Nirvana in the Himalayas: 18 Days

The Himalayas have been known to quench the thirst of many who took shelter in its immaculate whites in the hope of 'blowing out their fires of greed, hatred and delusion', better known as 'Nirvana'. Begin the journey by bowing down at the Golden Temple in Amritsar for blessings. Come closer to the dominating peaks as you scale the 'region of snowy mountains'- Himachal Pradesh. Find reminders of the colonial era at Dalhousie, peace at Dharamshala, pristine landscapes sprinkled with merriment in Manali, and conclude with a holy dip in the Ganges at Haridwar.



Day 1-2: Delhi

Company representatives will receive you on arrival at the international airport in Delhi. Transfer to your hotel. Relax.

DELHI, the capital of kingdoms and empires is now a sprawling metropolis with a fascinating blend of the past and the present. It is a perfect introduction to the composite culture of an ancient land. A window to the kaleidoscope - that is India.

Overnight will be at Delhi.

Enjoy a guided tour of Old Delhi after breakfast.

The tour will begin with a visit to Raj Ghat, a simple memorial to Mahatma Gandhi. He is also famously known as the "father of the nation".

One of the most important buildings of Old Delhi is the RED FORT. The magnificent Red Fort was built during the years 1638 - 48 when the Moghul Empire was at its peak. In 1638 Shahjahan transferred his capital from Agra to Delhi and laid the foundations of Shahjahanabad, the seventh city of Delhi. It is enclosed by a rubble stonewall, with bastions, gates and wickets at intervals. Of its fourteen gates, the important ones are the Mori, Lahori, Ajmeri, Turkman, Kashmiri and Delhi gates, some of which have already been demolished. His famous citadel, the Lal-Qila, or the Red Fort, lying at the town's northern end on the right bank or the Yamuna and south of Salimgarh, was begun in 1639 and completed after nine years. The Red Fort is different from the Agra fort and is better planned, because at its back lies the experience gained by Shahjahan at Agra, and because it was the work of one hand. It is an irregular octagon, with two long sides on the east and west, and with two main gates, one on the west and the other on the south, called Lahori and Delhi gates respectively. While the walls, gates and a few other structures in the fort are constructed of red sandstone, marble has been largely used in the palaces.

Continue your tour to Jama Masjid by bicycle rickshaws, one of Asia's largest mosques. People stream in and out of the mosque continuously and the presence of a nearby bazaar means that the area is rarely quiet.

Enjoy the rickshaw ride at Old Delhi peddling through the narrow by lanes of Chandani Chowk.

After lunch proceed for a sightseeing tour of New Delhi, which reflects the legacy of the British left behind. The division between New and Old Delhi is the division between the capitals of the British and the Mughals respectively. The division in the walled city and New Delhi also marks the division in the life-styles. The walled city is all tradition where one will be able to glean a past life-style in all its facets, colors and spells. New Delhi in contrast, is a city trying to live up to the best of 21st century standards.

Imperial Delhi will include the Qutub Minar, the tallest stone tower in India. Qutb-Minar in red and buff standstone is the highest tower in India. It has a diameter of 14.32 m at the base and about 2.75 m on the top with a height of 72.5 m. Qutbu'd-Din Aibak laid the foundation of Minar in AD 1199 for the use of the mu'azzin (crier) to give calls for prayer and raised the first floor, to which were added three more floors by his successor and son-in-law, Shamsu'd-Din Iltutmish (AD 1211-36). All the storeys are surrounded by a projected balcony encircling the minar and supported by stone brackets, which are decorated with honeycomb design, more conspicuously in the first floor.

Next stop would be the majestic Humayun's Tomb. Humayun died in 1556, and his widow Hamida Banu Begum, also known as Haji Begum, commenced the construction of his tomb in 1569, fourteen years after his death. It is the first distinct example of proper Mughal style, which was inspired by Persian architecture. It is well known that Humayun picked up the principles of Persian architecture during his exile, and he himself is likely to have planned the tomb, although there is no record to that effect.

The tour also includes a drive past the imposing India Gate, the Parliament building and the Rastrapathi Bhawan, the President's residence.

