Tailor-made Tour 14 days from £3615 per person

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  Places Visited: Delhi, Amritsar, Dharamshala, Pragpur, Shimla, Haridwar, Rishikesh

Experience the living religious traditions of the India’s Himalayas on this two-week tour of the foothills to the north of Delhi. It begins in Amritsar, sacred city of the Sikhs and location of the sublime Golden Temple, and from there progresses in a winding course to Dharamsala, home of the Dalai Lama, then on to Shimla, former summer capital of the British Raj, before arriving at two of Hinduism’s holiest pilgrimage towns, Haridwar and Rishikesh. Inevitably in terrain as convoluted as this, the trip involves a few long journeys, but these are balanced with some relaxing spells in heavenly locations, notably at one of our most popular off-track gems, Judge’s House in Pragpur, where you can unwind and experience village life in the lap of the Shivalik Hills.

Holiday Types

Cultural Holidays Wildlife Holidays River Cruising Holidays Luxury Train Holidays Family Holidays Honeymoons Beach Holidays Adventure Holidays


Suggested itinerary

Day 1
UK, Delhi

Fly overnight from UK to Delhi.

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Day 2

Transfer to the domestic airport for your connecting flight to Amritsar. On arrival, you’ll be met by your TransIndus guide and driver, and escorted to your hotel, where you’ll be staying for two nights.

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Day 3

First thing after breakfast, visit the Golden Temple. In the afternoon, head east to Wagah on the Indo-Pak border to watch the flag lowering ceremony. Alternatively, return to the Golden Temple for a second visit at sunset.

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 4

Drive to Dharamsala in the foothills of the Himalayas for a two-night stay.

Clustered on a wooded ridge in the state of Himachal Pradesh, Dharamsala – or more accurately the township of McLeod Ganj above it – is the home of the Tibetan spiritual leader in exile, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, along with an ever growing, number of Tibetan refugees. 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 the town are strung with fluttering prayer flags. Monasteries and temples hold ranks of red-and-gold prayer wheels, visited year-round by streams of Buddhist pilgrims from the plains.

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Day 5

Visit McLeod Ganj and the Kalachakra Temple today with your local guide.

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 6

Drive in the morning to Pragpur in the Shivalik Hills for a two-night stay in a beautiful ancestral mansion, Judge’s House.

Built by a local judge in 1918, Judge’s House 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 7

Spend the day exploring the village and its environs.

After a look around the temples in Pragpur, guests tend to spend the warm afternoons lazing in a wicker chair on the pillared veranda, or lounging under a lychee tree in the adjacent orchard. This is a perfect place to unwind, and soak up the distinctive atmosphere of the Indian foothills.

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Day 8

A fascinating day’s drive today as you traverse the Shivalik Hills and climb to Shimla for a three-night stay.

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 9

Spend today sightseeing in Shimla.

The traditional start to a day exploring the hill station is to climb up from its main street, the Mall, through stands of towering cedar trees to the Jakhoo Temple, from where, weather permitting, you’ll be able to enjoy a fabulous panoramic view of the distant Himalayan range.

Afterwards, visit Christ Church near Scandal Point, and the Scotts-Baronial-style Viceregal Lodge, the official summer residence of the British Viceroy in the Raj era, where Gandhi, Nehru and Mountbatten held talks before Indepedence.

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Day 10

A day at leisure today, which you could spend relaxing in your hotel or visiting nearby resort towns such as Kufri, Chail and Naldhera. Railway enthusiasts may also wish to experience the famous narrow-gauge railway. 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!

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Day 11

A half days drive today takes you from the capital of Himachal Pradesh to the holy town of Haridwar, where the Ganges crashes on to the plains. You’ll have enough time in the afternoon to explore some of the temples and ghats along the banks of the river, before attending evening aarthi.

Hindus regard Haridwar as one of the key “crossing places”, or thirtha, capable of giving release from the cycle of rebirth. The riverside ghats are the venue for a particularly charged evening aarthi ceremony, when priests swing flaming lamps in closely choreographed routines, as thousands of worshippers place diyas – little leaf boats holding incense, flowers and candles – on to the water.

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Day 12

Today you’ll travel on a day excursion to Rishikesh, where the Beatles famously spent time with their Guru, Maharishi Yogi.

Rishikesh has been sacred for hundreds, and possibly thousands, of years. It traditionally served as a waystage for sanyasins, sadhus and yogis travelling to and from the sacred sites of the Himalayas, and for generations has attracted seekers on spiritual quests, among them the Beatles, who spent time here in 1968. The town continues to be an important New Age religious centre. Numerous ashrams overlook the waterfront. When in residence, most of the local gurus and their acolytes attend the evening aarthi ceremony, when scores of floating lamp-boats (diyas) are released into the current.

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Day 13

Take an express train back to Delhi today for your last night in India.

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Day 14
Delhi, UK

Transfer to the airport to catch your flight back to the UK.

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Tailor-made Tour 14 days from £3615 per person

What's included

✓   International flights from UK in economy
✓   12 nights accommodation
✓   Domestic flights in economy
✓   All road travel and and transfers by private chauffeur-driven vehicles
✓   English-speaking guides
✓   Breakfast daily
✓   Entrance fees to sites and monuments listed in tour itinerary

Places and Experiences in this tour

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