RANGING FROM THE SHORES of the Bay of Bengal to the peak of the Kanchenjunga, the third-highest peak in the world and the highest in India, the region offers a spectacular variation in landscapes. This itinerary takes you to Bengal and Sikkim. Darjeeling is one of the most beautiful hill stations in the East and one that allows you glimpses of the majestic peaks of Mount Everest and Mount Kanchenjunga on a clear day. The Indian Mountaineering Institute is worth a visit to see exhibits of famous expeditions, particularly the first successful attempt by Tenzing and Hillary. Especially visit the Tibetan Monastery at Ghoom where an enormous gilded statue of Buddha is enshrined. Going on to Sikkim, the capital Gangtok is like a fairy-tale place, where pretty houses perch precariously on steep mountain slopes above incredible scenic panoramas. Built in the pagoda style, they have painted turquoise roofs, gleaming above busy bazaars that are filled with elegantly costumed, smiling people. Tiny Sikkim has 194 monasteries or gompas of which the 50-year-old Rumtek Monastery is the most famous – an excellent replica of the original in Tibet.