Eastern India retains much of India's colonial architecture and atmosphere, and Calcutta is an endlessly fascinating city, but there is far more to see aside from the capital of West Bengal. Calcutta had, until recently, a reputation for squalor and poverty, but in this vibrant city of 13 million inhabitants sits an important part of east India's historical heritage in buildings such as the Marble Palace,
the Botanical and Eden Gardens, the Victoria Memorial, and in the museum. This delta is home to one of Eastern India's many and diverse ecosystems - Sunderbans with its huge mangrove forests (where we have a huge replanting programme in place) and tiger reserve. There's even more to Eastern India holidays: further to the north the Himalayan foothills are perfect for trekking. One of the key areas is Darjeeling, where you can stay in a lodge surrounded by rolling tea plantations and spectacular views of the Himalayas. From here you can continue north into Sikkim for a few days walking. Once an independent Himalayan Kingdom like Bhutan, the state is scattered with monasteries along what was once the main Himalayan trade route.
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What you can find in Eastern India that you won't find anywhere else?
Eastern India and Calcutta holidays give you the chance to explore this vibrant, mesmerising city: a place with real soul. Immeasurably immense, Calcutta (or Kolkata, as it has been renamed) is a city of 14 million inhabitants, making it the second most populous city in India, after Mumbai and before Delhi. But it is also spectacularly rich in culture, and retains many beautiful vestiges of the colonial era as well as boasting dynamic new-town suburbs that have sprung up following the city's recent and rapid economic development. A visit here introduces you to the vibrant colours and loveable commotion of India, a country that is impossible to ignore and impossible to forget.
A short flight from Calcutta is Assam, where we recommend joining a river cruise along the Brahmaputra river to visit Kaziranga National Park and (hopefully) see indigenous one-horned rhinos. Even further north and east the forested hills are populated by tribal people more Burmese than Indian in appearance and culture.
Finally, for yet another variety of Eastern India holiday, Orissa's temples and beaches are well worth exploration.