Himalayan Heritage Trail


Traverse the foothills of the mighty Himalaya. Destinations en route are not only full of diverse culture but also boast spectacular views and abundant nature.

Places Visited

New Zealand - Delhi (1N) - Agra (1N) - Delhi (1N) - Amritsar (2N) - Paragpur (2N) - Dharamsala (2N) - Manali (3N) - Shimla (2N) - Rishikesh (1N) - Delhi (2N) - New Zealand

Days 1-2: New Zealand to Delhi
Depart late evening on Day 1 for your overnight flight with Singapore Airlines to Delhi for an overnight stay.
Day 3: Taj Majal
Travel to Agra by train and tour the city, visiting the 17th-century Itmad-Ud-Daulah, nicknamed the 'Baby Taj' and the colossal Agra Fort. The day concludes before the magnificent Taj Mahal, which you will get to see as evening sets in. Watching the colours of the sunset playing across the mausoleum’s white marble is an enchanting experience.
Day 4: Gurudwara Bangla Sahib
Return to Delhi by road and continue to tour the city. Explore the Purana Qila, one of Delhi's oldest forts, and the beautiful white marble and golden-roofed Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, one of India's most prominent gurudwara, a Sikh house of worship.
Day 5: Train to Amritsar
Transfer to Delhi station and hop on a train to Amritsar. On arrival, wind your way through the streets of the old town to the Golden Temple, Harmindar Sahib, the spiritual heart of the Sikh faith. Built in the 16th-century, its dome is richly gilded in shimmering gold. The temple floats on the sacred waters of Amrit Sarovar; all Sikhs try to make the pilgrimage to bathe it the purifying waters.
Day 6: Explore Amritsar
Enjoy a heritage walk of the city, taking in local markets, temples, including Durgiana dedicated to the goddess Durga, and Jallianwala Bagh, a memorial dedicated to the people killed and wounded when British troops opened fire on unarmed protesters in 1919. Head to the India- Pakistan border to watch the elaborate border closing ceremony with its fantastically over-the-top showmanship.
Day 7: Paragpur heritage walk
Travel to Paragpur, India's first heritage village. Full of traditional character and charm, explore Paragpur's cobbled streets and visit some of the traditional craftsmen who practice here, including weavers, silversmiths and printers.
Day 8: Around Paragpur
Explore deeper into this area of Himachal Pradesh. Visit Chintpurni, a Shakti Temple said to grant wishes; the village of Dharamsala-Mahanta; Haripur, with its massive fort; and Guler, the home of the Kangra School of Painting.
Day 9: Travel to Dharamsala
Head up into the mountains to Dharamsala, a former British hillstation that has become the home of the Tibetan Government in exile. This afternoon enjoy a demonstration of how to cook local dishes before eating a local lunch. The rest of the day is free for you to explore the local markets.
Day 10: Explore Dharamsala
Start the day with a yoga and meditation session. After breakfast visit Mcleod Ganj, a town with a distinctly Tibetan feel. Explore the town, visiting Buddhist temples and local markets before spending the afternoon in the Norbulingka Institute. A major centre for Buddhist learning, it also works to preserve Tibet’s cultural heritage. Other sights you’ll see include Kangra State Museum, the Dalai Lama Temple and the Tibetan Museum. Later, take a short, easy hike around Dharamkot, a community of Gaddi people, to Naddi village, where there are spectacular views of the Dhauladhar mountain range.
Day 11: Travel to Manali
Travel to the town of Manali, stopping at the Kullu Valley, a rural idyll of apple orchards and wooden temples, en route. Continue to Manali, located in idyllic Beas River Valley and surrounded by high peaks, for a three-night stay.
Day 12: Around Manali
Spend the morning discovering the beauty of the Parvati Valley – the views of the mountains here are incredible. This afternoon, take an excursion to Naggar, where you'll find an old castle and temples, and the Roerich Art Gallery. Set up a hill, the views over Beas Valley are as impressive as the paintings.
Day 13: Explore Manali
Discover more about the town of Manali with a city tour. You'll visit Hadimba Temple, Vashisht hot water springs and old Manali village. The afternoon is at leisure.
Day 14: Drive to Shimla
Head to Shimla by road. The capital of Himachal Pradesh, Shimla was once India's largest hillstation, sprawling across a ridge deep in the Himalayan foothills.
Day 15: Explore Shimla
The summer capital of British India, and nicknamed the 'Queen of Hillstations', Shimla has a spectacular location. Start the day with a hike to Jakhoo Temple, which sits at the highest point of the city, offering amazing views. Continue to the Himachal State Museum and admire the former renaissance grandeur of the Vice Regal Lodge. Spend some time in the heart of town, soaking up the atmosphere and enjoying the views.
Day 16: Travel to Rishikesh
Travel by road to Rishikesh, a spiritual city located along the River Ganges. Known for its high number of ashrams, Rishikesh is thought to be the birthplace of yoga. This evening visit the ghats to witness an aarti ceremony on the edge of the river.
Day 17: Explore Rishikesh
See the sights of Rishikesh on a city tour, spending time at Laxman Jhoola, Omkaranand Ashram and Sivanand Ashram. Transfer to Haridwar station to board your train to Delhi, arriving late at night. The city is split into two areas; Old Delhi and New Delhi. In Old Delhi you will find the old city wall and a maze of small alleyways. New Delhi is characterised by the grandeur of 19th-century buildings and wide, tree-lined boulevards.
Day 18: Delhi city tour
Spend a full day exploring the sights of Delhi: drive around the outside of the colossal Red Fort; visit Jama Masjid, India's largest and most impressive mosque; and see Raj Ghat – a memorial to Mahatma Gandhi. Visit Qutab Minar complex and Humayun's Tomb before making a stop at India Gate. Finish in the heart of New Delhi at the grandiose Connaught Place.
Day 19: Depart Delhi
After breakfast visit the Delhi Haat and enjoy some free time to shop and pick up souvenirs. Return to your hotel where you will have a late check-out before transferring to the airport for your overnight flight to Australia.
Day 20: Arrive New Zealand
Arrive home today.

