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Le Tour des monastères du Sikkim est un voyage pour découvrir, au nord de l'Inde, dans l'Himalaya, l'ancien royaume du Sikkim. Ce petit état entouré du Tibet, du Népal et du Bhoutan est peu fréquenté. Ce circuit permet la rencontre avec les habitants toujours souriants, découverte des maisons traditionnelles au cœur de cultures en espaliers et de paysages d'orchidées et de rhododendrons. Panoramas magnifiques sur les plus hauts sommets du monde. Le circuit permet également la visite des plus prestigieux monastères bouddhistes du Sikkim.

Bonnes périodes, de fin février à mai et d'octobre à décembre.

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traduction en cours

Day 01: Darjeeling- Transfer: Arrive from Bagdogra - 91 km / 4 hours
From Nepal, Bhadrapur Airport - 132 km / 6 hours Meet at the airport and transfer to Darjeeling. The drive enroute for the first hours passes through towns and roadside villages in the plains of Bengal. Then the road gradually ascends first through jungles, and then across huge sprawling tea estates. Several small towns and lots of roadside settlements flit by as we progress onwards. Along the way you can see the famous Darjeeling toy train making it way up the hill. Darjeeling is one of India’s most beautiful hill stations and has acquired the soubriquet, ‘Queen of Hills’, since the days of the British Raj and does indeed live up to its name. This enchanting town perches majestically on a beautiful spur surrounded by evergreen hills, and commands a magnificent view of the mountains on its horizon.

Day 02: Darjeeling
Transfer: Local sightseeing as per itinerary After breakfast visit the lower bazaar of Darjeeling and proceed onwards to the Lloyd Botanical Garden, so called because Mr. Lloyd, proprietor of Lloyd’s Bank in Darjeeling, bequeathed this property to the town. It has a collection of some of the original Himalayan trees, plants, orchids and other flowers. Heading towards the upper bazaar, our next stop is at the Natural History museum, which showcases a comprehensive collection of the region’s fauna, and from here we move on to the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute to unfold the heroic tales of great Himalayan Mountaineering expeditions. Adjacent to HMI is Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park, a high altitude zoo where one can see the Siberian Tiger, Himalayan Black Bear, Deer, Red Panda, Snow Leopard and many more birds and animals. We then visit the Tibetan Refugee Self Help Center, which was established in 1959 to rehabilitate the refugees from Tibet. Its workers produce excellent carpets, woodcarvings, and other traditional craft. Watch the Tibetan women singing and weaving carpets. From here we walk down to the Bhutia Busty Tibetan Monastery, which has a good collection of idols, thangkas and a collection of Buddhist scriptures. Evening; walk around Chowrastha to intermingle with the local crowd.

Day 03: Gangtok
Transfer: Darjeeling to Gangtok: 95 km. / 3 to 3.5 hours Early morning drive to Tiger Hill for a sunrise view. Situated at an altitude of 2, 590 m. (8,482 ft) and 14 kilomers from the town, this spot is famous for the magnificient view of the sunrise over the Eastern Himalayas and include Khangchendzonga, Makalu, Jannu, Kabru, Pandim, Siniolchu, Frey’s Peak, and Mount Everest.

On the way back, visit Yiga Choling Gompa, a Tibetan Monastery of the Gelugpa set in Ghoom, which was built in 1875 by Lama Sherab Gyatsho. The monastery enshrines a fifteen feet high image of the Maitreya Budhha. Stop at the Batasia Loop the watch the toy train in action. After breakfast drive to Gangtok the Capital of Sikkim. Situated on the flanks of a ridge at 1,540 m. above sea level, this town's unique ambiance comes with its mixture of tradition and modernity. Alongside the deeply felt presence of monasteries and stupas, Gangtok bustles with the hullabaloo of human activity like any other town. Evening free to visit Gangtok town. Evening free to stroll around the town.

