Eastern Trails India Itinerary

16 Days 15 Nights

Itinerary Overview

Eastern Trails India Tour travels to Delhi and West Bengal. West Bengal is a state in eastern India between the Himalayas and the Bay of Bengal. Discover its capital, Kolkata, formerly called Calcutta. It retains architectural and cultural remnants of its past as an East India Company trading post and capital of the British Raj. Sail on the ABN Rajmahal to see rural India and visit Darjeeling with its tea plantations and nearby mountains.

Day 1 Delhi

Namaste and welcome to India!

Arrive in Delhi, and after immigration, baggage, and customs, exit the arrival halls. A Geringer Global Travel representative will greet you with a placard bearing your name.

You will be assisted and transferred to your hotel.

Hotel: The Imperial Hotel
Day 2 Delhi

After breakfast, explore Old and New Delhi. While Old Delhi speaks volumes about India’s history, culture, and traditions, New Delhi exhibits the picture of modern India. Join a local expert for an Old Delhi tour on specially customized cycle rickshaws. This tour is an extensive tour that covers 20 main sites that include palaces, mansions, elegant shrines, and colorful bazaars.

After the tour, drive past India Gate, the War Memorial Arch, the Parliament House, the Secretariat Buildings, and the Vice Regal Palace, now the official residence of the President of India.

Lunch is at Olive Bar and Kitchen.

After lunch, visit two of the important UNESCO World Heritage Sites of New Delhi. The first stop is Qutub Minar, the second tallest minaret in India. It is made of red stone and marble and is covered with intricate carvings and verses from the Qur’an. Afterwards, visit the 16th century Humayun’s Tomb, the first garden tomb on the Indian subcontinent, an outstanding monument in the Indo-Persian style and a precursor of the Taj Mahal.

Dinner is at Kwality Restaurant, one of the oldest and most iconic restaurants in Delhi.

Hotel: The Imperial Hotel
Day 3 Kolkata

After breakfast, transfer to the airport for a flight to Kolkata. Kolkata, known as the “City of Joy”, is the gateway to Eastern India. It is a city with a rich heritage.

On arrival into Kolkata, check into the hotel and enjoy lunch.

Post lunch, visit Burrabazar that is a neighborhood in Central Kolkata. Burrabazar expanded from a yarn and textile market into the commercial center of Kolkata and is one of the largest wholesale markets in India.

Enjoy dinner with a local Bengali family. Your host, Mr. Suddhabrata, is a travel writer and an architect of highly unusual tourism products in West Bengal. He is an expert in ancient and present Indian history and culture.

Hotel: The Oberoi Grand Kolkata Hotel
Day 4 ABN Rajmahal

After breakfast, transfer to the port of departure.

Sail past the old Danish colony of Serampore to Barrackpore. Land and take a walk through the cantonment past the Semaphore Tower, Government House, the Temple of Fame, and Flagstaff House to gain a better understanding of India’s journey to independence. Sail up to Chandernagore, a French possession until 1950.

ABN Rajmahal has 22 cabins. The décor is stylish with touches of colonial elegance brought to life by traditional Indian-inspired designs on hand-blocked cotton fabrics. All cabins on ABN Rajmahal have French balconies.

All meals are on board.

Hotel: ABN Rajmahal
Day 5 ABN Rajmahal

After breakfast, visit the 18th century church and Dupleix’s House, the former Governor-General of French India. Sail upstream past the old Dutch settlement of Chinsura before landing to visit the imposing Imambara at Hooghly. With verses from the Koran written on its walls, the Imambara is an opportunity to step back in time and relive a slice of Islamic history in Bengal.

Sail into the night to a mooring near Kalna.

All meals are on board.

Hotel: ABN Rajmahal
Day 6 ABN Rajmahal

After breakfast, visit Kalna and take a rickshaw to see a group of Bengal’s most attractive terracotta temples, the unique Shiva temple with concentric rings made up of 108 shrinelets, and a muslin-weaving center. Continue through the countryside to Mayapur to visit the vast new ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) Temple which dominates the skyline. As the headquarters of ISKCON or the Hare Krishna movement, the temple receives over a million singing and dancing devotees a year from around the world.

Sail on through the night to a mooring near Matiari.

All meals are on board.

Hotel: ABN Rajmahal
Day 7 ABN Rajmahal

After breakfast, visit the brass-working village of Matiari, a charming riverside village. Interact with the locals of Matiari and witness the whole primitive process of beating out brass water pots and other vessels.

Later, cruise on and visit the battlefield of Plassey where, in 1757, Robert Clive, the Commander-in-Chief of British India, defeated Siraj-ud-Daulah, the last independent Nawab of Bengal, to change the course of Indian history. Moor close to Khushbagh for the night.

All meals are on board.

Hotel: ABN Rajmahal
Day 8 ABN Rajmahal

After breakfast, walk to the Khushbagh, a peaceful Mughal-style garden, that encloses the tombs of Siraj-ud-Daulah, the last independent Nawab of Bengal and his family. Continue a little way upstream to where the great Hazarduari Palace dominates the waterfront. Built by an English architect in 1837, the palace hosts an extensive collection of pictures, china, weapons, and other objects.

Visit the great Katra Mosque before driving to see the Katgola Palace. Built in classical Georgian style by rich local merchants, Katgola Palace represents the other side of the coin of the ‘White Mughal’ period when English and Indian cultures came close to fusion. Moor overnight on the riverbank across from the town at Baranagar.

