Spring in the Himalayas.
An exclusive, 20-day, tour to Kashmir, Darjeeling and Sikkim for flower enthusiasts, plants people and nature lovers.
To wake in the morning and see pearly Khangchendzonga, 8598 metres, the world’s third highest mountain, with its saw-tooth silhouette filling the space between earth and sky, is one of life’s sublime experiences. On a hill in the foreground the gleaming gold roofs of a Buddhist temple catch the early sun and mist in the valleys below slowly dissipates.
Sikkim, an exquisite state in north India, is surrounded by the Eastern Himalayas. It is best known for its mountainous beauty, forest temples, chanting monks, flickering candles and flying prayer flags. And, in botanical circles, Sikkim is famous for the diversity of its indigenous flora. Rhododendrons, orchids and magnolias will be in bloom when we are there.
We visit Darjeeling, a British hill station surrounded by thousands of hectares of tidily trimmed tea plantations. Darjeeling produces a quarter of India’s tea including some of the world’s best brews.
The Mall on a ridge-top in the heart of town, is where one strolls, sits, chats and peruses the shops. The Brits fled the heat of the plains to come to this pretty place and Darjeeling is still in a semi-English heritage time-warp.
In the western Himalayas we visit glorious Kashmir. It looks like Queenstown, with large Lake Dal and the mountains behind it. But there is a marvellous overlay of culture with stone forts, marble mosques and the quirky back-lanes of the old city of Srinagar. Garden lovers will relish the opportunity to visit the 400-yrear-old Nisat and Shalimar Mogul Gardens, regarded as the world’s best examples of this garden style. Flower lovers will enjoy 34 hectares of tulips and we see the semi-hydroponic vegetable gardening that has been practiced in Lake Dal for centuries.
On this journey there are flower-hunting day walks in national parks, temple visits, charming accommodation, our own bus and driver and an expert local plantsman as our guide.
Programme details, departure dates and prices.