Foothills of Himalayas

14 NOV - 24 NOV 2020

 

Journey to spectacular snow-capped Himalayan mountain scenery on this spiritual adventure. See daily traditions and ceremonies at the Golden Temple of Amritsar, embrace ancient spiritual cultures in the Tibetan hillside city of Dharamshala, home of the Dalai Lama, stay at a tea plantation and ride the famous toy train to the hill station of Shimla. Then visit Rishikesh, the yoga capital of the world, where the mighty Ganges river flows through.

 
 

 
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Overview

Delhi ( Novotel Aerocity - 5 star hotel - Standard room )
• Amritsar ( Taj Swarna - Boutique hotel - Deluxe Room )
• Hoshiarpur ( Citrus County - Luxury lodge - Deluxe Tent )
 Dharamshala ( Fortune Park Moksha - Boutique hotel - Club Room )
• Palampur ( Norwood Green - Boutique heritage hotel - Cottage )
• Shimla ( Oberoi Cecil - Luxury lodge - Luxury Room )
• Chandigarh ( Taj Chandigarh - Luxury hotel - Deluxe Room )

EXTENSION
• Varanasi ( Taj Ganges - Luxury hotel - Deluxe room )
• Delhi ( Novotel Aerocity - 5 star hotel - Standard room )

 

Trip Itinerary

Day 1

Arrival / Delhi  Transfer and welcome at the Novotel Aerocity hotel.

Day 2

Delhi /Amritsar Breakfast at the hotel. Morning at your leisure. Early afternoon flight to Amritsar. Check in to hotel. Free for lunch. Afternoon visit to the historic Partition Musuem. Visit the legendary Golden Temple for a special night ceremony. Spiritually, the focus is the tank that surrounds the gleaming central shrine, the ‘Amrit Sarovar’, from which Amritsar takes its name. Dinner and overnight at the Taj Amritsar hotel.

Day 3

Amritsar Morning visit to the Golden Temple. Ringed by a marble walkway, the tank is said to have healing powers and pilgrims come from across the world to bathe in its sacred waters. Floating at the end of a long causeway, the Golden Temple itself is a mesmerising blend of Hindu and Islamic architectural styles, with an elegant marble lower level adorned with flower and animal motifs in pietra dura work (as seen on the Taj Mahal). Above this rises a shimmering second level, encased in intricately engraved gold panels, and topped by a dome gilded with 750kg of gold. In the gleaming inner sanctum priests and musicians keep up a continuous chant from the Guru Granth Sahib (the Sikh holy book). Breakfast at the hotel. Drive to Agra and check-in at Taj Gateway hotel. Free time for lunch. Afternoon visit to the 17th-century World Heritage-listed Agra Fort followed by a sunset visit to the iconic Taj Mahal. Free for lunch. Later visit Jalianwala Bagh and the Wagah border. Dinner and overnight at the Taj Gateway hotel.

Day 4

Amritsar / Citrus County Breakfast at the hotel. Drive to Citrus county. Take a village walk to see a typical ‘punjabi’ village setting and enjoy meeting the locals and exploring. Free time for dinner. Overnight at the Citrus County lodge.

Day 5

Citrus County /Dharamshala Breakfast at the hotel. Drive to hillside Dharamshala and on arrival check in to hotel. Dharamsala has become the best place to learn about Tibet and to be immersed in Tibetan daily life, culture, arts and religion. Afternoon at your leisure to explore and rub shoulders with Tibetan monks. Dinner and overnight at the Fortune Park Moksha.

Day 6

Dharamshala Breakfast at the hotel. Morning sightseeing and exploring. Tibetan arts and handicrafts, including carpets, thanka (religious paintings), musical instruments, various brass statues and religious artefacts, handbags, clothes and knitwear can be found at various Tibetan centres, shops and street stalls. Lunch at an authentic Tibetan local restaurant. Enjoy the rest of your day at leisure. You can visit temples, watch live performances of Tibetan dance, opera, music and theatre. Dinner and overnight at the Fortune Park Moksha.

