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    Amritsar’s Golden Temple, the holiest shrine in Sikhism

In the Foothills of the Himalaya

India

  • New New
  • A group of people Small Group 24 or less
  • A car with a tick VIP door to door

Go off the beaten track in the Himalayan foothills

Taking you to the iconic temples and hill stations of Northern India, this tour is perfect if you’re looking for something a little off the beaten path.

Discover the sacred spiritual centres of Amritsar (home of the Golden Temple, Sikhism’s holiest shrine) and Dharamshala. Listen for echoes of empire in Shimla and Delhi, the summer and winter capitals of the British Raj. And marvel at the spectacular scenery of the forest-cloaked Himalayan foothills.

Including...

A car with a tickVIP door-to-door travel service

A suitcase with a tick Included travel insurance

A bed 11 nights in hotels and 1 in flight

A plate with a knife and fork 23 meals: 11 breakfasts (days 3-13) 1 lunch (day 11) 11 dinners (days 2-12)

A person Tour manager

Plus...

  • International flights
  • Travel in destination by coach (4-passenger vehicles are used on days 4-8)
  • Porterage

A camera Excursions and visits

  • Visits to the Golden Temple, Dharamshala Mountains, and tea plantation and factory
  • Sightseeing tours of Amritsar (including Durgiana Hindu Temple), Dharamshala, and Old & New Delhi
  • Excursion to Wagah for 'Change of Guard' ceremony
  • Walking tours of Pragpur and Shimla (including the Jakhu Temple)
  • Himalayan ‘Toy Train’ from Shimla to Kandaghat and onward Shatabdi Express from Kalka to Delhi

Prices are based on return flights with Virgin Atlantic from London Heathrow. Supplements may apply from other airports

View Full Itinerary

Day 1 UK to Delhi

Our VIP door-to-door travel service collects you from home for your overnight flight to Delhi.


Day 2 Delhi

Arrive in Delhi, with some time at leisure.

You stay at Roseate House Delhi Aerocity (4*) or Novotel New Delhi Aerocity (4*).


Day 3 - 4 Amritsar

We fly to Amritsar, and transfer to our hotel for some time at leisure to relax. After dinner, we experience one of the great traditions of the city, the ‘putting to bed’ (Palki) ceremony. Twice a day, the holy book of the Sikh faith, the Granth Sahib, is moved in a grand procession from a dedicated chamber in the Sikh Parliament to the Golden Temple, and back again. This daily ritual is really something to behold, hinting at the tremendous spirituality of Amritsar.

In the morning, we return to the Golden Temple, the holiest shrine of Sikhism. At its heart, set within a sacred pool, is the Hari Mandir (Divine Temple). This gold-plated architectural jewel is topped with intricate spires and cupolas, and decorated inside and out with verses from the Granth Sahib. We’ll explore the vast temple complex, including community kitchens which provide free meals to 10,000 pilgrims every day.

Afterwards, we head out to walk the busy bazaars of the city and visit the historic Jallianwala Bagh. We also take some time to admire the Durgiana Hindu temple, which takes its inspiration from the Golden Temple. An afternoon excursion to the India/Pakistan border town of Wagah showcases the pomp and pageantry of the Lowering of the Flag ceremony.


Day 5 - 6 Dharamshala

From Amritsar, we drive the 130-odd miles to Dharamshala, a small hill station surrounded on three sides by snow-capped peaks. This delightful town owes its fame to one particular resident, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who chose it as a place of spiritual exile in 1960.

A morning sightseeing tour of Dharamshala includes the residence of the Dalai Lama and the Norbulingka Institute, a registered trust dedicated to the preservation of Tibetan culture in art and literature.

We visit also the nearby Tibetan Children’s Village, a boarding school at which orphans are provided with a Tibetan education, clothes, food and healthcare.


Day 7 Pragpur

A morning’s drive takes us to the ornamental heritage village of Pragpur by way of a tea plantation and tea factory, where we learn about the plucking and processing of Kangra tea.

In the afternoon, a walking tour of Pragpur’s cobbled streets, lined with richly decorated buildings, offers a glimpse of the village’s regal past. Our hotel, a splendid country mansion surrounded by orchards, is also a delight to explore.


Day 8 - 10 Shimla

Our next destination is Shimla, the summer capital during British rule in India (temperatures here averaged 15-20 degrees cooler than Delhi and the baking hot plains).

It’s an idyllic retreat, surrounded by pine, deodar, oak and rhododendron forests and criss-crossed by mountain streams - and all set against a backdrop of the snow-capped Himalayas.

Echoes of empire still abound in Shimla, in its churches, libraries and grand colonial edifices. Our first full day here begins with a walking tour, including a visit to the Jakhu Temple dedicated to Hanuman, the monkey god.

The following day is at leisure for you to explore and enjoy Shimla.

You stay at Radisson Jass (4*) or Oberoi Clarkes Hotel (4*).


Day 11 Kalka to Delhi

A scenic rail journey aboard the Himalayan ‘Toy Train’ transports us from Shimla through the Shivalik ranges to the delightful hill town of Kandaghat, where we stop for lunch at a local restaurant.

We then drive to Kalka railway station to board the Shatabdi Express, bound for Delhi.

You stay at Crowne Plaza Okhla (4*) or The Suryaa New Delhi (4*).


Day 12 Delhi

We’ll take in the best of Delhi, ‘Old’ and ‘New’, from the hand-carved 12th-century Qutab Minar minaret and the garden-tomb of Emperor Humayun, to the Hindu Birla Temple and the grand avenues and government buildings of Lutyens’ New Delhi.

We also visit Raj Ghat, the memorial to Mahatma Gandhi, and the 17th-century Jama Masjid, the largest mosque in India.


Day 13 Delhi to UK

Transfer to the airport for your return flight to the UK.

Upon arrival, your vehicle will be waiting for the journey home.


In the Foothills of the Himalaya

India