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This beautiful mountain state in north India is known for its varied landscape. Ranging from sub-tropical, temperate and sub-alpine to alpine and Aeolian (snow line and higher). Part of the Lahaul Spiti district is cold arid desert country. Three major mountain ranges crisscross this state - the Dhauladhar; the Pir Panjal and the Kinner Kailash. Within these large glaciers to the mountainsides and three major rivers -The Sutlej, the Beas and the Chenab flow through this state being fed by glacial melt and numerous tributaries. The state capital today was the erstwhile summer capital of the British Raj - the hill resort of Shimla eight hours drive from Delhi. The upper Beas Valley is one of the most beautiful regions and has quaint villages each with its own deity the reason it's called the Valley of Gods. The Kinnaur region to the east is another region with breathtaking scenery. The Chamba and Kangra are lush green districts that have considerable rain during the monsoon unlike Lahaul Spiti which lie within the rain shadow receiving hardly or no rainfall. Cultures differ from region to region and the people speak different dialects though the common binding string is the Hindi language. All in all Himachal makes for great unforgettable holidays that will remain etched in your memories for ever.

The Great Trans Himachal Culture Tour
Delhi - Pathankot - Dharamshala (Bhagsunag) - Shimla - Sarahan - Kalpa - Tabo - Kaza - Kibber - Manali - Delhi - Agra - Delhi

 
 
 
 
 
 

This tour takes you to Dharamshala town and its quaint suburb of Macleodgunj also the headquarters of the Tibetan Government in exile and the official residence of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Numerous facilities and services include fine hotels, restaurants offering the usual Tibetan and Indian food besides a multi cuisine menu and a number of shops selling handicrafts, antiques, jewellery, clothing, books and music; Shimla the erstwhile summer capital of British India at 2205 metres climbs tier upon tier on a crescent shaped hillside. This bustling hill town today presents a modern look with posh shops and fine restaurants lining the main Mall Road the prominent promenade in the town. A profusion of heritage buildings built in the Edwardian and Georgian architectural styles including the imposing Viceregal lodge now the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies still stand. The Jhakoo temple high up on a hillside has a considerable monkey population. To the north visit Mashobra a small hamlet with an ancient church and fabulous views of the entire Himalayan range to the north; the greens of Naldehra supposed to be the highest golf course in the world; the Chail Palace which was once the summer residence of the Maharaja Patiala with its landscaped lawns and a cricket pitch. Kinnaur our next destination has lush green valleys and panoramic views of the magnificent Kinner Kailash range; later go on to Spiti a high altitude cold barren landscape with friendly inhabitants and visit ancient monasteries; Manali is a popular hill resort with great views of the Pir Panjal ranges and a couple of ancient temples besides a posh shopping area selling shawls and other local handicrafts. Agra is of course famous for its enchanting Taj Mahal, Fort and the abandoned city of Fatehpur Sikri.

Day1: Transfer from the Airport to your hotel. In the evening after dinner we drive to the Railway Station to board the night train to the cantonment town of Pathankot.

Day 2: Reaching Pathankot early in the morning we are met by our vehicle to drive us to the hill resort of Dharamshala and Macleodgunj. Arriving there before lunch we check you into your hotel. In the afternoon we visit the Namgyal Monastery; the Dal Lake 11 Kms away; the church of St. John in the Wilderness and return to your hotel for the night.

Day 3: Stroll to Bhagsunag temple after breakfast. Return to Macleodgunj in time for lunch. In the afternoon drive down

Day 4 & 5: After breakfast we leave Macleodgunj for Shimla arriving there by evening. We check you into your hotel for the night. These two days we visit the Jhakoo temple; stroll along the Mall devoid of vehicular traffic; visit the quaint hamlet of Mashobra, the golf course at Naldehra, the skin slopes of Kufri and the Palace hotel in Chail. Overnight in your Shimla hotel.

Day 6: Drive north to the picturesque hamlet of Sarahan perched high up the River Sutlej on a mountain ridge. Check you into your hotel for the night. Visit the famous Bhimkali temple at an altitude of 2165m built in timber and stone in a mix of Hindu and Buddhist architecture with two stately towers. Bhim Kali has been the Bushahr royalty's deity ever since the dynasty was established. Overnight in your hotel.

