Itinerary Details: 11 days/10 nights
Day 1: Delhi Arrival
Namaste. Welcome to India! Arrive at Delhi International airport. You will be met by our representative and transferred to your hotel.
Delhi is India's capital, a bustling metropolis that incorporates the ancient with the modern. Amidst the skyscrapers, the monuments stand as a silent reminder to India's legacy. Driving from the airport, you will be impressed with Delhi's spacious, tree-lined streets and garden parks.
Overnight at the hotel.
Day 2: Delhi
After breakfast, enjoy a rickshaw ride in Chandni Chowk. Witness the architectural marvels, the multicolored facades, beautifully decorated shops, ethnically dressed locals and the fragrances emanating from the potpourri of eateries that line the historical alleys.
Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan (1592-1666) built the walled city of Delhi on the banks of holy River Yamuna. It had a magnificent palace known as Red Fort, impressive mansions, enchanting bazaars, elegant shrines, royal gardens and fountains at every corner to romance ones' senses. The Emperor’s beloved daughter Jahanara designed a major street called Chandni Chowk in front of Red Fort, with a canal running down the center and pools at major intersections reflecting the moonlight. During the British regime, the street underwent major changes and since then the area has witnessed some of the most important events in Indian history. Today these splendid ruins and tales of valor are a testimony of the evolution of the times. Chandni Chowk truly reflects the national unity, secularism and diversity of India. The tour covers 20 main sites including palaces, mansions, elegant shrines and colorful bazaars. End at a Haveli (mansion) built in 1860, which has a photo gallery depicting the lifestyle of Mughals and a small lounge to relax and relish some famous snacks.
Later, visit Humayun’s tomb, built by the widow of the second Mughal Emperor, Humayun, and an outstanding monument in the Indo-Persian style. Also, drive by the India Gate, Parliament and the President’s residence. Overnight in Delhi.
Day 3: Delhi - Shimla
Depart early in the morning for your first class rail journey to Shimla. The train is one of the most unique railway tracks in the world. It was first sketched in 1847, almost 50 years before it was actually constructed. Your journey, popularly called Toy Trains, is a breathtaking experience as it passes through the Himalayas, lush valleys embellished with pine and meadows of wildflowers. Upon arrival, transfer to the hotel. Overnight in Shimla.
Day 4: Shimla
After breakfast, enjoy a full day of touring in Shimla. Shimla is named after the Shyamala Devi, an incarnation of the Hindu Goddess Kali. Located in the Northwest Himalayas, the city is draped in forests of pine, oak and rhododendron. Shimla was also the summer capital during the British Raj and the architecture remains reminiscent of the colonial era. During your tour, visit the Shimla Mall, Christ Church, Scandal Corner, Viceregal Lodge, and Jakhu Temple. Overnight in Shimla.
Day 5: Shimla - Palampur
After breakfast, drive to Palampur (6 hours). Situated on a plateau, Palampur is surrounded by the Bundla stream and pine forests. The town is famous for its tea gardens and majestic snowy mountains. Many compare Palampur's beauty and geography to that of Lucerne, Switzerland. Upon arrival, check into your hotel. Overnight in Palampur.
Day 6: Palampur
After breakfast, visit the Baijnath Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva. Later, visit Andretta Potteries, once the home to famous painter Sardar Sobha Singh and playwright Norah Richards. It has now become a center for artistic activities. For an additional cost, you may request pottery lessons during the afternoon. Overnight in Palampur.
Day 7: Palampur - Pragpur
Drive to Pragpur (2 hours) and check into the Heritage Hotel Judge's Court. The country manor is located in the medieval hamlet of Pragpur in the Kangra Valley. The property was India's first classified country manor with an ambiance reminiscent of the turn of the 20th century. Afternoon at leisure. Overnight in Pragpur.
Day 8: Pragpur - Dharamshala
After breakfast, drive to Dharamshala (1.5 hours). Dharamshala is the principal township of the Kangra valley and is magnificently set against the Dhauldhar mountains. The town has been the seat of His Holiness the Dalai Lama since 1960 when the Chinese occupied Tibet. Dharamshala also houses many Tibetan refugees and is often called Little Lhasa. Upon arrival, check into your hotel. Afternoon at leisure. Overnight in Dharamshala.
Day 9: Dharamshala
Today, visit the highlights of Dharamshala: the St. John Church, Namgyalma Stupa, Dal Lake, Dharamkot, the Tibetan market and Mcleodganj, home to the Dalai Lama. Also visit the Buddhist learning centers. Overnight in Dharamshala.
Day 10: Dharamshala - Amritsar
Drive to Amritsar (7 hours), one of the most ancient cities in India and an important seat of Sikh history and culture. As a gateway for travelers on route from Central Asia, Amritsar soon became the center of commercial activities. Located in the state of Punjab, the city also houses the Golden Temple, the most sacred shrine of Sikhism.
In the evening, experience the border ceremony at Wagah Border, the border line running along the Grand Trunk Road between Amritsar in Punjab, India, and Punjab in Lahore, Pakistan. People from all across the country visit to witness the Beating Retreat Ceremony that is held daily before sunset. The ceremony includes the closing of the international gates and lowering the flags of both the countries. The flag ceremony is conducted by the Indian Border Security Force and Pakistan Rangers since 1959. Officially, the purpose of the ceremony is to formally close the border for the night and lower the national flag. However, it is an entertainment ceremony and a patriotic display for the thousands of attendees. Return to your hotel and overnight.
Day 11: Amritsar - Delhi and Departure
After breakfast, visit the Golden Temple. Shining in the morning light, the gilded splendor of its paneling, dome, and minarets illustrates spiritual transcendence. The temple is a fairy palace to the devotees of the Sikh faith. Later, visit the Jallianwala Bagh, the historic site and memorial to the massacre in 1919. The site now houses a garden and national monument.
Transfer to the airport for your flight to Delhi. Upon arrival, connect to your onward flight. Bon Voyage!