Day 01: Arrival Delhi
On arrival meeting and assistance as our representatives welcome you and escort you to your car. Whilst the room keys and check-in is organized, our representative would introduce the tour to you and hand over the documents to you. Welcome to India, or as we say ‘atithi devo bhava’ (the guest is an incarnation of God). Thank you for giving us the opportunity to serve you!
Day 02: Amritsar
Morning drive to New Delhi Railway Station to board Shatabadi Express to Amritsar. The train leaves at 07.20 and arrives at 13.45 Amritsar, home of the Golden Temple, is one of the most ancient and fascinating cities in India. It is an important seat of Sikh history and culture. Being the gateway for travelers coming to India on the overland route from Central Asia, it soon became the center of various commercial activities. The Golden Temple was founded by the fourth Guru of the Sikhs, Guru Ramdas, and completed by his successor Guru Arjan Dev. It is famous for its full golden dome, one of the most sacred pilgrim sites for Sikhs. The Mandir is built on a 67-foot square of marble and is a two-storied structure. Maharaja Ranjit Singh had the upper half of the building built with approximately 400 kg of gold leaf. The Golden Temple is surrounded by a number of other temples, such as the Durgiana Temple. The ceremony of The Retreat every evening at Wagha Boarder is not to be missed. The parade of the soldiers of both the countries at the boarder attracts everyone's attention. So we leave the luggage at the hotel and then after a short rest rive to Wagha Boarder. A stadium type arena with Grant Trunk Road passing through its walls invites you to come and sit to watch the ceremony. After the ceremony is over we drive back to Amritsar for 35 kilometers and go to our hotel fr dinner. This is really going to be a long day as after the dinner now we are bound to visit the Golden Temple for the evening ceremony. The holy book is closed and taken inside to be opened the next morning. Evening visit to Wagha Boarder for the Retreat ceremony.
Day 03: Amritsar
The best time to visit the Golden Temple in Amritsar is any time of the day. We shall have breakfast at the hotel we check out of the hotel, load the bags on our cars and drive to Golden Temple. Shoes to be taken outside the temple and are kept on the shoe rack. You are required to cover your head before you enter the temple. The main temple is located in the middle of the holy pond that is approachable through a bridge.
Day 04: Amrisar – Pragpur
Distance: 175 Kms
Driving Time: Five Hours
Overnight Stay Hotel Judges Court.
Distance: 190 km.
Driving Time : 5 hours
Today is the day to enter the hills. We shall in the lower foothills for two days. Paragpur is the first Heritage Village of India with an old mansion made by a Judge, Mr. Lal. His son has converted this place into a hotel named as Judge's Court. Pragpur and Garli - the two villages are known for their age-old houses and their architecture built by the Sood community, nearly 200 years ago. Most of the houses are abandoned now as the families have moved away and relocated to some other places in the country but looking at the house from the point of view of the architecture is such a visual delight that the visitor spends hours and hours in clicking the. Arrive Pragpur by the evening and check into your hotel.
Day 05: Paragpur
Today is the day to visit the nearby villages Dadasiba and then to Masroor rock cut temple. Dadasiba is a sleepy village to the west of Pragpur and is known for Kangra paintings on the walls of its age-old temple.
Later we drive to visit another visual delight of this region, Masroor rock cut temple built in the 8th century. Masroor temple is a group of 15 temples built out of one single rock. Commonly known as Himalayan pyramid this is a World Heritage Site now.
Day 06: Paragpur – Dharamsala
Distance: 75 Kms
Driving Time: 2.5 Hours
Overnight Stay: Hotel Grace Cottage / Similar
Dharamsala once settled by the British, today is the seat of Dalai Lama and his government in exile. One the way we shall visit Kangra Fort. Built by Pandawas the age old fort was annexed by many rulers including, Mughals, Sikhs, Gurkha and finally by the British. The view of the Dhauladhar range of Himalaya from the fort is eye-catching. Arrive Dharamsala by lunch time and check into the hotel.
Later in the afternoon, we visit the Dalai Lama Monastery and Tibetan Museum.
Day 07: Dharamsala
Today is a day to visit MacLeodganj Cemetery and St. John’s Church in the Wilderness. The Church was built in 1853 by Lady Elgin, wife of Lord Elgin. Around the Church, there is ad age-old Cemetery where a large number of British are buried.
