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Sikhism, Buddhism & the British Raj

Amritsar - McLeod Ganj - Simla - Chail - Kufri
06 nights & 07 days
Best time: throughout the year

Note: Should you choose to opt for your own dates, let us know and we will check the availability of the guide and services.
Tour Code: HIM04

ITINERARY
Day 01: Delhi to Amritsar
Day 02: Amritsar to McLeodganj
Day 03: McLeod Ganj
Day 04: McLeod Ganj to Simla
Day 05: Simla
Day 06: Chail and Kufri excursion
Day 07: Simla to Delhi

Highlights

Golden Temple in Amritsar
ndo Pak Wagah Border
Amritsari cuisine and shopping for souvenirs
Centre of Tibetan Buddhism and the home of Dalai Lama
Tibetan influenced artifacts like Thangka paintings, carpets, masks
Quaint North Indian hill stations of Simla, Chail and Kufri
Stay at a colonial estate
Visit Chail Palace
UNESCO World Heritage listed Toy Train, from Simla to Kalka

Description
This wonderful holiday tour offers a unique perspective to India's glorious and imperial past and uniquely secular present. It takes you through the centre of Sikhism, Buddhism and shows you a glimpse of India during the Imperial times.
We start the tour with a Delhi to Amritsar train ride through lush green fields of sugarcane, wheat and mustard and quaint small towns and villages.
Amritsar, literally meaning 'pool of divine nectar' is the spiritual and cultural centre of the Sikh Religion. The Golden Temple, also known as Sri Harmandir Sahib was initiated by the fourth Guru of Sikhs, Guru Ramdas and completed in 1601 by his successor Guru Arjan Dev. Open to all, this is one of the most visited monuments after Taj Mahal. Amritsar city grew around this temple site to cater to visiting pilgrims. Visit the exotic old walled city where the narrow lanes sell everything from jewellery, footwear, and pickles to kitchenware. You must also definitely taste the famous mouthwatering Amritsari cuisine. In the evening we will take you on a guided tour to the Indo-Pak Wagah border to see the beating of the retreat and Jallianwala Bagh, the site of the horrific massacre during the British Raj.
Next we explore the charming Tibetan area of Mc Leodganj and Dharamsala nestled in the Dhauladhar mountain ranges. Known for being the centre of Tibetan Buddhism and the home of Dalai Lama and Tibet's government in Exile, this area is sure to provide a spiritual awakening. This place is a veritable mish mash of cultures, Tibetan, Kashmiri, American hippies, British and Punjabi influences and most strikingly a new Lhasa. Worth visiting are the Tsug- Lha-Khang Temple complex which is also houses Dalai Lama's residence, office etc including the Namgyal Monastery; Namgyaima Stupa, Bhagsunag Temple dedicated to Shiva as Lord Bhageshwar and other tourist hotspots.
Indulge in shopping for various Tibetan influenced local artifacts like Thangka paintings, carpets, masks etc. Exploring the local everyday life, sitting at local noodle and tea stalls is the best way to get the real feel of this beautiful town.
Our next three destinations will be reached by driving through hours of stunningly picturesque mountain roads. Simla, Chail and Kufri provide a taste of quaint North Indian hill stations with their unique aura.
Starting with Simla,which was the summer capital of British India and is the current capital of the state of Himachal Pradesh. After the long but scenic drive, you will be taken to colonial Woodville Palace Hotel, which will be your stately base to explore Simla. Belonging to the British, built in 1866, it was acquired by Maharaja of Gondal as a gift for his daughter. Even today the palace retains its old world charm and is one of the classiest places to stay in Simla.
Soak in the serenity at the picturesque estate or you can begin to explore Simla town in the evening. Visit the main touristy pedestrianized street, called the Mall. It retains its colonial aura with its grand old buildings like iconic Christ Church, Telegraph building, Gorton Castle etc, which you can marvel at on foot or as you ride on a horse along its stretch. It also has many shops, restaurants, clubs and bars. Some other interesting places to visit are stately colonial building of the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies, the highest hill called Jakhu Hill and Shimla State Museum. Do stop by the Lakkad Bazaar for picking up quaint wooden handicrafts.
We also take you to visit Chail Palace owned by Bhupinder Singh, Maharaja of Patiala. Converted into a hotel now, it still retains its charm and is a lovely place to soak in fabulous views and warm sunshine.
Kufri, a small touristy ski resort with stunning snowy views, orchards and several adventure sports like tobogganing, trekking, rock climbing will be our next destination. Explore the Himalayan Nature Park at Kufri and the mini zoo which has many exotic animal species like the Yak, Himalayan Thar, Tibetan wolf etc.
On the last day we will take you for a ride on a UNESCO World Heritage Listed Toy Train, from Simla to Kalka. The tiny narrow gauge train, puffing its way through as many as 102 tunnels, winding tracks overlooking unspoilt vistas, scores of old world bridges and colonial style stations makes it a fascinating experience. Changing your train at Kalka you will continue the train journey to Delhi arriving in the evening where this fascinating tour will end.

ITINERARY

Day 01: Delhi-Amritsar
Meals: On your own
Board morning train to Amritsar, arriving at noon. Evening-Guided tour of Wagah Border (Indo-Pak) to witness 'beating the retreat'. Overnight in a hotel.

Day 02: Amritsar-McLeodganj
Meals: Breakfast
Morning guided tour of The Golden Temple and Jallianwala Bagh. Afternoon travel to McLeodganj (5-6 hours). Overnight in Chonor House or similar.

Day 03: McLeodganj
Meals: On your own
Day at leisure to explore the quaint Tibetan Buddhist town at your own pace. Enjoy walking in the town, visit the market and tea stalls, Buddhist culture, Bhagshunath temple etc. Overnight in Chonor House or similar.

Day 04: McLeodganj-Simla
Meals: On your own
Drive to Simla in the morning through the Himalayan terrain (8 hours). Overnight in the colonial Hotel Woodville Palace or similar.

Day 05: Simla
Meals: On your own
Day at leisure. You may visit the Mall which is the main shopping centre of Shimla. It also has many restaurants, clubs, banks, bars, Post Offices and tourist offices. The other places to visit are Christ Church, Jakhu Hill, Shimla State Museum. Overnight in Hotel Woodville Palace or similar.

Day 06: Chail and Kufri excursion
Meals: On your own
Day excursion to Chail. See the Chail Palace. Visit ski resort town of Kufri in the afternoon. Himalayan Nature Park has been set up at Kufri in 1992. Spread across 90 hectares of dense forest, it also has a mini zoo. Back to Simla for overnight in Hotel Woodville Palace or similar.

Day 07: Simla-Delhi
Meals: On your own
Board the fascinating toy train from Simla that winds its way through very picturesque terrain, goes through 102 tunnels, innumerable bridges and quaint stations. Change your train at Kalka and continue the train journey to Delhi arriving in the evening. Tour ends.

Services included:
-Accommodation on twin sharing basis in the hotels
-Meals as per the itinerary
-Sightseeing with guides
-Permits and entry fee
-All surface transfers by a private vehicle
-Train tickets

Services not included:
-Optional tours/excursions, personal & incidental expenses.
-Tips, laundry, phone calls, alcohol, camera fee etc.
-International and domestic air fare, visa, insurance.

Please ask for Terms and Conditions

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