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Trip to Amritsar & Dharamshala

Anyone who wants to visit and get to know India in more detail should not miss this destination in the mountains in the north of the huge country. A dream trip through some of the most beautiful landscapes in India and an encounter with traditional cultures. We cross Himachal Pradesh in typical local vehicles and in carefully measured stages on sometimes very narrow mountain roads with fantastic views of mountains and valleys, monasteries and villages. This trip is designed for those who know India or for those who want to become one. Overall, a particularly intensive experience of a unique, incomparable region in two weeks. To avoid domestic flights, which often disrupt the journey, we choose the Shatabdi Express, the original train to get from Delhi to the mountains and back again. The journey to Amritsar is therefore a special experience in itself.

Day 1: Arrival New Delhi International

Airport Upon arrival at New Delhi International airport meet to our representative and transfer to hotel for rest of the night.

Day 2: Delhi – Amritsar (Train)

After a leisure breakfast commence halfday Old Delhi sightseeing, visit Chadini Chowk, Jama Masjid, Red Fort (outside only), & Rajghat. In the afternoon we travel by train on the Vande Bharat Express (15H15 – 20H45) to Amritsar in the state of Punjab, the capital of the Sikh religion that is predominant here.

Day 3: Amritsar Sightseeing

In the middle of the old town of Amritsar lies the Golden Temple – the holiest place of pilgrimage for the Sikhs, whose impressive atmosphere is hard to resist. The white of the marble, the gold of the temple above the silvery water surface, the green of the three holy trees and the pilgrims lost in devotion create an atmospheric atmosphere. People of all nationalities and religions are allowed to visit the temple, provided they follow a few basic rules. We leave our shoes behind at the entrance and cover our heads with cotton scarves that we receive on site.

Not far from the Golden Temple we reach the Jallianwala Bagh (Garden). This place, which is so peaceful today, was once the scene of one of the most brutal massacres during the Indian independence movement. In the late afternoon, to end the day, we visit the closing ceremony at the Indian-Pakistani border (Wagah Border). The theatrical drill and the showmanship of the soldiers of both countries are amusing – countless onlookers watch the flags being lowered and the border gates slamming loudly every day.

Day 4: Amritsar – Dharamsala (200 km, approx. 5-6 hours’ drive)

We set off towards Dharamsala. On the way we stop in Pragpur and explore the small Himalayan town with its narrow bazaar streets and silversmiths on a walk. We continue through the scenic Kangra Valley before reaching Dharamsala. With a view of the snow-covered ice giants of the Himalayas, the city of 30,000 population stretches up a lush green mountainside and, thanks to its location at between 1380m and 1830m, offers a pleasant climate and fresh air even in the hotter months. This attracted the British occupiers here who wanted to flee the heat of the lowlands and we can also enjoy the relaxed atmosphere in pleasant temperatures.

Day 5: Sightseeing in Dharamsala

We have a whole day to visit the former hill station of Dharamsala. We may be in India, but we almost feel like we are in Tibet. Everywhere we find Tibetan shops, temples, schools and even a library, because this has been the residence of the Dalai Lama and the seat of the Tibetan government in exile for over 50 years. Accordingly, many Tibetans live here, especially in the upper district of McLeod Ganj.

We visit the seat of the Dalai Lama as well as the Tibet Museum and the Namgyal Monastery opposite. Just outside the city is the Tibetan Children’s Village, where over 2000 children receive schooling and vocational training.

We end the day with a stroll through the local market, where all kinds of Tibetan and Indian handicrafts are on offer, as well as everyday items and of course the odd culinary specialty.

Day 6: Dharamsala – Shimla (240 km, approx. 7-8 hours’ drive)

Today we take a long drive through beautiful countryside along the Himalayas to Shimla (2,276m), the former summer residence of the British Viceroys. The capital of Himachal Pradesh is probably the most famous hill station in India, with its centre located on and below the mountain ridge known as “The Ridge”.

Day 7: Sightseeing in Shimla

In the morning, a hike (45 minutes, steeply uphill) takes us to Jakhu Hill with the famous “monkey temple”, which is dedicated to the god Hanuman. The temple is located at an altitude of 2,455 m and offers a great view of the surrounding mountains, especially in the morning.

In the center of Shimla, we then stroll across the central square “The Ridge”, where we visit Christ Church, the town hall, the former viceroy’s lodge and the Gaiety Theater. The district “The Mall” and the bazaar district follow seamlessly and so we spend the afternoon sightseeing on foot.

