamas to have performed the consecration ceremony of the 1st chogyal (religious monarch) of Sikkim. This ancient monastery belongs to the Nyingma Monasteries in the State, having been entrusted with the task to perform all religious functions of the erstwhile monarch.
Later, visit the local market. Dinner and Overnight in Pemayangtse. Overnight in Pemayangtse.
Visit to this Monastery is through application for permission. The Research Institute of Tibetology has a large collection of icons, tankhas (tapestries) and rare books. Overnight in Gangtok.