Itinerary in brief:
- 2 nights Amritsar
- 2 nights Dharamsala
- 2 nights Shimla
- 1 night Delhi
Day 1: Delhi to Amritsar
Board the early morning express train to Amritsar today; this journey takes around 6 hours as it winds north-west into the heart of the Punjab.
On arrival into the city you will be met and transferred to your hotel where you will check in for 2 nights on a bed & breakfast basis.
You will spend the rest of the afternoon taking a guided tour of Golden Temple, the heart of the city and home to the Sikh religion. The complex was built in the 16th Century; aside from the temple itself there is an emerald moat surrounding it (‘Pool of Nectar’), a kitchen and dining room that feeds between 60,000 – 80,000 pilgrims per day, and a place where those pilgrims can stay aswell as areas that refer to previous gurus and their legend. The Sikh holy book moves from it’s place of rest to an area where it is read from throughout the day; this ceremony happens twice daily and is great to see.
Day 2: Free day in Amritsar
The morning is free for further exploration; get lost in the maze of alleys outside of the temple or return for sunrise. There are several other temples in the city worth a visit too.
In the afternoon join a tour to the Wagah Border between India and Pakistan to watch the lowering of the flags in a ceremony full of show with lots of noise and spectators.
Day 3: Amritsar to Dharamsala
Today you will set off with your driver across a spur of the mighty Dhauladar Mountain Range; through forests of pine, beautiful hills and tea gardens, this journey takes you north-east to Dharamsala, the residence of the Dalai Lama in exhile. The journey takes around 3 ½ hours and takes you through some stunning scenery – enjoy the ride into the foothills of the Himalayas.
Day 4: Dharamsala
This morning you will take a tour to Upper Dharamsala – to McLeod Ganj, home to the HQ of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The area has become a centre for studying Buddhism and Tibetan culture, and has an interesting mix of Tibetans, travellers, monks and volunteers. Make sure you take an umbrella if you’re there in monsoon (June-Aug), and have plenty of layers to hand from Nov-March when the temperatures drop.
Day 5: Dharamsala to Shimla
The trip continues today – you will be driven 4½ hours south-east to the hill station of Shimla. This is the most famous of all the hill stations, as it was made very popular by the British in the 19th Century as the summer capital of India.
Day 6: Free day in Shimla
After breakfast enjoy a guided tour of the area, where you can choose to take the car or walk part or most of the way. The tour covers the Jakhu temple, the Mall, the Viceregal Lodge via the Museum, Oberoi Cecil and a bird sanctuary.
Day 7: Shimla to Delhi
Enjoy a ride on the famous ‘toy train’ through stunning mountain scenery along the narrow gauge line from Shimla to Kalka. Connect with the Himalayan Queen service from Kalka back to Delhi for your final night – you will be transferred from the station to your hotel.
Day 8: Depart Delhi
Your trip ends today; we will transfer you back to the airport for your onward flight. If you’re interested in linking this trip with further travel in India please speak to your travel consultant who can help to tailor an itinerary that suits you perfectly.