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The Golden Temple. Amritsar, India
Caption: The Golden Temple. Amritsar, India
Caption: Dharamshala, India - on the edge of the Himalayas and home to the Dalai Lama
Caption: Kalka to Shimla on the "Toy Train", India
Caption: Indian woman with intricate jewellery
Caption: Taj Mahal, Agra, India

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Journey Snapshot

Activity level: Level 2 Requires moderate physical activity. You need to be able to participate in physical activities such as longer walking tours, walking over uneven terrain, climbing steps and be comfortable with some periods of standing. Not suitable if you have limited mobility or require a wheelchair/mobility scooter.
Destination: Himalayan Heritage Tour of India
Duration: 13 days, 12 nights
Flight information: Arrive at Sri Guru Ram Dass Jee International Airport, Amritsar, India [ATQ] on Day 1 and depart from Indira Gandhi New Delhi Airport [DEL] on Day 13. You may need to depart your home airport up to two days before the tour begins to arrive on this date.
Pickup location: Sri Guru Ram Dass Jee International Airport, Amritsar, India [ATQ] on Day 1


Choose your own departure date for your group.

Travel through time as we visit Northwest India's Golden Temple in Amritsar, take the Toy Train north to Shimla & spectacular Himalayan scenery before ending on a high at the Taj Mahal

India’s remarkable contrasts come to life in the states of the Northwest, where you can experience the hustle, bustle and energy of city life and also the verdant, breaktaking valleys of the Himalayas. Experience for yourself the contrast of the peace and serenity of the picturesque hill stations of Mcleodganj, Norbulingka and Shimla with bustling and vibrant Delhi. Whether this is your first visit to India or you have been here many times before, India is so vast and so fascinating that there is always more to see and you cannot fail to be blown away by the chaos and the culture of it all. This tour of Northwest India brings the past to life, taking in one of most sacred shrines in world, the Golden Temple at Amritsar, as well as the UNESCO World Heritage sites the Toy Train to Kalka and the Taj Mahal. Experience for yourself the contrast of the peace and serenity of the picturesque hill stations of Mcleodganj, Norbulingka and Shimla with bustling and vibrant Delhi.


Itinerary summary: DAY 1 - Welcome to Amritsar!
DAY 2 - Exploring Amritsar
DAY 3 - Amritsar to Dharamsala
DAY 4 - McLeod Ganj Hill Station - "Little Lhasa"
DAY 5 - Dharamsala to Pragpur
DAY 6 - Explore Pragpur and Traditional Cookery Class
DAY 7 - Travel to Shimla
DAY 8 - Shimla City Tour
DAY 9 - Shimla to Chandigarh by train & Delhi
DAY 10 - Delhi City Tour
DAY 11 - Delhi to Agra & Agra Fort
DAY 12 - Taj Mahal
DAY 13 - Goodbye to India and Home
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Full Itinerary

DAY 1 - Welcome to Amritsar!

On arrival at Sri Guru Ram Dass Jee International Airport, Amritsar [ATQ] we will be met in the arrivals lounge and transferred to check in at the hotel.
After an early welcome dinner together, where you will meet you Big Journey Company Tour Director and the rest of your tour group, we will be thrown right in to the local culture and customs. Tonight we will enjoy an evening excursion to one of most sacred shrines in world - the Palanquin Ceremony at the Golden Temple. To the accompaniment of drums and with hymns filling the air, devotees carry the Guru Granth Sahib (the Holy Book) on a gold and silver-gilded palanquin from the main shrine in Hari Mandir to the gateway of the inner sanctum.

Included meals: Welcome Dinner 

DAY 2 - Exploring Amritsar

Today we will explore the most iconic city of the Punjab region, Amritsar. We will make a return visit to the glorious Golden temple. Located in the heart of the city, the Golden temple is the holiest religious shrine of the Sikh Religion, but welcomes everyone regardless of the religion or faith one follows. The stunning sanctum, shimmering in the water of the holy tank, flanked by spotlessly clean marble walkways and pavements makes it breathtakingly beautiful. We will also visit the Community Kitchen where food is served free of cost all day and night to anyone who attends. We will also visit Jallianwala Bagh, a historical monument of national importance.
Late in the afternoon, we travel to the Wagah border to witness the “Change of Guard” ceremony. Here Indian and Pakistani soldiers march to a very enthusiastic crowd and the flags are lowered with great skill and precision. This is a daily military practice that the security forces of both nations have jointly followed since 1959 and is a symbol of the rivalry between these two countries as well as a demonstration of brotherhood and cooperation

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner 

DAY 3 - Amritsar to Dharamsala

Today we say farewell to Amritsar and enjoy a picturesque drive to Dharamsala (approx 6 hrs). Set against the backdrop of the dramatic Dhaula Dhar Mountains, Dharamsala is one of the principle towns of the Kangra valley. With dense forests and cool healthy air, Dharamsala has everything for a perfect retreat. Today Dharamsala has become home to the Tibetan government in exile. It is also the home of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, spiritual head of the Buddhist faith. We arrive in Dharamsala and check-in to our hotel before enjoying a late lunch.
The rest of today will be spent at your leisure to enjoy the slower pace of live, beautiful scenery and picturesque surroundings. 

