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Western Himalaya Explored
12 days from CAD4,435pp
Enjoy a ride on a 'Toy Train' to the colonial hill station of Shimla.
Visit the Golden Temple in Amritsar.
Enjoy the spectacular 'Closing the Border Ceremony' at Waga border.
Explore Tibetan culture at Dharamsala.
Witness an evening aarti ceremony in Rishikesh.
- Dharamsala & McLeod Ganj
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Day 1 Delhi
Arrive in Delhi where you'll be met by an Audley representative and introduced to your private driver who will stay with you for the remainder of your trip. They will transfer you to your homestay where the remainder of the afternoon is at your leisure. You might like to take a walk from your hotel to the nearby shops and markets. Your hosts can suggest somewhere interesting for dinner - there are a number of local speciality restaurants.
Day 2 Shimla
An early start this morning to drive to the train station for your journey into the hills. Firstly, catch the train which travels north to Kalka, taking four hours. At noon, you'll arrive in Kalka and be met by your guide to help you connect with the well-known 'toy train'. Your guide accompanies you on the toy train which winds its way for five hours through 107 tunnels and numerous mountains to get to Shimla. It's a long day but the views can be beautiful on a clear day. On arrival at the station your guide will help you to meet your driver to drive you to your hotel for the evening.
Day 3 Shimla
Enjoy a guided walk around Shimla this morning, including a visit to Christ Church on the pedestrianised Mall Road. The Viceregal Lodge is also significant in British history and is fascinating to look around. Relax this afternoon, wander at your own pace or head to Wildflower Hall to visit the gardens and enjoy a cup of tea.
Day 4 Pragpur
Drive five hours to Pragpur this morning, continuing your journey north. You might be able to see the snow-capped Himalaya along the way. You can easily explore Pragpur on foot by yourselves - it's a small village, but a great way to see rural life in the Himalayan foothills.
Day 5 Dharamsala & McLeod Ganj
Continue further north, driving two hours higher in altitude today up to Dharamshala and McLeodganj, home to the Dalai Lama. This busy hill town is home to a huge Tibetan community which makes it feel like a different country. With the rest of the day free, you might like to explore some of the local shops around your hotel which sell a range of Tibetan products.
Day 6 Dharamsala & McLeod Ganj
Visit the Norbulinka Institute with your guide today, where Tibetian skills and ways of life are preserved. Some of the craftsmen will be working, which is fascinating to watch. Visit the Buddhist Monastery too and if you'd like, the Mountaineering Institute.
Day 7 Amritsar
Travel west for seven hours to Amritsar today, in the heart of Punjab. Your driver and local guide accompany you to the Wagah Border, 45 minutes away from the city on the Pakistan border, to watch the border closing ceremony. It's an elaborate affair which occurs every day.
Day 8 Amritsar
Visit the incredible Sikh Golden Temple along with pilgrims and families from all over the country on a private tour today. Witness the incredible kitchens which churn out thousands of meals each day for free. After dinner and some time to relax, head back to the temple with your local guide to see the putting to bed ceremony of the holy book.
Day 9 Haridwar
Take the train to Haridwar this morning. Taking seven hours, it's a long journey but passes some stunning scenery. You'll be put on the train, and met at the other end by your guides who know the stations well. Porters are available at all stations to assist with luggage if you need. On arrival, after checking in, your guide can take you around the bustling city of Haridwar. As the sun sets, head to the river ghats to be a part of the atmospheric aarti ceremony.
Day 10 Haridwar
Relax this morning, soaking up the Gagnes views from the hotel terrace or wander off to explore. This afternoon enjoy a private guided tour of Rishikesh to explore its temples, ashrams and surroundings before the aarti ceremony. An hour's drive away, you'll see contrasts between the Haridwar ceremony, which your guide can also explain.
Day 11 Delhi
Take the train back to Delhi today which takes approximately five hours. There is a 6:00am train or a 6:00pm train, depending on your preference. Upon arrival back in Delhi, drive back to your hotel by private transfer which is near the airport - ideal for your homeward journey tomorrow.
Day 12 Return home
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