The Indian Himalayas feature a diverse collection of festivals that celebrate important occasions and present enchanting displays of religious rituals, rich heritage and colourful history.
You can choose one of the proposed religious festival which are celebrated with great enthusiasm in the Himalayan foothills.
The tour starts in Delhi, the capital of India. The first stop is Amritsar, the most holy place for the followers of Sikhism. Thousands of pilgrims from all over the world throng the Golden Temple here, which is surrounded by a lake.
The tour continues on to the Kangra Valley, dominated by the Dhauladhar mountain range, the location of many ancient Hindu temples. Dharamsala is the seat of the Tibetan Government in exile and the residence of the Dalai Lama.
A drive to Mandi brings us to this ancient and important commercial centre, from where we proceed to Rewalsar, a popular pilgrimage site for Buddhists, Hindus and Sikhs.
The next stop is the lush green Kullu Valley, a valley of gods and goddesses , We will move on to Manali in upper Kullu Valley and explore old villages and nature rich trails.
The tour ends with a colorful Hindu pilgrimage along the Ganges in Haridwar and Rishikesh, where many local festivals are held.
New Delhi - The capital of India.
Amritsar - The centre of Sikh religion.
Dharamsala - The capital of the Tibetan Government in exile and ancient Hindu temples of Kangara.
Rewalsar - Sacred lake.
Kullu-Manali - Lush green valley known as the valley of the Gods.
Chandigarh - A modern well planned city.
Rishikesh & Haridwar - Hindu pilgrimage center.
Arrival in Delhi. Reception at the airport and transfer to hotel. Overnight stay in our hotel.
Delhi to Amritsar. Leave by train for a 6-hour journey to Amritsar. Check into hotel. Visit the city. Overnight stay in our hotel.
Amritsar translates as ‘pool of nectar’, the name of the sacred pool surrounding the Sikh Golden Temple. A causeway connects to the temple in the middle of the pool. A Sikh high priest reads the holy book, sitting on the east side of the temple. The temple attracts pilgrims from all over the world.
Wagha Border is the Indo-Pakistan border 30 kms drive away, where the retreat ceremony on the road to Lahore is an interesting experience at Sunset.
Amritsar to Dharamsala, 190 kms, 6 hours drive.
Lunch stop on the way.
In the afternoon, we will check into our hotel. Evening stroll with the Indo–Tibetan crowd on the street of Mecleodganj. Overnight stay in our hotel.
Visit Dharamsala (1830 m).
A former colonial retreat, Mcleodganj rose to prominence after the large scale exodus of Tibetans from their homeland in 1959. It is the residence (Ocean of Tranquility) of His Holiness, the Dalai Lama.
In the backdrop are the majestic Dhauladhar mountains. The Tibetan Government in exile has been based here for over three and a half decades. With traditional architectural designs drawn from Tibet, the impressive Namgyal monastery is surrounded by a row of prayer wheels, and houses larger-than-life images of the Buddha: Padmasambhava and Avalokteshwara.
Time permitting, the Tibetan handicraft centre can also be visited. Overnight stay in our hotel.
Festival of Lossar takes place here.
Dharamsala to Palampur (via Kangra), Brijeshwari Temple and Musroor rock temple.
Visit the thousand-year old Brijeshwari Temple, built in Shikhara style and dedicated to the goddess Vrajreshwari. The 10-minute walk leading to the temple premises is decorated with colorful shops selling articles that devotees need for religious rituals to pay homage to the goddess.
Masroor has 15 temples carved into the rock in Indo-Aryan style and linked with the famous Ellora temple in Maharashtra.
Palampur is situated in the foothills of the Dhauladhar range. It has a mild climate, tea gardens and irrigation channels. The main street of Palampur is always crowded with a variety of people, including gaddis (shepherds) and their gaily attired women can be seen strolling around. Evening visit to a tea garden. Overnight stay in our hotel.
Palampur to Mandi, via Baijnath-Rewalsar, 137 km. Overnight stay in our hotel.
