A Journey Through West Bengal- A Secret Retreats journey -
This journey has been personally designed by Husna-Tara Prakash owns Glenburn Tea Estate in Darjeeling and the new Penthouse in Calcutta, located just next to the family tea factory. When she married her husband Anshuman, she married also a passion for tea and the rich historic heritage of West Bengal that she is sharing here with us.
Highlights of the Journey:
- A stay in a 300 year-old Zamindar Palace
- A cultural exploration of Calcutta: Victoria Memorial, The Writers’ Building, The Governor’s House, Mother Theresa’s Home
- Life in a Darjeeling Tea Estate
West Bengal is located in the East of India, dominated in the North by the Himalayas, with the gigantic delta of the Brahmaputra and the Ganges flowing into the Bay of Bengal and the very fertile lands watered by an abundant monsoon. With its capital Calcutta (also former capital of the British Raj), West Bengal is still considered the cultural heart of India. Many intellectuals and artists were born there (the poet Rabendranath Tagore, the filmmaker Satyajit Ray). The state is the main producer of jute. It is famous for its tigers, Darjeeling tea plantations, and silk saris.
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Dinner will be served at the property
Lunch at leisure. In the afternoon, we invite you to sail away down the holy waters of the River Hooghly, which is the name of the Ganges here in Bengal. Enjoy some snacks and a drink while witnessing a panoramic view of the mesmerizing sunset amidst a reddish purple skyline. If you like we may stop also at some local temple or embroidery factory on the way.
Later, dinner will be served at the property
Dinner included at The Penthouse.
We walk to 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 from Aden to Burma.
“The Park Street Cemetery and Victoria Memorial” – Two great institutions left behind by the British. The almost forgotten cemetery dates back a few centuries with poignant images of its early society; and the majestic Memorial that was embarked upon and completed just as the same conquerors abandoned their majestic capital to build another in Delhi.
We go for lunch at Bomti’s; an art collector and socialite, delighted to welcome visitors to his charming flat in perhaps the most interesting heritage building on historic Chowringhee. Authentic and home-cooked Bengali cuisine served up with hot cups of fresh Darjeeling tea.
Boat cruise up the River Hooghly in a private river boat, to discover a hitherto unseen side of Kolkata, with a ring-side view of the myriad happenings on the river’s Ghats. 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.
Drop back to the hotel after 6pm to relax and free evening. Dinner included at The Penthouse.
We then 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 Bengali Renaissance, the Brahmo Samaj movement and finally the Freedom Struggle of India.
Lunch at a lovely little Bengali Restaurant. In the afternoon we visit Kumartuli or 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 jewelry and clothes, with beautifully painted features.
On the way back into town we can visit the Motherhouse, Mother Theresa’s home and the centre 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.
Back to the hotel enjoy the rest of the day at the property. Dinner included at The Penthouse.
In the evening, enjoy drinks by the bonfire, followed by a sit-down four course dinner with your hosts and other guests in residence.
- One day you can explore the 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 for 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.
- Another day you can visit Darjeeling Town - ride the Darjeeling Hill Railway “toy train”, visit the famous Ghoom Monastery, the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute and stroll down the historic mall and chowrasta.
- You will have time also to visit our 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. Options for other hikes are also available.
A Journey Through West Bengal
based on two people sharing a room
(Valid for travel before 31 May 2020)
The total price includes:
9-night accommodation on a bed & breakfast basis at all 3 properties.
All transportation from/to airport and during the excursions (private car, cruise)
Entrance fees to all sites mentioned in the program
Meals mentioned in the program
Local English-speaking guide (other languages possible when required) for all tours mentioned in the program.
The total price does not include:
VISA – Most countries need a visa for India (available online). Please make sure your passport is valid for 6 months beyond your departure date.
Other meals that are not included in the program.
Drinks, personal expenses.
Options and other activities not included in the program.