This 10-day Northern India tour takes you to the foothills of the towering Himalayas and includes a visit to Amritsar’s Sikh Golden Temple and the Buddhist enclave in Mcleodganj, exploring the less-visited heritage visitors and takes you on a scenic mountain railway journey.
This North India tour starts in Amritsar, where you’ll have the chance to visit the Golden Temple twice, giving you the opportunity to participate in a Langar Sevar in a community kitchen. Then, we’ll head to the India & Pakistan border, where we witness the unique Wagah Border ceremony before we head north towards the tiny town of Mcleod Ganj, which is the home of the Tibetan Government in exile, and we’ll get to explore its various Buddhist temples and monasteries.
Our next stop is a visit to the villages of Pragpur and Garli, as we take in its old colonial architecture, before heading up the mountain towards Shimla, with a section of the journey commencing on the Himalayan Queen 'toy train'. You’ll also travel through one of India’s most famous mountain narrow gauge railways and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You’ll be enthralled by the scenic views along the way as we make our way up hills, underneath bridges and through winding tunnels.
Once you arrive in Shimla, you have some time to explore, hiking and taking cable car rides to temples situated on the hilltops, before we explore the town and make our way back to India’s capital city of Delhi via train and you’ll have the chance to explore its old and new sides before the tour ends.
Sikh Golden Temple in Amritsar, Wagah Border ceremony, Buddhist sites at Dharamsala, Pragpur & Garli heritage villages, Toy train to Shimla, Himalayan Foothills, Old and New Delhi
Day 1, Welcome to Amritsar - airport to hotel transfer included After your flight to Amritsar, one of our staff members will be there to meet and greet you, before transferring you to your hotel for the day. Once you’ve settled in, we’ll brief you on what lies ahead, before arranging a time to collect you in the morning. OVERNIGHT: Amritsar hotel EXTRAS: Single Room Supplement
Day 2, A visit to Amritsar’s Golden Temple Our first full day of our India tour starts at the holiest shrine of the Sikh religion the Golden Temple. If you look up, you’ll notice that the entire top of the temple is made of gold and its interior is laden with jewels and gold leaf. We’ll then spend some time in the temple’s free community kitchen, which sustains over 100,000 people every day. We’ll have a meal here before partaking in a Langar Seva - where we either help to serve or prepare good, or clear up and wash up. This afternoon, we’ll make our way to rural Punjab, exploring its farmlands before experiencing the colourful Wagah Border Ceremony which occurs every day at sunset. This daily event sees the security forces of India and Pakistan join to participate in unique, rapid dancing, which signifies the brotherhood and cooperation between the two nations. We’ll travel back to Amritsar and you have the option to head back to your hotel, have dinner at a local restaurant or travel back to the Golden Temple to witness the Palki Sahib Ceremony - which sees the Holy Book, the Guru Granth Saab carried from the main shrine in Hari Mandir to the sanctum, where it rests for a few hours until the opening ceremony the following morning. We have also have the chance to explore the interior of the Golden Temple, which may have been busy with pilgrims earlier in the day. OVERNIGHT: Amritsar hotel MEALS: Breakfast, Lunch
Day 3, A free day in McLeod Ganj We’ll make our way to the edge of the towering Himalayas to to Dharamshala and McLeod Ganj, where we have the day free to do as we please. Mcleod Ganj is famous for its places for its Buddhist monasteries, temples, waterfalls and lakes. It's also the home of the Tibetan government in exile and the residency of the Dalai Lama. Feel free to explore, taking in the beautiful scenery and explore its bustling craft and produce markets. OVERNIGHT: McLeod Ganj hotel MEALS: Breakfast
Day 4, Exploring the Dalai Lama Monastery After a free day in Mcleod Ganj, we’ll start things with a visit to the Dalai Lama Monastery, taking part in a prayer session known as a puja, which includes chanting mantras, bowing and making offerings. As a show of respect, we’ll offer lamps and religious cloth, made of silk and is worn around our neck. We’ll also make our way to the Bhagsunag Waterfall and Shiva Temple, which is surrounded by towering cliffs, which provides us with spectacular views. A freshwater spring runs below the temple, which is thought to have healing powers. In fact, its water is collected in large tanks, and the devotees bathe in them to cleanse their ailments. Our day ends with a trip to the Naddi View Point, which provides breathtaking views of the Dhauladhar mountain ranges and the pristine Dal Lake below. OVERNIGHT: McLeod Ganj hotel MEALS: Breakfast
