Discover a completely different pace of life in the Western Himalayas. Explore the holy city of Amritsar and its spectacular Golden Temple, before loosing yourself in the charming hill stations that dot the landscape of verdant valleys and snow-capped peaks. Sikhism, Hinduism and Buddhism all have a strong presence in the region, forging numerous festivals, monasteries and ceremonies to uncover.
Begin with a visit to Amritsar and the Golden Temple, the holiest Sikh shrine in India. It is famed for its glistening, indulgent exterior however, the real treat is the heart-warming welcome you receive exploring the interior of this working temple.
Venture further into the Himalayan mountains to visit the historic hill town of Shimla. The terrain of Shimla is hilly and covered by dense green forests, spilling over the steep slopes of a 12km ridge and situated about 2200m above sea level, it offers a refreshingly cool climate. Located in the town’s centre, The Mall offers a great variety of shops, bars and restaurants, as well as the famous Gaiety Theatre. No visit to Shimla would be complete without visiting Jakhu Temple, the most famous temple in the region and dedicated to Lord Hanuman. The temple sits on top of Jakhu Hill – Shimla’s highest peak – and as such offers some excellent views of the surrounding mountains.
Further North, Dharamsala is built along a spur of the Dhaula Dhar range, and boasts a glorious mountainous backdrop. Upper Dharamsala, or McLeodganj, is the headquarters of the Dalai Lama, who often leads the prayers when he is in the residence. Thousands of Tibetans have made McLeodganj their temporary home, and therefore the town has a strong Tibetan influence, with monks in deep red a common sight.
Our Asia specialist Cherylle has travelled extensively in India, but until recently, the Himalayan kingdom in the north of the country was an enigma to her – a magical land she had heard so much about, but not yet had the chance to visit. We decided to put this right and send her off on an exploration to this wonderful part of the country. Here she tells us all about it.
India is a magical country which welcomes travellers with a chaotic and colourful assault on the senses. Never is this more prominent than during one of the many festivals. Below we have listed the dates for the major festivals in India. Speak to one of our specialists about incorporating one of these into a tailor-made itinerary.