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner 

DAY 4 - McLeod Ganj Hill Station - "Little Lhasa"

Today we visit Norbulingka, a self-sustaining place dedicated to the preservation of the Tibetan arts and culture. In this way, the community helps to conserve the unique identity of Tibetans and the sacred traditions which took root in Tibet. Here you will find museum-quality artwork using methods that have been practiced and passed down for many centuries.
This afternoon we will enjoy an escorted tour of McLeod Ganj. McLeod Ganj is a hill station with bustling bazaars. Its culture is a beautiful blend of Tibetan, Indian and some British influence. This area is also known as Little Lhasa and is famous around the world for being home to the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama. We will enjoy a visit to the Namgyal Monastery, the Dalai Lama's temple, and the Centre of Tibetan Studies. We will also explore Gangchen Kyishong, the offices of the Tibetan government-in-exile and the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives. The Nechung Oracle, located within the Gangchen Kyishong complex, is a beautiful monastery where we may have the opportunity to witness a daily service. 

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner 

DAY 5 - Dharamsala to Pragpur

Today after a leisurely breakfast, we say goodbye to the fascinationg region of Dharamsala and drive to Pragpur. On the edge of the Himalayan Mountains and at an elevation of 2000 ft, the Kangra Valley is home to this heritage village.
On arrival we will check in at one of India's finest country hotels, which is located in the heart of the medieval hamlet of Pragpur, allowing you the freedom to explore the village from the hotel for the afternoon.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner 

DAY 6 - Explore Pragpur and Traditional Cookery Class

Founded in the late 16th century in memory of a Princess, Pragpur well deserves its heritage village status. This morning we will enjoy an escorted walk through the winding cobbled lanes, mud-plastered walls and slate-roofed houses and make a return, if only briefly, to the simple life of an older era. We will return to the hotel for lunch.
This afternoon we will enjoy a traditional cooking session, making our own dinner in the local way. 

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner 

DAY 7 - Travel to Shimla

Today we travel to Shimla, a journey of approx. 6 hours, with rest stops and lunch en-route.  
Late in the afternoon we reach our destination for today, Shimla. Strung out along a 12km ridge, with steep hillsides in all directions, the Himachal capital of Shimla is often referred to as the Queen of Hill Stations (a term coined by the British). Located in north-west Himalayas at an altitude of 2,130 meters (6,988 feet), the city of Shimla, draped in forests of pine, rhododendron and oak, experiences pleasant summers and cold, snowy winters. Traffic is banned from the central part of town, so walking is pleasant even while huffing and puffing uphill.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner 

DAY 8 - Shimla City Tour

Today we will enjoy a guided exploration of Shimla. We will explore the Gaiety theatre, Christchurch and The Mall, the main promenade that runs along the top of the ridge. This is now a busy shopping area with old colonial buildings.
Then we will visit the summer residence of the Indian Viceroy, the British Raj leader of India between 1888 -1946. This beautiful building is surrounded by spacious gardens and beautiful pine trees. The story goes that during the British Era in 1892, the Maharaja of Patalia fell in love with the Viceroy’s daughter. The king and the Viceroy’s daughter eloped and ever since were banned from entering Shimla. Instead of returning, the Maharaja of Patalia founded the new summer capital of Chail for himself and his new wife, about 45 km away. The intersection between the Mall and the Ridge from where the lovers eloped is now named Scandal Point.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner 

DAY 9 - Shimla to Chandigarh by train & Delhi

This morning we say farewell to the majestic Himalayas and head to Delhi. The first leg of the journey begins with a "Toy Train" ride on the Himalayan Queen on the historic narrow gauge railwayline known for its many tunnels and bridges and an incredible 900 curves offering breath-taking views of the surrounding mountains. The historic UNESCO World Heritage Shimla toy train is like travelling back in time. The railway, built by the British in 1903 to provide access to their summer capital of Shimla, provides one of the most scenic train journeys in India- travel with your camera at the ready.
We will connect with the fast train, The Shatabdi Express in Kalka to complete the rest of the journey to Delhi, arriving in the evening to check into our hotel. 

