12 Days, 11 Nights
Duration
15 – 26 April 2019
Dates

The mighty Himalayas are home to some of India’s most spectacular hidden gems. Get off the beaten path with our insider guide, Vikas Kumar, and discover this charming and visually stunning region. With over 20 years experience as a tour guide, Vikas invites you to share in the wonder and beauty of his home state. This tour has it all – quaint hill stations, serene tea plantations, heritage villages, Buddhist temples, breathtaking mountain views and a journey into the plains of the Punjab.

You will have the chance to experience two of India’s most diverse stations – Shimla and Dharamsala. Shimla is the picturesque capital of this North Indian state, and offers stunning mountain and valley views as well as fascinating British era architecture. In contrast, Dharamsala  is known as ‘Little Lhasa’ as it is the home of the Dalai Lama as well as the Tibetan Government in Exile. Finish the tour with a visit to Amritsar, home of the Golden Temple, Sikhism holiest shrine.

With an expert like Vikas, who lives and breathes Himachal Pradesh, you are in safe and capable hands for the duration of the tour. As with all Ekno experiences, we select our hotels and locations with an eye on combining luxury and comfort into one fabulous experience. With Vikas as your guide you will not only discover hidden experiences unique to India, but you can also relax safe in the knowledge that your security is foremost in our minds. But don’t just take our word for it, see what some of our satisfied clients have had to say about Vikas:

‘Vikas is a remarkable tour guide. Well organised, fun and with such an inspirational life story! It was great to have him interpret and explain situations, history and culture. I can’t actually speak highly enough of him – one gem of a tour guide.’ Rosalyn Johnson, New Zealand

‘Local guide Vikas was a brilliant choice, always open to chat about India and arrange some extra wishes. He was tireless, always living the slogan – “In India, everything is possible!”

It was just an amazing, brilliant, fantastic journey every hour of the way. I really fell in love with the country and I can’t wait to return!’ Mario Becker, Switzerland

TOUR DATES

15-26 April 2019

TOUR COST

 A$2750 per person twin share

Single Supplement A$1050

* Fixed departure – price based on minimum 6 people
Independent Travels – Price on Application

DURATION

12 days, 11 nights

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

  • Escorted by Ekno’s insider guide, Vikas Kumar
  • Enjoy the many sights and wonders of Delhi
  • Travel to the hill station of Shimla on the world famous ‘toy train’
  • Stay in a family owned tea estate with a bespoke tour of the plantation
  • Visit the heritage village of Pragpur and stay in a palatial country manor
  • Journey to Dharamsala, home of the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Government in Exile
  • Day hike in the foothills of the Himalayas, where you will visit a local shepherd family
  • Experience a visit to the stunning Golden Temple, Sikhism holiest shrine, in Amritsar

TOUR ROUTE

Delhi-Shimla-Palampur-Pragpur-Dharamsala-Amritsar-Delhi

 

Day 1

15 April 2019

Arrive Delhi

Welcome to incredible India and to the start of your holiday! An Ekno representative will meet you at the airport and escort you to your hotel. After checking into the hotel, spend the rest of the day at your leisure exploring the local area and soaking up the vibrant atmosphere. Vikas will be on hand at the hotel if you need any assistance or recommendations.

Overnight: Hotel, Delhi

Day 2

16 April 2019

Delhi

This morning Vikas will lead you through the bustling and fascinating streets of Old Delhi. We’ll admire the magnificent Jama Masjid (India’s largest mosque) and enjoy a rickshaw ride through the ancient alley ways of Chandni Chowk bazaar. We’ll pass by the fantastic Red Fort, constructed in 1638 before paying our respects at Raj Ghat, the cremation site of Mahatma Gandhi. As we continue to weave our way back to New Delhi, we will pass British era landmarks such as India Gate, Rajpath, the President’s House, Parliament House & the Government Secretariat Buildings. We will spend the afternoon shopping at one of Delhi’s many bustling outdoor bazaars. In the evening Vikas will take the group to one of his favourite restaurants in Delhi, specialising in fine Indian cuisine.

Overnight: Hotel, Delhi

Day 3

17 April 2019

Delhi to Shimla

Rise and shine early and prepare yourself for a quintessential Indian experience – travelling on the world famous Indian Railways. Your driver will collect you from your hotel in Delhi (at approximately 4am) and you will set off with Vikas for a day of eye opening travel.

You will take a train from North Delhi to Kalka before transferring to the narrow gauge Kalka – Shimla Railway, known affectionately as the ‘toy train’. This route travels along a mountainous track known for its dramatic views of the hills and surrounding villages. This railway was built in 1898 to connect Shimla, the summer capital of India during the British Raj, with the rest of the Indian rail system. At the time of construction 107 tunnels and 864 bridges were built throughout the course of the track. Sit back and enjoy the views and listen as Vikas shares his knowledge of this beautiful part of the world. We will arrive in Shimla in the early evening in time for us to check into our hotel and go out for dinner.

Overnight: Hotel, Shimla

Day 4

18 April 2019

Shimla

This morning Vikas will take you on a heritage walk, taking in some of the many sights of Shimla. Wander along the Ridge Maidan and Mall Road, pick up some crafts at Lakkar Bazaar, visit the Gaiety Theatre and marvel at the impressive neo-Gothic Christ Church.

Shimla is one of the most popular hill stations in India – and with its stunning views, wide boulevards and mist covered mountains its not hard to see why. The town is situated at an altitude of 2276 metres and was initially chosen as a sanatorium for invalid European officers, but soon developed into a big hill town and became the summer capital of the country during the British Raj. In the evening enjoy the jovial atmosphere of the town in one of the many Indian or international restaurants.

