Magical Mystical Tour with Cora Wen and India Supera
Oct 1-14, 2010, Price:$3,995, land only
5% discount if you come to Sikkim and Bhutan!
Deposit $800 by credit card, final payment by cash or check only.
Special Note!: We are organizing a 5-day pre- trip beginning in Deli, then to Agra, and Varanasi. If you’re coming to Sikkim you can fly to Bagdogra directly from Varanasi. Flight is approximately $500.
SIKKIM – “Su-Khim” or “Land of Happiness”
Deep in the lap of the Himalayas, on the border of Tibet and nestled between Nepal and Bhutan, lies a small stretch of rugged land: Sikkim. Sikkim was a small independent Buddhist kingdom until 1975. Long a restricted area, Sikkim now welcomes a few visitors to share its rich heritage and natural bounty.
It is home to the third highest mountain on Earth — Khangchendzonga (8586m/28,169 ft).
Amazing mountains covered in flowers and forests, bursting with hidden valleys, mystical monasteries and snow-fed lakes. The remoteness, spectacular mountain terrain, varied flora & fauna and ancient Buddhist monasteries makes Sikkim a true Shangri-La!
The Sikkimese are beautiful, radiant people who live in simple harmony with nature. They are descendants of vanishing Himalayan races, and religion forms an integral part of daily life. Khangchendzonga is revered as the irsacred and protective deity.
14 Days in Sikkim Himalayas $3,995
October 1-14, 2010
October 1, Fri Bagdogra – Gangtok, Sikkim
October 2, Sat Gangtok, Sikkim
October 3, Sun Gangtok, Sikkim
October 4, Mon Gangtok, Sikkim
October 5, Tues Gangtok, Sikkim
October 6, Wed Gangtok to Lachung, No Sikkim
October 7, Thurs Lachung, No Sikkim
October 8, Fri Lachung, No Sikkim
October 9, Sat Lachung to Gangtok, Sikkim
October 10, Sun Gangtok, Sikkim
October 11, Mon Gangtok – Peling, West Sikkim
October 12, Tues – Peling, West Sikkim
October 13, Wed Peling – Kalimpong
October 14, Thurs Kalimpong to Bagdogra/Bhutan
All levels encouraged. Yoga practice will accommodate daily excursions: ex. leg focus for hiking, back focus for jeep journeys, breath awareness for altitude
For more Information call 406-442-8196.
Land of Myths & Legends, pristine and unspoilt natural beauty.
Sikkim has over 4,000 varieties of flowers, including Orchids and rare Rhododendrons, 550 species of birds and 600 varieties of butterflies along with endangered Himalayan Bear, Musk Deer, Red Panda and Blue Sheep. Stunning snow-capped mountains, alpine landscapes with thick luxuriant forests, torrential rivers and peaceful lakes create a true “Nye-mae-el” (heaven)…
The overall raw natural magnificence will leave you with memories to last a lifetime!
Pre Trip Days: In transit from your home country to Bagdogra, West Bengal, please note that you must arrive in a Transit City by Thursday, September 30, 2010.
We will meet your flight at Bagdogra aiport on Friday, October 1, 2010. If you arrive early, stay in town and meet at airport.
DAY 0 September 29, Wednesday Depart the US
DAY 0 September 30, Thursday Arrival – Transfer City (Pre Trip in Delhi available)
Make sure to drink as much as you can to help rehydrate from the flight and get some sleep. (No meals or lodging for transfer city – Bangkok, New Delhi or Kolkata )
DAY 01 October 01, Friday Transfer City – Bagdogra, West Bengal
Transfer flight, 4.5hr drive Bagdogra, West Bengal to Gangtok (5500 Ft) 4 hour journey (112 kms) via Ravangla (6800 Ft) a small township at base of Meenam Hill (10300 Ft). Visit Tibetan Refugee Camp of Kheunpheling and see the weavers making Tibetan woollens.
Yoga and Meditation am, Group overview and discussion
Lunch at Ravangla and visit to Bon Monastery at Kewzing, 5 kms from Ravangla. A symbol of the determination of community to preserve religious traditions. Continue along the beautiful Teesta River to Gangtok, ‘the hill made flat’, capital of Sikkim at altitude of 1600m (5300 ft).
