Essentially North: Himalayas, Golden Temple, Delhi
Essentially North: Himalayas, Golden Temple, Delhi combines the most prominent destinations of North India, the Himalayas and an element of spirituality. Here, you visit the Mughal areas of Delhi and Agra (Taj Mahal), walk around the colonial areas of Shimla, explore monasteries and areas where Tibetan Buddhism is thriving in Dharamsala, get the first glimpse of the mighty Himalayas and experience the air of spirituality surrounding the Golden Temple.
Essentially North: Himalayas, Golden Temple, Delhi Highlights
- Marvel at the monuments of the Mughal era in Delhi (Humayun’s Tomb, Red Fort and Qutab Minar)
- Experience the Taj Mahal in Agra, one of the original Seven Wonders of the World
- Go back in time with the Kalka-Shimla heritage train
- Get charmed by the colonial heritage of Shimla
- Explore areas where Tibetan Buddhism is thriving in Dharamsala and Mcleodganj
- Get a glimpse of the Himalayas at Shimla and Dharamsala
- Feel the air of spirituality surrounding the Golden Temple in Amritsar
- Hotel accommodation in a double / twin room with buffet breakfast at all places
- Visit to Taj Mahal
- Cycle rickshaw ride in old Delhi
- Entrance fees at monuments mentioned in the itinerary
- English speaking local guides during sightseeing as per itinerary
- All transfers, sightseeing and Temple visits as per programme using an air-conditioned medium sedan car at all places (same car driver throughout the trip)
- Packaged water stocked in car
- Train tickets from Delhi – Kalka (AC chair car class) and Kalka – Shimla (Non AC chair car class)
- Any and all applicable taxes are included
- Any air fare or train fare
- Any meals that are ordered other than that which is part of the “Cost includes”
- Expenses of a personal nature such as gratuities, telephone calls, laundry, liquor etc.
- Additional costs and charges as applicable based on an changes made during the holiday
- India visa charges
- Travel insurance
- Any other item not specified in ‘Inclusions’
- Credit card bank charges
Expert Travel Opinion
Heritage Travellers – You can opt for one of the fine heritage hotels at Shimla, Dharamsala and/or Amritsar.
Experiential Travellers – You can opt for standalone experiences or stay options with experiential character as under:
- Delhi and Amritsar are renowned for heritage walks. Guided walk can be organised.
- Amritsar is most renowned for ethnic cuisine. Guided cuisine walk can be organised.
- Pragpur between Shimla and Dharamsala is a heritage village and popular with experiential travellers. You may consider an additional night or two at Pragpur or stay at Pragpur instead of Dharamsala.
- Gurdaspur between Dharamsala and Amritsar is home to some celebrated experiential lodges that offer travellers an experience of the Punjab countryside. You may consider an additional night or two at Gurdaspur or stay at Gurdaspur instead of Amritsar.
Adventure Seekers – Himachal Pradesh has many options for adventure travellers as under:
- There are many walking trails around Shimla (Mashobra area). You need to spend additional nights at Shimla or Mashobra for this.
- Bir (between Shimla and Dharamsala) is the Hang gliding capital of India. Overnight stay required to be able to undertake tandem (for beginners) or solo flight (for experienced hang gliders).
- Mcleodgunj is a base point for many treks in Dhauladhar area (e.g. Triund). You need to spend a day acclimatising before undertaking one of these treks.
Day 01 - Delhi
Arrive at Delhi
Arrive at Delhi, the capital of India, one of the main gateways to India. Here you will meet our representative and get introduced to your private driver for the rest of your stay in Delhi. Arrive at the hotel in New Delhi for an overnight relaxed stay.
Day 02 - Delhi
Explore UNESCO Heritage Sites in Delhi
Today you will visit UNESCO Heritage Sites and the prominent monuments of Delhi. You will start with the Qutab Minar in south Delhi, a 240 foot minaret and one of the tallest in the world. After spending half an hour at the Qutab Minar, you will travel 20 minutes to visit the Baha’i Temple in south-east Delhi (popularly known as the Lotus Temple), a unique lotus shaped temple with no deity. From the Baha’i Temple, proceed northwards to visit Humayun’s Tomb (16th century tomb of the Mughal emperor Humayun and a UNESCO World Heritage Site). Thereafter drive past India Gate (War Memorial), the Parliament House and the Presidential Palace before stopping for lunch.
After lunch proceed to areas in old Delhi in central Delhi to visit the Red Fort (dated 17th century, residence of Mughal emperors for over 200 years and a UNESCO Heritage Site). After visiting the Red Fort, return to the hotel and spend the evening leisurely on your own.
- If you are staying around Connaught Place in central Delhi, you may return to the Red Fort in the evening at 7:30 PM for the light and sound show. Alternatively, you can explore the beauty of one of the oldest commercial complexes built by the British, Connaught Place, popular for pubs, lounges, restaurants and big showrooms selling branded merchandise and handicrafts.
- If you are staying around south Delhi, you may visit Hauz Khas Village for shopping and dinner (Hauz Khas Village is well-known for pubs, lounges, restaurants and exquisite shops selling designer clothing and handicrafts).
