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Hill Stations Of The Himalayas

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

  • 15 nights
  • Pioneer

    Sightseeing

  • Apr

    Oct

Moderate

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Tour codes: 47450

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Our holiday walking grades

Moderate

Grade 4 Sightseeing

Full and half day walks at a moderate pace over hilly terrain. Half day walks will probably involve about 3 hours of walking, with full day walks having around 5 hours. Expect ascents and descents of up to 600m. Some days of this holiday will be dedicated solely to sightseeing (or include an element of sightseeing). To enhance your experience, a knowledgeable local guide will accompany your small group for part (or the majority) of the holiday.

Overview

Holiday Highlights

  • See the Golden Temple at Amritsar, the holiest of Sikh temples.
  • Visit Dharamshala, 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.
  • Local guides throughout and incredible Indian cuisine.

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 sits 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, one of the very few land crossing points on the 2,000 mile border between Pakistan and India, is a fascinating ritual.

We move on, using 4x4 vehicles, to Dharamshala, home of the Dalai Lama and the exiled Tibetan Government for over three decades. The Tibetan influence here is strong. Dharamshala is the starting point for our foray into the Himalayan foothills. It is also the beginning of tea country. We will stop at a tea plantation and see how things are done.

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. From Manali we intend to drive up to the Rohtang Pass. At nearly 4,000m this will be the highest point we reach on this holiday.

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.

  • Return flights from Heathrow to Delhi (British Airways)
  • Airport transfers
  • Half board en suite accommodation
  • All entrance fees
  • Twelve lunches
  • Knowledgeable English speaking local guides
  • All local transport costs.
  • Entrance fees (unless otherwise specified)
  • Personal expenses (such as your bar bill)
  • Discretionary tips
  • Optional excursions
  • Travel Insurance (you can add this when you book)

Holiday Information

Click the button below for a detailed Holiday Information Sheet containing all the particulars about this trip.

NOTE: Itineraries and Holiday Information Sheets can vary by a specific date chosen

View Holiday Information Sheet

Itinerary & Travel

Itinerary Details

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.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we may unfortunately need to withdraw a tour that is currently confirmed to operate and we therefore reserve the right to cancel your booking. We would always do our utmost to give you plenty of notice should we have to do this. Selected elements of this tour, including local attractions and restaurants, may change at late notice. Please ensure you have valid insurance cover before you travel.

Your Itinerary

Day 1

Delhi

Meals

In-Flight

Accommodation

We depart the UK for our flight to Delhi. The flight lands in Delhi in the early hours of Day 2.

Transfer Time = 45m

Day 2

Delhi

Meals

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation

On arrival we will be met by our guide and transferred to our hotel close by the airport. We will try and get everybody to bed as soon as possible. After a late breakfast we will start our explorations of Delhi, India’s bustling capital. It can be a challenging place to get around due to city traffic, but our aim is to take in the sites of New Delhi. Gurudwara Bangladesh Sahib, one of the most important Sikh temples in Delhi, Parliament House and Indian Gate and Humayun’s tomb. We will also visit Lutyen's city and walk around Connaught Place. If you fancy a shoe shine this is the place. At the end of the day we will stop off at a restaurant for dinner before retiring to the hotel for some well-earned rest.

Day 3

Amritsar

Meals

Breakfast & Dinner

Accommodation

Today we transfer by train to Amritsar. Indians trains are a fascinating experience but can be intimidating for the uninitiated. Fortunately, our local guides will show us to our comfortable prebooked seats making everything hassle free. We have an early start catching a train around 07.30 so should arrive in Amritsar early afternoon. Breakfast will be boxed to be eaten on the train. The journey takes about 6hrs to cover 270 miles. After some time to relax at the hotel we will have a walking cultural tour of the city. Like all cities in India Amritsar is a lively place. Dinner will be in the hotel tonight.

Day 4

Amritsar

Meals

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation

We will spend the morning exploring the Golden Temple. The most holy place in the Sikh religion and its 26 million adherents worldwide. Depending on the timings we might have some extra time in Amritsar before heading out to the Wagah border. This is one of the few legal land crossing points between India and Pakistan. We can enjoy the ceremony held two hours before sunset each day. The ceremony has been happening daily since 1959. Finally, we return to the hotel for dinner.