Arrive Norkhill Gangtok (5500 Ft) afternoon – Guest house of King of Sikkim, a Heritage Property. With rich traditional interiors and a Khangchendzonga view, experience a mix of cultural and natural beauty in an ambience of rich Sikkimese history. Check in to our hotel with traditional Sikkimese decor and good views of K3. Get ready for delicious Tibetan and Chinese food!
DAY 02 October 02, Saturday Gangtok, Sikkim
Yoga and Meditation am & pm
Open Day in Gangtok Centre
Morning Yoga and after breakfast, a short tour of Gangtok. You have the opportunity to take a Thangka class with Master Painter Tseten Dorjee, who has commissioned works with His Holiness Dalai Lama and the Sikkim Royal Family
After lunch visit Do-Drul Chorten (Stupa); the most important stupa of Sikkim, built by the head of Nyingma – Trullshi Rinpoche in 1945. It is a large stupa encircled by 108 prayer wheels, believed to hold magical wish fulfilling powers.
Do-Drul Chorten embraces the entire ‘Mandala’ sets of ‘Dorjee Phurba’ (Bajra Kilaya): ‘Ka-gyur’, full ‘zung’ (mantras), relics and other religious items. At the base of this ‘chorten’ are 108 ‘Mani-Lhakor’ (Prayer Wheels). Turning these wheels implies one is sending prayers. While turning the wheels, you can chant “Om Mani Padme Hum – hail to the jewel in the lotus”. This prayer summons ‘Bodhisattva’ and Tibetan Buddhists believe that saying the mantra (prayer), Om Mani Padme Hum, out loud or silently, invokes the powerful benevolent attention and blessings of Chenrezig, the embodiment of compassion.
Viewing the written mantra and spinning the Mani wheel (prayer wheel) is believed to give the same benefit as saying the mantra. Mani wheels, small hand wheels and large wheels with millions of copies of the mantra inside, are found everywhere in Sikkim. It is said that all the teachings of the Buddha are contained in this mantra: Om Mani Padme Hum can not really be translated into a simple phrase or sentence.
Do Drul Chorten has a gold plated spire, and is encircled by Chorten Lhakhang, Guru Lhakhang and colossal statues of Guru Rinpoche (Guru Padmasambhava). One can see young and old lamas studying and working in the complex, and pilgrims come to pay their homage at this sanctified stupa in Sikkim. The amulets made by monks in this Chorten are revered as wish fulfilling amulets. We will have an opportunity to visit the bookstore and collect some good wishes to carry home!
Yoga and Meditation am & pm
Visit Rumtek Monastery, 24 kms from Gangtok, and built by His Holiness 16th Gyalwa Karmapa. This is a replica of Kagyurpa Monastery in Tibet, seat of “Kagyu Order” the Black Hats and the most mystical of all Tibetan orders. Rumtek was originally built in 1730 by the 9 th Karmapa but was destroyed by fire. The present monastery was constructed by Him Holiness, late Gyalwa Karmapa in 1960’s. The style of the monastery is strictly traditional and patterned on the lines of the lamaseries of Tibet . His Holinesses Gyalwa Karmapa stayed in the Monastery until the completion of the Dharma Chakra Centre which is 20 minutes uphill walk from the monastery.
The famous Rumtek Monastery is the largest in Sikkim and the official residence of the Karmapa Lama. We will be guided by resident monks and have special permission to go inside the extraordinary gem-studded Golden Stupa to ask for blessing from the “Wish Fulfiling Gem.
”The monastery is famous for its ‘Chaams” (mask dance) – the ritual lama dances as well as the stylized ‘opera’ performed by the lay people who live around the monastery. The important ‘ Chaams) of Rumtek are those performed two days prior to the Tibetan New Year and that performed on the 10 th day of the fifth mo nth of the Tibetan calendar. This ‘Chaam’ know as Tse Chu ‘Chaam’ basically presents the eight manifestation of Padmasambhava.