Visit Shiva temple at Baijnath which bears an inscription dated A.D 804 and dedicated to Vaidhyanath. The temples are built in the Shikhera style and are remarkable for their proportion and architectural beauty.
Drive further to Rewalsar (Pool of Ancient Wisdom), which is like a Dark jewel on a wooded hillside. This sacred lake is identified as the sahar of yore. Legend identifies this place the one from where Padma Sambhava left for Tibet to spread the word of the Budha in the 8th century A.D.
Mandi is an important town of Himachal Pradesh and gateway to Kullu Valley. It is known for its aesthetically carved shikhara style temples of Bhootnath, Triloknath, Panchvakra and Shyamakali at Tarna hill.
Festival of Shivaratri takes place here.
Mandi to Kullu-Manali (2000 m), 90 kms.
Leave for Manali. Enroute, we will visit Shiva temple at Bajaura. Afternoon check into our hotel.
Kullu–Manali is situated in the inner range of the Himalaya and is famous for apple orchards, pine trees and cheerful people. The valley has hundreds of temples and deities. The Aryans named this valley as Kulantpitha, meaning "the end of the habitable world". Visit the temple of Manu at old Manali, the hot spring at Vashisht and keep the evening free. Overnight stay in our hotel .
Visit Dushera Festival or another festival according to the festival dates.
(Festival day may change according to the festival date )
The biggest in the valley, where the gathering of the Gods takes place to pay homage to Lord Raghunathji on the occasion of the victory over evil (Ravana) based on the Ramayana. Most of the deities in the valley are present on this occasion. A fascinating highlight of this festival is the grand procession and participation of people from all over the hilly areas (and other parts of India) adding color and gaiety. Evening return back to our hotel.
The Hadimba Devi temple is famous for its association with the Mahabharata. Jagatsukh was the capital of Kullu in olden times and has the temple of Gaytri Devi. Nagar is 20 kms away and has a castle, the temple of Goddess Tripurasundry, a Shiva temple, and the well known Roherich Art Gallery. Evening back to Manali for night in our hotel.
Festival of Dhungari takes place here .
Manali to Chandigarh, 315km, 8 Hrs drive
We will take the toy train for a two-hour ride to experience a legacy of colonial times. The train has been declared as a world heritage train by UNESCO and is a prime tourist attraction.
Take the zig zag road down to Chandigarh, a city planned by the famous Swiss architect Le Corbusier. Visit the Rock Garden and Rose Garden, which is one of the largest in Asia, with about 1,600 varieties of roses. If time permits we will also visit the museum and art gallery.
Chandigarh to Rishikesh (230m), 5 hours.
Departure to the sanctuary of saints and sadhus.
Rishikesh is situated on the banks of the river Ganges, known from medieval times as a great pilgrimage centre, attracting large numbers of pilgrims, saints and sages (sadhus). It is known for its centre for yoga and meditation. We will visit ashrams and temples and witness the evening ritual ceremony at Triveni Ghat, when hundreds of people float little flower bowls with oil lamps on the river. Back to our hotel for overnight stay.
Rishikesh to Haridwar, 23 km.
Leave for Haridwar. Check into our hotel. Visit Mansa Devi temple dedicated to Shakti, the goddess of power. Also visit Daksha Mahadevi temple and bathing ghats. In the evening, join the grand Arti. Overnight stay in our hotel.
Haridwar literally means gateway to God. It has been a sacred place from time immemorial and is one of the most important pilgrimage places on the Ganges. Based on Hindu mythology, millions of Hindus take a holy dip in the sacred river Ganges to seek emancipation. There is meditation and worship at Har ki Pauri (Bathing Ghat ) which is one of the most fascinating religious rituals in the world.
Festival of Navratri takes place here at Haridwar.
Haridwar to Delhi by train, 240 kms.
Train to Delhi & a half day visit to the Kutub Minar. Enjoy a rickshaw ride between Jama Masjid and Red Fort. Dinner and overnight stay in our hotel.