Also Available

Tailor Your Tour

If you like most of the itinerary which we have suggested but you'd like to change the route and the accommodation, speak to our specialist Tailormade team, who can build your perfect itinerary based around where you would like to go, what you would like to see and how much you'd like to spend. Just call us on 0800 936 3998 and we'll help plan your dream holiday.

Tour prices are per person, twin share departing Auckland. Regional departures available on request. Additional charges: Tipping is payable on arrival in destination (see Additional Price Information below).

Additional Price Information:

Single Hotel Room Option from $1,910
Land Only (Delhi to Delhi), 18 days from $5,950 per person twin share
Additional charges: Tipping - US$145 per person (subject to change) payable on arrival.
Tour availability is updated each Monday. While every effort is made to ensure availability status is current, it is advisable to contact our reservations department on 0800 936 3998. Limited seats denotes 4 seats or less available.

A visa is required by all nationalities. A single entry visa should be arranged in advance of travel.
Unlike many other tour operators, we include your entry visas in the price of our tour. We handle the entire visa process – all you need to do is fill out the form and send your passport to us. We are always on hand to help you with any questions or queries you might have when completing the form. 

Phone Calls
International and domestic calls can be made from your hotel room. It’s a good idea to check call costs with hotel staff or your local guide before making calls, as this can be expensive. A service charge may also be involved. To call New Zealand – the international access code is 00, followed by the country code 64, then the local area code (omitting the first 0), then the number.
 
Mobile Phones
Mobile phones are growing in popularity and you will find high quality coverage. There are active roaming agreements with all phone carriers; however SMS and call rates can be expensive. We recommend that you contact your mobile supplier if you intend to use international roaming during your holiday and ensure you investigate all associated costs.
 
Internet & Email
Internet cafes can be found in all major cities and even in some small towns. This is often the easiest and cheapest way to stay in touch. Most hotels have a business centre with internet access, but at a slightly higher rate. Some hotels may have Wi-Fi which usually comes at an additional cost and may only be available in hotel lobbies. 

