Spiritual Journeys in Himalayan Foothills

Spiritual Journeys in Himalayan Foothills

Package Duration: 11 Nights and 12 Days
Places Covered: Delhi – Amritsar – Chandigarh – Dharamshala – Rishikesh – Haridwar - Delhi

Tour Overview

In this Spiritual journey across the Himalayan Foothills, you will be visiting the Golden Temple for the nightly religious ceremony; experience the closing the border ceremony between India and Pakistan; visit the Dalai Lama's residence at Dharamshala and finally Haridwar, The Gateway To The Gods and Rishikesh the town of Sages.

Highlights:

  • Food walk in Old Delhi
  • Visit to Wagah border to witness the beating retreat ceremony
  • Visit to Masroor rock cut temple at Dharamshala
  • Evening aarti ceremony at Parmarth Niketan Ahsram, Rishikesh
  • Evening attend Ganga aarti ceremony on Ghat called Har Ki Pauri in Haridwar

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. Late in the evening leave for Palki Sahib ceremony. 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 n Maharaja Ranjit Singh's time Amritsar had superseded Lahore as the pre-eminent city of the Orient.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.

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 3: A day 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. 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.

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 Chandigarh
After breakfast leave for Chandigarh by surface, a journey of about 5hrs. Arrive and check-in at the hotel. In the afternoon visit Nekchand’s Rock Garden and Capitol Complex.  Overnight in the hotel.

Chandigarh shows itself off to global travellers much like greater India would wish to be seen – prosperous, comfortable and cosmopolitan. Officially a union territory controlled by the central government, Chandigarh is the joint capital of Punjab and Haryana. It is also the first planned city of independent India.

Nek Chand Rock Garden is unique: it's the surreal fantasy of a local transport official who, starting in 1957, spent almost 20 years personally creating more than 2000 sculptures using stones, debris and other discarded junk that was left over from the 50-odd villages destroyed in order to build the city of Chandigarh. Now, entering this fantastical, 10-hectare sculpture garden is like falling down a rabbit hole into the labyrinthine interior of one man’s imagination.

At the epicentre of Le Corbusier’s planned city are the imposing concrete High Court, Secretariat and Vidhan Sabha, shared by the states of Punjab and Haryana. All three are classic pieces of 1950s architecture from the proto-brutalist school, with bold geometric lines and vast sweeps of moulded concrete. To visit the complex, you must first register with your passport at the High Court Tourist Office. You will then be given a free guided tour, which lasts for around 1½ hours.

Day 8 : Drive to Rishikesh
After breakfast leave for Rishikesh by surface, a journey of about 6hrs. Arrive and check-in at the hotel. In the evening attend Ganga aarti at Parmarth Niketan Ashram. Overnight at the hotel.

Located in the foothills of the Garhwal Himalayas, the town of Rishikesh abounds in temples and ashrams. The world famous pilgrimage town is perched at an altitude of 1,360 ft a.s.l. According to the Hindu mythology, Rishikesh is the place where Lord Vishnu crushed demon Madhu. This is also the place from where begins the holy Chardham Yatra (covering Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri). Abounding in natural beauty, the town of Rishikesh (Uttaranchal) proves to be an ideal destination for tourists interested in pilgrimage travel and adventure sports. The ashrams of Rishikesh are renowned the world over for the study of spiritualism and meditation.

Ganga Aarti is a ceremony to thank and praise the river. A group of young saints dressed up with silky saffron and white robes conduct this ceremony. Each pandit or saint takes up a specific spot in the Ghat and start the ritual by offering flowers to the river. The ritual includes many oil lamps like snake hood lamp which are waved in a synced motion. Conch shells are blown during the ceremony too. Yak tail fans and peacock feather fans are also waved during the ceremony. The priests end the ceremony by pouring a bowl of water into the river.

Day 9 : In Rishikesh
After breakfast at the hotel. Visit the temples in Rishikesh town and Laxman Jhula. Overnight at the hotel.

Temples are wide-ranging in each and every place of the Rishikesh city. The temples of rishikesh are highly revered. Rishikesh is full of countless small, big, new and very old temples, spread in the mean streets of the city. Rishikesh is important not only as pilgrimage spot closely linked with the Ramayana, but also as home for numerous important places of Hindu religious thought and spirituality and as a very great Yoga hub. Some an ancient temples in Rishikesh that attracts people from both far and near due to its significance. Some of the important temples in Rishikesh are Nilkanth Mahadeo temple, parmarth niketan temple and triveni Ghat temple.

Day 10 : Drive to Haridwar
After breakfast at the hotel. Leave for Haridwar, a journey of 1.5hrs. Arrive and proceed for temples visits in Haridwar. Evening attend Ganga aarti ceremony on Ghat called Har Ki Pauri. Overnight at the hotel.

Haridwar is one of the most popular Hindu pilgrimage places. River Ganges enters the North Indian plains at Haridwar. Haridwar or 'Gateway to Gods' is also known by the names of Mayapuri, Kapila and Gangadwar. Hindu pilgrims and devotees gather at Haridwar to offer prayers on auspicious occasions. The water of River Ganga is considered so sacred at Haridwar that pilgrims carry back the water from the Ganges.

Literally, "Har" means "Lord Shiva" who is the god according to shaivite school of Hindu theology, "ki" means "of" and "pauri" means "steps". Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu are believed to have visited the Brahmakund in Har ki Paudi in the Vedic (ancient period) times. There is a large footprint said to belong to Lord Vishnu on a stone wall. Har Ki Pauri is believed to be the exit point of the Ganges from the mountains and entry into the plains. An area within Hari ki Pauri, where the evening Ganga Aarti takes places and which is considered most sacred is known as Brahm Kund.

Day 11 : Train to Delhi
Early morning you will be transferred to the Haridwar Railway Station for train leaving at 0622hrs. Arrive in Delhi at 1115hrs, you will be met and transferred to the hotel. Afternoon is at leisure. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 12 : In Delhi
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 you will be transferred to the International Airport for your 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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