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Foothills of the Himalayas Tour

Duration:
11 days / 10 nights
Destinations:
Amritsar, Dharamshala, Pragpur, Shimla, Delhi
Price Guide:

Price guide for the Foothills of The Himalayas Tour:

  • £1495 in low season
  • £1550 in high season

based on two people travelling

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Overview

This fantastic tour encompasses the amazing city of Amritsar, where you’ll visit the Golden Temple and witness the famous Palki Ceremony. You’ll also explore beautiful monuments and gardens, and be wowed by the evening flag ceremony at the border with Pakistan.

Then it’s time to discover spectacular Dharamshala in the foothills of the Himalayas, which is home to the Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.  This refuge of Tibetan culture has risen to international fame as “The Little Lhasa in India”.

Next it’s a train journey through the stunning Kangra Valley to the quaint Pragpur village before travelling to the iconic hill station of Shimla to step back in time to the days of the British Raj. This wonderful adventure concludes with a trip on the famous ‘toy train’.

Highlights of the Foothills of the Himalayas Tour:

  • Golden Temple in Amritsar and Palki Ceremony
  • Sightseeing tour of Amritsar
  • Witness the Wagah Border flag retreat
  • Visits to various monasteries including the Namgyal Monastery, where the Dalai Lama has his residence
  • Scenic train journey through the Kangra Valley
  • The dramatic views from the Shimla ‘toy train’
  • Sightseeing tour of Shimla

Please remember all our private tours are designed to meet your exact requirements, and this Foothills of the Himalayas Tour is just an example to help inspire you.

If you'd like to know more please email info@aitholidays.com or call our friendly India specialists on 01792 315499. 

Foothills of the Himalayas Tour - 10 Nights / 11 Days

This fantastic tour encompasses the amazing city of Amritsar, where you’ll visit the Golden Temple and witness the famous Palki Ceremony. You’ll also explore beautiful monuments and gardens, and be wowed by the evening flag ceremony at the border with Pakistan.

Then it’s time to discover spectacular Dharamshala in the foothills of the Himalayas, which is home to the Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.  This refuge of Tibetan culture has risen to international fame as “The Little Lhasa in India”.

Next it’s a train journey through the stunning Kangra Valley to the quaint Pragpur village before travelling to the iconic hill station of Shimla to step back in time to the days of the British Raj. This wonderful adventure concludes with a trip on the famous ‘toy train’.

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1

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Day 1: Arrive in Amritsar

You will be met at Amritsar Airport by your Authentic India Tours representative and will be taken to your hotel by a private car transfer. This will take about 30 minutes. The afternoon is free for you to relax and enjoy the facilities of the Hyatt Regency hotel or explore the local area. In the evening, a visit to the Golden Temple has been arranged to see the “Palki Ceremony” also known as the putting to bed ceremony. To the sound of hymns and drums, a gold and silver gilded palanquin (a carriage carried by bearers) decorated in silk carries the Guru Granth Sahib holy book from the main shrine to the gate of the inner sanctum.

Accommodation: Hyatt Regency Amritsar
Meals included: Breakfast
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Day 2: Amritsar

Today's half day sightseeing tour of Armistar is an excellent introduction to this amazing city.  Amritsar was founded in 1577 by the fourth Sikh guru, Ram Das. It was built on a site donated by the Mughal Emperor Akbar and is today the spiritual centre for Sikhs. Located in the heart of the city is the iconic Golden Temple which is surrounded by a water tank, the Amrit Sarovar, from which Amritsar gets its name. Believed to have healing powers, you can see pilgrims who have often travelled many miles bathing in the lake.

The city is known for its rich cuisine and culture, and for the tragic incident of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre in 1919. During the tour, you can also visit the Durgiana Temple and have a haggle in Katra market, where you'll find everything from fabric and beaded dresses to shoes and street food. Late in the afternoon, you will be taken to the Atari (Wagah) Border, to witness the Flag Retreat ceremony. Since 1959, the security forces of India and Pakistan have lowered flags accompanied by elaborate and rapid dance-like manoeuvres. The ritual signifies both rivalry and cooperation between the two nations.

Accommodation: Hyatt Regency Armistar 
Meals included: Breakfast
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Day 3: Amritsar - Dharamshala

After breakfast, a 4 - 5 hour drive takes you through scenic mountainous territory to Dharamshala. Here you can enjoy the magnificent views of the snow covered Dhauladhar peaks. The hill station is surrounded with oak and conifer woodlands and snow-capped mountains on three sides, while the lush valley stretches out in front.

Upper Dharamshala and significantly the area of McLeod Ganj is known as the home of the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader. Since 1960, when it became a temporary headquarters of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Dharamshala has risen to international fame as “The Little Lhasa in India”. The area is home to Tibetan performing arts and crafts, monasteries and temples with their eye catching red and gold prayer wheels and fluttering prayer flags from the rooftops.