Day 5

Dharamshala

Meals

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation

Today we drive to Dharamshala. The journey is 160 miles and takes 7 hours. We will stop for coffee in the morning with a chance to stretch our legs a little. Lunch is included and will be taken en route. We will not drive for longer than 2 hrs without a stop. In the afternoon we will stop to explore Masrur Rock Monolithic Temple, famous for its rock carvings and Kangra Fort. Kangra Fort is perhaps the largest fort in the Himalayas, the oldest in India and well worth walking up to for the views it enjoys over the two valleys below. Our strolls around both forts make a pleasant and informative break in the journey. From Kangra Fort it is a short distance on to our hotel. We will have dinner in the hotel tonight.

Day 6

Dharamshala

Meals

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation

  • Time

    4 hours

  • Distance

    5 miles

  • Ascent/Descent

    300/125m

Today, we’ll walk from Naddi to the Guna Devi Temple via the tribal village of Bahl, located in the foothills of the Dhauladhar mountains, and enjoy a short visit of the village. The trail takes us across the Bhated River and on to Bahl Gaon village, with great views of the Kangra Valley. We continue up to the Guna Devi Temple with more magnificent views of the Ghasturi Pass and Chamba Valley. Guna Devi Temple is dedicated to goddess Durga, the temple has a meditation space. The walk will take most of the morning. This afternoon we visit McLeod Ganj, the home of the Dalai Lama who came here in 1959 after the Chinese invasion of Tibet. Experience Tibetan monasteries, alternative Tibetan medicine practitioners, refugees welfare associations selling duvet covers, singing bowls, incense sticks, prayer beads & wheels, etc amidst the flea market selling local Tibetan food, wine and steamed momos! 

Day 7

Dharamshala

Meals

Breakfast & Dinner

Accommodation

  • Time

    1 hours

  • Distance

    2 miles

  • Ascent/Descent

    50m

Today is a sightseeing day in and around Dharamshala. We explore the Upper Town of Dharamshala, McLeod Ganj, where the residence of the Dalai Lama is located. We'll see the Dalai Lama residence and take the Kora holy walk around the temple set in pristine wilderness. The entire route has small chortens and rocks painted with Tibetan scripts. We also see Tse Chokling Monastery, St John in the Wilderness Church, a village school, Tibetan Medical Centre, and the Norbulingka Institute (a learning centre for traditional Tibetan art and craft), as time allows. We should also have free time to explore further or relax as preferred. 

Day 8

Manali

Meals

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation

We travel deeper into the Himalayan foothills today to Manali, located at the head of the Kullu Valley. The drive takes us through breathtaking scenery of snow-capped peaks, pine forests and fruit orchards. We’ll make refreshment stops en route and stop for a restaurant lunch. En route we plan to visit Palampur to see Baijnath temple. The Hindu temple was built around 1200 and dedicated to Shiva. Manali is a  beautifully situated mountain resort attracting skiers, mountain adventure enthusiasts, white water rafters, walkers and those who are happy to just enjoy the view. We stay in Manali for 3 nights giving us plenty of time to enjoy the area.

Day 9

Manali

Meals

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation

  • Time

    2 hours

  • Distance

    3 miles

  • Ascent/Descent

    200/100m

Driving out a short distance from Manali we start today's walk from the nearby village of Vashisht, famous for its hot springs. We walk to the sacred Jogini waterfall and continue on foot to Nehru Kund where our vehicles will take us to the snowline towards Rohtang Pass, which offers sweeping valley and snow-capped mountain views. We expect to reach an altitude of around 3,000m, the highest point we plan to reach on this holiday. We will likely find snow at this altitude and it can be very cold. We will stop briefly to enjoy outstanding views but do not walk at this altitude.

Day 10

Manali

Meals

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation

  • Time

    3 hours

  • Distance

    5 miles

  • Ascent/Descent

    125/150m

After breakfast we drive out to Prini, surrounded by magical mountain scenery. We will walk down to the river where clear white water from the waterfalls makes it look like there is a shower of milk pouring downwards. You can hear the sound of waterfall from some distance away. We continue to Jagatsukh temple surrounded by picturesque valleys and lofty snow-clad mountains. After our walk we drive to Naggar Castle. We have lunch here, then walk around Naggar and visited Nicolas Roerich's home and gallery. Finally, we return to Manali for dinner and overnight in the hotel.


