Bengal and Sikkim tour in India

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Responsible tourism

Bengal and Sikkim tour in India

Carbon reduction

Your holiday will help support local people and conservation. We must also reduce CO2. Learn about the CO2 emissions of this holiday and how to reduce them.

Environment

On this unique and personalised tour, we will take you on a continuous journey of learning and remembering that nature is a gift that we should respect and cherish. We promote excursions that foster a more sustainable tourism and we commit to maintaining small-group sizes for the excursions on your trip, in order to limit negative environmental impacts in accordance to the carrying capacity of the visited site.

We are trying to keep the extra unneeded waste to a minimum in all our tours and leave the smallest footprint possible on all our hikes and treks. We have a recycling policy in our UK and local offices and re-use or recycle the information booklets we provide to every client on arrival wherever possible. Moreover, we do not produce a glossy brochure, concentrating on a comprehensive website, and providing as much information to our travellers as possible electronically, reducing the use of paper and inks.

By visiting Sikkim, you support a state that has gone 100% organic in farming, which will do good to your health and act as a real role-model.

Nowhere in the world in such a small area can one find flora and fauna of all varieties than in Sikkim. Sikkim's botanical and zoological richness is awe-inspiring, boasting of more than 4000 species of plants and 30% of all the birds found in the Indian sub-continent. Amongst the mammals of Sikkim are the rare Snow Leopard, Himalayan Black Bear, Red panda, Musk Deer, Blue Sheep, Shapi, Common Langur, Leopard Cat, and the Flying Squirrel. We work with local trekking guides who are officially trained in the necessary trekking, mountaineering, environmental and cultural issues relevant to the country’s eco-tourism policies.

You will visit Darjeeling, set against the jaw-droppingly gorgeous backdrop of the snow-covered Himalayas and surrounded by the phenomenal forests and streams. The little village of Mineral Spring is a community knit together by strong cultural values that have made it a model of sustainable growth. Two of these values are commitments to traditional agriculture and to protecting the region’s incredible biodiversity. This vibrant ensemble of small farms has been producing high-quality and certified organic Darjeeling tea since 1998 – even competing successfully against large corporate tea companies – without losing sight of the health and long-term preservation of their local environment. All of this is particularly important given the adjacent Senchal Wildlife Sanctuary, whose resident birds and wildlife such as rhesus monkeys, barking deer and Himalayan flying squirrels know no borders.

Building & Conservation
Your visits to the monasteries, temples and buildings in this tour will directly help the preservation and maintenance of these important historical sites, such as Howrah Bridge, The Potter's village, St John's Church, Victoria Memorial, Mahakal Temple & Cave (the oldest temple of Lord Shiva), the Tibetology Institute & Museum and the Dodul Chorten or Stupa, the sacred monument for Buddhists.

Especially impressive for you on this tour are the visits to the monasteries, where you can learn and meet the Buddhist monks and discover their ways of living. In Sikkim the air breathes peace and folks live in harmony, and the ancient monasteries are echoing with holy chants. The Buddhist monasteries in Sikkim are special not just because they are scenic and immersed in the soft aroma of alpine but also because of the great legacy they carry. Behold them for the fine architecture, ancient existence, and incredible surroundings. Perched atop the mountains most of these Buddhist monasteries in Sikkim are scattered across the length and width of the state. A majority of these monasteries belonging to the 17th and 18th century stand wearily today. You will contribute to their maintenance and preservation, such as Tiger Hill, Ghoom Monastery and Museum, Enchey Monastery and Rumtek Monastery.

Another highlight is the unique Toy Train ride in Darjeeling. The toy train and stations of Darjeeling were declared World Heritage sites, whose maintenance you will support with your visit.

Accommodation
We focus on promoting the culturally most authentic accommodation experience while taking care of the environment. For your tour we have chosen responsible resorts like the Oberoi hotel in Kolkata, which are committed to employing the best environmental and ecological practices in technology, equipment and operational processes. The hotels are using natural products and recycling items, thus ensuring proper use of the diminishing natural resources. The Group also supports philanthropic activities and is a keen contributor to the conservation of nature and cultural heritage.

In Kewzing, we have chosen a village homestay for you. Ever mindful of the difficulties involved in maintaining traditional ways of life and protecting nature, local farmers in Sikkim have started harnessing the power of community-based tourism as an opportunity for additional income. Our local partner has designed several village tourism concepts in the entire eastern Himalayas, mainly in Darjeeling and Sikkim region and included as many village homestays and village activities as possible to give the tourists a real taste of village atmosphere.

Our home stays and village tourism programs are different from typical leisure holiday tourism concept and expect only sensible individuals or groups having the understanding on the local issues and respect on the ethnic community to take part in this tour program. There, we cannot offer any modern hotel comfort or multiple food options in these village-home stays but we offer very basic and comfortable traditional village homes and local food which are at par with the community culture and environment. We ensure your room in the Homestay is clean and provided with bed with proper linen, pillow, mattress, blankets, privet washroom with western toilet and shower (hot water in bucket). The people associated with the home stay tourism in the villages are not trained professional but they are very hospitable and joyful, and can look after your basic needs and comfort.

During the stay in the village houses tourists can experience the organic cultivation, taste the local cuisine and drinks and also take part in the cooking process and other household activities with their hosts.

Community

We only work with local guides that come from the very region you are visiting, giving back to their families and communities. The hotels we choose are dedicated to empowering and creating opportunities for the local community through training and employment and respecting the environment through low impact design and green operational practices.

There is particular focus on this trip of maintaining the traditional way of life, the simple local food, and the traditional cultural environment based on eco-tourism concepts while generating economic benefits for rural populations in ways that are environmentally and socially responsible.

If you do want to shop, we will guide you to local markets where local artisans craft their products or local farmers sell their organic produce, which will help keep the money earned in that very community.

For a unique connection with the community and locals, we will take you to Bon Monastery for the morning prayer. Here you will be able to have a chat with the head monk of the monastery and learn about Buddhism and Bon rituals. The Bon monastery at Kewzing, the only one of its kind in Sikkim was established in the latter half of 1980s and is a symbol of the determination of a community of people at Kewzing to preserve their religious traditions. The ancient roots of Bon religion derive from a profound respect for nature and emphasize the healing of physical and environmental as well as spiritual afflictions. 

You will also contribute to the local community by visiting a local school, and by visiting the Mother’s House: Pay homage to Mother Theresa at her residence known as Missionaries of Charity. Mother Theresa started this charity and along with the sisters of charity she has spread their mission of mercy to all parts of the world. The Mother died here on 3rd September 1997. She was buried down in this House.

During the Chinese invasion in India many Tibetan family took refuge in Darjeeling and to give them a financial and social security the Govt of India established the Tibetan Refugee Self Help Centre, where many Tibetan families earn a living by producing Tibetan handicrafts. You can see the families engaged in making garments, carpets, jewellery, paintings and you can contribute by purchasing from the fare price shop attached to the center.

Or you can also observe the process of learning and making of the traditional handicraft and paintings by the students at the Cottage Industry and Handicraft Center, a government institution, which was built in the year 1957 with an aim to promote the exclusive traditional handicraft and art skill of Sikkim.

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