Day 04: Gangtok
Transfer: Local sightseeing as per itinerary Full day sightseeing tour of Gangtok includes: After breakfast, visit the Enchey Monastery. Enchey means ‘High strong place’. It is said that the great tantric master ‘Lama Druptab Karpo’ flew from Maenam Hill to this site and built a shrine where the monastery stands today. The present monastery was built during the reign of Choygyal Thuptop Namgyal in 1909. Its main festival, the Detor Chaam (a religious masked dance) is performed on the 28th & 29th day of the eleventh Tibetan month. Proceed downhill to the Directorate of Handicrafts & Handloom where you can watch traditional handicrafts in the making. This institution was esablished for promoting & training the rural Sikkimese in traditional arts and craft. This is the place to shop for quality souvenirs. Some of the popular items produced here are carved chokchis (Sikkimese tables with intricately carved designs), carpets, handwoven cloth and blankets, masks, lampshades and paper products. On driving further downhill, we arrive at Deorali Bazaar where nearby on a tranquil hillock is the Dodrul Chorten, Gangtok’s most revered Buddhist shrine. This chorten was built in 1945 by Trulsi Rimpoche to commemorate the victory of good over evil. Alongside the chorten is the Namgyal Institute of Tibetology, renowned worldwide for higher Buddhist studies. It is a treasure house of rare Lepcha, Tibetan and Sanskrit manuscripts, priceless statues and old thangkas. Also within the same complex, we then visit the Orchid Sanctuary where over 200 species of orchids are grown.

Day 05: Morning transfer from Gangtok, take a detour to visit Rumtek monastery, the seat of the Gyalwa Karmapa, head of the Kagyu Karmapa Sect. The monastery is the largest in Sikkim sprawling over a huge area, and is also known as the Dharma Chakra Center. It was constructed in 1969 by the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa and is a replica of his gompa of Chhofok in Tsurpu, Tibet and continue drive to Martam Village Resort is located in the village of Martam 34 kilometres (or an hour's drive) from Gangtok the capital of Sikkim.

Day 06:Trek into the Phambongla Wild Life Sanctuary
After an early breakfast, with guide and some packed lunch the adventure for the day begins. The trek begins from the resort and you start climbing up towards the forest area. The forest itself is mixed tropical forest with different varieties of trees and vegetation. Fortunately the forest is well preserved as felling of trees is strictly prohibited by the Government. Along the climb one can see the different plants and herbs that the locals use for food and medicinal purpose. As you climb along one can also catch sight of birds, butterflies, and other animals that live in the forest. The barking deer, caveats, monkeys, pheasants, wild rabbits, mountain goats, porcupine, are some of the animals one might chance to come across. If lucky the elusive red panda may also surprise you with a sighting. On top of the hill there is a small lake and a viewing tower from where the majestic Kanchenjunga range can be seen. After refreshing oneself with the packed lunch, the trek back to the resort begins. Once you leave the forest you will be walking through Bhutia villages and you can also visit the local monastery there and the retreat center where monks live cut off from any contact with the outside world for three years, three months and three days in meditation. While there it is advised that visitors make no noise and not enter the premises of the retreat so as not to disturb the monks. Stay overnight.

Day 07: Guided Village Tour and short hike to Monastery
Take a guided tour around the village, visiting homes and interacting with the locals: This activity has been specially designed so that our guests get a glimpse of the ethnic lifestyle of the Sikkimese. The three ethnic communities that make up the people of Sikkim are namely the Lepchas, Bhutias and the Nepalies. The tour around the village will take you into the homes of these people and give you an insight into their culture, lifestyle, eating habits etc. As the Sikkimese are known for their simplicity and hospitality, you will be welcomed into their homes. During this visit you can interact with the locals and exchange ideas and gain knowledge of our people.

Nature-walk, in the village to experience and partake in the cultivating and harvesting activities and learn of the different herbs and plants: Along with the local guide, you will be taken for a short trek into the countryside. As you walk along the guide will introduce you to the different plants and herbs wich are used in the daily lives of the village folks. If cultivation is taking place the guide will encourage you to take part in the activity so that one can experience the farming technique practiced here. Also on this short trek one will be able to see animal husbandry practice that villagers undertake to supplement their income. Some birds and butterflies and other animals may also be seen. Visit the close by monasteries of Rumtek and Sang The world famous Rumtek Monastery, the main seat of the Karmapas outside Tibet is located just 6 KM from the resort. One can either drive there for a days visit or you can walk to Rumtek, which would take just about an hour and half. While in the Rumtek area on can also visit the Nehru Botanical Park and the other Rumtek Monastery which is run by the Sikkimese monks. After returning to the resort for lunch if one still wants to visit a monastery, then the Sang Monastery is 6 KM from the resort above a village town called Sang. This too is a Sikkimese Monastery.