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Day 7

Dharamshala / Palampur Breakfast at the hotel. Drive to Palampur and enjoy panoramic enroute sightseeing and visit a tea garden. Check in at the hotel located on a tea plantation. Enjoy the ambience of the surroundings. At the foot of the impressive Dhauladhar mountain range, 35km southeast of Dharamsala, Palampur is surrounded by tea plantations, rice fields and pine woods. You can visit tea factories or enjoy a cup of tea after a hike into the hills. Dinner and overnight at the Norwood Green.

Day 8

Palampur / Shimla Breakfast time. Drive up to picturesque Shimla. Explore the historic town and lunch on its long, winding main street, The Mall. Spread along a 12km ridge, with steep forested hillsides falling away in all directions, the Himachal capital is one of India's most popular hill resorts, once the summer capital of British India. Below The Mall, exist the maze-like alleys and stairways of the bustling bazaar. Afternoon at your leisure. Dinner and overnight at the Oberoi Cecil lodge.

Day 9

Shimla Breakfast at the hotel. Full day heritage walk with Shimla Walk exploring the hillside region. Enjoy lunch at Dhami’s House, a Royal Home Stay near Shimla decked with antiques and heirlooms with lovely valley, hill and forest views. Evening and dinner at your leisure. Overnight at the Oberoi Cecil lodge.

Day 10

Shimla / Chandigarh Breakfast time. Transfer to Kandhaghat railway station to ride the Toy train, the ‘Himalayan Queen’ to Dharampur railway station. The train passes tthrough many tunnels and scenic bends. Packed lunch and refreshments. Drive to Chandigarh andl check in to hotel. Swiss architect Le Corbusier designed much of the city in1950, using his favourite material: reinforced concrete. Seventy years on and the parks, monuments and civic squares are all still here, although architecturally may not be everyone’s cup of chai, but it is very comfortable and cosmopolitan. Afternoon visit to Nek Chand’s Rock Garden, one of the region’s most intriguing attractions. Free for dinner. Overnight at the Taj Chandigarh hotel.

Day 11

Chandigarh / Delhi Breakfast at the hotel. Drive to Delhi. Rest of your day at leisure. Transfer to airport for international flight and departure.



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Prepare for your trip

 India is everything, and more, all at once.

It's a sensory potpourri; a visual explosion of bright saris, lumbering cows, marigolds, incense, spices and bursts of sunlight - where you're guaranteed to craft your very own Darjeeling Limited experience.

As for the language, Hindi isn't spoken by everyone in India - in fact there are more than 20 languages spoken throughout the country and English tends to serve as a common one.

A few Hindi phrases will definitely help along the way: "Namaskar" (hello), "shukriya" (thank you), "aap kaise hai" (how are you), "kitna hai" (how much) and "naam kya hai" (what's your name), may come in handy on your trip.

As for money, you'll be dealing in Indian rupees - there are about 55 rupees to each Aussie dollar. Credit cards are widely accepted, but make sure you know all your pin codes as signing has been phased out around the country.

TIBET IN EXILE

The Tibetan settlement of Dharamshala began in 1959, when the Dalai Lama had to flee Tibet and the Prime Minister of India allowed him and his followers to settle in McLeodGanj (in Upper Dharmshala), a former colonial British summer picnic spot.

In 1970, The Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, opened the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives which houses over 80,000 manuscripts and other important resources related to Tibetan history, politics and culture. It is considered one of the most important institutions for Tibetology in the world, the new director is Geshe Lahkdor, the old translator of the Dalai Lama.

Several thousand Tibetan exiles have now settled in the area, where they have built monasteries, temples and schools.

 
 

WHAT'S INCLUDED

All tours include domestic flights, accommodation, transport, air conditioned mini coach with refreshments, sightseeing entrance fees, special tour events and activities, local guides, most meals and tipping (except for national guide). Prices may be subject to currency fluctuation or surcharges.


TOUR PRICE

11 Days /10 Nights
$ 6,330
( twin share per person )
$ 2,072 ( single supplement )
Locally escorted


VARANASI post tour EXTENSION
4 Days /3 Nights•24–27 Nov
$ 1,970
( twin share per person )
$ 476 ( single supplement )



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