Indian, a land for all seasons, has been attracting visitors from all parts of the world with varying interests, as in this land everyone's interests and needs are fulfilled. Skiers, mountaineers, trekkers, historians, golfers, architects, lovers of art, music and spiritual knowledge, sun, surf and sand, water sports, natural beauty and romance, shapers, wildlife, flora and fauna etc. etc., everyone can certainly get his interest and need fulfilled in this vast sub-continent, where English is widely spoken among other 15 officially recognized languages and over 200 dialects.
India is a whole world in itself. And within its variegated arabesque, you are sure to find something of your choice. India is a fertile land laced by rivers. You can wander 3,200 km North south or 2,800 km from east to west in search of Himalayan beauty and peace or coastal sun sprawled on golden sands. You may marvel at the jeweled cities of the desert or see the wildest animals among thick jungle greens. Hustle your way through colorful crowds in bustling cities. Choose from over 860 million smiles or an enlightened solitude under one guru. For opulence, we have our wondrous palaces.
India is a happening beyond definition. A continuous festival. A contradiction of enigmas and answers. A challenge and stimulation. As an intellectual summed up: "India is to an important country for the future of the world. Here is a country that merits no one's condescension. All the convergent influences of the world run through this society: Hindu, Moslem, Christian, Secular: Stalinist, Liberal, Maoist, Democratic, Socialist, Gandhian. There is not a through being thought in the West or east, which is not active in some Indian mind."
India is also a puzzle whose many jigsaws don't always fit together. To understand India it is necessary to bear in mind that any statement on India as well as its opposite, can both be true. Which India would you like to see? Of smile village folk, not always literate, but wise on life's philosophies? Or people so articulate and aware, you'll have to brush up your subject? Of ancient temples still haloed with reverence? Or nuclear power plants that surprise the misinformed? Will you wander jungles or enter marbled palaces? And what will you take back? Millennia of craftsmanship preserved in looms and chisels ?
Where else can you experience a whole world packed within the bounds of a nation? A visit to India is the journey of a lifetime where you'll discover magnificent palaces, exotic temples, and soaring mountain peaks in a landscape that is as fascinating and diverse as the people who live there. You may be intending to combine a holiday to India with a visit to the beautiful mountain kingdom of Nepal; or you may only have time for a brief visit - either way you'll find that Alternative Travels have planned a full range of exciting itineraries that will give you a true "Holiday" into the area bringing the subcontinent alive.
The Land of Mountain Crests," Sikkim, lies between the kingdoms of Bhutan in the east, Nepal to its west and Tibet to the north. This small stretch of rugged land is but a speck on the world map but its size belies its richness and diversity of culture flora and fauna. Sikkim is one of the most beautiful and untouched areas in the Himalayas offering visitors pristine nature in all its grandeur. The worlds 3rd highest mountain, Mt. Khangchendzongna (28,156 ft), and it's attendant peaks - Pandim, Narsing, Kabru, Talung, Siniolchu, Pau-Hunri, Simvo, and Jopuno present a surreal vista where local legends depict this area as "the alter of the Gods."The tiny Himalayan state of Sikkim coupled with near by Darjeeling in West Bengal offers some very different visions of the Himalayas.
Gangtok is ideally connected with all major cities through Bagdogra Airport (124 kms). This capital city provides a rare insight into the Indo-Tibetan culture while proudly offering traditional Himalayan hospitality as well as a plethora of rich flora and fauna. There are many beautiful and exclusive treks in West Sikkim along with rafting opportunities on the river Teesta for the nature and adventure enthusiast.Trekking in Sikkim is in stark contrast sweltering plains of the Ganges as you travel through the orchid-laced subtropical forests of the Himalayan foothills.Steep gorges and verdant hillsides dotted with terraced rice paddies that change from a brilliant emerald green to a soft golden hue with the passing of the seasons. High peaks with sacred natural lakes worshipped by the people of Sikkim where local legends abound.
Sikkim has many fabled centers of Buddhist worship and learning, the monasteries at Rumtek, Enchey and Pemayangtse to name but three. Awe inspiring stupas and chortens are set amidst fluttering prayer flags and numerous prayer wheels spun by clear mountain streams reminding you that you are somewhere extremely special.
Along with an Indian Visa, foreigners are required to obtain Inner Line permits for Sikkim, which are valid for 15 days which can be extended for a further 15 days once in Sikkim. However no special permits are required for travelling to Darjeeling & Kalimpong. The permits are available at all Indian Missions / Consulates abroad and Sikkim Tourism Offices at Delhi, Calcutta, Siliguri and Gangtok.