Kolkata (Calcutta) & The Eastern Himalaya – Suggested Itinerary
Tucked away between Nepal and Bhutan, the hill stations of India’s eastern Himalaya are the place to go if you want to step off the well-trodden path. Visit relics of the British Raj in Kolkata, ride the mountain railway and taste Darjeeling's world famous tea.
Suggested route & duration
10 nights round trip from Kolkata (Calcutta)
Kolkata: 2 nights
Gangtok: 2 nights
Pelling: 2 nights
Kalimpong: 1 nights
Darjeeling: 2 nights
Kolkata: 1 night
About this independent tour
This is a private itinerary including private transfers and local English-speaking tour guides for sightseeing. The itinerary is completely flexible, so you can choose your own number of nights, change accommodation, add excursions and extend your holiday.
KOLKATA Arrive in Kolkata, the capital of West Bengal and capital of The British Raj from 1700 to 1912. On a full-day tour you'll visit Dalhousie Square which was the city's political, financial and social nucleus and now exhibits colonial buildings such as St. John's Church, the high court and town hall. Elsewhere in the city, see British-influenced architecture like the Victoria Memorial and St. Paul’s Cathedral, and no tour of Kolkata would be complete without making the time to visit Mother House, the head quarters of Missionaries of Charity and final resting place of Mother Teresa.
GANGTOK Fly from Kolkata to Bagdogra and start your mountain adventure in the city of Gangtok, one of India’s most spectacularly scenic state capitals. Visit the 16th Century Rumtek Monastery which is set up on a hill overlooking the city, the white and gold Do Drul Chorten, and the Namgyal Institute of Tibetology which is built in the style of a magnificent Tibetan palace. Stay at the heritage property, The Elgin Nor-Khill, located on a hill with gorgeous gardens and stunning views.
PELLING The Himalayan views get pretty serious in Pelling, a small hill town on the edge of the high Himalaya. Explore the natural landscapes around the town including high waterfalls and crystal clear lakes and if or when the sky clears, sit and soak up the views of Kangchenjunga, the world’s third highest mountain. You'll be staying at The Elgin Mount Pandim, which is opposite one of the oldest buddhist monasteries in the state of Sikkim, Pemayangtse Monastery, from where you can see the important archaeological site of the Rabdentse ruins.
KALIMPONG Continue south to another hill town - Kalimpong - which was once the hub of trans-Himalayan trade between India and Tibet, then a strategic town for the British, but is now a sleepy town famed for its flower and cacti nurseries. If you haven't had your fill of spectacular hilltop buddhist monasteries, there are plenty more to see from here including the oldest Bhutanese monastery, Thongsa Gompa, with its 220 prayer wheels. Stay at The Elgin Silver Oaks, which was originally the home of a British jute magnate.
DARJEELING The darling of India’s hill stations, Darjeeling is surrounded by evergreen plantations where the region’s world-famous tea is grown. Have an early start and head out to Tiger Hill, which is famous for its splendid views of sunrise over the Himalayas. Continue a busy day of touring with a ride on the World Heritage Darjeeling Himalayan Railway Toy Train from Darjeeling to Ghoom. Experience the sounds, smells and romance of a bygone era on your way to the highest rail station in India while taking in the breathtaking views. Visit the Tibetan Refugee Centre to learn about the turmultuous history of these peoples and appreciate their highly skilled crafts before returning to your colonial hotel, The Windamere. This hotel was once the boarding house accommodation of English and Scottish tea planters and is now one of the most popular hotels in Darjeeling and has hosted many illustrious guests from around the world after which the Royal Suites are now named. Fly back to Kolkata for a night before returning home or continuing your Indian adventure.
Tailor your tour
We’ve crafted this itinerary based on our own experiences and our customers’ feedback. It’s fully flexible, so talk to us and we can create your perfect trip. We’ve hand-picked the best in class hotel in each destination so you can see this lesser-visited area in style and while up in the hills, you'll stay in hotels that give you a sense of place and have unbeatable views.
To enhance your holiday, we’ve included sightseeing in Kolkata, full days with a driver and guide in the towns and cities of the foothills and a ride on the hill railway in Darjeeling. Talk to us about adding extra experiences like a walking tour of Kolkata.
This itinerary has been created with two nights in all but one of the cities and towns you’ll visit. Tell us if you have more days to play with and we can suggest how to extend your trip. We love the idea of a spending a bit more time soaking up the hill station atmosphere in Darjeeling or Pelling. We recommend this itinerary if you’ve visited India before and already seen the main sights of the Golden Triangle. But if not, we can easily add these trips together. And it doesn’t matter how many times you have been to India, it’s always good to follow a busy adventure with some downtime in Goa.