After lunch, we drive to visit the Norbulingka Institute where the Tibetan students learn how to make Thangka paintings, woodcraft, metal sculptures, and embroidery. A sales center to sell all this material is also established here. Later we visit a Nunnery and a Tibetan education center.
Day 08: Dharamsala
Today is a day to have a real introduction to nature. So we drive to the village Naddi but before that, we shall visit the Tibetan Children’s Village. This is a school run by Dalai Lama’s government, for orphans from Tibet. There are nearly 1500 children in the school.
Later we drive to Naddi for a kilometer and we start our walk through a forest. The initial stretch is through the village and then we enter the forest. The view keeps changing and we walk around the hill that gradually takes us to a tea shop at Dharamkot, in two hours. Here the vehicle waits for us to drive us to the hotel.
Afternoon we shall visit Bhagsunag, a small village now occupied by many modern structures.
Day 09 : Dharamsala – Palampur
Distance : 40 km.
Driving Time: 1.5.hours
We leave by 8.30 for Palampur and continue our drive to village Bir (50 km from Palampur). This place is known for paragliding but we are all prepared to proceed for a village walk. This lovely walk through marvelous landscapes of Himalayan foothills, tiny villages, streams, rivulets, forests, and meadows takes us to a Buddhist Monastery known as Sherbaling. In 2002 the monks of this monastery won Grammy award for their chanting of mantra.
Day 10: Palampur
This is a day dedicated to artists’ village. We drive to Andreta – the home of artists. A visit to a world-renowned artists Sardar Sobha Singh, who made world class paintings of Sikh and Hindu gods and Goddesses. Sobha Singh moved to this place from Punjab in 1949 and settled his studio. Today most of his original work is displayed in his house. Next to Sobha Singh Art Gallery is the house of a famous play write and director – Nora Richard. Nora lived in this house for the last 35 years of her life this house. She is buried in the courtyard of her own house whereas the old structure still stands and is well maintained by Punjab University. Another attraction of this village is a Pottery maker who makes clay pots and exports to other contrives from here. A 20 minute trial of learning pottery from him is a worth experience.
Day 11 : Palampur - Shimla
Distance : 225 km.
Driving Time: 8 hours.
Shimla came into existence after the Gurkha British wars in 1816. From then till 1947 the British used it at a holiday resort and then as their Summer Capital. Completely developed by the British Officers Shimla takes you back to the bygone era as the town is a Victorian and post Victorian architecture. A large number of buildings built by the Imperial government remain scattered and the climate of the town has a clear resemblance to Europe.
DAY 12: Shimla – Heritage Walk
Shimla is Walker's paradise and if you want to see the countryside of Shimla there is no better way other than, on foot. We walk through the Heritage zone of the old town and have an experience of by gone era. The walk includes a visit to some British time buildings, such as Viceregal lodge, Railway Board building, Gaiety Theatre, and Crist Church.
Day 13: Shimla – A Day in a Himalayan Village
Today is a day to have some more glimpses of Village life. A 45-minute drive takes us to an old dynasty around Shimla. After the various invasions made by Mohammad Gori on Delhi and Rajasthan the Chauhan rulers, direct descendants of Prithvi Raj Chauhan had found Refuge at this place. The Rulers had played a vital role to expel Gurkhas from Shimla Hills during the Gurkha British War in 1815. The last formally recognized Rana was Rana Dilip Singh who died in 1987 had built a house for himself, known as Dhami House, near Darbar. Later the house was inherited by his son Kunwar Dushyant Singh, a well-known naturalist and a bird watcher. Our today’s day is spent with Kunwar Dushyant Singh and his family. The best enriching time is the interactions with Kunwar Dushyant on his dining table. On arrival, you are met and welcomed by Kunwar Sahib. Tea is served and then it is time to go around his estate spotting some rare species or birds in these hills. A binocular is recommended while walking with him. The walk is followed by a visit to a Gunsmith Mr. Chet Ram, in the village (Subject to his availability). Chet Ram is the fourth generation from his family carrying on the same business. People as far as from Delhi and Punjab come here looking for Chet Ram to get their guns and rifles repaired. His ancestors used to work for the Rulers of Dhami, and today Kunwar Dushyant has made involved a visit to his shop to his programs for the visitors. Lunch at the House and the rest for a while.
Day 14: Shimla - Delhi
Today we drive to Shimla Railway Station to board the Toy Train to Kalka. Take the train to Delhi from there. Arrive in Delhi at 10. PM and directly transfer to the International Airport Delhi to board your flight.