Himalayan Foothills Tour

Himalayan Foothills Tour

Package Duration: 10 Nights and 11 Days
Places Covered: Delhi – Amritsar – Dharamshala – Paragpur - Shimla - Delhi

Tour Overview

In this journey you will be visiting some less travelled Himalayan foothills. Visit the Golden Temple for the nightly religious ceremony. Experience the closing the border ceremony between India and Pakistan. Visit the Dalai Lama's residence. Ride on the 'Toy Train' to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Shimla. Get a taste of British Raj in Shimla.

Highlights:

  • Visit to Wagah border to witness the beating retreat ceremony
  • Visit to Masroor rock cut temple at Dharamshala
  • Stay in Judge’s court, Paragpur
  • Ride on the 'Toy Train' to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Shimla
  • Food walk in Old Delhi

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 : Arrive Delhi
Arrive in Delhi today and get transferred in a private vehicle to your hotel where accommodation is held from 1400 hrs. Check-in and spend the rest of the day to explore the bustling national capital. Overnight in the hotel.

Delhi offers a harmonious blend of architecture and history. From remnants of the Mughal empire and British Raj to contemporary India, you can experience it all in the capital. The city is sure to charm you with its eclectic mix of the old and new – from magnificent monuments to bustling Old Delhi markets and stunning high rises.

Day 2 : Train to Amritsar
Early morning transfer to the Delhi Railway Station to catch train for Amritsar leaving at 0720 hrs. Carry packed breakfast from the hotel. Arrive in Amritsar at 1345 hrs, you will be met and transferred to the hotel. Overnight in the hotel.

The word Amritsar means the holy pool of nectar. 1573 Work began on digging of the holy pool and in 1601 Harmandir Sahib (The Golden Temple) was completed. 1604 Guru Granth Sahib installed. n Maharaja Ranjit Singh's time Amritsar had superseded Lahore as the pre-eminent city of the Orient. Amritsar is one of the most ancient and fascinating cities of India. It is an important seat of Sikh history and culture. Being the gateway for travellers coming to India on the overland route from central Asia it soon became the centre of various commercial activities.

Day 3 : In Amritsar
Morning proceed for Amritsar city tour, you will be visiting Golden Temple and Jalianwala Bagh. In the afternoon leave for Wagah border to witness the beating retreat ceremony. Late in the evening leave for Palki Sahib ceremony.  Overnight in the hotel.

During Maharaja Ranjit Singh's reign the lower half of the temple was decorated with marble while the entire upper half was inlaid with copper covered over by gold plate : hence its new name, the Golden Temple. Free kitchen and recitation of the divine word never cease here. Its four gates invite everyone from all directions.

Jallianwala Bagh is a martyrs' Memorial built in the shape of eternal flame of liberty is situated on the outskirts of Golden Temple. Here, about 1500 to 2000 persons who were attending a peaceful meeting during the freedom movement fell under the bullets of the British General Dyer, on April 13, 1919. The British Queen Elizabeth II and her husband laid a wreath at the Memorial on 14 Oct.' 1997.

The Wagah border is a post between India and Pakistan. It has become famous for the beating the retreat ceremony which includes the closing of international gates and the lowering of the flags of both the countries. The flag code of India mandates that the national flag shall be flown only from sunrise to sunset. It is an entertainment ceremony and a highly stylized patriotic display as well as an energetic performance.

Palki Sahib ceremony. Accompanied with drums and hymns that fill the air, a gold and silver gilded palanquin (palki), decorated with silk brocades, is prepared by the devotees to carry the Guru Granth Sahib (the Holy Book) from the main shrine in Hari Mandir to inner santum. Performed every evening, several devout followers and visitors particisspate in the ceremony, which offers each individual at least a few seconds to help carry the palanquin.

Day 4 : Drive to Dharamshala
After breakfast drive to Dharamshala, a journey of about 5hrs. Arrive in Dharamshala, check-in at the hotel. Afternoon is at leisure. Overnight in the hotel.

Situated at an average altitude of 1,475 meters above sea level, Dharamshala lies on the scenic stretch of land of Kangra Valley making tourists spellbound for its spectacular beauty. Often cited as the ‘Little Lhasa of India’, Dharamshala is popularly known as the holy residence of the exiled Tibetan monk Dalai Lama. With the backdrop of the breathtaking Dhauladhar ranges, Dharamshala is the one of the most tranquil destinations which you will find in North India, the perfect amalgamation of natural beauty and culture. Surrounded by thick deodar cedar trees and the snowcapped peaks which decorate the landscape.

Day 5 : In Dharamshala
After breakfast visit Tsuglagkhang Complex, Namghyal Monastery and Gyuto Monastery. Afternoon visit the Naddi Village. Overnight in the hotel.