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner 

DAY 10 - Delhi City Tour

This morning you will be guided to the city tour of Delhi. The city consists of two parts - Old & New Delhi. Old Delhi was the capital of Muslim India between 17th and 19th century and has many mosques, monuments and forts. New Delhi, the imperial city was created by the British as the capital of India. We begin the day with an exploration starting in Old Delhi, visiting the Jama Masjid, the royal mosque built by the Mughal Emperor, Shah Jahan in 1656. It is one of the largest and most beautiful mosques in the world and is constructed in red sandstone and white marble. The main prayer hall has a seating capacity of more than 20,000 worshippers. Here we will enjoy a cycle rickshaw ride through the narrow lanes of Chandni Chowk, the spine of Old Delhi.
Later we also visit New Delhi, driving through it's majestic boulevards to the Rashtrapati Bhawan, or Presidential Palace. This is where the Viceroy once lived and is now the official residence of the President of India. Today also includes a visit to Humayun’s Tomb, the first great example of Mughal architecture in India. This has developed to become the hallmark of the Mughal Dynasty. The squat building of white marble and red sandstone, with a dome and high arched entrances, surrounded by formal gardens, is generally regarded as a prototype of the famed Taj Mahal of Agra. Humayun’s wife is buried in the sandstone and marble tomb.
Last stop before returning to ou hotel is the Sikh temple of Bangla Sahib. This magnificent and spacious bungalow in Delhi was once owned by Raja Jai Singh Amber (Jaipur). It has become a place of pilgrimage for both Hindus and Sikhs and is also known as the holy shrine “Gurudwara Bangla Sahib”. The Art Gallery located in the basement has paintings depicting historical events connected with Sikh history.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner 

DAY 11 - Delhi to Agra & Agra Fort

This morning, after breakfast, we head off by road to Agra (approx. 4 hour journey)
When we arrive in Agra, after lunch we will visit the spectacular Agra Fort. This imposing structure with walls of red sandstone is almost two miles long and contains palaces, audience halls and mosques.

After some time at leisure and an early night tonight, as we will rise early tomorrow to see the Taj Mahal at daybreak.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner 

DAY 12 - Taj Mahal

It is said that the world can be divided in half into those who have seen the Taj Mahal and those who haven't yet seen it - today is your chance to join the other half! The 17th century Taj Mahal is often called a poem in stone, a love poem created by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan for his favourite wife. It took 22 years to complete its stunning design and perfect symmetry. We'll gather early this morning to enter the Taj Mahal soon after daybreak.

After spending some time at the Taj Mahal, we'll return to the hotel for breakfast before heading back by road to Delhi for free time for some last minute sightseeting, before our farewell meal together.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner 

DAY 13 - Goodbye to India and Home

After breakfast in the hotel you will be transferred to the airport for your flights home you have arranged.

Included meals: Breakfast 


More information

What's includedWhat's not includedImportant information

What's included

  • ATOL Protection
  • For UK guests, return economy flights to/from LHR are included in the cost of the journey. For US/International guests, international flights are not included - please arrange your own international flights. Regional UK airport departures may be available - please ask at the time of booking. Supplements may apply.
  • Meet & Greet at the airport on arrival and transfer to the hotel.
  • Transfer from the hotel to the airport on the final day.
  • Transport in an air-conditioned deluxe vehicle.
  • Accommodation & all transport as detailed in the itinerary.
  • Meals as detailed in the itinerary.
  • English speaking national guide.
  • All activities, visits and excursions as detailed in the itinerary.
  • Tour Director from The Big Journey Company as well as the local tour guide (subject to minimum group size being reached.)

What's not included

  • Drinks.
  • Gratuities. 
  • Visas, travel and medical insurance.
  • Any personal items and anything not mentioned under included in price above.
  • Any meals not mentioned in the itinerary.
  • Any optional activities offered.
  • Any COVID tests or related entry & exit requirements

Important information

  • Please let The Big Journey Company know prior to travelling if you have any medical needs or take any medication that we need to be made aware of to ensure that you have a safe and pleasant tour.
  • Check in is after 2 - 3pm and check out is before 10am unless otherwise specified in the itinerary.
  • Cancellation 90 – 0 days prior to departure cancellation fee is 100%. It is your responsibility to ensure the correct travel insurance in place to protect you against the need to cancel your holiday. Deposits are non-refundable.
  • Further terms and conditions apply and will be provided upon request or at the time of booking. The Big Journey Company reserves the right to withdraw any offer prior to accepting a reservation request. This does not affect your statutory rights. This offer is subject to availability and space is limited.
  • Please consult your doctor for advice on vaccinations and innoculations before travel.

The big journey promise

The big journey company was set up with one goal in mind, to share our passion for inspirational cultures, destinations and experiences. Over the last 10 years we have had the privilege to escort thousands of travellers on awe inspiring and sometimes life changing journeys. Our promise to every guest who joins us is that we will do everything possible to make sure your journey not only exceeds expectations but delivers at least one moment of true amazement.

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Holiday tours are operated by The Big Journey Company Limited. Registered in England. Registered office: Marron Bank, Branthwaite, Cumbria, CA14 4SZ. Registered number: 6532140. The Big Journey Company Limited is a member of The Travel Trust Association member number U5675 and holds an Air Travel Organiser’s License number T7282.

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