In just half a day it is possible to leave the buzz of Delhi behind and find a completely different pace of life in the foothills of the Himalaya.
Against a backdrop of mountain peaks you can take a trip back to a bygone era, to colonial Shimla where life revolved around intrigue and gossip on the Mall, or venture further to numerous small towns and villages on ancient Tibetan trade routes where most journeys are still on foot.
Breathing fresh, pine-scented air, this is a region where you can walk for miles in stunning scenery, absorb the spiritual atmosphere along the banks of the holy Ganges, search for tigers in the jungles of Corbett or simply relax and pamper yourself in a wonderful mountain retreat.
Spiritual experiences in the Himalaya
A trip to the northern foothills not only offers excellent mountain views and walking opportunities but the chance to discover India's spiritual side.
Three of India’s major religions have a strong presence in the region: you can experience the Sikhs' majestic Golden Temple at Amritsar and the Hindu ceremonies of the banks of the River Ganges at Haridwar and Rishikesh, whilst the Dalai Lama is in residence at McLeod Ganj and further North in Ladakh there are numerous Buddhist festivals in the summer months.
Whether you witness the 'Putting to Bed Ceremony' at the Golden Temple, float a candle offering along the Ganges, or simply turn a Buddhist prayer wheel in Dharamsala, the foothills offer a magical experience.
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Our Himalaya highlights
Ride the Toy Train to Shimla
The large hill station of Shimla was once a summer retreat for the British colonial government, and crumbling remnants still remain today. A great way to visit Shimla is via the Darjeeling Mountain Railway, or Toy Train, which passes through central Darjeeling as it makes it way up steep-sided mountains by means of steep loops through 100 tunnels.
Enjoy a walk through the scenic foothills around Almora
Hidden away in a small corner of Uttaranchal, just west of the border of Nepal, Almora enjoys a remote and beautiful location among the lower reaches of the Himalaya mountains. A walk up into the foothills from Almora is a great way to explore this beautiful part of India.
Walk to Tiger Hill from Darjeeling
Set off on an early morning walk along a winding mountain trail to reach Tiger Hill. This small, cliff-top plateau commands spectacular views over the surrounding Himalaya mountains, and visitors here can witness the first light of dawn breaking over Mount Everest and the rugged peaks of Kanchenjunga.