Day 5, Exploring the Heritage Villages of Pragpur & Garli Today we’ll visit the Norbulingka Institute, built to commemorate the Tibetan culture’s literary and art forms. We’ll then make our way to the Pragpur Heritage Village, which was founded in the 16th century. Pragpur is notable for its cobbled paths, mud-plastered walls and slate-roofed houses. If we have time before lunch, we’ll make our way to the Dada Siba Temple, well-known for its miniature wall paintings before exploring another heritage village - Garli in the Kangra Valley. A local guide will take us on a walking tour of the village, as we gain insight about its history before checking in at our accommodation for the evening. OVERNIGHT: Garli hotel MEALS: Breakfast, Dinner
Day 6, A Toy Train Ride to Shimla We start our day with a drive to Dharampur Himanchal and hop on the ‘toy train’ to Shimla, situated on the edge of the towering Himalayas. Shimla used to be the summer capital of British India and is still one of the stops of the Kalka-Shimla Railway built in 1903. Its narrow gauge railway is one of the most famous train rides on the planet and has since become a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We’ll board the Himalayan Queen service, missing the lowest section from Kalka, which shortens the journey considerably but shows you the most scenery. We’ll stop along the way for snacks, before arriving in Shimla in the afternoon, which is known for its unique craft shops, bazaars and markets. OVERNIGHT: Shimla hotel MEALS: Breakfast
Day 7, Exploring Shimla We have some leisure time this morning to explore Shimla independently or you can choose to hike to the Tara Devi Temple, which offers spectacular views of the Himalayas which surround it. We’ll continue to explore Shimla this afternoon, this time on foot, as we explore its popular sites such as the Vice Regal Lodge, the Christ Church, the Gaeity Theatre and we’ll also take a cable car ride to Jakhu Temple which is dedicated to the monkey god Hanuman. The temple is perched on Shimla’s highest peak at a towering height of 2455 metres. OVERNIGHT: Shimla hotel MEALS: Breakfast
Day 8, A train ride to Delhi. Transfer to hotel We have some free time this morning to explore Shimla, but we’ll say our final goodbyes at midday, driving over the hills of Kalka, as we board an evening train to Delhi. Once we arrive, we will transport you to your hotel for the evening. OVERNIGHT: Delhi hotel MEALS: Breakfast
Day 9, Exploring Old and New Delhi Our day starts with a morning tour of India's capital, New Delhi. Built on the banks of the Yamuna river, New Delhi is a beautiful blend of a historical past and a vibrant present. We start at India Gate in the centre of New Delhi, a 42-metre high "Arc-de-Triomphe" like archway, a war memorial built to commemorate the 82,000 soldiers who partook in the undivided Indian Army. We’ll drive past various government buildings such as the President's Palace and the Parliament of India, before passing Humayun's Tomb - a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the Bangla Sahab Gurudwara Sikh Temple. We'll stop at Connaught Place Station and join the locals on the metro to Old Delhi where we'll walk through one of the oldest and busiest markets in Old Delhi, Chandni Chowk, before exploring the narrow streets of Chawri Bazar which specialises in selling brass, copper and paper products. Throughout the afternoon our guide will also introduce you to the wide range of street food snacks and delicacies so you can get a final taste of the delicious and varied Indian cuisine. Our walking tour will also take in a rickshaw ride and the Jama Masjid mosque, one of the largest in India. OVERNIGHT: Delhi hotel MEALS: Breakfast
Day 10, Bon Voyage! Airport transfer included After breakfast, you’ll say your final goodbyes before we transfer you to the airport, where you’ll board your flight back home. If you'd like to see more of India, then extensions are available to visit the Holy City of Varanasi, head to the beaches of Goa, or go on safari looking for tigers at Ranthambore National Park. Our North Indian Highlights tour also extends this trip to the Golden Triangle centres of Jaipur and Agra. OVERNIGHT: N/A MEALS: Breakfast
9 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 1 dinner
All accommodation in mid range hotels and heritage properties
24-hour airport arrival & departure transfer service
Transport and transfers in AC vehicles
Himalayan Queen toy train to Shimla
Fast train from Chandigarh to Delhi (2nd class AC)
Sightseeing tours and activities as per the itinerary
Services of a local tour leader and specialist local guides
Meals as indicated in the itinerary
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