Day 08- Pelling
Transfer: Martam to Pelling: 112 km. / 5 hours After breakfast drive to Pelling via Rabongla. Its location is magnificent, commanding panoramic views of the Khangchendzonga range. Till a few years back Pelling was an insignificant roadside a kilometer beyond Pemayangtse but with the popularity of tourism in West Sikkim and the demand for more hotel rooms, this lonely ridge-top settlement had rapidly evolved into a boomtown. Enroute, pause to visit Kundragling monastery at Kewzing, the only Bon monastery in Sikkim. Bon is the pre-Buddhist religion of Tibet.

Day 09: Transfer: Pemayangtse to Pemayangtse (2,085m)
Morning a short hike to Sangachholing Monastery (45 min) located on a hillock above Pelling. Built in the 17th century by Gyalwa Lhatsun Chenpo, the patron saint of Sikkim, it is the second oldest monastery in Sikkim. This spot commands a breathtaking view of the hills, valleys and villages of West Sikkim. Next, visit the Pemayangtse Monastery - "the Sublime Lotus", which houses the famed "Zangdopalri", a fascinating model of the celestial abode of Guru Padmasambhava, crafted single-handedly by the late Dungzim Rimpoche . On a clear day the view of the mountain range is breathtaking. O/N at hotel.

Day 10: Trek from Pelling to Khecheopalri – 5hrs hike
Morning after breakfast trek from Pelling to Khecheopalri via Rimbi village 5hrs hike have lunch at village continue hike to Khechupelri evening spiritual cave and view point. Back to Khechupelri. stay overnight

Day 11: Khechupelri to Yuksom – 5hrs hike
After breakfast hike to Yuksom - Yuksam is the base of West Sikkim’s most popular trekking region, Dzongri and is also of historical importance to the Sikkimese. Yuksam literally means ‘meeting place of the three lamas’. In the beginning of seventeenth century a rift between different factions of Buddhist sects in Tibet forced the Red Hat Sect to seek refuge in Sikkim. Lama Lhatsun Chempo, on his journey to Sikkim, arrived at Norbugang in Yuksam, where he met two other lamas, Sempa Chempo and Rinzing Chempo and began converting the people into their faith. Sacred texts had revealed that the ruler designate of Sikkim would be a man named Phuntsog of Gangtok, so the lamas sent an envoy in search of him. The party returned with Phuntsog Namgyal, whose ancestry could be traced to the legendary prince Guru Tashi, founder of the Kingdom of Miyang in the Chumbi Valley. In 1641 Phuntsog Namgyal was crowned as Sikkim’s first king, the Chogyal.

Day 12: Transfer: Yuksam to Kalimpong: 107 km / 4 hours
If it is a Saturday or a Wednesday, we go to the Weekly Market Square for a view of the haat. Here, people from neighbouring villages come to sell their farm products. We then drive to Thongsa Monastery, the oldest monastery in Kalimpong founded by the Bhutanese in 1692. Alternatively, if it not a haat day we take a drive to a neighbouring village. Afternoon visit one of the flower nurseries, and then drive to Zangdogphelri Monastery, from where you can get a magnificent view of the Khangchendzonga range, Kalimpong town and the Teesta Valley. If the caretaker monk is around you will be able to visit the upper level of the monastery to see the ‘Sangdophelri’, an intricately carved wooden structure of artistic splendor depicting the heavenly sphere.

Day 13 : Kalimpong Departure
Transfer: Kalimpong to Bagdogra / Bhadrapur 3/4 hours After breakfast, drive to the airport for onward connection:

Cost includes:
All Transportation AC Scorpio / Xylo, Tata Vikta. Guide/ leader (Experienced Tour Guide will lead the tour). All monument fees, Permit arrangement, All taxes and VAT. All accommodation as Darjeeling, Pelling , Gangtok, Martam, Yuksom and Kalimpong with Bed & Breakfast and Lunch OR Dinner (MAP Basis).

Cost does not include:
Expenses of personal nature like beverages, laundry, telephone, personal insurance, extra expenses due to unforeseen circumstances such as landslide/strike/accidents/natural calamities, Ropeway, Airfare Ticket, Himalayan toy train ride in Darjeeling and tips etc.

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