Day 1: Bagdogra to Darap Drive time: 5.5 hours
Pickup from Bagdogra airport and drive to Darap, a picturesque village 6 kilometers from Pelling . Darap is a hotbed of cultural diversity with Limboo, Bhutia, Gurung and Rai tribes coexisting in harmony. Gently sloped terraced fields with panoramic views of snow capped mountains welcome you to the village. It is an ideal place to experience the rural Sikkimese way of life. O/n at a homestay in Darap village
Day 2: Darap
Start our day with a traditional breakfast consisting of Fafar, a local millet flatbread and farm fresh vegetables. Post breakfast we go for a walk through the terraced village, skirting black cardamom fields, absorbing the routines of farm life here. We hike up to a local Limboo house in the village for lunch. Starting with Khodo, a tea made out of corn, main course will involve rice with various varieties of grown and foraged vegetables.
In the early evening we learn how to prepare Churpi,a local soft cheese,used in many of their dishes. The later half of the evening, we warm up around a fire and sip local millet beer, known asChang, out of traditional wooden casks called Tungba.Supper will involve a fermented spinach soup called Gundruk, followed by Churpiand other farm vegetables.
Day 3: Darap to Kewzing
After breakfast we bid farewell to our hosts. On the way we visitKhecheopalrilake, a sacred lake nestled in the hills. Considered to be of great reverence for both Buddhists and Hindus in these parts, it is believed to fulfil any wish asked by a devotee. From here we drive to Yuksom, the first capital of Sikkim, where the first Chogyal (holy King) was coroneted in 1642. We will visit the site and see the stone throne.
From Yuksom drive on to Kewzing. For dinner we will have some special delicacies made out of pork: Gyari – a pork stew using local spices and Gyuma– a local sausage prepared out of Pork mince. O/n at a Homestay in Kewzing
Day 4: Kewzing
Kewzing which translates to ‘Land of Wheat Fields’ is a predominantly Bhutia village. With three monasteries belonging to different Buddhist sects,it the ideal place to experience the Buddhist way of life. The village boasts of the only Bon monastery in all of Sikkim.
For breakfast we will have Gyathuk, a local broth made of vegetables and handmade noodles, learn hands on how to prepare this broth with your hosts. After breakfast we set out to explore the village and the scenic fields where they grow a variety of vegetables and crops. We will learn how to prepare distilled alcohol out of corn. From here we trek uphill through a mixture of forest and open fields to the Bon monastery.
In the evening we learn to make Momos, or Tibetan dumplings. O/n at a Homestay in Kewzing
Day 5: Kewzing to Dzongu Drive time: 5 hours
Our culinary journey takes us farther, to Dzongu -the homeland of the Lepchas. The Lepchas an indigenous community of Sikkim, referrer to this area as ‘Mayal Lyang’ , meaning the Hidden Paradise.
After lunch there will be a demonstration on the entire process of making ‘Chi’ the local brew made out of millet. Later in the evening over a warm bon fire we will sample its flavors, while being regaled by local folk stories by a village elder. O/n at a homestay
Day 6: Dzongu
In the morning set out to the fields for a hands on session which will give us a deeper understanding of organic farming and its relationship with the environment . Thereafter we will drive down to the Rong river from some local fishing and a traditional meal cooked in bamboo.
In the second half we will drive to some waterfalls and visit some other villages , enjoying the breathtaking landscapes of this little know part of Sikkim . For dinner we enjoy some traditional Lepcha dishes like Khuree (Buckwheat rolls), Po nguzom ( rice and meat cooked in bamboo), and Kanne Cheyu ( mushroom curry) . O/n at a homestay
Day 7: Dzongu
Most indigenous communities possess an incredible amount of knowledge about the forests, both in terms of food and medicine. This traditional knowledge has been fine tuned through centuries of interaction with mother nature. Today we will set off on a guided walk through the forest to acquire some of this information as we go about foraging for varieties of plants.
In the second half we will learn to make come chutneys out of the foraged plants and herbs. O/n at a homestay
Day 8: Hee Gyathang to Gangtok Drive time: 2 hours
Bid farewell to our hosts and drive to Gangtok, the capital city of Sikkim.
In the evening we will visit the fresh market in Gangtok to see the diversity of fresh vegetables and other items sold over there. O/n at Rhenock House or similar
Day 9: Gangtok to Bagdogra Drive time: 5.5 hours
Drop to Bagdogra airport. Participants are advised to book flights leaving after 2 pm