Day 1: Friday, September 3rd
Arrive Kolkata. Meeting and assistance on arrival at Kolkata Airport and you check in at Glenburn Penthouse in the heart of Historic Kolkata.
The city’s first boutique hotel with 9 spacious suites, a gracious Living and Dining Room, terraces, balconies and a rooftop infinity pool with panoramic views across all the sights of the city.
Overnight at the hotel – Welcome to India, dinner.
Day 2: Saturday, September 4th
After breakfast, explore Kolkata with an Expert Host, discovering her historic architecture, bustling markets, local gastronomy and interesting local residents.
We’ll start with a heritage walk around the historic Dalhousie Square. Alongside Armenian and Portuguese churches, and Jewish Synagogues, we will embark upon a journey that started the British Raj in India dating back to the time of the Black Hole, to where it transformed itself into a City of Palaces. The famous Writers’ Building – the former HQ of the infamous East India Company, the magnificent Governor’s House and the almost forgotten Charnock Mausoleum – Here lay the administrative, judicial and political heart of an Empire that stretched form Aden to Burma.
We break for a cup of Glenburn tea at St John’s Church, and then visit two famous city landmarks. The almost forgotten Park Street Cemetery dates back a few centuries with poignant images of its early society; and the majestic Victoria Memorial was embarked upon and completed just as the same conquerors abandoned their majestic capital to build another in Delhi. The museum has a permanent collection of Art and a well laid out Calcutta Gallery telling the history of the city. The Indian Museum, Metcalfe Hall, Belvedere House and the Currency Building – all house fabulous collections of art, antiques and exhibitions on the city and can also be included.
“Lunch at Bomti’s” –offers a rare glimpse of the old Calcutta way of life, now sadly endangered. Mr Surojit ‘Bomti Iyenger, an art collector and socialite, is delighted to welcome visitors into his charming heritage flat on historic Chowringhee Road. Authentic and home-cooked Bengali cuisine and stimulating insights into Bengali Art through their private art collection and modern Kolkata make up Bomti’s salon.
We end the day in a private riverboat, guests are able to discover a hitherto unseen side of Kolkata, with a ring-side view of the myriad happenings on the river’s ‘Ghats’. This was the view that greeted many a 19C adventurer as he stepped up to the Princep’s Ghat, a monument of colonial India. You will sail past Belur Math, headquarters of The Ramakrishna Mission, as the city’s two huge and famous bridges, Howrah and Vidyasagar Setu pass overhead. It is a wonderfully relaxing end to the day with a sumptuous tea menu comprising popular Indian snacks and refreshing Darjeeling Tea. Dinner, if desired, is included and will be at the suggestion of our host in Calcutta.
Overnight at the hotel. Glenburn Penthouse
Day 3: Sunday, September 5th
Today we will head to another part of the city exploring the Bengal Renaissance and the Awakening of Modern India in the 19th Century.
We start the day on the banks of the grand River Hoogly, where the trade battles of Europe were fought through the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. There is a perfect time to walk through this vibrant and bustling city than in the morning and as the city wakes up, we will witness the passage of humanity from the streets where her people live and work, to the river where they perform their early morning rituals to cleanse and purify themselves. Where better to witness this than in the colourful riverside flower market where all the city’s religious flowers originate.
Next we travel to North Calcutta, known as the Black Town, where a parallel culture heavily influenced by the Europeans, flourished among the pioneering families of Bengal. The Jain Temple Complex of four ornate temples is unique with its shimmering mirrors, ceramic tiles and chandeliers brought over to India by rich merchants from lands as far away as Persia, Japan and Europe.
The Marble Palace is perhaps the most bizarre of the Bengali mansions of this area. Built in 1835 by Raja Rajendra Mullick, a wealthy Bengali merchant with a passion for collecting works of art, it houses a kitsch collection of paintings, marble sculptures and Belgian glass. In the grounds of the mansion you will find remnants of the first Indian zoo, and exotic Indian birds including peacocks, hornbills, pelicans and several species of deer.
