10D Northern India Golden Foothills Tour

Amritsar, Punjab, India
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About

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 kit... Read More

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Brief Info

Tour Duration
10d

Provided by

Encounters Travel

Description

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, 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 you can get to explore its various Buddhist temples and monasteries. Visit the villages of Pragpur and Garli, where you can 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 will 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 you 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.

Important Information

Operating days

Mon,Sat

Departure point

On arrival in Amritsar, you will be picked up from the airport and transferred to your hotel.

Inclusions

9 nights accommodation: Amritsar Hotel (2 Hotel), Mcleod Ganj Hotel (2 nights), Garli Hotel (1 night), Shimla Hotel (2 nights), Delhi Hotel (2 nights) 9 breakfasts, 1 lunch and 1 dinner 24 hour airport arrival and departure transfer service Transport and transfers in AC vehicles Himalayan Queen toy train to Shimla 2nd Class AC Fast train from Chandigarh to Delhi Sightseeing tours and activities as per the itinerary Services of a local tour leader and specialist local guides Meals as indicated in the itinerary

Exclusions

International flights, which will be available on request, Visa fees, Travel insurance, if compulsory, available on request, Meals not indicated in the itinerary, Drinks, snacks and other personal expenses e.g. laundry, Tips for drivers and guides, Entrance fees budget USD 40, payable in Amritsar.

Highlights

Visit Sikh Golden Temple in Amritsar Visit Wagah Border ceremony Visit Buddhist sites at Dharamsala Visit Pragpur and Garli heritage villages Enjoy in Toy train to Shimla Visit Himalayan Foothills Visit Old and New Delhi

Itinerary

Day 1: Amritsar After arriving in the holy city of Amritsar, one of our staff members will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel, where we'll brief you on the itinerary for the next few days. We'll also arrange a time to collect you tomorrow. Days 2: Exploring the Golden Temple Our morning starts with a visit to the Golden Temple, the holiest shrine of the Sikh religion. The entire top of the temple is made of pure gold and its interior is beautifully inlaid with jewels and covered with gold leaf. There's a serene and peaceful atmosphere and it really feels like one of the world's special places. We then spend an hour at the temple's free community kitchen which feeds up to 100,000 people every day. We will eat here and also spend an hour doing Langar Seva helping serve or prepare food, clean or wash up, a small gift of our time and effort in thanks and support. In the afternoon we head through the farmland of rural Punjab, stopping to see what is growing and in season, to experience the Wagah Border ceremony, which takes place every day before sunset. This is a daily military practice that the security forces of India and Pakistan have done since 1959. We'll watch the colourful, rapid dance like manoeuvres of the security forces, which serves as a signal of brotherhood and cooperation between the two nations. We'll head back to Amritsar and you have an option to head back to your hotel, have dinner at a local restaurant or head back to the Golden Temple for the evening 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. This is also a great time to explore the inside of the Golden Temple in detail if it has been very busy with pilgrims during the day. Days 3: A free day in McLeod Ganj Today we'll drive up into the foothills of the Himalayas to Dharamshala and McLeod Ganj. Once we arrive, you have the day free to do some exploring. Mcleodganj is known for its Buddhist monasteries, museums, temples, waterfalls, lakes, and Tibetan settlements and is home to the Tibetan Government in Exile and the Dalai Lama's residence. It's a lovely small place to walk around, with beautiful scenery and good local markets with exotic sculptures, souvenirs and Thangka paintings in abundance. Days 4: A visit to the Dalai Lama Monastery and a trip to a waterfall Today, we'll visit the Dalai Lama Monastery, where we'll attend a puja, a prayer session, that includes chanting mantras, bowing and making offerings. We'll offer lamps and Khagat religious cloth, made of silk and worn around our necks as a show of respect. We'll also visit the 20 metres Bhagsunag Waterfall and Shiva Temple. It's a walk of around 1km from the temple to the main waterfall, which is surrounded by cliffs and trees with great views. If you're brave enough, you can even have a swim in its chilly waters. The freshwater spring beneath the temple produces waters believed to have healing powers and are channelled into large tanks which devotees may bathe to cleansing their ailments. We'll also visit the Naddi View Point, which always provides spectacular views of the Dhauladhar mountain ranges and the pristine Dal Lake below. Days 5: Exploring the Heritage Villages of Pragpur and Garli Our day starts with a visit to the Norbulingka Institute, which is dedicated to the preservation of the Tibetan culture in its literary and artistic forms. We'll then drive to the little visited Heritage Village of Pragpur, which was founded in the late 16th century by the Kuthiala Soods in memory of Princess Prag Dei of the Jaswan royal family. Pragpur is famous for its winding cobbled lanes, mud plastered walls and slate roofed houses. If there's time before lunch, we'll visit the nearby Dada Siba Temple, famous for its Kangra mural and miniature wall paintings. After lunch, we'll explore the village before heading to Garli and checking in at our accommodation for the night. Garli is another heritage village in the Kangra Valley which displays a huge range of colonial and regional architectural styles in its mansions, temples and saris. A local guide will walk us through the village and tell us stories about its history. Days 6: Ride the Toy Train to Shimla Today we'll drive to Dharampur Himachal to board the toy train to Shimla, the capital of the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, in the Himalayan foothills. Shimla was once the summer capital of British India, and it remains the terminus of the Kalka Shimla Railway, completed in 1903. This narrow gauge railway is one of the world's most famous train journeys, now a World Heritage Site, and is a highlight of the tour. The train travels slowly up through the hills, passing over more than a hundred bridges, and through more than a hundred tunnels along the way, with beautiful views around every bend. We catch the Himalayan Queen service, missing the lowest section from Kalka, which shortens the journey to around 3 hours and concentrates on what we feel is the best scenery. The train stops regularly and you can hop off at the many tiny stations and buy some snacks from one of the local vendors plying the platforms. We arrive in Shimla in the afternoon and have time to settle in and look around. Shimla is also known for its craft shops, a pedestrian avenue, as well as the Lakkar Bazaar, a market specializing in wooden toys and crafts. Days 7: Exploring Shimla Today, you have the morning free to explore Shimla, but as an option, you can also choose to trek towards the Tara Devi Temple which is positioned amongst a thick forest of oak and rhododendron and offers scenic views of the lofty Himalayas surrounding the town. This afternoon, we'll go on a walking tour of Shimla, visiting its main attractions such as the Vice Regal Lodge, the Christ Church, the Gaeity Theatre and we'll also take a cable car ride to Jakhu Temple, Shimla's most famous temple, dedicated to the monkey god Hanuman. It's situated on the highest peak in Shimla at a height of 2,455 metres. Days 8: A train ride to Delhi, transfer to hotel Your morning is free to explore Shimla further, and we'll depart just before midday, driving down out of the hills to Kalka where we board an evening fast train to Delhi. Once you arrive, we'll transfer you to your hotel for the night. Days 9: Explore 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 an 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. Days 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.

Voucher type

mobile

Terms and conditions

Cancellation policy

You can cancel your tour until 14 days before your travel date

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