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OTM 3rd to 5th February 2020 : India’s leading travel show was held in Mumbai from 3rd to 5th February 2020. It mainly focused on outbound travel, designed to cover two big markets in one go just before the peak outbound season. Exhibitors from various sectors participated with flair and enthusiasm and Clubside was proud to be a part of the Exhibition and showcase the Eastern Region that has so much to offer in respect of travel and tourism.
Changes in Regulation : The Sikkim Government has announced that the deadline to submit the forms for visiting Tsomgo Lake is now 8:30am and for North Sikkim is 11:00am. There has been a strict compliance with the time limit and the forms will not be accepted thereafter.
FESTIVALS OF THE SEASON
The freshness of Spring brings along with it, some unique festivals that offer a glimpse of the rich and vibrant cultures of the region that portray a symbol of creation and unity. Starting with Losar in Sikkim and parts of North Bengal and ending with the very colourful Holi which is a significant merriment in Shantiniketan.
Losar (24th to 26th February 2020)
The resonant sound of the gongs and chanting from monasteries, beautifully decorated Chhozm (prayer altar), the people chattering and cheering in colourful new clothes, the tasty treats and delicious cuisine prepared in Tibetan homes are images that illustrate this wonderful Tibetan New Year, Losar. The festival that is rejoiced in Sikkim and parts of North Bengal, coincides with the end of the harvesting season offering the farmers a great extent of relief from their day to day tasks in the fields bringing together an enthusiasm of celebrating the combination of elements that are mostly based on land, harvest and community. This is a significant and special occasion for Tibetan Buddhists residing in Sikkim and parts of North Bengal. The preparation of the delicious khabsey, made out of roasted barley flour and butter is offered on home altars as a ritual, praying for a good harvest in the current New Year.
Bumchu Festival (19th to 20th March 2020)
The word Bhumchu stands for “a sacred pot of water”. Akin to other festivals celebrated in Sikkim, this occasion too is rejoiced in a lavish manner and focuses precisely on the ceremonies and rituals. The first day of the festival sees the monks at Tashiding Monastery opening the holy urn of water. This is a way to predict the future and initiate the pot being re-filled with water from the nearby river to be preserved for the next year. The ceremony is enhanced by incredible decorations within the monastery and sees a congregation of monks and spectators performing various rituals and ceremonies.
Holi, Shantiniketan (9th to 10th March 2020)
As we all know, Holi marks the end of the winter season and the starting of the colourful spring season. The two day festival symbolizes a new beginning for Hindus to end conflicts and let go off emotional impurities from the past. It is indeed a major festival celebrated all over India. The magic of Holi has been recreated by the famous Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore as the Spring Festival or Basant Utsav, an annual event in his Bishwabharati University in Shantiniketan. The cheerful festival of Vasant Utsav in Shantiniketan has now become an integral part of the Bengali culture and proclaims the coming of the spring season. With its truly distinctive theme and vibrancy, the festival attracts visitors from across the globe. During this time, various cultural programs are organized that include choreography, songs and dance performances followed by playing holi- smearing each other with coloured powder and expressing festive wishes. Each of the colours signifies different meaning. Red is meant to represent love and fertility, yellow is the colour of turmeric, blue is for the Hindu god Krishna and green symbolizes new beginnings. Since its inception, Vasant Utsav has evolved beautifully and has become an imperative part of Bengali history and culture that has also captured International attention.
The Meghalayan Age Festival (7th to 15th March 2020)
This spring has so much to offer for travelers who seek out euphoria in the outdoors with clean air and blue skies. Meghalayan Age is that one unique Tourism Festival that celebrates the landscape, people, culture and cuisine of Meghalaya. Get transported to the natural beauty and rare adventure that this land of the Blue Hills has kept in store for you. Experience the hidden stories of its heritage and natural wonders. This wonderful corner of heaven is emerging as a leader of sustainable tourism. Some major highlights during this event are the Hot Air Balloon Rides, river scuba-diving, invigorating treks, and a peek into its rural life which has set a much-needed example of sustainability and harmony with nature.
The Hot Air Balloon rides: These rides offer some of the most spectacular and breathtaking views of Meghalaya’s impressive outdoor and its terrain while navigating through the clouds and soaking up the sun.
Caving: Meghalaya is known for its long and intricate caves that are now accessible to those looking for some rare glimpse of the underworlds.
Glamping: The Mehalayan Age Festival will lead you to a spectacular Glamping experience with luxurious tented colony-nestled in the lush surroundings that will transport you to the ‘Meghalayan’ way of life.
