An Exploration of True Happiness – The Innovative Cultural Tour
Packages of Indo-Bhutan: North Bengal, India

Come
close and go deep into local cultures and reach a true revelation of what
precisely a culture seldom unveils now a days. This tour is a chance for you to
study the world of ethno-medicinal plants among cultures where the rich
heritage of traditional folk medicinal treatment, which is still practiced in
the hills, will give you an unforgettable experience of the Darjeeling Hills.
The tour will take you to remote destinations where the world still has
preserved its cultures without any signs of syndrome linked to urbanization.

Number Of
Days: 10 days

1st
day: The glimpses through the window of a car:

After pick up from the nearest airport (Bagdogra), Railway station (
NJP or New Mal Junction), we will drive towards the remote village of Dalgaon, set
up by the oldest Cinchona Plantation of West Bengal that once served the only
Anti- Malaria medicine- Quinine, to the world during wars.The lunch will be
taken on the way to Dalgaon. Accommodation will be arranged at Mechilingma Home stay, a beautiful wooden
house decorated with colorful flowers, and providing a cozy abode for those who
truly love to sit on the lap of nature. The evening can be spent appreciating
the surrounding nature from selected view points and the village culture on a
short walk to the village.

2nd
day: Dalgaon: A village set up by one of the oldest Cinchona plantation of
whole India.

The
day will start with a short pre-breakfast trek towards the nearby forest to
enjoy bird watching and make a good start to the day. After enjoying a hefty
cultural breakfast, move to the fields of cinchona plantation and see the life
on a cinchona plantation village. The work process on the plantation has remained unchanged
and traditional for more than 120 years and ranges from hand weeding, digging,
planting to manuring. We will then head back to the home stay for lunch before
heading off to the Cinchona factory to explore the saga of hand processing,
used to this day. You will be shown techniques that have been passed unchanged
down generations for more than a century by local workers and supervisors and
acquire some basic knowledge of processing and planting of different medicinal
plants that serve many pharmaceutical companies around the world. As the day
ends, we will head back to the homestay in company of the laborers and will call
it a busy day after a delicious rejuvenating cultural dinner.

 

3rd
day:Khumani: A visit to a local medicine man

 

After breakfast, we will drive to Khumani, and on the way, visit the River
Jaldhaka, a territory between India and Bhutan.Khumani is a forest village
where you will get the chance to visit the local hospital set up by a local
medicine man. Knowledge has been passed on to him by his ancestors. He is
especially known for his ability to identify the herbs that can cure all bone problems
such as fractures and cramps. People from all the surrounding areas visit him
and get treated without relying on any other medical therapies. A visit to the
hospital will be the occasion to learn more about this initiative, the history
of the place, and to watch the medicine man cure his patients with herbal
treatment and chanting. The lunch will be arranged at a local villager’s house in
Khumani. In the evening, we will make our way back to the homestay where you
will be able to relax before dinner.

4th
day
: Samsing Visit: The Neora Valley National Park

On
the fourth day, after breakfast, we will drive from Dalgaon towards Samsing (a
small village adjacent to Neora Valley national park) to meet a healer renown
for curing sinusitis through energy and storytelling. The
lunch will be prepared in a homestay at Samsing. After lunch, we will visit
another healer who cures yellow fever (Jaundice) with herbal treatment.
Accommodation will be provided at the Mechilingma Homestay.
  

5th
day:Visit to Batabarie, to meet an Ojha (a Medicine Man of Muslim origin)

On the 5th day, we will visit Batabarie (a tea garden of the
Jalpaiguri district plains) and meet a local Ojha, (a medicine man in a Muslim
Community) who has been serving the needful patients with his own ritual
techniques and curative powers that were gifted to him, free of any charge.
After the visit, we will return to Mechilingma Homestay to spend the night
watching a local Bijua (a medicine man of Rai Community) perform a ritual ceremony
to cast negative energies away from his patients. The ritual ceremony will
involve music, chants, and the sacrifice of a rooster cock.
   

6th
day:Lepchakha: “the heaven of Dooars” (Dooars means “Gateway to Bhutan”)

After
breakfast, we will check out from Mechilingma Homestay and make a scenic 3 hour
drive through the forests of Chapramari and Jaldhapara National Park towards
Lepchakha, a remote village in the middle of the Buxa Tiger Reserve in North
Bengal, running solely on solar energy. 
The place is often called “the heaven of Dooars”. The village is
inhabited by the Dukhpa community from Bhutan, and sits on the India-Bhutan
border. The village is not connected by road and will require the travelers a 2
hour walk (from the zero point atSantalabarie, a forest village on the way to
Lepchakha) to reach Lepchakha. The trek through the jungle and via the
abandoned Buxa fort (a remnant of British colonization)will be a trul;ly
resourceful time and will give you a good introduction to the area’s history and
nature. You will have the option to have lunch at the Buxa Village before carrying
on for the last leg of the trek to Lepchakha. 
After reaching the homestay in Lepchakha, the evening can be spent
enjoying the amazing playfulness of golden sunrays turning the dense green
forest covered hills into gold from a beautiful hill top of the village. The
day will end with a hefty Drukhpa Dinner.

 7th day:
Minchchu – A stone bath treatment practiced by the local medicine man of
Lepchakha.

In the morning, after breakfast, a short trek will be organized to
the nearby stream in the company ofthe local medicine man to observe the ancient
therapeutic stone bath treatment called “Minchchu” in the local Dukhpa
language. The people from surrounding villages come to the village to get treatment
for diseases such as joint pains, neck pain, digestion problems, chest pain and
even some skin diseases. Lunch will consist of a picnic in the forest. In the
evening, a Dukhpa dinner can be arranged at the homestay in Lepchakha.
 

 

 

 

 

 8th
day:Darjeeling: The Queen of Hills

 

Checkout from Lepchakha and trek down to Buxa. We will then drive
towards Darjeeling to visit the Darjeeling Heritage Railway and explore the
legendary beauty of the Queen of Hills. The drive will take around 5 hours and
on the way you will enjoy some magnificent views of Teesta River flowing
through Sikkim towards West Bengal. After reaching Darjeeling, the evening can
be spent sightseeing at Chowrasta, at the nightingale park and around the busy
streets of Darjeeling and their mouthwatering smells of momos and thukpas. The
holy smoke of sang coming out of the monasteries will certainly enchant your
soul as well. The accommodation will be arranged one of the oldest edifices of
Darjeeling: the Swiss Hotel Darjeeling.

 9thday:
Explore Darjeeling

Wake up early (before 5am) and head to Tiger hill (the highest point
of Darjeeling town at 7200m of altitude) to watch the beautiful sunrise.Return
to the hotel for breakfast and then visit the botanical garden and the only
zoological park that rear Red Panda (the first panda discovered in the world)
in captivity. The zoo has some of the most amazing and little-seen animals like
the snow leopard, the clouded leopard, the Tibetan wolf, and pheasant birds.
Lunch will be arranged at the marketfor fresh momos andthukpa. The evening will
be spent at the hotel to enjoy music and dance in a peaceful environment. 
  

10th
day: Check out

Check
out after breakfast. We will then set on our journey to our final destination.
On the way, we will drive through the Makaibari Tea Estate, which produces what
is renowned as the best quality tea in the whole world and was recently the
special tea supplierfor the football world cup held in Brazil in 2014.A last
pit stop will be made at Kurseong before heading back to the airport/the train
station, where our journey will end.
“Are you now ready to embark on one of the most memorable
tours of North Bengal?” 
For details on price and other things,

Please also find this trip in  Globetrooper.com 

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