"Himachal - Hard to reach, harder to leave"
Winding roads through apple orchards, mystical views of silvery peaks, sparkling streams in deep open valleys, secluded lush green forests, 'Land of Gods' - Himachal Pradesh has a magical appeal to it. If you want to experience nature’s surreality in grand vistas with breathtaking beauty of snow capped Dhauladhar range and sleep hearing sound of cascading river down rocky brooks, Himachal Pradesh is the place to be.
Experience a peaceful and memorable vacation at the spiritual city of Dharamsala and McLeod Ganj and the very British hill station Dalhousie with a like-minded group of cotravellers on a carefully crafted tour for senior citizens from 50+ Voyagers Travel and Adventure Club !
Amritsar is the spiritual and cultural center of Sikhism - home to Harmandir Sahib commonly known as Golden Temple - a spectacular place of worship and the most sacred of Sikh shrines. Historically also known as Ramdaspur, Amritsar has a rich history encompassing various mythical and historical narratives including the epic Ramayana. It is believed that the site called Ram Tirath was Maharish Valmiki’s ashram, where Sita reportedly gave birth to her twin sons, Luv and Kush. Whereas Jallianwala Bagh continues to be the most evocative monument to India’s freedom struggle. Amritsar is a food lover’s delight for irresistible kulchas, chola-bhaturas, tikka and tanduri delicacies.
Arrive Amritsar by train/flight by afternoon/evening and check-in to the hotel. Spend evening at your leisure visiting famous shopping streets and eateries of Amritsar. Return back to the hotel for dinner and then sleep well for an exciting day ahead.
Early morning after breakfast we will proceed to Golden Temple, the holiest temple for the Sikh religion. Admire the beautiful mix of colors all around you, the traditional music being played over the entire complex and the happy and friendly people strolling along the marble walkway that surrounds the main temple. The Golden Temple sits on a rectangular platform, surrounded by a pool of water called the Amrit Sarovar from which the City is named. The gurdwara is constructed of white marble overlaid with genuine gold leaf and stands in the center of a sarovar, or pool of fresh, clear, reflective water which is fed by the River Ravi. After lunger at Temple we will proceed to Jallianwala Bagh.
Jallianwala Bagh has become a famous name and place in the Indian history as Jallianwala Bagh Massacre since 1919. Today, the furthest end of the Bagh is marked by a Martyrs’ Memorial built in the shape of an eternal flame. A section of the wall, pock-marked by bullets, as also the well, has been preserved as a reminder of the tragic event.
For lunch, you may visit iconic Bharwan ka Dhaba, Pal ka Dhaba or Kesar da dhaba and indulge in culinary extravaganza of the best of pure desi ghee made Amritsari cuisines.
In the afternoon, you may proceed to an optional tour to the Wahgah border which is a post between India and Pakistan. It has become famous for beating the retreat ceremony which includes the closing of international gates and the lowering of the flags of both the countries.
Note: Considering the noon time heat of Amritsar and long waiting time before actual ceremony begins at Wahgah border - this Wahgah border visit is kept optional. Car will be arranged at extra cost for travelers interested to go to Wahgah border .Spend your evening at leisure. Return to Hotel for Dinner and good night sleep.
Post breakfast, we shall embark on an enthralling journey to Dalhousie. Once we leave Pathankot, the serpentine road will start to wind up and down the Himalayas and open up breathtaking view of river valleys and lush green mountains.
By noon, we will reach Dalhousie a pine-clad hill station welcoming us with majestic view of the snowcapped Pir Panjal mountain range at its backdrop. Dalhousie has been named after the British Governor – General of the 19th century, Lord Dalhousie who founded the town in 1854 because of its fresh and peaceful atmosphere and healthy surroundings that enchanted him. The modern town is situated among the five hills, facing the Pir Panjal range of snow-capped and pristine mountains, surrounded by thick forests of pines, dodders, oaks and flowering rhododendron. Upon reaching Dalhousie check in to the hotel and spend your time at leisure at bustling Mall road or take lazy stroll from Gandhi Chawk to hilltop Moti Tibba covered with pine, fir, and oak trees. Feel rejuvenated by its pleasant climate and amazed by the scenic beauty. Return back to hotel for dinner and good sleep for an exciting day ahead.
