See the spectacular Golden Temple, experience Tibetan culture in the Dalai Lama's home in exhile Dharamsala, and take in the cool air of the hill-station of Shimla - true highlights for any visitor to Northern India. This special itinerary incorporates Amritsar, the home of the Golden Temple and Sikhism, the show of the Indian-Pakistan border ceremony, the spirituality of the home of the Dalai Lama in exhile, Dharamsala, and the colonial toy-town of Shimla.
Spend a week experiencing this trio of very different Indian stops – enjoy the different cultures, lifestyles and backdrops. From fast paced and busy to peaceful and quiet, this is a great introduction to some of the North’s best bits!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
India’s summer kicks in from February onwards, often reaching and exceeding 40 degrees Celcius around April. This can be an ideal time to escape to the hill stations where you will find cooler air! The monsoon season arrives in the North around July to September/October time. November to February is considered ‘winter’ and this is often the best time to visit weather-wise – comfortable temperatures and clear skies. It will be cooler in the mountains of the North during this time so pack a jumper! This is peak tourist time though so beware that hotels and trains will be particularly busy, especially around holiday time when Indian’s travel domestically too.
This is a tailor-made itinerary and as such can be amended to fit your needs – if you want to spend more (or less) time here, or want to include further stops during your travels in India then just let us know and we can help to create the perfect trip!
This trip includes 7 nights in comfortable accommodation; we use a mixture of 3* hotels, traditional heritage properties and Guesthouses to give a truly authentic experience on your travels.