From the extravagance of the Marble Palace we proceed to the calm, intellectual heart of the Bengali Quarter, the bastion of Bengali culture, and home of the multi-talented poet, novelist, musician, painter and playwright, the famous Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore. His grandfather Dwarkanath Tagore built this grand mansion in the 18th century, and the museum showcases the life of the family in 19th century Bengal, and their involvement in the Bengal Renaissance, the Brahmo Samaj movement and finally the Freedom Struggle of India.
We will lunch at a local Bengali Restaurant where the food is simple, and fresh, with local specialties like Daab Chingri (prawn curry steamed in a tender green coconut), Bhekti Paturi (a local river fish marinated with ground mustard paste and steamed in a banana leaf), a vegetable made from the flowers of the banana tree, and an ice cream dessert made with fresh jaggery from the date palm tree.
In the afternoon we will visit Kumartuli, the Potters’ Market, where giant life-like religious idols are created for the city’s numerous festivals out of river clay, bamboo and straw, and then adorned with elaborate jewellery and clothes, with beautifully painted features.
On the way back into town we will visit the Motherhouse, Mother Theresa’s home and the HQ of her Missionaries of Charity. Her modest tomb and the spartan room where she lived and died embodies her life’s work with its simplicity and dedication to only helping the poor and needy.
Then it’s on to Tea at Flury’s Tea Room– An old Calcutta institution on Park Street where all the culinary action of the city resides, close to the Oxford Bookshop where you can browse through a lovely collection of books on Calcutta and the rest of India.
Dinner is included tonight will again be at the suggestion of our host. Overnight at the hotel. Glenburn Penthouse
Day 4: Monday, September 6th
BAGDOGRA BY FLIGHT & DRIVE TO DARJEELING (1hour flight)
In time, transfer to Kolkata Airport to board flight for Bagdogra.
Meeting and Assistance on arrival at Bagdogra Airport and drive to Glenburn Tea Estate located in the Darjeeling foothills of the Indian Himalayas.
A picnic is laid out at a scenic spot during the journey from the airport up to the estate. Arrive in the early evening and settle into your suite in your colonial-style bungalow. Enjoy the evening starting with drinks by the bonfire, followed by a sit-down four-course dinner with your hosts and other guests in residence.
Overnight at the hotel. Glenburn Tea Estate.
Day 5: Tuesday, September 7th
Explore your 1,600-acre private estate with an introduction to the specialised art of growing and crafting Glenburn tea. Visit the tea fields, interact with the tea pickers and follow the journey of two leaves and bud into the tea factory, ending with a tea tasting session to discover the incredible variety of flavours and aromas that come from a single bush through the different seasons.
Lunch at the Bungalow followed by a gentle afternoon hike or some down time on one of our peaceful verandahs savoring the spectacular 360-degree views.
Overnight at the hotel Glenburn Tea Estate
Day 6: Wednesday, September 8th
Visit Darjeeling Town for the day – ride the Darjeeling Hill Railway “toy train”, visit the famous Ghoom Monastery, the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute and stroll down the historic mall and chowrasta. A packed lunch is provided or you can explore a local restaurant.
Dinner is at the hotel and Overnight at the Glenburn Tea Estate.
Day 7: Thursday, September 9th
Today we’ll have a visit to the local primary school and interact with the children during assembly. Enjoy a 2 hour hike down to our Glenburn Campsite with a barbecue lunch and relaxation by the River Rangeet.
Tonight, we’ll celebrate our last meal together toasting and reminiscing about an eye-opening and enriching week together.
Overnight at the hotel Glenburn Tea Estate
Day 8: Friday, September 10th
In time transfer to Bagdogra Airport to board flight Delhi, on arrival at Delhi Airport you connect your flight for onward destination
(Our services end with the drop at airport)