Day 03 - Agra
Day visit to Agra to visit the Taj Mahal
Today you will depart early in the morning (8 AM) for an excursion to Agra (210km - 4 hours) and reach by noon. You willvisit the Taj Mahal, one of the original Seven Wonders of the World and the most visited monument in India. Spend this time marvelling at the monument, walking around the large complex, taking photographs and visiting the chambers within the Taj Mahal. You will return to Delhi in the evening.
Expert Tip: One may try and visit other significant monuments in Agra such as the Agra Fort.
Day 04 - Shimla
Take a train to Kalka connecting to the Kalka-Shimla heritage train
You will start very early on day 4 (6:30 AM departure) to take a train from New Delhi Railway Station to Kalka connecting to the Kalka-Shimla heritage train, which takes you to Shimla (6000 feet above sea level), the erstwhile summer capital of the British Raj in India, now the capital of the state of Himachal Pradesh and a sought after hill station.
Train timings - Kalka Shatbadi (12011) - New Delhi 07:40 - Kalka 11:45
Himalyan Queen (52455) - Kalka 12:10 - Simla 17:30
The Kalka–Shimla Railway narrow-gauge railway was built in 1898 under the British Raj having 107 tunnels and 864 bridges. The railway was recognised by UNESCO as a heritage site in 2008 under the Mountain Railways of India. The train will offer spectacular views and an experience of travelling back in time. You will reach Shimla in the evening. At the railway station in Shimla you will meet the driver who will drop you to the hotel where you will spend the rest of the evening at leisurely on your own.
- Breakfast and snacks will be served in the Delhi - Kalka leg of the train
- Although the two trains are interconnected, you will be required to get down and take the heritage train from another platform at Kalka Railway Station.
- It snows in Shimla during the months of January and February. If there is bad weather resulting in non-operation of the train on a particular day, we will organise an alternative form of transportation (car ) to Shimla from Kalka Railway Station.
Day 05 - Shimla
Explore colonial heritage sites of Shimla
Today you explore the colonial heritage areas of Shimla. Walk around Mall Road area as it is closed for vehicular traffic. There are many colonial era buildings in this area. At one end of the road is the Christ Church (built at The Ridge in a neo-Gothic style in 1857) and is one of the most prominent landmarks of Shimla. The Ridge offers stunning views of the valley and a short walk from here leads to Lakkad Bazaar (wood craft market). Walking a little further takes you to the Vice Regal Lodge, the most impressive colonial structure and the former residence of the Viceroy of British India.
Later in the afternoon, you will go on an excursion to nearby areas of Mashobra and Kufri (both within a 25km radius) offering stunning views of the Himalayas in winter. In the evening, you will return to the hotel.
Day 06 - Dharamsala
Travel to Dharamsala / Mcleodganj
Today you will travel to Dharamsala (240km - 7 hours). Dharamsala (3500 feet above sea level) and Mcleodganj (6200 feet above sea level - 8km from Dharamsala) are twin destinations that offer views of the Dhauladhar range of the Himalayas and are home to His Holiness Dalai Lama and Dalai Lama followers from across the globe.
The journey takes you through some winding roads and pristine countryside’s of the state of Himachal Pradesh. There is a lot of bustle enroute as you pass local markets and villages. You will arrive by late afternoon. You can spend the evening leisurely on your own.
Expert Tip: One can spend the evening having a quiet dinner at Mcleodganj, home to many cafes, restaurants, etc. serving a wide range of cuisines from across the globe, including authentic Tibetan cuisine.
Day 07 - Dharamsala
Explore Dharamsala / Mcleodganj
Today incudes exploreing Dharamsala and Mcleodganj, starting with the Norbulingka Institute, a cultural centre dedicated to the preservation of Tibetan culture, literature, art and craft. Here you can shop for souvenirs especially Tibetan craft items. Thereafter, proceed to Mcleodganj (8km), to visit the home of His Holiness Dala Lama, popularly known as "The Dalai Lama Monastery". The streets leading to the monastery are a mini-Tibetan market with a wide range of small shops and restaurants alongside. The monastery is impressive; the central hall has a tall golden statue of Guru Riponche (or Guru Padmasambhava). After exploring the monastery and Tibetan Market, proceed to St. John's Church dated 1852, andbuilt in a Neo-Gothic architectural style. The church is surrounded by thick woodlands and Naddi(a village area) which offers close range views of the Himalayas. Later, you return to the hotel in the evening where you will spend the rest of the evening on your own.
Day 08 - Amritsar
Travel to Amritsar to visit the Golden Temple
Today you will travel to Amritsar (200km - 4 hours). Amritsar is home to the most significant Sikh pilgrimage, Harmandir Sahib Gurdwara (dated 16th century) which is popularly known as the Golden Temple and it gets 100,000+ visitors on a daily basis from across the globe. The complex is large and open round the clock. The music, chanting and overall devotional mood of the Golden Temple offers an unforgettable spiritual experience. At the Golden Temple, also visit the world's largest community kitchen (100,000 to 300,000 free meals served daily). Thereafter, return to the hotel.
Day 09 - Delhi
Take a flight to Delhi
Depart for a flight from Amritsar Airport (10km from Amritsar town) to Delhi for your onward international departure.
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