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Hill Stations of the Himalayas

from £2899
The hill state of Himachal Pradesh, sandwiched between Punjab and Tibet, encompasses the verdant Himalayan foothills, with orchards, forests, deep gorges, and roaring rivers.

Guided Walking Holidays - Hill Stations of the Himalayas

The hill state of Himachal Pradesh, sandwiched between Punjab and Tibet, encapsulates the verdant Himalayan foothills. Walking trails meander through orchard valleys and subtropical forests, leading us to deep gorges, pretty villages, roaring rivers and pine forests.

The mountain air is crisp and cool and the panoramic vistas of this once inaccessible area overlook a favourite summer retreat from the days of the Raj, whose legacy of colonial mansions, churches and remarkable railways sit comfortably alongside monasteries and temples.

From Delhi, we take the train into the state of Punjab, to Amritsar. We visit the Golden Temple, the holiest Sikh shrine, with the chance to experience first light prayers. The ceremonial sunset Retreat at Wagha Border, the only land crossing between Pakistan and India, is a fascinating ritual.

We move on, using 4x4 vehicles, to Dharamsala, home of the Dalai Lama and the exiled Tibetan Government for over three decades. The Tibetan influence here is strong. Dharamsala is the starting point for our foray into the Himalayan foothills.

From both Manali (2,050m), located at the head of the Kullu Valley, and the hill station of Shimla (2,000m), once the summer capital of the British Colonial Raj, we’ll walk in the surrounding hill country and experience Himachal Pradesh at its most idyllic, with its panoramic landscapes, snow capped peaks, tranquil villages, raging rivers, fruit orchards and terraced fields.

An exhilarating train ride on the narrow gauge railway from Shimla to Kalka offers an old world charm as it gently snakes through the countryside. From Kalka we return to Delhi by train for a final visit before we depart for home.

Holiday Highlights

  • See the Golden Temple at Amritsar, the holiest of Sikh temples.
  • Visit Dharamsala, home to the Dalai Lama.
  • Ride the train from Shimla to Khandaghat with panoramic views.
  • Walk in the Kullu Valley with the backdrop of the snow peaked Himalayas.
  • Journey back in time to the days of the Raj.
The holiday inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What's included in this holiday Items that are covered in the cost of holiday price.

      Return flights from Heathrow to Delhi (British Airways) 
      Airport transfers
      Half board en suite accommodation
      All entrance fees 
      Most lunches 
      Knowledgeable English speaking local guides 
      All local transport costs. 
Whats not included in this holiday Items that are not covered in the cost of holiday price.

  • Entrance fees to some museums and historic buildings (unless otherwise specified)
  • Personal expenses (such as your bar bill)
  • Discretionary tips
  • Optional excursions
  • Insurance
Please select Departure Date to view:

Please see Holiday Information Sheet for this holidays individual departures itinerary (located under View Departures & Book tab)

Whilst every effort will be made to adhere to the outlined itinerary and advertised programme, local conditions can change due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances. This may mean that routes and timings need to be amended or the order of days may change, sometimes at short notice.

This departure: Grade 4/SS

  1. Day 1

    Depart London Heathrow for Delhi. Arrival is just before midnight and we transfer directly to our hotel.

  2. Day 2

    With a relaxed start in Delhi to get a feel of the city. Planning a day around Delhi is never easy, it's a busy place, but we hope to include Gurudwara Bangla Sahib Sikh Temple to get an insight into the Sikh religion. We will also visit Dilli Haat open-air food plaza and craft bazaar. We will have dinner here. We should have time to finish off anything we miss at the end of the holiday.

  3. Day 3

    We’ll take the train today to the Sikh holy city of Amritsar in Punjab (approx 6 hour journey). We have booked seats on the train and the local guide will take us to these seats. Indian railways can be intimidating without helpful guidance. On arrival we have time for a cultural heritage walk through the streets of Amritsar before dinner. We stay in Amritsar for 2 nights.

  4. Day 4

    Following breakfast we’ll see the Golden Temple, the holiest of Sikh temples. Next we travel into the Punjab countryside to walk through a traditional village and see something of the traditional way of life. We’ll make a sunset visit to see the ceremonial Retreat at the Wagah Border, the only land crossing border between India and Pakistan.

  5. Day 5

    Making the journey overland to Dharamshala, we’ll travel approximately 125 miles, making stops en route for a restaurant lunch and hopefully (if time allows) visit Kangra Fort. We’ll stay in Dharamshala for 4 nights. From today, until we reach Chandigarh, we will be travelling in SUV vehicles which offer a more comfortable ride on the mountain roads.

  6. Day 6

    We will start out about 09.00 to visit Tushita Buddhist stupa (place of meditation). Those who would like can join in a meditation session. Later we continue to walk arriving at Mcleod Ganj for lunch (included) at a local restaurant. McLeod Ganj is home to the Dalai Lama. We can return to the hotel after lunch before enjoying a walk through the local Tea Gardens later in the day. Here you will have a chance to see the tea making process and hopefully enjoy a cup. Dharamshala Tea is known worldwide for its quality and flavour.

  7. Day 7

    We’ll have a true Tibetan experience today as we explore the Upper Town of Dharamshala, McLeod Ganj, where the residence of the Dalai Lama is located. We’ll see Tse Chokling Monastery, St John in the Wilderness Church, village school, Tibetan Medical Centre, and Norbulingka (a learning centre for traditional Tibetan art and craft). We’ll also see the Dalai Lama residence and plan to take a Kora holy walk, where you may see Buddhist monks and nuns chanting holy hymns.