Tipping is an expected element in the tourism industry today and India is no exception. Many passengers are often uncertain of how much to tip so we have established a tipping system whereby every passenger gives a set amount to the National Escort who will distribute the amount appropriately. On multi-country tips, this amount will be paid in stages on arrival in each country. If there is no National Escort, you will need to give your money to your Local Guides and tipping amounts for each city will be shown in your final itinerary. The amount for the kitty is calculated for each tour depending on the length, group size, and services used during the trip.
 
We will indicate the tipping amounts in your final documents for guidance.

Shopping can be fun and entertaining, especially in local markets all over India where souvenirs can be purchased for next to nothing. However all passengers must realise that the authenticity and value of goods is always questionable.
If the price seems too good to be true, then it probably is! Some shopping is made up of copied brand items and reproduced antiques.
 
In keeping with most people’s interest whilst on holiday, your tour will include a reasonable number of opportunities in local shops and government factories. This may vary depending on local conditions, and should never interfere with your itinerary’s included sightseeing.
 
Each region has its own specialty; a traditional handicraft perfected by the locals over centuries, a climate that encourages rich spices to grow, or a type of wood, stone or precious jewel in abundance nearby. Textiles are a popular souvenir, including silk brocades from Varanasi in the north or Kanchipuram in the south, tie-dyed cottons from all over Rajasthan, saris, hand woven Tibetan carpets from Darjeeling or Dharamshala, or the woollen shawls pashminas of Kashmir and Ladakh.
 
There is also the heavy and elaborate silverwork of Rajasthan, “spring picked” tea from the hill stations, and the spices, wooden carvings or facemasks of Kerala.
 
If you prefer set prices, head to the government-run shops, usually called “cottage industries” or “emporium” which sells quality but reasonably priced goods. The more up market tourist shops will also have fixed prices. Markets, street stalls, and local shops can be noisy, crowded, and confronting, but this remains one of the most rewarding experiences of travelling in India. If your itinerary includes some free time and you would like to go shopping, ask either your National Escort/Guide or the hotel staff for advice on how to best get there. They should be able to tell you if you need a taxi or a rickshaw, how much you should pay for the journey and provide you verbal or written directions to give to the driver. Remember to take a hotel business card with you to find your way back!

The cost of all meals is included in your group tour cost. Breakfast is served in the hotel and includes a combination of western and local dishes. As traditional in this region, lunch and dinner are served in a banquet style, so you can try the variety of specialty dishes. The amount of food served is more than ample for the whole group.
 
We aim to cater to the tastes of the majority of people so dishes are not too spicy or unusual in their taste. One of the great myths about India is that the food is of poor quality and always hot and spicy. This is definitely not the case! In fact, North Indian dishes whilst often very rich and indeed spicy don’t contain as much chilli as South Indian dishes. Indian cuisine is predominately vegetarian; however more meat (chicken and lamb) dishes are available in the North. On our group tours, we use a variety of local and hotel restaurants, which provide variety in both the dishes and methods of cooking. If you like Indian food from home, you will have no problems with the real Indian food as it is similar, only more flavoursome. You’ll love it; though don’t expect to lose weight on your holiday, Indians love to eat and eat big. In tourist centres, some restaurants and hotels may also serve western dishes to provide variety. You may also prefer to bring comforts like cereal, biscuits, muesli bars and tea/coffee from home.
 
Drinks will be at each tour member’s own expense. Beer is widely available and cheap. Wine lovers should remember that western style wine is very expensive to import into India, so is not stocked except by upmarket restaurants. Bottled drinking water, soft drinks, and fruit juices are also widely available – remember that you should only have ice, fruit juices, or lassies (yoghurt based sweet or salty drinks) from a trusted restaurant; where they will use boiled or bottled water to prepare ice and drinks.
 
Tea is very popular and Indians simply love visiting the many street stalls which brew chai (also known as masala), a sweet, spiced tea brewed with boiling milk. Hotels will usually serve tea and instant coffee at breakfast or other meals – you can usually request the chai or masala style tea as well.
Packed meals: On some days, your National Escort/Guide may arrange for a simple, packed meal for your group. It may be a matter of schedule (on long driving days), hygiene (on train journeys), or your location (in remote areas) and we ask you to bear this in mind. Although this is not a full meal, most of our passengers seem to enjoy this change from the large portions and more elaborate banquets enjoyed most days.


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