If time permits then visit the Lotus temple located in south of Delhi. It is lotus shaped and has rightly been given the name. It is made of marble, cement, dolomite and sand. It is open to all faiths and is an ideal place for meditation and obtaining peace and tranquillity. Its founder, Bahaullah (1817-1892), is regarded by Bahai as the most recent in the line of Messengers of God that stretches back beyond recorded time and that includes Abraham, Moses, Buddha, Zoroaster, Christ and Muhammad.

We could even have time to see the Indira Gandhi Museum or else Lotus Temple can be replaced with the museum visit. The history of the Gandhi family is well documented in this old building which was the last residence of Mrs Gandhi.

Overnight will be at Delhi.

Day 3-4: Amritsar

Enjoy breakfast in the hotel. Proceed for the sightseeing tour.

Golden Temple: Sri Harmandir Sahib, also known as the Golden Temple in Amritsar is the holiest shrine of the Sikh religion. Also known as the Shri Darbar Sahib, it is in the center of the old part of Amritsar. The Golden Temple sits on a rectangular platform, surrounded by a pool of water called the Amrit Sarovar from which the City is named. The entrance to the Golden Temple complex is through an ornate archway with intricate inlay work. Verses from the Granth Sahib are inscribed on the doorway. The main north entrance is under a Victorian clock tower. Known as the Darshani Deori, the entrance is up a flight of steps and down again to the temple and holy tank. The temple is a two storey marble structure reached by a causeway known as Guru’s Bridge. The lower storey is in white marble with the walls decorated with inlaid flower and animal motifs in the pietradura style of the Taj Mahal. The architecture of the golden temple is a blend of the Hindu and Muslim styles. The temple building has four entrances instead of the usual single entry. This is symbolic of the openness of Sikhism and indicates that followers of all faiths are allowed inside. The walls within are decorated with carved wooden panels and elaborate inlay work in silver and gold. The Adi Granth, compiled by Guru Arjan Dev, rests on a throne beneath a jewel-encrusted canopy. Priests conduct continuous recitation of verses from the holy book in 3-hour shifts. A complete reading of the text stakes 48 hours. The original copy of the Guru Granth Sahib is kept under pink shroud in the, Golden Temple during the day and at around 10 p.m. each day is ceremoniously returned to the Akal Takht (Sikh Parliament) building. The morning processional ceremony takes place at 4 a.m. in summer and at 5 a.m. in winter, when Sri Guru Granth Sahib is bought from Akal takhat Sahib in a procession to the Sanctum Sanctorum, which is washed with milk. The Akal Takht, next to the Golden Temple, is the seat of the Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee, the religious governing body of the Sikhs. The building of the Akal Takht was begun by Guru Arjan Dev and completed in 1609 by Guru Hargobind. If you miss the early morning or evening processions, the palanquin that bears the Adi Granth can be seen in the treasury room on the first floor of the Akal Takht. The palanquin is set with precious stones and has silver poles and a gold canopy.

Summer place of Maharaja Ranjit Singh: Is situated in the middle of a beautiful garden called Ram Bagh. This garden is laid out on the pattern of Shalimar Bagh at Lahore. Only its architecturally unique ´Darshani deorhi´ has remained intact. A museum after the name of the Maharaja is set up here displaying oil paintings, miniatures, coins, abd weapons relating to the Sikh period.

Jalian Wala Bagh: Amritsar Massacre: This place noted for its most notorious massacre under British rule. It is 400 meters north of the Golden Temple. The British General Dyer was the Lieutenant Governor of the province in 1919. He banned all meetings and demonstrations led by Indians against the economical set back by World War I. On 13 April 1919, pilgrims poured into Amritsar to celebrate the Baisakhi festival, a holiday in the Sikh calendar. In the afternoon thousands of people gathered at Jallian Wala Bagh to celebrate the Baisakhi. This ground surrounded by high walls on all sides has only a narrow alley for access. General Dyer personally led the troops to the sight and ordered his men to open fire without any warning. It resulted in the death of 379 and injured more than 1200. India was outraged by Dyer’s massacre. Gandhiji called for a nationwide strike and started the Non-cooperation Movement, which became an important mile stone in the struggle for India’s Independence. Today this ground has been changed to a park and it has a pleasant garden. There is a narrow path between the houses which leads to the lawn of the park. At the entrance there is a memorial plaque which recounts the history. There is a well on the north side in which many people who tried to escape from the bullets were drowned, and remnants of walls have been preserved to show the bullet holes. At the east end of the garden there is a large memorial built in memory of those who died here.

