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For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni
For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni 

Tibetan retreats and toy trains in the Western Himalayas

By Chloe Holcroft
India Travel Expert for Alfred&

Head into the heart of the Himalayas on this 11-day mountain adventure. You’ll visit sacred temples, hike to hidden villages and explore remote Tibetan retreats including Dharamshala, home of the Dalai Lama. In Shimla you’ll discover the colonial influences that have shaped this iconic hill station, before descending out of the mountains by toy train towards Delhi – India’s energetic capital.

Places

Length
11 days
Best months to go
September to April
Guide price range
£2,730 - £2,935pp
including international flights

Top Experiences
Itinerary Highlights

Amritsar

The Golden Temple: a shimmering symbol of faith and humanity

The temple's striking gold-leaf structure could be mistaken for a mirage...

Shimla

Jungle House: your fairytale cottage in the Shimla hills

Jungle House lies on Jakhu Hill in an ancient forest. In winter, you can lie in a hot bath and watch snowflakes drift past the window...

Palampur

Tour the Masroor Rock Temples

The temples are a real engineering feat, carved with floral, geometric and animal patterns...

Day by day
Itinerary in detail

1

Arrival in Amritsar

On arrival in Amritsar, you’ll be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel. The morning is free to enjoy this spiritual city, regarded as one of the country’s holiest centres for Sikhism. In the afternoon, you’ll be driven to the India-Pakistan border to witness the memorable evening ceremony, when guards march and lower flags in a display of cooperation between the two nations. Overnight at Ranjit Svaasa (or similar).

Things to do:

2

Amritsar

Enjoy a city tour of Amritsar this morning. You’ll start at the Golden Temple – the centrepiece of the Sikh faith, built from white marble and gold leaf and set in the middle of a sacred lake, where pilgrims come to bathe. While here, visit the community kitchen, where volunteers feed 35,000 worshippers every day. Afterwards, stop by the historic Jallianwala Bagh, a historic garden which commemorates the thousands of unarmed protestors who were massacred by British forces here in 1919. The afternoon is free to explore as you wish. Overnight at Ranjit Svaasa (or similar).

Things to do:

3

Amritsar & Dharamshala

Travel further into the mountains this morning to reach Dharamshala – home of the Dalai Lama and the exiled Tibetan government, where Buddhist temples meet robed monks, Tibetan gongs and bronze prayer wheels. Spend the afternoon exploring this fascinating city, or head out on a short hike to admire its cedar forests, icy peaks and waterfalls on foot. Alternatively relax at the guest house as you take in these peaceful surroundings. Overnight at Chonor House (or similar).

Things to do:

4

Dharamshala

Enjoy a full day in Dharamshala today. Wander its heritage-filled streets on your own terms or choose from one of several experiences; options include a visit to the Dalai Lama Monastery Complex and a guided mountain walk via the Tibetan Children Village – a non-profit community for Tibetan children in exile. Overnight at Chonor House (or similar).

Things to do:

5

Dharamshala & Palampur

After breakfast, you’ll be driven to Palampur – a quaint town in the Kangra Valley, set between tea plantations, pine forests and streams in the snow-capped Dhauladhar mountains. The region is a hotspot for trekking as well as tea-tasting, with historic sites scattered around the surrounding area. Visit a 3,500-year-old fort on an optional tour through the valley, complete with a ride on a toy train, or head out on an independent walk to take in the captivating landscape in your own way. Overnight at Lodge at Wah (or similar).

Things to do:

6

Palampur & Pragpur

Transfer towards the village of Pragpur this morning, stopping en route at the Masroor Rock Temples. Also known as the ‘Ellora of the Himalayas’, this is one of northern India’s most impressive architectural treasures, comprised of 15 monolithic temples that were carved from a single rock in the 6th or 7th century. Afterwards, continue to Pragpur where you’ll have free time to explore this historic village, dating to the 16th or 17th century and home to cobbled streets and postcard-pretty architecture blending Kangra, Rajput and European influences. Overnight at Judges Court (or similar).

Things to do:

7

Pragpur & Shimla

Travel to Shimla today with an optional stop along the way in Garli. This was the most prosperous village in the region until India’s independence and is lined with elegant havelis and Italianate buildings, decorated with stained-glass windows and elaborate tilework. Walk around the village before continuing to Shimla, the 19th century seat of the British Raj, where colonial influences are felt in everything from the English uniforms to the buildings. Overnight at Jungle House (or similar).

Things to do:

8

Shimla

Explore Shimla at leisure today, or opt for a guided walking tour through meadows, brooks, grasslands and forests to reach the village of Heaun, where famous artist Sanath Chatterjee lived. An optional day trip to the Dhami estate – once a favourite hunting ground for the British Viceroys – is also available. Here you’ll meet local resident Kunwar Dushyant Singh and his wife for a home-cooked lunch and nature walk, learning more about the flora and fauna that surrounds this stately house. Overnight at Jungle House (or similar).

Things to do:

9

Shimla & Delhi

After breakfast, transfer to Shimla station for a ride on the famous toy train, Himalayan Queen. You’ll meander past pine forests, waterfalls and mountain peaks before reaching Kandaghat station. From here, travel by road to Kalka to board the Shatabdi Express to Delhi. On arrival in the capital, you’ll be met by a local representative and transferred to your hotel. The rest of the day is free to enjoy. Overnight at Haveli Dharampura (or similar).

Things to do:

10

Delhi

Enjoy a full day in the capital today. If you’re feeling energetic, opt for a Delhi by Dawn tour to see the city come alive in the early hours. Alternatively, you might opt for a culinary tour with a local food expert, take a rickshaw ride round Old Delhi’s higgledy-piggledy lanes or embark on a photography-themed amble to capture the city’s spice markets and bazaars. Otherwise, head out to explore this captivating city independently as you make the most of your final day; don’t miss the Red Fort, the UNESCO-listed Humayun’s Tomb and the elaborate Jama Masjid Mosque. Overnight at Haveli Dharampura (or similar).

Things to do:

11

Delhi & Departure

Your tour ends today. Transfer to Delhi airport for your flight home or onward travel.

Another stop?

Extensions

Extensions

Extensions

Holiday Budget
Guide price information

Low Season

01 Apr - 30 Sep

£2,730

High Season

01 Jan - 31 Mar, 01 Oct - 31 Dec

£2,935

Alfred & Chloe Holcroft

A seasoned traveller, Chloe Holcroft loves India for its distinctive regional cuisine, contrasting cultures and British-tinged history. Chloe has travelled from the Himalayan heights of Pelling to Cochin on the southern coast and has further plans to explore this mammoth country. Chloe counts one of her travel highlights in India as sipping loose-leaf tea at Glenburn Tea Estate while watching the clouds part to reveal views of the Himalayas.

Plan your holiday withAlfred&

Your journey will start with one of our UK team – someone like Malcolm, who's travelled extensively in India. They’ll shape your ideas into the trip of a lifetime. But they won't do it alone. They'll draw on the expertise of our contacts on the ground, connecting you to the people who'll make your holiday one you'll always remember.

Freephone an expert 01306 744 656