Day 11

Shimla

Meals

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation

Our journey today takes us 160 miles to the hill station of Shimla, the capital of Himachal Pradesh. From 1864 Shimla was the summer capital of the British Raj. It maintains a strong colonial feel. Refreshment stops will be made en route, including lunch at a local restaurant. The whole journey will take about 7hrs. We stay in Shimla for 3 nights.

Day 12

Shimla

Meals

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation

Today, we’ll take the Heritage Walk of Shimla starting at Christ Church, the most prominent landmark in town. From here the walk extends west towards the Viceregal Lodge, once the residence of Lord Mountbatten and now the Institute of Advanced Studies. We’ll see the Cecil Hotel, Kennedy House and Lakar Bazar. Our expert guide will explain everything on the way. Lunch is included at a local restaurant today and there will be some free time to enjoy this atmospheric town.

Day 13

Shimla

Meals

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation

  • Time

    3.5 hours

  • Distance

    6 miles

  • Ascent/Descent

    250m

We drive to Mashobara where we’ll start our walk through a forest of pine 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 classic Raj institution. A packed lunch is included today.

Day 14

Delhi

Meals

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation

A highlight for some, as we take the ‘Toy Train’ journey. The narrow gauge railway was built by the British around 1900 to connect Shimla, the summer capital of the British Raj, to the rest of India. Today it offers some spectacular views of the valleys as it twists its way down gradually from Shimla to Khandaghat (approx. 2 hours). Trains are occasionally steam hauled but you will most likely have a diesel locomotive pulling you down to Khandaghat. From Khandaghat we take a short drive to Barog, where we’ll have lunch before boarding our train to Delhi at Kalka (journey to Delhi approx. 3.5 hours). On arrival we transfer to our hotel for dinner (probably quite late in the evening) and overnight.

Day 15

Delhi

Meals

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

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. We have access to two hotel rooms this evening so clients who prefer can shower and change before flying.

Day 16

Travel

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

Departure dates for your selected tour

1st Apr 2023 - 16th Apr 2023 (15 Nights)

14th Oct 2023 - 29th Oct 2023 (15 Nights)

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

Accommodation

Accommodation information

Below is the accommodation featured on this holiday across all departure dates. Please refer to the Itinerary for more detail about each night's accommodation for each departure date.

The Pride Plaza Hotel

The Pride Plaza Hotel , a comfortable modern 5 star hotel is ideally located close by the airport so we can get to bed as soon as possible after our late arrival on the first day of the holiday. The hotel has all the facilities you might expect from an upmarket hotel. You will be very comfortable here.

Ranjit Villas

Located just outside Amritsar the Ranjit Villas has a traditional feel. It is a well appointed 4 star hotel. Facilities include free Wi-Fi, flat screen TV, fridge and air conditioning. The hotel offers an outdoor seasonal swimming pool and lawn. It is about 6 miles form Amritsar centre.



Asia Health Resort

In the foothills of the Dhauladar mountains, the Asia Health Resort in Dharamshala is a short distance from Dal Lake, Bhagsunag Falls and the home of the Dalai Lama. Comfortable rooms offer Wi-Fi, TV, minibars, and tea & coffee making facilities. Amenities include a restaurant, a bar, and a rooftop terrace with mountain views. There’s also a library, fitness centre, spa and an outdoor pool.

Urvashi Retreat

Urvashi's Retreat in Manali is beautifully situated under the Himalayas. All rooms offer views of the mountains. The hotel offers a 24-hour front desk and free Wi-Fi is available throughout the property. It has a spring water brook running through the grounds which forms an ecological pool open to guests at all times. The in-house spa and wellness centre comprises of massage therapy rooms, sauna, steam, spa baths and a state of the art gymnasium.

Shimla Havens Resort

Offering peace and tranquillity, Shimla Havens Resort is situated at an altitude of 6,400 feet above sea level. The resort is spread across 6 acres of land and surrounded by pine and cedar forests. Rooms feature teak flooring and modern furnishings with flat screen TV, minibar and tea & coffee making facilities. A spacious marble bathroom with a separate shower cubicle are a standard across all rooms. Rooms offer views of the cedar forests, mountain ranges or the gardens.

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