Padmasambhava (the lotus- born) was the Indian sage who was responsible for consolidation Buddhism in Tibet . He is revered by the Sikkimese as Guru Rimpoche and during his travels he visited Sikkim . The dances in Rumtek celebrate episodes of his life and his battle against evil. The winner ‘Chaams” performed just prior to the Losar present the battle between good and evil and the ritualised destruction of evil.
Yoga and Meditation am
After breakfast, visit Enchey Monastery, built in 1910 by the great tantric master Lama Drutob Karpo, known for his flying powers. This monastery is an important seat of the Nyingma order, and following the order, houses 90 monks. Enchey means the Solitary temple, and no other construction is allowed near it. This 200-year-old Monastery has images of god, goddesses and other religious objects. The present monastery was built in the shape of a Chinese Pagoda.
Afternoon Excursions are Available:
Namgyal Institute of Tibetology is built in traditional Sikkimese style and is a renowned centre for Mahayana Buddhist philosophy. It is a treasure of rare Thangkas, Buddhist statues, icons and prized objects of art. The foundation was laid in 1957 by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and inaugurated by Indian Prime Minister Pandit Jawarlal in October 1958. Since its establishment NIT has sponsored and promoted research on the religion, history, language, art and culture of the people of Tibet, and is a a respected museum of Tibetan iconography and religious art.
NIT has published the Bulletin of Tibetology since 1964 and numerous books. It contains rare collections of antique coins, statues, rosaries, documents, bells, dorjis and thangkas. It has a collection of almost 30,000 volumes on diverse subjects like astrology, philosophy, magic and religion, and has relics of monks from the time of Ashoka, examples of Lepcha script, masks and ceremonial and sacred objects, such as the kapali (bowl made from a human skull), and varku (flute made from human femur). The institute sells a number of religious books on Tibetan Buddhism, and is a world renowned centre for Buddhist Philosophy and religion.
The site was donated by the late Chogyal (king) of Sikkim Sir Tashi Namgyal in memory of his son Paljor Namgyal. The foundation stone of the institute was laid by the 14 th Dalai Lama on the 10 th of February 1957 and was declared open by the late Prime Minister of India, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru on 1 st of October 1958 . The building of the institute is an imposing monument and a splendid example of Sikkimese architecture. The institute is open from 10.00AM to 4.00Pm , Monday to Saturday and is closed on Sunday, second Saturdays and on Government holidays.
The Flower Show with over 200 species of orchids is in a beautiful natural landscape. This Orchid sanctuary is home to a wide variety of Orchids as well as other species. There are almost 600 species of Orchids in Sikkim, and they come in a wide variety of colours and sizes. The most popular orchids of Sikkim are cymbidiums, vanda, cattaleya, hookeriana, farmeri and dendrobium amoneum. The variety Nobile Orchid or Dendrobium nobile has been declared the State flower of Sikkim .
DAY 05 October 05, Tuesday Gangtok, Sikkim
After breakfast, Tsomgo Lake (12,210 Ft), a 40 km drive (2.5 hrs). This lake is very close to Nathula Pass, the entry point to China, the “Silk Route” which remains frozen most of the year. Tsomgo means “Source of the lake “in Bhutia language. This serene lake is situated at an altitude of 3,780 mtr. The lake is about 1km long, oval in shape, 15 mtr deep and is considered sacred by local people. This placid take remains frozen during the winter months and until mid-May. Between May and August, a variety of flowers bloom, including rhdodendrons, various species of primulas, blue and yellow poppies, iris, etc. It is also an ideal habitat of the Red Panda and various species of birds.
Legend has it Lamas could forecast the future by studying the colour of the waters. Enjoy the surroundings of majestic snowy peaks which feed the lake. Open to foreign and Indian nationals. Foreign visitors have to apply for visitors permit through a registered Travel agency.
Back to Gangtok by late afternoon. Evening free for leisure or to hunt local Sikkimese handicrafts.
Handicraft & Handloom showcases exquisite carpets, blankets, and shawls in traditional Lepcha weaving. The Government Institute of Cottage Industry is located a few km uphill from Gangtok town. It was established, in 1957 to promote the manufacture and sale of local handicrafts, carpets and furniture. An emporium at the institute sells handicrafts; thangkas (scrolls with paintings) hand carved foldable wooden tables known as ‘Choktsees’ and exquisitely woven woollen carpets, masks and dolls. Hand made paper is another local item, made from the bark of a tree Algeri. The paper is used extensively for invitation cards and letter-pads.
