India Himalayas Holiday Vacation Jim Corbett National Park

Himalayas Highlights: Golden Temple + Shimla


IPQ8D
8 NIGHTS
FROM £1,495
International flights quoted separately
See the highlights of the Punjab and the Himalayas in this private tour of northwest India - including the Golden Temple in Amritsar, the daily Wagah flag-lowering ceremony, the Dalai Lama Monastery in Dharamshala and the beautiful colonial hill station at Shimla - formerly the summer capital of British India. English speaking city guides, private driver & sightseeing included.
Golden Temple Wagah Ceremony Shimla Dalai Lama Monastery
• 
Old Delhi
• 
New Delhi
• 
Amritsar
• 
Wagah Ceremony
• 
Golden Temple
• 
Dharamshala
• 
Dalai Lama Monastery
• 
Norburlinka Institute
• 
Shimla
• 
Chandigarh Rock Gardens
• 
Old Delhi
• 
New Delhi
• 
Amritsar
• 
Wagah Ceremony
• 
Golden Temple
• 
Dharamshala
• 
Dalai Lama Monastery
• 
Norburlinka Institute
• 
Shimla
• 
Chandigarh Rock Gardens
Day 1
You will be met at Delhi Airport by your driver and transferred to your hotel in this ancient capital of kingdoms and empires that is now a sprawling metropolis.
 
Delhi's strategic location was one of the main reasons why successive dynasties chose it as their seat of power and today it is a conglomerate of seven cities. The division between the old walled city and New Delhi marks a division in lifestyles, with the old city retaining its past traditions whilst New Delhi strives to match the pace of the 21st century.
Day 2
Today enjoy an orientation tour of modern New Delhi and the 17th century walled city of Old Delhi, which came to prominence when Shah Jahan moved his capital from Agra.
 
In Old Delhi enjoy a cycle rickshaw ride through 300-year old Chandni Chowk market, a maze of lanes crowded with noisy shops selling an extraordinary variety of items and foods, and past the Jamia Masjid (or Friday Mosque) the largest in India. We drive past the splendid Red Fort, once the most opulent palace in the Mughal Empire, and continue to the Raj Ghat - the simple memorial site where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated.
 
In the afternoon our tour of New Delhi starts with a visit the Qutub Minar, an ancient victory tower built of red sandstone and marble in 1199 and still the tallest minaret in India. With its imposing cylindrical towers and surrounding ruins, it is today a World Heritage site. Our next stop is Humayuns Tomb, the beautiful mausoleum of the Mughul emperor Akbar, that inspired the Taj Mahal.
 
We drive along the Rajpath - the capital's broadest avenue - where you will see the imposing arch of the India Gate war memorial, Parliament House, the Rashtrapati Bhavan presidential residence built for the Viceroy of India, and the government buildings on Raisina Hill.
Day 3
Transfer to Delhi Airport for your flight to Amritsar in the Punjab.
 
You will be met at Amritsar Airport and transferred to your hotel in this pilgrimage city that is spiritual centre of the Sikh religion. This city is also known for its magnificent carpets and fabrics, farm produce, handicrafts, rich cuisine and culture.
 
In the afternoon we visit Jallianwala Bagh - the site where hundreds of innocent Indian men, women and children were massacred by General Michael Dyer on 13 April 1919, during the British rule of India. A memorial and garden have been created here as a national monument.
 
You will then drive 2-hours to the Wagha Border, the only crossing point between India and Pakistan. Here the changing of the guards and flag-lowering ceremony is performed daily with blustering pomp and perfect drill by both side - described by Michael Palin as "carefully choreographed contempt". A jawan (infantryman) stands at attention on each side and as the sun sets, the iron gates at the border are opened and the two flags are lowered simultaneously. The ceremony ends with a retreat that involves a brusque handshake between soldiers from either side, followed by the closing of the gates again. Afterwards we return to Amritsar.
Day 4
This morning we visit the magnificent Golden Temple. Shining in the morning light, with its large dome surrounded by elegant minarets and splendidly gilded interior panelling, this temple is a magnificent place of worship for devotees of the Sikh faith worldwide.
 
We then drive 4-hours to Dharamshala in the Kangra Valley, surrounded by dense coniferous forests. This is the home of His Holiness, the Dalai Lama - the spiritual leader of the Buddhists of Tibet. It is also the headquarters of the government of Tibet, in exile since 1960 (the Central Tibetan Administration).
 
After checking into your hotel, relax in the beautiful Dhauladhar mountains.
Day 5
This morning we visit Tsuglagkhang - the Dalai Lama Monastery complex at McLeod Ganj in the upper reaches of the Kangra Valley. Here you can learn more about the Buddhist faith and see traditional Tibetan prayer wheels.
 
We hike to see the beautiful Bhagsunag Falls and visit the old Bhagsunag Temple. We also visit the Anglican church of St. John in the Wilderness, in whose churchyard the former British Viceroy of India and Governor General of Canada, Lord Elgin, is buried. The church has lovely Belgian stained glass windows donated by Lady Elgin.
 
Then visit Kangra Art Museum and the War Memorial that honours those Gurka soldiers - "the bravest of the brave" - who died in two world wars and fighting for the independence of India.
 
We continue to the Norburlinka Institute, dedicated to preserving Tibetan culture by handing down its traditions in art and literature and providing training, education and employment for the exiled people of Tibet. This includes high quality thangka painting, traditionally crafted statues, screen-printing, applique, woodcarving, wood painting, papermaking and metal craft.
 
Note: The Norburlinka Institute is closed on Sunday.
Day 6
Depart early for a full day on the road today, as we travel 7-hours through stunning Himalayan scenery to the hill station at Shimla.
 
Referred to as the "Queen of Hills", Shimla was the summer capital of British India and is steeped in colonial history. On arrival check into your hotel and relax in the fresh mountain air.
Day 7
Today enjoy a half day tour of Shimla, including the main promenande known as The Mall. Here commerce rubs shoulders with stately colonial buildings, churches and other landmarks - and at one end is the city's colourful local market, the Lakkar Bazaar.
 
The Vice Regal Lodge was built in 1888 by the British Viceroy, Lord Dufferin, and has served as the Rashtrapati Niwas (President's residence). It is now a museum with a beautifully laid out gardens and also houses the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies.
 
We also visit the beautiful Botanical Gardens, before returning to your hotel.
 
The balance of the afternoon is free to relax at your hotel or visit the hot springs that are believed to have medicinal value. Or you can visit the ancient Jakhoo Hindu temple, situated at the highest point in the town.
Day 8
Transfer 3.5-hours to the capital city of Chandigarh
 
Time permitting visit the famous Rock Garden, Rose Garden and Sukhna Lake, before being dropped off at the airport for your onward flight.

You will be met at Delhi Airport by your driver and transferred to your airport hotel in this ancient capital of kingdoms and empires that is now a sprawling metropolis.
 
Delhi's strategic location was one of the main reasons why successive dynasties chose it as their seat of power and today it is a conglomerate of seven cities. The division between the old walled city and New Delhi marks a division in lifestyles, with the old city retaining its past traditions whilst New Delhi strives to match the pace of the 21st century.
Day 9
Transfer to Delhi Airport for your flight home.
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