Wagah Border: The international border between India and Pakistan. The pomp and pageantry of the Beating Retreat and the Change of Guard within handshaking distance of the Indian and Pakistani forces makes for a most charming spectacle.

Overnight stay will be in Amritsar.

Day 5-6: Dalhousie

Enjoy the breakfast at the hotel. After breakfast proceed for the sightseeing.

Subash Baoli: Commanding a view of the snowcapped mountains, 1.6-km away from the G.P.O. (check spelling) Square, the spring of Subash Baoli is situated.

. Kalatope (2440m): 5 Km from Dalhousie, Kalatope is a pleasant getaway, with a panoramic view, an enchanting palace, and a forest rest house. Kalatope is situated 10-km away from G.P.O. Square at an altitude of 8,000-ft. Walking along the secluded and forested road through upper Nakorota hills, one reaches Lakkarmandi. The home of dhogri families, Lakkarmandi is nestled between 8,600 feet high Dayan Kund peak on its right and Kalatope on the left. The little Kalatope Sanctuary has a variety of wildlife such as ibex, deer, bears and leopards.

Dainkund (2745m): At an altitude of 2,745 m and 10 km from the town, this tall peak outside town affords a bird's-eye view on a clear day, of the hills, valleys and the river Beas, Ravi and the Chenab threading their silvery way down to the plains.

Bara Pathar: Set amidst thick forest is the small temple of Bhulwani Mata, in the village of Ahla, on the way to Kalatope. A fair is celebrated in July to venerate the goddess. It is 4 km away from the town.

Khajjiar (1951m): Just 27-km from Dhoudar the beautiful little plain of Khajjiar is one of the favorite retreats for visitors. The saucer-shaped meadow, ringed by pines, has a lake set in the middle, complete with a floating bland. A little golden-spired temple of Khajjinag belonging to the 12th century and a picturesque golf course complete this pretty picture. A picturesque spot with an emerald, saucer shaped meadow set amidst a dense deodar forest, it has a lake as it's centre with a floating island, a forest rest house, a little temple with a golden spire and a golf course. Accommodation is available at the tourist bungalow, Hotel Deodar and at Youth Hostel and the PWD Rest House. Overnight will be at Dalhousie.

Day 7-8: Dharamshala

Enjoy the breakfast at the hotel. After breakfast proceed for the sightseeing…

Kangra Art Museum: This treasure trove of the Kangra valley's arts, crafts, and rich past, displays artifacts that date back to the 5th century. The museum also includes a gallery of Kangra's famous miniature paintings and a representative collection of sculptures, pottery, and anthropological items.

War Memorial: Set amidst the pine groves is a war memorial, built on the entry point to Dharamshala to commemorate the post independence war heroes of Himachal Pradesh. A web of narrow paths and landscaped lawns lead towards this monument.

Dall Lake: Surrounded by high and green Deodar trees is the lake, which fills a mountain bowl. Situated 11-kms away from the town, this lake is easily approachable by road and makes an enchanting and serene picnic spot.

St. John's Church: One of the most poignant memories of the British Raj is the church of St. John, situated in the wilderness. This charmingly dressed stone church is located just 8-km from Dharamshala on the way to McLeod Ganj. Under the shade of Deodar branches, a memorial has been made over the body of the British Viceroy, Lord Elgin who died at Dharamshala in 1863.

Kunal Pathri: These are the rock temples from which the place derives its name. Kunal Pathri is a 3 Kms flat walk from Kotwali Bazaar.

Overnight will be at Dharamshala.