Depart for Lachung (8610 Ft), 126 kms.
On the way up the mountains, stops at Kabi Lungstok (signing of blood brotherhood between Lepcha & Bhutia). Tashi View Point is along the North Sikkim Highway and has a breathtaking view of Mt. Khang-chen-Dzonga and Mt. Siniolchu , one of the most graceful peaks in the world.
Naga Waterfalls, the confluence of Lachen & Lachung Chu at Chungthang, the source of Teesta river. Chungthang is predominantly a Lepcha region, as a nodal junction for two passes- Lachen & Lachung.
Stops at Twin Waterfalls & Bhim Nala Waterfalls before Lachung. Lachung is set in an exquisite valley deep in the Himalayas. It is resplendently set within a panoramic view crowned by snow capped mountains, breathtaking waterfalls & sparkling streams. It has been described as “the most picturesque village of Sikkim”.
Lachung is a small village inhabited by hill tribes that migrated from the western valleys of neighboring Bhutan. These nomadic yak herders are the true vanishing races of the Himalayan range.
DAY 07 October 07, Thursday Lachung, North Sikkim
Yoga and Meditation am
These rhododendron laden areas are inhabited by Lachungpas, who have preserved and maintained a unique culture and society governed by a village council-“Dzomsa”. This region of Sikkim is an inhabited by diverse ethnic groups, the Lepchas – original inhabitants who comprise10 % of Sikkims population, the Bhutias, migrated from Tibet are 25% and Nepalese who comprise 60% of the population. This provides a unique and colorful composite of cultures.
DAY 8 October 8, Friday Lachung, North Sikkim
Yoga and Meditation am
Open Day to explore the village and view the mountains. Relax, hike and visit with the local Hill people
DAY 9 October 9, Saturday Lachung – Gangtok, Sikkim
Yoga and Meditation am
After Breakfast depart for Gangtok with lunch at Mangan.
Visit Phensang Monastery with its spectacular landscapes; Phodong Monastery, built for the Karmapa of Kogyu and decorated with exquisitely delicate murals and frescoes. Above Phodong Monastery, Labrang Monastery of Nyingmapa and the ruins of Tumlong Palace.
Reach Gangtok by evening.
DAY 010 October 010, Sunday Gangtok, Sikkim
Morning Meditation and Stretch, Yoga pm
5 am early morning trip to Tashi View Point for sunrise at Khangchendzonga. 8 kms from town, this offers breathtaking views of the majestic peaks. The monasteries at Phodong & Labrang form picturesque vistas.
Visit Hanuman Tok (7200 Ft), a temple devoted to Hanuman. Near the temple is the Lukshyama-cremation grounds of the royal family of Sikkim. Then over to Ganesh Tok (6500 Ft), dedicated to Lord Ganesha, so small in that one has to crawl to get inside.
DAY 11 October 11, Monday Gangtok – Peling, West Sikkim
Meditation and Yoga am
This is a transfer day. Jeep tour Gangtok to Peling, a scenic five hour journey (125 kms). At 6,800 ft, Pelling gives spectacular views of Mount Khangchendzonga (28,169 feet), Guardian of Sikkim and the worlds third highest mountain. The range includes Koktang, Kumbhakarna, Rathong, Kabru, Dom, Pandim, Zopuno, Shimbho, Narsing, Siniyalchu and others bowing in reverence to K3.
On the journey we will visit Khecheopalri Lake, “Wish Fulfilling Lake”, surrounded by prayer flags & forested hills. Then excursion to Yuksom (5800 Ft) the first capital of the Kingdom of Sikkim & Chogyal coronation site. Evidence of enthronement in stone seats and Lama footprint. The stone throne at Norbugang is a UNESCO Heritage site. We will also see Khangchendzonga Waterfalls and Rimbi Falls and arrive Peling by evening.