Overnight: Hotel, Shimla 

Day 5

19 April 2019

Palampur

After breakfast we will leave Shimla and travel by car Palampur (approximately 7 hours). Sit back and enjoy the beautiful views as we wind our way through the valleys and foothills of the mighty Himalayas. In the afternoon we will arrive at our unique eco accommodation, the Wah Tea Lodge. After settling in you can relax at the lodge or take a walk through the estate, which has been run by the same family since the 1950s.

Overnight: Tea Estate, Palampur

Day 6

20 April 2019

Pragpur

This morning we will take a bespoke tour of Wah Tea Estate, which was established in 1857 by the British. If you want to learn about the journey from tea shrub to your tea cup, try your hand at tea plucking or learn to taste like a tea sommelier, this tour is designed for you.

In the afternoon we will travel by car to the heritage village of Pragpur (approximately 2 and half hours), arriving in time to check into the palatial Judges Court Hotel. Wander the grounds and soak the atmosphere of this country manor.

Overnight: The Judges Court, Pragpur

Day 7

21 April 2019

Sidhpur, Dharamsala

Spend the morning relaxing and exploring the heritage village of Pragpur, nestled in the shadows of the Dhauladhar mountains. In the afternoon we will travel by car to Dharamsala, known the world over as home to the Dalai Lama. This scenic drive will take you through the vibrant lower hills of Himachal Pradesh before reaching this fascinating North Indian hill station.

Spend the afternoon exploring – starting with a visit to the temple of His Holiness The Dalai Lama, the Namgyel Monastery. Vikas will then lead the group to the Tibet Museum and the Tibetan Houses of Parliament. In the evening you will once again find plenty of lovely roof top restaurants to choose from; including Japanese, Indian and Tibetan.

Overnight: Norbulingka, Dharamsala

Day 8

22 April 2019

Dharamsala

After breakfast Vikas will take the group to visit his village, Naddi – a beautiful local village with magnificent views of the spectacular Himalayas. You will then travel to the Tibetan Children’s Village which is a thriving educational community for Tibetan children living in exile. Lunch will be enjoyed at the tranquil Norbulingka Institute which is located in the lush valley below McLeod Ganj. In the afternoon you will have the opportunity to visit the arts centre which preserves the work of Tibetan artisans.

Overnight: Norbulingka, Dharamsala

Day 9

23 April 2019

Day hike to Balh/Kareri Village

Today we will hike to Balh/Kareri village (1 hour). The gradual hike weaves you through thick pine forests, oak thickets, rhododendron, and rocky overhangs as the peaks of the Dhauladhar tower overhead. When we arrive Vikas will take us to visit a local Gaddi shepherd family. We will enjoy a traditional ‘chai’ (tea) party and cook our own lunch on open fire. In the late afternoon we will return to our hotel.

Overnight: Norbulingka, Dharamsala

Day 10

24 April 2019

Amritsar

We will leave our hotel early this morning for the picturesque drive down to the plains of the Punjab. We will arrive in time to visit to the Wagah border to witness the closing ceremony of the border between India and Pakistan. This ceremony takes place every evening and involves a display of pomp and ceremony by the Indian and Pakistani border guards. After the closing ceremony, head back to Amritsar where the rest of the evening at leisure. Enjoy a tasty dinner in one of the many Punjabi restaurants or take an evening stroll around the holy Sikh Golden Temple, which is open 24 hours a day.

Overnight: Hotel, Amritsar

Day 11

25 April 2019

Delhi

This morning we will visit the Golden Temple to enjoy a quiet stroll through the inner corridors as the priests chant from the Sikh Holy Book. We will visit the langar hall, a massive free community dining room run entirely by volunteers. The Golden Temple langar can serve hot meals to up to 100,000 people a day.

In the early afternoon we will fly back to Delhi. The rest of the afternoon in Delhi is at your leisure to relax or shop for last minute souvenirs.

Overnight: Hotel, Delhi

Day 12

26 April 2019

Tour End

Our tour concludes after breakfast. We will transfer you to the airport for your onward international or domestic flight.

We look forward to seeing you on another Ekno experience soon. Why not add on one of our extension tours so that you can see another exciting part of India, such as a trip to Udaipur and the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel or to the holy city of Varanasi?


INCLUDES

Met at Delhi Airport by an Ekno representative

Services of Vikas as your guide for the duration of the trip

11 nights’ accommodation with breakfast

Train from Delhi to Shimla

Flight from Amritsar to Delhi

All transfers by private vehicle (Toyota Innova/Etios or similar) as per the itinerary:

  • Pickup and drop off to Delhi Airport
  • Sightseeing in Delhi
  • Drop off to Delhi Train Station
  • Pickup from the train station in Shimla
  • Transfer from Shimla to Palampur
  • Transfer from Palampur to Pragpur
  • Transfer from Pragpur to Dharamsala
  • Sightseeing around Shimla and Dharamsala
  • Transfer from Dharamsala to Amritsar

Welcome and farewell dinners in Delhi

Lunch in Dharamsala with a local Gaddi family

Himalayan Tea tour and tea tasting in Palampur

Local guides in Delhi, Shimla & Amritsar

Entrance fees to all sights and monuments as per the itinerary

EXCLUDES

Return airfares to India

Cost of Indian tourist visa (on arrival)

Lunches and dinners unless otherwise specified in the itinerary

Personal expenditure such as drinks (including bottled water), laundry service and souvenirs

Tipping

Camera and video entry charges at local sights and monuments

Occasional optional items not identified in the itinerary description

Compulsory insurance of any kind

Vikas-Family
Tea-Garden
McLeodganj
Village in Dhauladhar Valley
Aghanjar-Mahadev-Temple
Amritsar
DalaiLamaTemple
Dhauladhar Valley -Tea-Gardens
McLeodGanj
Norbulingka Institute