As the sweet morning glory and clear blue sky wish you good morning, we shall proceed to Chamba situated on the banks of the spectacular river Ravi and bound by the Dhauladhar and Zanskar ranges. Chamba is known for ancient temples, palaces and beautiful 'Pahari' houses which will remind us of the cultural heritage of the town. In 920, Raja Sahil Varman shifted the capital of the kingdom to Chamba, as per wish of his daughter Champavati and the city Chamba was named after her. During British Era, Chamba was a princely state until it finally merged with the Indian Union in April 1948.
We shall visit ancient 10th century Champavati Temple built on the honor princess Champa who was worshipped as an incarnation of Durga by locals. At Laxmi Narayana Temple admire 6 stone sikharas adorned with intricate carving and wall with exquisite stone sculptures. We shall spend time at Ranga Mahal Palace, a 18 century fortress designed combining Mughal and British architecture styles, where beautiful wall paintings represents one of the most encompassing hill art collections. You may shop at Himachal Emporium inside the palace and buy unique embroidery work on silky fabrics and local handcrafts.
After experiencing the richness and the simplicity of Chamba, its time to fill your soul with adventure at Khajjar - the 'mini Switzerland'. You may try horse riding, parasailing or do nothing and just gazing at the idyllic pastoral scenery of lake, dense pine-cedar forests and snowcapped mountains. In the evening, return back to Dalhousie and have dinner at the hotel before retiring for a good night's sleep.
As morning sunrays greet you with a smile, prepare yourself to experience the beauty of Dharamshala, hill station that captures your imagination with a unique mix of Tibetan, British and Himanchali cultures. Dharamhsala, lying on the spur of the Dhauladhar Mountains, is known for its scenic beauty set amidst high pine and oak trees. Since 1960, when it became the temporary headquarters of His Holiness The Dalai Lama, Dharamshala has risen to international repute as 'The Little Lhasa'.
Upon reaching Dharamshala, visit War Memorial built on the remembrance of martyrs from Himanchal Pradesh and enjoy a pleasant walk through the woods. We shall proceed to His holiness Dalai Lama's residence at McLeod gunj and witness the Tibetan culture, heritage and religion which are preserved with time. Admire the serene ambience at Namgyal Monastery that was originally founded in 16th century by the second Dalai Lama and is the largest Tibetan temple outside Tibet. The monastery is home to 200 Tibetan resident monks, who help preserve the monastery's ancient rituals, artistic skills and traditions. Proceed to check in to the hotel overlooking the Dhauladhar range and spend your evening at leisure.
Embrace a wonderful morning at the beautiful slopes of the Kangra Valley amidst snow capped mountains which will give you a serene and calm appeal. After Breakfast, you may decide to stay back at the hotel and spend your time leisurely admiring the exceptional natural beauty of deep valleys, high snow capped mountains and pine meadows around you.
You may also join a tour of Norbulingka which is an unique institute to preserve art and culture of Tibet. It holds workshops in Carpentry, wood carving, Thangka paintings, textile weaving and metal sculpture. We shall visit Dharamshala Cricket stadium ( if open to tourist) and Kangra Art Museum, which was opened on 17 January, 1990 to preserve, conserve and revive the rich cultural heritage of Kangra region. Museum is a treasure house of rich heritage of the valleys art and culture. It displays some fine miniature paintings from the Kangra School, and Chamba rumal embroideries, along with traditional costumes and photos from the devastating 1905 Kangra earthquake.
Post early breakfast, proceed to Jwalamukhi Temple which is considered among 51 shakthipeeth. The temple doesn't have any idol and the deity is worshipped in the form of flames which come out from the crevices of the rock. We shall proceed to Amritsar and check in to hotel by late evening.
Note: If you are not interested to visit Jwalamukhi temple and do not want to return back to Amritsar, you may take your return flight from Dharamshala Airport back to your home.
After breakfast proceed to Amritsar airport/railway station for your return flight/train back home. Bid goodbye and take home wonderful memories of Himachal Pradesh.
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