Located on the Temple Road, the Tsuglagkhang Complex is a religious centre which was built when His Holiness the Dalai Lama visited India for first time in 1959. The complex is one of the most important places to see in Dharamshala and comprises of Dalai Lama’s abode and monastery. Nowadays, this complex also houses public and private sessions of Dalai Lama along with numerous Tibetan dance and music performances.

As a major learning centre, Namgyal Monastery is one of the most popular tourist places to visit in Dharamshala. With almost 200 monks, the famous monastery is the largest Tibetan temple outside the geographical boundary of Tibet. This monastery looks vibrant and pulls crowd round the year. The prayer wheels, the décor, the Tibetan-style architecture, and overall colour scheme is visually appealing and mesmerising.

Gyuto Monastery is the residence of Karmapa – the Head of the Kagyu Tibetan Buddhism. It is quite popular for its research on Buddhist Philosophy, Tantric rituals, and Tantric meditation. This famous monastery was built in the memory of soldiers who devoted their lives to Tibet Freedom War.The monastery complex is serene and beautiful and its décor, style and architecture look amazing. The monastery with the mesmerising Dhauladhar in its background is one of the finest tourist places in Dharamshala.

Naddi is a serene and absolutely charming village, located up the hill, far away from the chatter of the main town. One of most picturesque places to visit near Dharamshala. Naddi is a remote village that offers a mesmerizing view of the lofty mountains, deep plush Kangra valley, and luxuriant deodar forests. On a clear day you can also view snowy peaks of the Dhauladhar ranges.

Day 6 : In Dharamshala
After breakfast visit Kangra Fort and Masroor rock cut temple. Overnight in the hotel.

Witness awe inspiring history and marvellous heritage at Kangra Fort, which is one of the popular tourist places in Dharamshala. It is an ancient structure dating back to 4th century BC. As one of the oldest forts in India and the largest fort in the Himalayas, this royal specimen of architecture was once an abode of the Royal family of Kangra – Katoch Dynasty. The ruins speak for the kind of historical incidents the fort has witnessed.

A historical site, Masroor is known for age old rock cut temples that date back to 8th century AD. This is an upcoming and one of the most liked tourist spots in Dharamshala. There are 15 monolithic temples depicting Indo-Aryan style architecture, depicting various tales of great Indian epics. Masroor – one of the famous Dharamshala tourist places is mostly frequented by history lovers, art enthusiasts, painters, solo travellers, and nature admirers. The temple carvings are excellent and superbly detailed. They make the place a glorious site of Indian art and of course one of the major Dharamshala points of interest.

Day 7 : Drive to Pragpur
After breakfast leave for Pragpur by surface. A journey of about 2hrs. Upon arrival visit The Judge’s Court, Village Market and Lala Rerumal’s Haveli. After visits heck-in at the hotel.  Overnight in the hotel.

The scenic Kangra Valley in Himachal Pradesh is no stranger to heritage and history. In fact, it even lends its name to a mid-18th century school of miniature painting. It is also home to Pragpur, a quaint little village that drew attention when the state government, in 1997, certified it as a Heritage Village, making it the first such village in India.

This is why, for an obscure part of Himachal Pradesh, Pragpur has houses in extremely varied architectural styles — Kangra, Rajput, British, Portuguese and even Italian. The grandest of these structures is The Judge’s Court, the 300-year-old ancestral home of Vijai and Rani Lal, which has been converted into a posh resort. Vijai Lal is the grandson of Justice Sir Jai Lal, the second Indian to become a Judge of the Punjab High Court.

A cobbled lane outside the mansion gates winds through Pragpur village to the ornamental water tank called Taal. Built before 1868, the Taal is said to form the core of the village and is surrounded by several old community structures like the Nehar Bhawan, Naun, and Dhunichand Bhardial Serai. The village market also starts here. A short walk from the market is a remarkable house that belongs to Brij Bihari Lal Butel with beautifully carved wooden doors and intricate metalwork on railings.

Another beautiful heritage building is Lala Rerumal’s haveli, which has a Mughal-style garden, a pleasure terrace and a large water reservoir. The Chaujjar mansion, ancient temples, courtyards of the Sood clan; and attiyalas or public platforms are other places of interest in Pragpur.

Day 8: Drive to Shimla
After breakfast leave for Shimla by surface. A journey of about 6hrs. Rest of the day is to rewind at the hotel. Arrive and check-in at the hotel.  Overnight in the hotel.

Strung out along a 12km ridge, with steep forested hillsides falling away in all directions, the Himachal capital is a good appetite-whetter for the awe-inspiring mountain tracts of the state's interior. Shimla is one of India's most popular hill resorts, buzzing with a happy flow of Indian vacationers and full of relics of its previous life as the summer capital of British India. Traffic is banned from the central part of town, so walking is pleasant – even when huffing and puffing uphill. The long, winding main street, the Mall, runs east and west just below the spine of the hill. South of it, the maze-like alleys of the bustling bazaar cascade steeply down to traffic-infested Cart Rd.

