Group Tour 11 days from £1645 per person

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  Places Visited: Amritsar, Dharamsala, Pragpur, Shimla, Delhi

This fascinating, off-the-beaten-track tour invites you to Amritsar, the sacred home of Sikhism and the impressive Golden Temple, situated within the shimmering waters of a holy tank where we experience one of the largest voluntary kitchens in the world that feeds thousands every day. Driving through picturesque scenery, you head for the foothills of the Himalayas into Buddhist country towards Dharamsala and McLeod Ganj, the residence of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, to visit the monastery and the cultural Norbulinka Institute. We head onto the Kangra Valley and Shimla, the summer capital of the British Raj, where some spectacular architecture of the period survives.


Golden Temple

Holiday Types

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Travel Arrangements

  • Group Size 4 -12 people
  • Internal Travel Arrival & departure transfers, Internal travel by road and rail
  • Accompanying Guide English-speaking guides, accompanying tour escort when minimum group size achieved
  • Accommodation 10 nights
  • Meal Plan Breakfast daily. Lunch on days 2, 6, 8. Dinner on day 1


Itinerary for Golden Temple and the Himalayas

Day 1

You will be met on arrival in Amritsar and transferred to your hotel, the Hyatt Amritsar or similar for two nights. The rest of the day is free for relaxation with a welcome dinner this evening.

For pure, ethereal beauty, there’s only one building in India to rival the Taj Mahal. The Sikhs’ holiest shrine, the ‘Golden Temple’, casts an undeniably powerful spell. The combined effect of the lustrous, gilded domes, the shimmering reflections in the water and hymns emanating from the shrine are at once humbling and elevating.

Another experience not to be missed while in the region is the flag lowering ceremony at Wagah, where, each day, resplendently moustachioed soldiers from the rival nations perform a ludicrous marching and saluting routine leading up to the slamming shut of the frontier gates. Think of the Monty Python ‘Funny Walks’ skit in front of large, cheering crowds and you’ll get the picture!

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Day 2

A full day of sightseeing starts with a morning walk through the bustling lanes of the old city followed by a visit to the poignant site of Jallianwala Bagh. Visit the majestic Golden Temple complex, one of the holiest shrines of the Sikh faith. Take part in the communal lunch (langar) where thousands are fed for free every day. In the afternoon drive to the Wagah border to see the indulgent joint ‘retreat’ ceremony of the Indian and Pakistani guard.

After visiting the Golden Temple, follow the streams of worshippers making their way to the nearby Guru-ka-Langa, where every day thousands of free, communal meals are served by legions of volunteers. Sharing food with all comers, regardless of creed, is one of the central tenets of the Sikh faith, and there’s no more emphatic assertion of this than the sight of so many people sitting cross-legged on long coir floor mats, eating simple dal and chapattis together.

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Day 3
Amritsar - Dharamsala

Heading north, leave the plains of the Punjab and reach the town of Dharamsala (4-5 hours), the residence of His Holiness The Dalai Lama, in the foothills of the Himalaya. Stay for two nights at JuSTA Birding Resort or similar. In the afternoon visit the nearby Norbulingka Institute, built in the style of the Dalai Lama’s former summer residence in Lhasa (Tibet).

Clustered on a wooded ridge in the Himalayan foothills of Himachal Pradesh, Dharamsala – or more accurately the township of McLeod Ganj above it – is internationally famous as the home of the Tibetan spiritual leader in exile, His Holiness the Dalai Lama. It’s also the home of a sizeable, and ever-growing, numbers of Tibetan refugees, most of whom undertook dangerous journeys across the mountains of their homeland to get there.

Their presence has totally transformed what was formerly a sleepy hill station into one of India’s principal attractions for foreign visitors. Tourists from all over the world come not only to attend public teachings by the Dalai Lama himself, but also to study Buddhist meditation, Tibetan performing arts, crafts and medicine, and to experience the unique atmosphere of this refugee town in the Himalayas.

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Day 4

A morning sightseeing tour through the Tibetan Buddhist enclave of Mcleod Ganj with visits to the Namgyal Monastery, the Kalachakra Temple and the Bhagsunath temple. In the afternoon, relax in one of the many inviting cafes or explore some of the smaller local monasteries.

Set against the grey, snow-capped crags of the Dhauladhar Range (which here reach a culminating altitude of around 4,600m/15,000ft), the rooftops of McLeod Ganj are strung with fluttering prayer flags. Monasteries and temples house ranks of red-and-gold prayer wheels visited year-round by streams of Tibetan pilgrims from the plains. 

The Kalachakra (‘Wheel of Time’) Temple is the largest Tibetan shrine in the town, and a popular one with visitors and pilgrims alike. Its walls are festooned with brightly coloured murals showing 722 deities and mandalas (sacred diagrams). A great place to see how such art is produced is the Norbulingka Institute, a centre dedicated to the preservation of traditional Tibetan culture. Thangka painting, screen-printing, appliqué, woodcarving, papermaking and metalwork and all taught in the institute.