Day 9-10: Manali

After breakfast proceed for the sightseeing.

At Dunghri village, a 2 km walk from the Tourist office in Manali, is the famous Hadimba Devi Temple. Maharaja Bahadur Singh built the present wooden pagoda-like temple in 1553 after earlier structures were burnt down by forest fires. Standing on a stone platform surrounded by old deodar trees, the three-tiered temple is crowned with pennants, brass bells and a trident. Carvings of animals, plants and folk deities adorn the temple, while hunting trophies hang over its entrance. Proceed to visit Rohtang Pass.

Rohtang Pass: Situated about 51 km from Manali town at an altitude of 4,111 meters (13,400 ft.) on the highway to Keylong, is Rohtang Pass. Here one sees the majesty of the mountains at its height and splendor. At the top of the Pass the air seems to glitter against the snow as you look down over herringboned ridges into the Lahaul Valley. There is a beautiful Doshohar Lake left to the pass, where pilgrims go every year on the auspicious day of 20th Bhadon. This is the only access to Lahaul valley. The pass is open from June to September each year although trekkers can across the pass a little earlier. Rohtang pass is the gateway to Lahaul valley just as Zojila pass in between Kashmir valley and Ladakh.

Overnight will be at Manali.

Day 11-12: Shimla

Breakfast will be at hotel. Proceed for the sight seeing tour of the city.

Explore the scenic places around Shimla – Naldhera with its rolling meadows and a 9 hole golf course, Mashobra with its pine forests offering lovely walks, specially the pathways from Bekalty Road, Kufri's famed ski slopes and the small zoo and Chail with its romantic palace, deodar forests, not to forget its highest cricket pitch. The area has breathtaking views of the Himalayan peaks foreshadowed by the terraced fields and verdant forests. In the evening soak in the ambience of this old world town, going shopping on the fashionable Mall.

Proceed for a stroll in the mall or pick souvenirs and curios at Lakkar Bazaar.

Enjoy the evening at The Ridge / Scandal Point- the hub of the town with its ice-cream vendors, pony rides and spectacular Himalayan views.

Overnight will be at Shimla.

Day 13-14: Chandigarh

Enjoy sightseeing of the following places after the breakfast:

Sukhna Lake: On the south eastern boundary of the city is the seasonal rivulet Sukhana choe. Water through it used to flow away in the rainy season. The planner of the city through their imagination, created a lake by obstructing the flow of rain water through the Sukhana Choe. A three and half km long dam was built to create a reservoir of water, now known as Sukhna Lake. People generally come here for a morning or evening walk. It consists of an eating place, children’s park. It also has facility for boating and rafting for the adventure seekers. A major hit with children and grown-ups alike. At one end of the Lake are the premises of Lake Club. The club management takes care to provide facilities for water sports and recreational activities. Water sports become annual feature. Environment friendly people of Chandigarh take part in its disilting operation every year.

Rock Garden: Next to Sukhana Lake there is a unique but a world famous fantasy in the city of Chandigarh, called Rock Garden. Situated in the thick forest area, these gardens hold its own charms for the visitors. It is full of objects built from household and industrial waste. There are no flowers or plants in this garden. The object to be seen there are the figure made of raw cement resembling humans and animals. These figures have been decorated with broken but colourful odds and ends of China clay. As one looks at them with deep intent, they seem to be staring as the visitors. They seem to be engaged in various activities. There are group of dancing damsels made from bicycle and motorcycle's waste materials, marching armies of warriors resting flying or fledging birds made from countless bite of broken glass. There are groups of music bands engaged in their activity of entertaining the visitors. Its creator also needs a mention. The garden was visualized by Sh. Nek Chand. He belongs from Gurdaspur district in Punjab province. He started his life in PWD as laborer, but late rose to high ranks. He came to Chandigarh as Road Inspector. His deep visualization made him to pick and collect all sorts of discarded scrap. He started to visit waste dumps of the factories. He collected there raw cement, broken pipes and other discarded matter. He created rapport with the truck drivers who carried and drop his debris at a vacant corner of the forest where now this unique creation stands. For twelve years he worked hard alone on this unique fantasy. After twelve years the work of Nek Chand noticed by Government. He was giving deserving patronage. An area of twelve acres was allotted for the extension of the original Rock Garden. Even funds were provided for carrying on the work.