Day 9 : A day in Shimla
Breakfast at the hotel. Proceed for a walking tour of Shimla town, we start from The Mall, Gaiety Theatre, Scandal Point, Gorton Castle and Oberoi Cecil. Proceed for Viceregal Lodge by car.  Return to the hotel and relax. Overnight in the hotel.

Traffic-free for a good part of its winding 7km length, the Mall is the heartbeat of Shimla life, strung with hotels, shops, eateries, colonial-era buildings in assorted states of repair, and people everywhere. It runs up from Chotta Shimla, southeast of the centre, to Scandal Point, the junction that is the official centre of town, then continues west to the Viceregal Lodge.

The top landmarks you'll pass in an east–west walk along the Mall include the handsome half-timbered Clarkes Hotel, dating from the 1890s; the Gaiety Theatre, opened in 1877 and still going strong; and the Town Hall, almost beside Scandal Point, dating from 1910 and oddly reminiscent of the mansion in Hammer Horror films.

West of Scandal Point, just above the Mall, a pretty 1883 quasi-Tudor folly houses the post office. A further 200m west, again just above the Mall, is the wonderfully whimsical Bantony, a turreted red-brick mansion from 1880 that was once home to the Maharajah of Sirmaur. Together with its quaint red-brick cottage next door, Bantony is now sadly the epitome of Shimla picturesque decay.

Another 500m west, the turreted Railway Board Building, built in 1897 with fire-resistant cast iron and steel, now houses government and police offices. Just past here is the austere grey-stone Gorton Castle from 1904, formerly the colonial government secretariat and now the Himachal Pradesh Accountant-General's Office (visitors can walk round the outside but can't go inside). A further 1km brings you to Shimla's most famous luxury hotel, the Oberoi Cecil, founded in 1902 and radically refurbished in the 1990s but with its western end still preserving classic century-old half-timbering. From the Oberoi, it's 1.4km on westward to the most splendiferous and important of all Shimla's Raj-era edifices, the Viceregal Lodge.

Viceregal Lodge was official summer residence of the British viceroys was completed in 1888 and the entire Indian subcontinent was ruled from here for just over half of every year (usually early April to late October) from then till WWII. Henry Irwin's grand, grey sandstone creation resembles a cross between Harry Potter's Hogwarts and a Scottish baronial castle. Half-hour building tours visit three rooms with interesting photo exhibits (one was the billiards room) and the three-storey entrance hall lined in Burmese teak.

Day 10 : Drive to Kalka, train to Delhi
Breakfast at the hotel. Today we are going to enjoy the toy train ride for an hour and then we leave for Kalka by car. Arrive in Kalka board the express train for Delhi 1745 hrs and arriving at 2155 hrs. Arrive and transfer to the hotel. Overnight in the hotel.

Of the various attractions in Shimla, the most sought after and mesmerizing is the Kalka Shimla toy train. There are few experiences in India that can come close to the beautiful toy train ride on the Kalka-Shimla route. It takes you through lush green mountains with scenic, misty views. Started in 1903, the toy train route has now been listed as a UNESCO site.

Day 11 : Delhi departure
Full day excursion to Old and New Delhi, exploring the medieval and pre-modern faces of the historic capital of India personified by the Jama Masjid and Chandni Chowk (closed on Sundays). Take a food walk in the Chandni Chowk market. In Afternoon visit Humayun’s Tomb and Qutub Minar. After visits transfer to the International Airport for flight back home.

Jama Masjid is a mosque in Old Delhi, constructed in 1650–56 by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahān, a noted patron of Islamic architecture whose most famous work is the Taj Mahal, in Agra.

This vibrant market came to existence when the fifth Mughal Emperor, Shah Jahan, shifted his capital from Agra to Shahjahanabad, now Old Delhi, in the mid 17th century. While Chandni Chowk or the moonlit square no longer bears the magnificence of the bygone era, its importance in the annals of Delhi will never be lost.

The food walk in Old Delhi is a great experience to and the best way to see and taste Old Delhi. The dishes one can savor in Old Delhi Food Walk are large, thick and juicy jalebis, glistening with ghee; Aloo chaat crisp fried potato cutlets dunked in a melange of chutneys and smattered with onions and spices ; varieties of stuffed paranthas potato, onion, cottage cheese, cauliflower, radish, dry fruits and many more….

Humanyun’s Tomb was built in 1565 A.D. nine years after the death of Humayun, by his senior widow Bega Begam. Inside the walled enclosure the most notable features are the garden squares (chaharbagh) with pathways water channels, centrally located well proportional mausoleum topped by double dome.

Qutab Minar is a soaring, 73 m-high tower of victory, built in 1193 by Qutab-ud-din Aibak immediately after the defeat of Delhi's last Hindu kingdom. The tower has five distinct storeys, each marked by a projecting balcony.

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