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Day 5
Dharamsala - Pragpur

Drive down to the heritage village of Pragpur (2½ hours). There will be an option to ride on the famous Kangra heritage railway line. Two nights are spent at the Judges Court Residence.

Built by a local judge in 1918, Judge’s Court ranks among our favourite retreats in India, thanks to its idyllic location and old-world atmosphere. On passing through its gateway, you enter a parallel world reminiscent of a bygone era: breakfast is served under a mango tree in the garden by liveried staff, and supper is preceded by a leisurely “cocktail hour” on the lawn. The rooms are huge and furnished in period, with dark wood beds and chintzy touches that wouldn’t have looked out of place in Kipling’s time.

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Day 6

Enjoy a walk through Pragpur’s intriguing medieval narrow stone-cobbled streets. A picnic lunch is followed by a visit to a tea plantation in the afternoon.

The village of Pragpur, in the Kangra District of the Shivalik Hills, provides an atmospheric staging post en route to the mountains. It’s one of the region’s prettiest villages, with cobbled streets winding through ranks of mud-walled, slate-roofed houses. Among them are the mansions of the Sood community, who migrated here in Mughal times and subsequently prospered in the cloth trade. Weaving remains an important cottage industry and on a walking tour you’ll have the chance to see traditional Himachali shawls being made.

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Day 7
Pragpur - Shimla

Leaving Pragpur, drive through picturesque countryside ending with a steep and spectacular climb through the Shivalik Hills to the hill station of Shimla (6 hours). Stay at WelcomeHeritage Elysium Resort for three nights.

The ramshackle capital of Himachal Pradesh, Shimla straddles a high, forested ridge in the foothills of the Himalaya. During the Raj era, the entire British administration, complete families and retinues of servants, used to travel all the way from Calcutta to this fragrant, cool spot in the hills to escape the summer heat, and over time, a miniature version of home-counties England sprang among the cedar trees, with an Anglican church, bandstand and theatre. Thanks largely to its proximity to Delhi, the hill station remains a popular holiday destination today. Strolls along the Mall, shopping expeditions in the warrenous bazaar and pony rides through the pine forest are the order of the day.

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Day 8

The morning’s sightseeing tour of Shimla includes a visit to the Vice Regal Lodge, Mock Tudor Library and, Jakhu Temple as well as a walk down the busy Mall Road to see the Gaiety Theatre and Christ Church. In the afternoon take a ride on the affectionately named ‘toy train’ to Kandaghat.

Taking a toy train in India is a very special experience, as these small locomotives ply the routes on historic railway lines taking visitors to the country's hill stations. What they lack in speed, they make up for in charm and should not be overlooked as a wonderful method of transport.

The Kalka-Shimla Railway, was built by the British in 1903 to reach their summer capital. 

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Day 9

Day at leisure. There will be an option to play golf at the picturesque 18 hole, Naldehra Golf Course.

A day at leisure today, which you could spend relaxing in your hotel, exploring Shimla further, or with a round of golf at the picturesque 18 hole, Naldehra Golf Course. 

And don’t miss afternoon tiffin in the atmospheric Indian Coffee House, whose waiters still wear starched tunics and pleated pugris – one of the town’s signature pleasures!



Accommodation Options

Day 10
Shimla - Delhi

Drive down to Kalka for the express train back to Delhi, staying overnight at Lemon Tree Premier or similar.

Accommodation Options

Day 11

Transfer to the airport.

Accommodation Options

Group Tour 11 days from £1645 per person

What's included

✓   10 nights accommodation
✓   Arrival & departure transfers, Internal travel by road and rail 
✓   English-speaking guides, accompanying tour escort when minimum group size achieved
✓   Breakfast daily. Lunch on days 2, 6, 8. Dinner on day 1
✓   Entrance fees to sites and monuments listed in tour itinerary.

Holiday Extensions for this tour

Golden Temple & the Himalayas - Yoga in the Himalayas

6 days, 5 nights from £575 per person

Single supplement £ 355 per person
view itinerary
Day 10
Shimla - Rishikesh

Drive to Rishikesh. Stay five nights at the Veda5, renowned for yoga and Ayurveda.

Day 11-14

At leisure.

Day 15
Rishikesh - Delhi

Return to Delhi by train and stay overnight at Lemon Tree Premier.

Day 16

Transfer to the airport for your onwards flight.

Golden Temple and the Himalayas - Ananda in the Himalayas

4 days, 3 nights from £1325 per person

Single supplement £ 825 per person
view itinerary
Day 10
Shimla - Rishikesh

Drive to the holy town of Rishikesh (6-7 hrs). Stay three nights at the Ananda in the Himalayas, a deluxe resort and spa, especially known for its yoga and Ayurveda.

Day 11 & 12

At leisure.

Day 13
Rishikesh - Delhi

Journey back by train to Delhi for an overnight stay at The Park Hotel.

Day 14

Transfer to the airport for your onward flight.

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