All meals are on board.

Hotel: ABN Rajmahal
Day 9 ABN Rajmahal

After breakfast, walk through the fields of the sleepy village of Baranagar to visit its three gorgeous miniature terracotta temples. This is rural India at its most idyllic. Continue up the lower Ganges (or the Hooghly), which transforms into a charming waterway twisting and turning between banks lined with mustard fields and mango orchards. Travel on a long canal section to a mooring close to the Farakka Barrage.

All meals are on board.

Hotel: ABN Rajmahal
Day 10 ABN Rajmahal

After breakfast, disembark and go on a full-day excursion by road to Gaur, near the town of Malda, or English Bazar. This quiet, deserted place was once one of India’s great cities, first under the Hindus in the 12th century, then as the Muslim capital of Eastern India from the 14th to the 16th century. There are many remains of mosques, palaces, and gateways. Visit a number of the most interesting before rejoining the ship in the evening.

All meals are on board.

Hotel: ABN Rajmahal
Day 11 Kolkata

After breakfast, transfer to Farakka station for a four – hour train ride to Kolkata. Arrive Kolkata and transfer to the hotel.

After lunch at the hotel, explore Park Street.

Dinner will be at O Calcutta Restaurant which has delicious Bengali food.

Hotel: The Oberoi Grand Kolkata Hotel
Day 12 Kolkata

After breakfast, enjoy a full-day tour. Visit St. Andrew’s Church, see the Writers Building, and go to BBD Bagh. While taking a stroll, look out for the various buildings built by the British during their colonial rule over India like the Calcutta GPO building (1864), Central Telegraph Office (1876), and Standard Insurance Building (1896).

Drive past the Raj Bhawan.

From here drive towards the Mullick Ghat Flower Market on the banks of the River Hooghly with a view of the famous Howrah Bridge in the background.

Your next stop will be Kumartuli, the Potters’ Colony, where you will see the craftsmen working on clay idols. Also, visit Sheetalnath Jain Temple.

Visit College Street where the Presidency College is located. Explore the Book Market, have a look at the intellectual crowd sitting inside the Indian Coffee House. Also, visit the Weaver’s Studio.

After lunch, visit the Missionaries of Charity’s Mother House. It was established by the Blessed Mother Teresa in 1950 with the purpose of helping those in need.

End the tour with a visit to Kalighat Temple. The name Kolkata is said to have been derived from the word Kalighat.

Enjoy dinner at Aaheli Restaurant for its traditional Bengali food.

Hotel: The Oberoi Grand Kolkata Hotel
Day 13 Darjeeling

After breakfast, transfer to the airport to board the flight to Bagdogra.

Upon arrival, transfer to Glenburn Tea Estate (approx. 3 hours). Glenburn is a heavenly plantation retreat that lies on a hillock above the banks of the River Rungeet, high in the Himalayas, overlooked by the mighty Kanchenjunga mountain range.

Rest of the day is at leisure.

Dinner is at Glenburn Tea Estate.

Hotel: Glenburn Tea Estate
Day 14 Darjeeling

After breakfast, proceed for a half-day sightseeing tour of Darjeeling. It is often referred to as the Queen of the Hills with its tiny waterfalls, little villages, and a narrow-gauge railway.

Surrounded by tea gardens and snow-capped mountains, Darjeeling is a great destination.

Enjoy a short joy ride on the Darjeeling Heritage Toy Train, subject to operation.

Return to Glenburn Tea Estate for lunch.

In the afternoon, walk or drive through the tea fields with one of the estate’s guides, who will give insight into how the tea bush is grown. Learn how to pluck the “two leaves and a bud” that is later manufactured into the tea leaf that ends up in your tea cup.

Drive back up the hill to the tea factory where the estate manager will take you for a guided tour on how the leaf is brought in from the fields, weighed, and then taken through the processes of withering, rolling, fermenting, drying, and finally sorting.

The day ends with a tea tasting session. Discover the differences in aroma, flavor, and appearance of tea manufactured in different ways, and during different times of the year. The session also includes tasting teas from other parts of India and the world, together with examples of flavored and blended teas.

The evening is reserved for a cooking class and dinner.

Hotel: Glenburn Tea Estate
Day 15 Darjeeling

After breakfast, visit Kalimpong which is a 2-hour drive from Glenburn, and has some interesting blends of Buddhist, Christian, and Hindu influences with its monasteries, gompas, temples, and missionary activities.

Visit an orchid nursery.

Lunch is at Neena’s Kitchen in Kalimpong which offers a unique culinary experience to learn about the food and culture of the region in a beautiful country setting.

After lunch, visit Dr. Graham’s Home, an institution over 100 years old and spread over 500 acres, with a very strong Scottish connection. Visit the Helena Roerich Museum, an archive of her philosophy, writings, paintings, and family photos.

Late afternoon, return to Glenburn Tea Estate for dinner.

Hotel: Glenburn Tea Estate
Day 16 Darjeeling - Delhi - Departure

After breakfast, transfer to Bagdogra airport in time to board the flight for Delhi.

Lunch will be at the estate or a local restaurant depending upon the flight schedule.

On arrival at Delhi airport, transfer to the airport hotel, Andaz Hotel, for a day use room.

Dinner is at the hotel.

Late night departure transfer to the International airport to board the flight for home.