  8. Day 8

    Today, we’ll walk from Naddi to the tribal village of Bahl, located in the foothills of the Dhauladhar mountains, and enjoy a short visit of the village. A steep climb takes us on to Galu Village, where we can enjoy a packed lunch. Walking time: Approx. 5 hours Elevation: Starting at 2000m, reaching 2500m and finishing at 2000m Terrain: A forest trail with some stony parts and a short, steep climb on rocky terrain.

  9. Day 9

    We travel deeper into the Himalayan foothills today to Manali, located at the head of the Kullu Valley. The approximate 150 miles drive takes us through breath-taking scenery of snow capped peaks, pine forests and fruit orchards. We’ll make refreshment stops en route and also stop for a restaurant lunch. There have been extensive road works on the road recently which will hopefully have improved the journey by the time we travel. We stay in Manali for 4 nights.

  10. Day 10

    We’ll start with a short drive to the village of Salong and make our way back to Manali with a leisurely walk through the Salong Valley passing traditional villages along the way. The route ends at the Manali Club House in old Manali. We’ll return to our hotel by vehicle. A packed lunch will be included today. Walking time: Approx. 5 hours Elevation: Starting at 2500m, finishing at 2050m. Terrain: Following well trodden village tracks.

  11. Day 11

    From the nearby village of Vashishat, with its hot springs, we’ll walk to the sacred Jogini waterfall. From here, we’ll continue to Nehru Kund where our vehicles will take us to the snowline towards Rohtang Pass, which offers sweeping valley and snow capped mountain views. Walking time: Approx. 2.5 hours Elevation: Starting at 2100m, reaching 2150m and finishing at 2100m (3000m by vehicle) Terrain: An easy start with a gradual ascent for 30-40 minutes to the falls, following a dirt track, followed by a 30 minute, steep (but short) descent to Nehru Kund.

  12. Day 12

    From Chansari village, a 2hr drive from Manali, we’ll walk the Bijli Mahadev Temple Walk with great views of the Kullu Valley. Later we continue to Naggar village, located on the banks of the Beas River, to visit Naggar Castle and Roerich Gallery which houses paintings by Russian artist Nicholas Roerich. Time permitting, we may include a short walk this afternoon. Walking time: Approx. 3 hours Elevation: Starting at 2000m, reaching 2450m. The walk is a steady ascent throughout.

  13. Day 13

    Our journey today takes us 160 miles to the hill station of Shimla, the capital of Himachal Pradesh. Refreshment stops will be made en route, including lunch at a local restaurant. We stay in Shimla for 3 nights.

  14. Day 14

    Today, we’ll take the Heritage Walk of Shimla visiting the Vice Regal Lodge, once the residence of Lord Mountbatten and now the Institute of Advanced Studies, following the Mall where we’ll see the Cecil Hotel, Kennedy House and Lakar Bazar. Lunch is included at a local restaurant today and there will be some free time.

  15. Day 15

    We’ll drive to Mashobara where we’ll start our walk through a pine forest to Seepur village, sometimes steeply on tracks and reasonable paths. We follow the contours going through several hamlets to Kanda village. Towards the end the path goes a little off-piste on a steep track but then the path is nicely graded down to the village. Here we will meet our transport and return to the Woodville Palace Hotel for a chance to enjoy tea on the lawn. A packed lunch is included today. Walking time: Approx. 3-3.5 hours Elevation: Starting at 2200m and finishing at 2200m Terrain: A level walking day at an even altitude following a forest trail.

  16. Day 16

    Our Toy Train journey today offers some spectacular views of the valleys as it twists its way down gradually from Shimla to Khandaghat (approx. 2 hours). We’ll then take a short drive to Dharampur, where we’ll have lunch before boarding our train to Delhi at Kalka (journey to Delhi approx 3.5 hours). We stay in Delhi for 2 nights.

  17. Day 17

    Today we continue our exploration of Delhi. We start with a rickshaw ride through Old Delhi followed by a walking tour. We will visit one of the largest spice markets in Asia. We may have the opportunity to walk in Lodi Gardens . We spend the evening in Delhi with dinner. Depending on flight times we will return to the airport for a flight departing in the small hours of the next morning.

  18. Day 18

    We take our flight to London, arriving the same day.

Travel Details

  • Return flights from Heathrow to Delhi (British Airways)
  • Arrival transfer by road c.45mins
  • Upgrades are available on most flights. For scheduled flights; Premium Economy, Business or First Class. Please ask us for details and a competitive quote
  • If direct regional flights are not available, we can often offer add-on flights to a London airport at a competitive rate. Please ask us for details and a competitive quote.
  • Visa is required

Trip Map

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Our Accommodation on this holiday

Below is the accommodation featured on this holiday. If you are on a multi-centre holiday, these are highlights of the places where we stay. Please refer to your Holiday Information sheet (which can be found under View Departures & Book), for your departure date and for all your accommodation details.

Ranjit Villas

Just outside the city of Amritsar Ranjit Villas are ideally located for our explorations of the city. Every room has a balcony with a view over the pool. Facilities include, free WiFi, TV, air conditioning and fridge. It is a short drive to all the city highlights.

Urvashi Retreat Manali

The Urvashi Retreat Manali is located in a valley between the mountains of the Himalayas giving great views from every room. There is an in-house gastro pub, a spa and wellness centre and the Rohtang Pavilion restaurant at the hotel. Facilities include free WiFi. A spring water brook running through the orchards fills an ecological pool open to guests at all times.

Shimla Havens Resort

At an altitude of 6,400 feet above sea level the Shimla Havens Resort is surrounded by pine and cedar forests and offers a pleasant view over the mountains and gardens. The rooms feature modern furnishings and spacious marble bathrooms as well as free WiFi, a TV and safe. The hotel is a short walk away from the centre of town.