Culture: Here is a chance to learn more about the culture of the Khasis, Garos and Jaintias, the indigenous tribes of Meghalaya that illustrate the festivals, dances, the folklore that accompanies the landscapes, and the customs and lifestyles of the people. From the weaves and wares to their sounds and stories, the Meghalayans take pride of their culture in chorus with embracing the modern way of life.
Cuisine: The cuisines of Meghalaya feature a wide range of local grains, a variety of meaty dishes, and an assortment of herbs and greens. In addition, be ready for some heady alcoholic beverages, wild and cultivated fruits, local honey, tea and coffee, and a whole spectrum of condiments that differ completely from all that the mainland is known for.
Music: From the traditional instruments to the modern western ones, Meghalaya is identified for its affinity to music whether it is modern or folk music. The state has produced many legendary musicians who have rocked stages worldwide. Simply sit back and enjoy these wonderful musicians perform as you soak up the perfect evening ambiance.
A two night program of Travel Trade is open from 10th to 12th March 2020. The organizers are offering..
Pick up and drop from Guwahati Airport
2-night Glamping Experience
Hot Air Balloon rides with unique Caving Expeditions
Experiential tours of the Exotic locales
Cultural and Musical evenings
Formerly a little village in the southern part of Sikkim, Namchi has now transformed almost into a large town and is one of the major religious and cultural hubs of Sikkim. Namchi is 78 kilometers from the city of Gangtok and perches at an altitude of 5500 feet. The name literally translates as ‘top of the sky’ in Sikkimese language. Namchi is identified for its natural wonders and rich bio-diversity as well as for being one of the most popular cultural and pilgrimage centers. The scenic location offers an unmatched view of the Kanchendzonga range and the Rangeet valley.
Namchi hosts some popular festivals like the Namchi Mahotsav which is held every year in the month of October. It is a big event that showcases the culture of Sikkim, its traditions and Food. Flower festival is another big event that takes place here twice a year during the month of February-March and October. Here one gets a chance to observe some of the rare species of orchids with a riot of colors that are indeed a feast for the eyes.
Namchi is dotted with a number of enchanting monasteries like the Sherdup Choeling, Dichen Choeling monastery, Ngadak monastery and a few more. Apart from these monasteries there are some prominent places of interest which are not to be missed in this colourful town of Namchi.
The Namchi Rock Garden, set between Namchi town and Samdruptse is a beautiful garden that displays an array of attractive plants, flowers and species of trees and also offers spectacular views of the mountains and valley. The area is sprinkled with a number of waiting sheds, view points and water-bodies. It also has a tidy cafeteria that serves the travelers delicious food.
The statue of Guru Padmasambhava perches on the Samdruptse hill at a close distance from the main town of Namchi. Samdruptse translates as ‘the wish fulfilling hill’ in Tibetan language. The statue is 135 feet tall installed atop Samdruptse and was inaugurated by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in 1997. The folklore of Namchi never fails to charm the common traveler. They say the spirit of Pende Ongmu, the treacherous princess who poisoned one of the Chogyals still continues to haunt Namchi. It is also commonly believed among the locals that the Samdruptse hill where the statue of Guru Padmasambhava sits on is a sleeping volcano, but the Buddhist monks who trek up the hill day after day to offer prayers, have prevented the volcano from erupting.
The Char Dham Complex is a unique point of interest for the pilgrims. The centre has replicas of temples of Badrinath, Jaganath of Puri, Dwarakadish of Dwarka and Rameshwaram. All these temples congregate below a soaring 87 feet tall statue of Lord Shiva in a meditating posture on the Solophok Hill. The centre draws the attention of millions of travelers, irrespective of their religious views.
Temi Tea Garden, the only tea garden in Sikkim is spread across an area of 177 acres. The gentle rolling hills of tea bushes not only produce fine quality tea, but also offer some beautiful views of the mountains and surrounding landscape.
Sikip, on the banks of the Rangeet River draws many anglers for bait and fly fishing and is also considered to be the base camp for the trek that starts from Namchi to Tendong. The Tendong hill is famed for its beautiful mountainside with thick lush green forest.
Summit Sobralia Resort & Spa : Why settle for less when you have a perfect chance to rejuvenate from life’s daily stressors? Summit Sobralia Resort & Spa offers just that and more. Standing on the highest grounds of a small but scenic town of Namchi, the hotel is named after an exotic species of orchids. The Ministry of Tourism, Government of India has classified the resort as a Five-Star property and thus proclaims to be one of the best resorts in Namchi. The blissful town is an impressive pocket of nature, culture, adventure and pilgrimage centre. Summit Sobralia Resort & Spa has been blessed with inspiring views of Mount Kanchenjunga and Kalimpong on one side, and the Chardham temples and the towering statue of Guru Padmasambhava on the other side consequently adding a pleasant melody to the experience. Not very far from the local market and just about 20 minutes away from the Chardham, Summit Sobralia is a five-star resort embellished with all the facilities and modern amenities.