Approximate travel time and distance: 4 hours 30 mins, 200 kms

Accommodation: Chonor House Mansion
Meals included: Breakfast
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Day 4: Dharamshala

Today's activities include an early morning walk to McLeod Ganj to see the pilgrims and worshippers engrossed in their morning prayer. After breakfast your guide will take you to the most significant Buddhist sites including the Namgyal Monastery, where the Dalai Lama has his residence and administrative offices.

Your tour will also include visits to the Bhagsu Nag Hindu Temples, Dal Lake and the Norbulinka Institute which is dedicated to the preservation of the Tibetan culture.

Accommodation: Chonor House Mansion
Meals included: Breakfast
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5

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Day 5: Dharamshala - Kangra – Pragpur

This morning we take the drive to Kangra with the opportunity to explore Kangra Fort, a magnificent building that dates back to the 4th century.  After visiting the fort, you'll be taken to Kangra railway station for the scenic train journey to Haripur Gule.

Simply sit back and enjoy the beautiful sub-Himalayan terrain, known for its natural beauty and ancient Hindu shrines. At Haripur Guler railway station you will be meet by your driver and taken the 2 hour journey to the wonderfully quaint village of Pragpur with its cobbled streets and slate roofed houses.

Approximate travel time and distance: 1 - 2 hrs, 64 kms

Accommodation: The Judge's Court
Meals included: Breakfast
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Day 6: Pragpur

Today there is very little travelling and it’s a great opportunity to enjoy the elegant, relaxing environment of your charming country hotel which reflects the best of a bygone era. You can also explore the heritage villages of Pragpur and nearby Garli, a little known place offering beautiful architecture.

Accommodation: Judges Court
Meals included: Breakfast
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Day 7: Pragpur – Shimla

After breakfast it’s a long but beautiful 6 hour scenic drive ascending to Shimla, which straddles a high ridge in the foothills of the Himalayas. This popular tourist destination was made famous as the summer retreat for the British in India, escaping the high temperatures of the Indian plateaus.

Approximate travel time and distance: 5 hours 30 mins, 200 kms

Accommodation: The Oberoi Cecil
Meals included: Breakfast
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Day 8: Shimla

Until the British arrived, there was nothing at Shimla but a sleepy forest glade known as Shyamala (a local name for Kali). By the mid-1860’s, owing to the cooler climate and crisp, fresh air, Shimla had developed into the summer capital of the Raj. Every summer until 1939, the entire government of India fled here from the sweltering heat of the plains, with all their clerks’ books and forms filled out in triplicate. When the Kalka–Shimla railway line was constructed in 1903, Shimla’s status as India’s premier hill station was assured.

On this morning’s tour you will visit the mock Tudor library, the famous Gaiety Theatre and the Viceregal Lodge. You will also have time to explore the Mall.

Afternoon is at leisure to explore this hill station on your own.

Accommodation: The Oberoi Cecil
Meals included: Breakfast
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Day 9: Shimla

Today is a day of leisure or if you wish there are some optional extra activities which can be arranged. Perhaps explore Shimla on a nature walk from the house where Rudyard Kipling wrote Plain Tales From The Hills. Enjoy afternoon tea at the Oberoi Wildflower Hall or visit the princely state of Dhami to spend the day with the noble family, birdwatching and enjoying their stories over lunch. This is also a great time to catch up on some souvenier shopping.

Accommodation: The Oberoi Cecil
Meals included: Breakfast
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Day 10: Shimla - Kalka - Delhi

After a leisurely breakfast, you will be transferred to Shimla railway station to board the Himalayan Queen narrow gauge train for the spectacular ride to Kalka. At Kalka station you will then board the Shatabdi Express train to Delhi, arriving in Delhi around 10pm. At Delhi station, you will be met by your driver for a private car transfer to your hotel.


Approximate travel time and distance: 7 hrs 20 mins, 343 kms

Accommodation: The Claridges
Meals included: Breakfast

 

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Day 11: Transfer to Delhi Airport

In plenty of time you will be transferred to Delhi International airport to board your flight.

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation

Hyatt Regency, Amritsar

The deluxe 5-star Hyatt Regency Amritsar is located in the heart of the city, making it the perfect base to explore the Golden Temple, Jallianwala Bagh and the Wagah Border. Dine on sumptuous international cuisine, treat yourself to homemade confectionery and pastries in the in-house tarteria, or unwind in the lounge bar. Indulge in a spa treatment, work out in the fitness centre or watch the stunning sunset from the swimming pool 

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Chonor House, Dharamsala

The boutique Chonor House accommodation is perfectly located near to the residence of the Dalai Lama. The accommodation was built by the British architect David Porter to blend in with the natural environment and is part of the Norbulingka Institute dedicated to the preservation of Tibetan literature and artistic forms. Stay in a Tibetan themed room decorated with beautiful murals and dine on international cuisine while surrounded by stunning views. 