Day 7: Leave early after breakfast on a full day's drive to the heritage village of Kalpa (2960m) in Kinnaur district. Check you into your hotel - after lunch take a stroll through this quiet village offering fantastic views of the Kinner Kailash ranges facing it across the river; visit the 1100 AD built Hubu Iankar Gompa with its unusual statuettes and beautiful paintings; the Narayan Nagini temple exquisitely built and showcasing the fine skills of the local craftsmen. Overnight in your hotel.

Day 8: Drive to the 1000 year old Tabo monastery (3050m) in Spiti now a world heritage site of UNESCO containing some of the most exquisite wall paintings, clay and stucco images in the Indian Western Himalayas. Most of them are still well preserved despite their age. Often referred to as the Ajanta of the Himalayas this large complex has 7 small and large temples, 23 Chortens and a mummified body of a Lama enclosed in a glass case discovered in the upper reaches of Spiti some years back. Check into your hotel for the night.

Day 9: Explore the Tabo Gompa. The use of a flash is forbidden inside the main temple that contains the delicate paintings and stucco images. After lunch drive to the main town of Spiti - Kaza visiting the ancient Dhankar monastery high up on rocky hillside. It was once a fort and a prison and also the residence of the Nono (ruler) of Spiti view a number of thangkas (paintings on cloth) and an image of Padmapani one of the deities of Tibetan Buddhism. On reaching Kaza we check you into your hotel.

Day 10: Dive up the Spiti valley high above the extremely wide Spiti River basin to the 14 th century built Ki Monastery (4116m). Each of the five temples built on three levels has an image of the Buddha; a store room holds priceless thangkas, old musical instruments and other and 108 volumes of ancient scripture. The resident monks who study scriptures and learn to play musical instruments stay here; drive further north to Kibber village at 4205m - the highest permanently inhabited village in the world and where temperatures drop to 35? C in mid winter. Return to Kaza and your hotel for the night.

Day 11: Leave Kaza in the morning after breakfast for the popular hill resort of Manali. Crossing the Kunzum La pass 4950m descend into the Lahaul region along the Chandra River till we take a left winding road to the 13,050 foot high Rohtang Pass. Once you cross and begin the descent into the upper Kullu valley the change in landscape comes like a breath of fresh air as you drive past extensive meadows and lush forests beside glistening streams and waterfalls. On reaching Manali by evening we check you into your hotel for the night.

Day 12: After breakfast we visit the 500 year old Hadimba Devi Temple built within a thick grove of gigantic Deodar; visit the Utopia complex a mini museum displaying local utensils, dresses and other local paraphernalia. Later crossing the River Beas turn left towards the ancient village of Vashisht with its curative hot sulphur springs. Visit the temple and then return to the market to go to the old Tibetan Monastery built sometime in the early nineteen sixties. Have lunch at one of the better restaurants in town and then head south after crossing the river to the ancient capital of the Kullu kings - the hamlet of Naggar. Here a castle is being run as a heritage hotel by the Tourism department; drive up to the charming cottage of the late Nicolas and Svetoslav Roerich. Nicolas Roerichs' home now an art museum displaying haunting landscapes of the higher Himalayas besides almost lifelike portraits of famous Indians. In the evening return to Manali and your hotel.

Day 13: We leave for Delhi after an early breakfast. The journey takes about 12 hours. On reaching Delhi we check you into your hotel for the night.

Day 14: After breakfast we leave for the city of Agra where we visit the exquisite Taj Mahal, the Agra Fort and the abandoned city of Fatehpur Sikri. We return to Delhi and your hotel by late evening.

Day 15: Day free for shopping and relaxing before taking your late night flight to your next destination.

Other Himachal Cultural Tours
S. No. Tour Days
1. The Western Himachal Culture Tour
(Delhi - Dharamshala - Kangra - Pong Dam - Chamba - Pathankot - Delhi - Agra - Delhi)
11
2. The Valley of the Flowers Culture Tour
(Delhi - Chandigarh - Manali - Udaipur - Miyar Valley - Udaipur - Manali - Delhi - Agra - Delhi)
8

 


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