Summit Sobralia Resort & Spa is an assortment of four different room categories – the Deluxe Room, Suite, Family Room and the Presidential Suite.
32 Deluxe Rooms : The deluxe rooms are skillfully designed to meet the utmost comfort of the travelers. Their average size is about 250 sq ft. and is well furnished and has some amazing views.
4 Suites : With an average size of 350 sq ft., these chicly designed rooms have a separate living area adorned with wooden furnishing and cozy king-size beds. The suites are well equipped with all the modern amenities including high-speed Wi-Fi, television with an active satellite connection, tea & coffee maker, premium toiletries, 24-hour room service, in-room dining and laundry service.
4 Family Rooms : These rooms are the best option for a family of four. These suites come with two king-sized beds, extended living area and comfortable sofas and private balconies. With an average room size of 350 sq ft., Summit provides lavishly decorated rooms that are comfortable enough for a family to spend some quality time together. An exemplary staff is always present for the guests’ assistance. The family suite is outfitted with a range of modern amenities and facilities like free Wi-Fi, LED TV, free bathroom toiletries, mineral water, tea/coffee maker in the room and many more.
1 Presidential Suite : The name itself suggests the standard of luxury it exudes. Presidential suites emanates the finest quality accommodation with an average room size of 800 sq ft., contributes a separate living area decked with comfortable sofas and a spectacular mountain view to enjoy with the two rooms, Jacuzzi, separate terrace, separate sitting hall, kitchen and more. These rooms promise to provide a wide range of modern amenities and facilities like free Wi-FI, LED TV, free bathroom toiletries, mineral water, tea/coffee maker in the room and many more.
Dining : Summit Sobralia dining offers multi-cuisine, mouth-watering spread with an option of indoor and outdoor dining. You can sit back, relax and enjoy with friends and family. You can choose to sit by the swimming pool and devour the scenic view of the mountain while enjoying your drink. There is a kids’s zone nearby that keeps the toddlers entertained and looked after.
The Metta Spa : Summit Sobralia’s restful mountain surroundings make it the perfect place to unwind with therapies at the spa that include various massages and treatments.
The Summit Sobralia is indeed a perfect place to wind down in the lap of nature and enjoy pristine views of the Kanchenjunga range.
Story of Bengal
Embark on a nine-day journey of Bengal that takes you through extraordinary history intermingled with the present-day vibe. Walk her streets, delve into her countryside, and live in some spectacularly-restored palaces, enjoying her Imperial grandeur, abounding artistic culture and delectable food. Sail her rivers discovering ancient capitals, European settlements and trading posts, magnificent mosques, terracotta temples, churches and synagogues, bustling markets and most importantly her smiling people.
“The sweetest part of India” will not disappoint you. Uncover the secrets of the city of Calcutta with a Glenburn Expert Guide who will walk you through the history and culture that is woven into the city’s heritage.
The Glenburn Penthouse : Rising from a landscape that is surrounded by some iconic landmarks such as the Victoria Memorial, Eden Gardens, the lush green vastness of the Maidan and the majestic bridges that cross the River Hoogly, The Glenburn Penthouse is a discrete, elegant residence in the heart of historic Calcutta. The Penthouse has nine well-appointed suites against the magnificent backdrop of the British Raj.
Bari Kothi : While you explore the former 18th century capital of Bengal, your three nights sojourn will be at the grand Bari Kothi, a magnificently restored edifice that is way beyond gorgeous. Celebrate the lifestyle of the Nawabs of Bengal and the Sheherwali community while you delve into the untold stories of the place followed by delectable meals at the grand Darbar Hall. Bari Kothi offers 15 luxurious suites that are full of character and charm.
Rajbari Bawali : Conclude your journey with an authentic heritage experience enhanced with comfort and luxury at the Rajbari Bawali. Rajbari Bawali is a 250 year old palace that saw 170 years of grand living, parties and eminent guests but soon fell to disrepair when the wealth dwindled after Independence. The ruins have now been restored and reflect the lavishness, style and elegance of the Zamindars of Bengal. Enjoy a relaxing sunset boat cruise, spa treatments, lavish Benagli cuisine, cooking classes, village walks concluded with incredible Baul musical performances in the evenings.