DAY 12 October 12, Tuesday Peling, West Sikkim
Yoga and Meditation pm
After breakfast travel to the famous Pemayangtse Monastery (7021 Ft), 2.5 kms from Peling. This gives a spectacular view of Mt. Khangchendzonga, Pandim, Siniolchu and the vast Himalayan range. At the hilltop is Pemayangtse monastery, the sublime lotus. It is the oldest and most important monastery of Tibetan Nyingmapa order.
The monastery follows Mindroling tradition & has 108 monks. Only monks of this monastery have title of ‘Tasang’ or pure monks. This monastery has the traditional wooden Zangdog Palri, celestial abode of Guru Padmasambhava
At its altitude, Pemagyantse presents a panoramic view of the high Himalayas. Legend says the great tantric saint, Padmasambhava – Guru Rinpoche, searching for a place to meditate, shot an arrow in the air. The place where the arrow landed is Pemagyantse monastery.
‘ The Sublime Perfect Lotus, ‘ was originally built as a small temple at the end of 17 th century. During the region of the 3rd Choygal, it was rebuilt in early 18th century. It is the second oldest Monastery in Sikkim and head of the Nyingma-pa sect. The Monastery houses religious idols and priceless antiques, and on top floor has a wooden rendition of Mahaguru’s heavenly Palace, Sanfthokpalri. Pemayangtse is reknowned as having the most gloriously breath-taking view of the mountains of West Sikkim.
DAY 13 October 13,Wednesday Peling, West Sikkim – Kalimpong
Yoga and Meditation pm
After breakfast transfer to Kalimpong. On the way, visit Zangdok Phalri monastery and Tongsa monastery built in 1692. Nestled into the lush green midranges of the Eastern Himalayas, with an incredibly stunning backdrop of towering snow capped peaks; Kalimpong is a hill stations of the “Raj”. A town brimming with luscious tea gardens, colonial bungalows, Buddhist monasteries, exotic bazaars and wild orchids. The sparsely populated and little visited area around Kalimpong is surrounded by forest, mountain streams and snowfed rivers, and picture postcard Lepcha valleys of Samthar, where time stands still.
The journey to Kalimpong is memorable, passing through dense forest of Mahananda Wild Life Sanctuary, a silence zone and natural habitat for elephant, bison and tiger. We may catch sight of a majestic tusk, glimpse fleeing deer or a sudden colourful flash of peacock. The journey suddenly exposes into a huge canvas of forested hills, a mighty river and vast basin. The landscapes change rapidly along these zigzag hilly roads, and the mighty Teesta will accompany us in a twisting, bending high river dance! We will end the day sipping a cuppa tea looking at the sunset on this amazing land peopled by an ethnic mix of Lepchas, Tibetans and Himalayan people. Relax and laze, explore forests and flora, stroll the gardens and take in the breathtaking sunrise and sunsets of these magical mountains!
DAY 14 October 14, Saturday Kalimpong – Bagdogra/Bhutan
Yoga and Meditation am
14 Day Programme ~ Sikkim Himalayas $3,995
October 1, Friday Transfer – , Sikkim
October 2, Saturday Gangtok, Sikkim
October 3, Sunday Gangtok, Sikkim
October 4, Monday Peling – Gangtok, Sikkim
October 6, Wednesday Gangtok – Lachung, North Sikkim
October 7, Thursday Lachung, North Sikkim
October 8, Friday Gangtok – Lachung, North Sikkim
October 9, Saturday Lachung – Gangtok, Sikkim
October 10, Sunday Gangtok, Sikkim
October 11, Monday Lachung – Gangtok – Peling, West Sikkim
October 12, Tuesday Peling, West Sikkim
October 13, Wednesday Peling, West Sikkim – Kalimpong
October 14, Tursday Kalimpong to Bhutan/Transfer
All levels encouraged. Yoga practice will accommodate daily excursions:
leg focus for hiking, back focus for jeep journeys, breath awareness for altitude
Hotel accommodation on twin sharing basis
Arrival / Departure transfer by car
All Sightseeing by car
All taxes except the Govt. Service tax
Not included are expenses of personal nature such as laundry, table drinks, telephone calls etc. Any tips or gratuities either at airport or hotels or to drivers or accompanied Guides.
Airfare on sector Bagdogra – Bangkok/Delhi/Kolkata quoted separately.