The Journey of Tea

- A Secret Retreats journey -
7 nights / 8 days
from 2,025 USD /person

 

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Secret Retreats Journeys
The Journey of Tea

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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 cultural exploration of Calcutta: Victoria Memorial, The Writers’ Building, The Governor’s House, Mother Theresa’s Home
  • Life in a Darjeeling Tea Estate
  • option: a stay in a 300 year-old Zamindar Palace

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 and famous for its tigers, Darjeeling tea plantations, and silk saris. We invite you here to travel from the city of Calcutta to the hills covered of the plantations in Darjeeling.


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Your Journey Day by Day

7 nights / 8 days
from 2,025 USD /person
Optional extension to Bawali (2nights): 450 USD /person

 

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Secret Retreats Journeys
The Journey of Tea

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Day 1 : Calcutta Airport – Glenburn Penthouse (-/-/D)
After welcoming you on arrival at Kolkata Airport, your driver will drive you to the center of Calcutta to your hotel Glenburn Penthouse, facing Victoria Memorial and the Hastings. Upon arrival, you may have time to enjoy the home-made afternoon tea, with a selection of tea from Glenburn Tea Estate (Darjeeling and Assam). Check in for 3 nights. Dinner included at The Penthouse.
HOTEL: Glenburn Penthouse (Calcutta Suite)
Day 2 : Calcutta (B/L/D)
Your guide will meet you at the hotel (after a light breakfast), the earlier the better to beat the heat: it is the nicest time to walk through the city. The great River Hooghly is where locals perform their early morning rituals to cleanse and purify themselves. We start our day from the colourful riverside flower market where all the city’s religious flowers originate; actually this is really where it all began: the battles of Europe from the 17th to the 19th century; the Armenian and Portuguese churches, the Jewish synagogue, the British Raj in India, Dalhousie Square. From a "Black Hole", it transformed itself into a City of Palaces. 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.
HOTEL: Glenburn Penthouse (Calcutta Suite)
Day 3 : Calcutta (B/L/D)
This morning we travel to North Calcutta – “The Black Town”, where a parallel culture heavily influenced by the Europeans, flourished among the pioneering families of Bengal. The Jain Temple Complex of 4 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. 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.
HOTEL: Glenburn Penthouse (Calcutta Suite)
Day 4 : Calcutta- Bagdogra- Darjeeling (B/L/D)
After breakfast, we will take a short flight from Calcutta to Bagdogra, then a gentle 3h30 to 4-hour drive through the foothills of the Indian Himalayas, to reach Darjeeling. A picnic is laid out at a scenic spot during the journey and we shall arrive in the late afternoon at Glenburn Tea Estate, to settle for the next 4 nights into a colonial-style suite in a bungalow overlooking the plantation. In the evening, enjoy drinks by the bonfire, followed by a sit-down four course dinner with your hosts and other guests in residence.
HOTEL: Glenburn Tea Estate (Suite)
Day 5, 6 and 7 : Darjeeling (B/L/D)
During these 3 days, we will offer you to discover the area, at your pace, when you feel like it. All meals are included during the whole stay.
- 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.
HOTEL: Glenburn Tea Estate (Suite)
Day 8 : Departure from Darjeeling – Bagdogra Airport (B/-/-)
We shall leave after breakfast, down to Bagdogra to catch your flight to your next destination

OR extension for 2 more nights in Bawali

Drive to The Rajbari located one hour drive south of the city. You will be warmly welcomed in the impressive court yard before settling in your room for 2 nights in this unique heritage palace. The Rajbari Bawali is a 300-year-old palace belonging to the Zamindars, newly restored to its former glory, surrounded by crumbling temples and small fish ponds. The property invites you to experience the tradition, local folklore and culture and subtle cuisine of West Bengal. Dinner will be served at the property (included in the price of the option)
HOTEL: The Rajbari Bawali (Classic Heritage Room)
Day 9 : The Rajbari (B/-/D)
During your stay at The Rajbari, we will make you step into the rural hear of Bengal. After a ride on a local tuktuk through the country, our guide will walk you through some village to witness the local daily life of its inhabitants – a rich cultural exchange and interaction with the locals: watch a group of ladies washing pots together in a pond, a monitor lizard swimming nearby, a bit further some children on old bicycles, way too big for them, probably going to school. A group of men chatting and smoking a bidi or a priest performing the morning puja. Every day is similar for hem and so unique for us.
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
HOTEL: The Rajbari Bawali (Classic Heritage Room)
Day 10 : The Rajbari - Airport (B/-/-)
Relax the whole morning at the property and right after lunch, a car will drive you to the airport.

The Journey of Tea

7 nights / 8 days
from 2,025 USD /person
Optional extension to Bawali (2nights): 450 USD /person

 

BOOK

Secret Retreats Journeys
The Journey of Tea

First Name*:
Last Name*:

Email*:

Confirm Email*:

Country of Residence*:

Check In Date*:

Number of person(s)*:

Comment


The total price includes:
7-night accommodation on a bed & breakfast basis + optional extension of 2 nights.
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.
Flights


This Secret Journey was designed in cooperation with Glenburn.