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The Judges Court, Pragpur

Experience the delights of the fantastic Judge's Court heritage hotel nestled amongst the Himalayas. This lovingly restored 300-year-old residence offers spacious rooms and a wealth of home-grown ingredients that form part of the tasty dishes on offer in the restaurant. The perfect base for exploring Pragpur as part of a visit to Himachal Pradesh.

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Oberoi Cecil, Shimla

The beautiful Oberoi Cecil oozes colonial charm and classic elegance and offers amazing views of beautiful Shimla. From the grand atrium lobby to the exclusive spa, you'll find luxurious touches at every turn. Dine on a selection of local and national dishes in a former ballroom, relax in the lounge bar, or simply unwind in your spacious room with personal butler service.

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The Claridges, Delhi

Built in 1952, The Claridges, New Delhi is an iconic hotel superbly located in at the heart of New Delhi’s eminent address – Lutyen’s Delhi. It offers the perfect blend of old-world elegance and contemporary luxury, with the Capital’s bustling commercial and cultural centres close by.

A historical landmark, The Claridges, New Delhi offers exquisitely appointed rooms and suites, an array of celebrated dining options and dedicated leisure and business facilities, warmly embraced by classic architecture and perfectly complemented with expansive lawns – an ideal destination for the discerning traveller.

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Destinations

Amritsar

Located in the northwestern Indian state of Punjab, the centrepiece of any visit to Amristar is the magnificent Golden Temple (Harmandir Sahib) the holiest gurdwara (religious complex) of the Sikh religion. Amritsar was founded in 1577 by the fourth Sikh guru Ram Das and offers a beautiful blend of old and new,  tradition and culture combined with the amenities of a modern city.

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Dharamshala

Home to the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government-in-exile, Dharamshala is a hillside city surrounded by cedar forests on the edge of the Himalayas. Visit the Thekchen Chöling Temple Complex, a spiritual centre for Tibetan Buddhism, or the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives containing a multitude of precious manuscripts.

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Pragpur

Fascinating Pragpur is an ornamental village with a mixture of unique architecture including fort-like houses, Havelis and villas, with British, Italian and Portuguese influences. Wander down the narrow cobbled streets to see ancient water tanks, mud-plastered walls and slate-roofed houses. Due to its unique architecture and beauty, Pragpur was declared India’s first Heritage Village in December 1997 by the Himachal Pradesh state government.

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Shimla, Himachal Pradesh

The capital city of Himachal Pradesh, Shimla is home to a variety of temples and churches, and its gravity-defying Kalka-Shimla railway which has earned UNESCO World Heritage Site status. Shimla also offers  amazing views of the Himalayas and the largest natural ice skating rink in South Asia. 

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Delhi

Busy, bustling and brimming with history, India’s capital city will leave a lasting impression. This city within cities is one of the three Golden Triangle destinations, and as a shopper’s paradise, history lover’s haven and foodie’s utopia, the delights of Delhi will appeal to everyone.

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Pricing and Inclusions

The price guide for this 11 day Foothills of The Himalayas Tour:

  • £1495 in low season (May - September)
  • £1550 in high season (October - April)

The prices do not include flights.

Authentic India Tours is a member of ABTA and ATOL. All the holidays on this website are ABTA protected. If you would like us to arrange your holiday including flights we will be happy to provide a quote and your holiday will also be ATOL protected.

This is a private tour and can be tailor-made to meet your exact requirements. Prices will vary depending on the number of people, length of tour, accommodation & season. Reductions are normally available for groups of three or more. Some hotels operate an additional peak pricing rate during busy times which is normally from mid December to mid January. 

Please get in touch with your dates and we will be pleased to provide you with your personal itinerary and accurate quote.

Included with this tour are the following:

  • Authentic India Tours meet & greet assistance on arrival
  • Throughout the tour your own private chauffeur driven air conditioned car
  • Accommodation for 10 nights on twin sharing basis
  • English speaking guide for sightseeing tour
  • Tickets for train travel as per the itinerary
  • Entrances at all national parks, museums and monuments as per the itinerary
  • Standard category rooms at all hotels unless otherwise mentioned
  • Meal plan: Bed & Breakfast
  • Mineral water on all days of travel

Price does not include:

  • International flight tickets
  • Travel insurance and visa
  • Expenses of personal nature like laundry, tips, beverages etc
  • Meals other than mentioned in the above meal plan
  • Camera and video fees at national parks, museums & monuments

Prices mentioned above are per person based on two people sharing a twin room. The prices which were valid at the time of publication may be subject to change, based on your date of travel and local market fluctuations. You will be informed of any price differences prior to booking.

For a quote based on your dates of travel, any alternative accommodation or changes to this itinerary, please call Authentic India Tours on 01792 315499 or email us at info@aitholidays.com