Day 8: Shimla – Mussoorie (260 km, approx. 8 hours drive)

At first moderate, then increasingly steeper, the road to Mussoorie winds its way up and down through the foothills of the Himalayas in tight hairpin bends, repeatedly offering beautiful views of the surrounding mountains before we finally reach the Mussoorie hill station (2,005 m). From here there are fantastic views of the Himalayan massif, if there aren’t too many clouds blocking the view.

Day 9: Sightseeing in Mussoorie

In the morning, we visit the Tibetan quarter of Happy Valley with its gompas and the Tibetan bazaar. Afterwards we enjoy the quiet atmosphere in the Landour district. Around 15 km north of Musoorie are the Kempty Falls, which are a popular picnic spot not only for locals. Here we can also enjoy a dip in the cool water, depending on the temperature and our mood. Back in Mussorie in the afternoon we take a cable car up to Gun Hill. In addition to the peaceful and mystical atmosphere of this holy place, we are offered a wonderful view – in clear weather up to 200 miles of the snow-capped ice giants of the Himalayas. To get back to the city we can either get back on the cable car or walk.

Day 10: Mussoorie – Haridwar (88 km, approx. 2h30 drive)

After a stop at the Surkanda Devi Temple near Dhanaulti, our next destination is Haridwar. Haridwar means “Gate of God” in translation. The important Hindu pilgrimage site is located at the foot of the Shivalik Mountains, where the holy Ganges breaks through a narrow gorge after its long journey to continue its journey through the plains of India to the Bay of Bengal. Besides Allahabad, Nasik and Ujjain, Haridwar is the fourth of India’s holy cities in which the Kumbh Mela pilgrimage festival is celebrated in rotation. After our arrival, we take a cable car up to the Mansa Devi Temple and can get a first overview of the city from a bird’s eye view. In the evening, we attend one of the atmospheric Ganga Aarti ceremonies on the Ganges, during which hundreds of small boats with offerings and candles are placed on the Ganges. The life-giving goddess Ganga is worshipped in this way every evening. Towards the end of the ceremony, the river fills with people searching the bottom for sacrificed coins.

Day 11: Haridwar – Rishikesh (30 Km/ 1 hours drive)

The Chandi Devi Temple, visible from afar, rises on a mountain ridge 300 m above the city. A cable car ride takes us up in the morning and we walk back down. On the walk back to the city we visit the Kali Temple. A short drive then takes us to Rishikesh, where we stay in a traditional ashram. The famous pilgrimage site is the destination of sadhus and wandering saints and is also the starting point for pilgrimages to Kedernath and Badrinath. We spend the rest of the day here captivated by the mystical atmosphere of the holy place and can explore the place on our own.

Day 12: Rishikesh – Rudraprayag (170 km, approx. 5 hours drive)

We go deeper into the Himalayas and higher up until we reach our hotel in Rudraprayag after a scenic drive. The holy place at the confluence of the two Himalayan rivers Alaknanda and Mandakini is also the starting point for many pilgrims on a pilgrimage to the holy sites of Kedernath and Badrinath. Before they set off, most of them visit the Rudranath Temple on the banks of the two rivers, which we will also visit, as well as the Chandi and Koteshwar temples not far away.

Day 13: Rudraprayag – Ranikhet (165 km, approx. 6 hours drive)

Over the heights of the Himalayan foothills, we travel through small river valleys, past Gwaldham and Kausani to Ranikhet. The picturesque hill station is at an altitude of 1,829 m and offers fantastic views of the surrounding mountains such as Nanda Devi, India’s second highest mountain. The rest of the day is at our disposal in Ranikhet and our resort offers an ideal starting point for excursions in the surrounding area. Idyllic paths lead through terraced fields, and the surrounding forests repeatedly offer views of the snow-capped ice giants of the Himalayas. We meet locals in their villages and get a little insight into the lives of the people.

Day 14: Ranikhet – Night train to Delhi

Before we board the night train to Delhi in the evening, we undertake some exciting sightseeing in and around Ranikhet. We visit the Katarmal Sun Temple and the picturesque Bhalu Dam Lake. We then explore the Jhula Devi Temple, the Rama Madir Temple and the Binsa Mahadev Temple before we are taken to Kathgodam train station in the evening and take the night train back to Delhi.

Day 15: Arrival in Delhi – Sightseeing

We arrive in Delhi early in the morning and are taken to our hotel. After a short rest, we explore the bustling capital of India. A visit to New Delhi as Government buildings (India Gate, Parliament House & President Palace), Kartvya Path, Humayun Tombe & Qutab Minar. Rest of time free for shopping etc. Overnight Delhi.

Day 16: Delhi Departure

After a relaxed breakfast, check out from the hotel and transfer to New Delhi International Airport, board flight to onward destination. End our services.