Rose Garden: Next to city centre, in sector 16 is situated Zakir Hussein Rose Garden Asia's largest Rose Garden and is spread over 30 acres of land having over 1600 different species or roses. These have been planted beautifully carved out lawns and flowers beds. Like the cultural zone which is just across the road in Sector 10, this was also planned by Dr. M.S. Randhawa as his interest in horticulture and fondness for flowers was profuse.

Overnight will be at Chandigarh.

Day 15-17: Haridwar

Enjoy the breakfast at the hotel and proceed to Haridwar by road.

Haridwar or 'the Gateway to the Gods' is one of the seven holiest places according to Hindu mythology, as the Gods are believed to have left their footprints in Haridwar. Haridwar represents the gateway to the Himalayan pilgrimage shrines of Badrinath and Kedarnath. The pilgrimage to the Himalayan shrines begins only when the sun reaches the zodiac sign of Aries. Haridwar is also the site of celebration of the Kumbha Mela, once in twelve years, when Jupiter transits to the zodiac sign of Aquarius. The five sacred bathing spots in Haridwar are Gangadwara, Kankhal, Nila Parvata, Bilwa Theertha and Kusavarta. The main ghat at Haridwar is known as Hari-ki-Pairi (known for a footprint of Vishnu on a stone in a wall.

Haridwar - gateway to the four pilgrimages in the Uttrakhand region is located on the foot hills of Shivaliks. It is on the banks of River Ganga. The Ganga leaves the mountains and enters the plains with Haridwar being the first major town on the plains.

Though the Ganges does not lose its rapids completely nevertheless it becomes very quite and calm here. The water is clean and people prefer taking bath on the numerous Ghats built on the river shores. It is said that taking bath here purifies the soul and opens the way for the ultimate freedom, Nirvana.

Overnight will be at Haridwar.

Day 18: Delhi - Back Home

Proceed to the railway station to board train for Delhi. Reach Delhi and check into the hotel.

Relax for the day and enjoy last minute shopping.

As per the flight timings you will be transferred to the airport to take flight back home with sweet memories of the India tour.

SPECIAL HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDED

• Rickshaw ride at old delhi bazaar,
• Gate closing ceremony at amritsar,
• Visit to rohtang pass,
• Aarti at the ghats of ganges in haridwar, and
• Excursion to rishikesh.

THE TOUR INCLUDES

• Accommodation at suggested hotels on double occupancy,
• Daily buffet breakfasts,
• Sightseeing tours as mentioned in the itinerary,
• All tours and transfers in ac private Toyota Innova at disposal with driver,
• English speaking company authorised guide for all mentioned tours,
• Monument entrances,
• Assistance at the airports on arrival / departure,
• Assistance at stations on departure and arrival,
• 24 hrs dedicated tour manager,
• Unlimited mineral water and tissues during drives,
• Porter charges at stations,
• Train fare in best available class for the mentioned sectors,
• All applicable taxes and service charges, and
• All road taxes, government taxes and driver allowances.

EXCLUSIONS

• Lunches and dinners (except for those mentioned in inclusions),
• Personal expenses,
• Camera fees, tips etc,
• International airfare, • Visa charges.

Hotels

City Luxury Palace & Boutique First Class & Heritage Nights
Delhi The Imperial Taj Mansingh The Maidens 02
Amritsar Ista Ranjit Svaasa Ranjit Svaasa 02
Dalhousie Grand View Grand View Grand View 02
Dharamshala Club Mahindra Club Mahindra Surya Resort 02
Manali Ambassador Ambassador Banon Resort 02
Shimla The Oberoi Cecil Clarkes Radisson 02
Chandigarh Taj Chandigarh Taj Chandigarh Taj Chandigarh 02
Haridwar Hari Ganga Haweli Carlson Country Inn & Suites by Carlson 03

Tour Price

Ask our travel expert for Tour price.

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