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North India Tour Itineraries - Highlights of Himachal Pradesh & Uttarakhand

Two of India’s most scenic states, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand are both easily accessible from Delhi. This is a very extensive tour, taking nearly 3 weeks to gradually explore the most popular destinations across these two state. The best times of year to visit this part of India are as winter is ending from late February through to the onset of summer in late April, and again after the monsoon has retreated, from September through to November, by which time things cool down again and roads can be closed by snow at higher altitudes.

Highlights of Himachal Pradesh & Uttarakhand - ( 17 Days/16 Nights )

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Day 1 : Arrive at Delhi

You’ll be met on arrival and assisted with the transfer to your hotel. Overnight in Delhi

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Day 2 : Delhi- Amritsar

Transfer back to Delhi airport and fly to Amritsar (careful observers will note that Amritsar is actually in Punjab state, but it is also the main gateway airport to this part of India!) In the afternoon, make your first visit to the sublime Golden Temple, the holiest place in Sikhism. Overnight in Amritsar

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Day 3 : Amritsar

Full day for sightseeing around Amritsar- the Golden Temple is so beautiful and compelling that many people visit it 3 or more times during their time in Amritsar, to see it in different lights etc. In the later afternoon, head out to the border point at Wagah: here, on a nightly basis, soldiers from India and Pakistan engage in a machismo-filled display of military posturing as their respective flags are lowered and the border gates ceremoniously closed. As a display of pomp, there is little to beat this. Overnight in Amritsar

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Day 4 : Amritsar – Dharamshala

A final chance to visit the Golden Temple, before leaving for Dharamshala and nearby McLeod Ganj, famous as the seat of the Tibetan Government in Exile, and home to His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Overnight in McLeod Ganj.

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Day 5 : Dharamshala

Dharamshala is divided into two parts, upper and lower Dharamshala. The upper part is known as McLeod Ganj while the lower part is the main Dharamshala. Dense pine forests and snow-fed streams add to the scenic beauty of the area, while the main bazaars of both towns are busy places which are great for meeting locals and people-watching. Overnight in McLeod Ganj

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Day 6 : Dharamshala – Pragpur

Drive down the hills to the Kangra Valley, visiting the majestic fort and Bajdeshwari Devi temple en route. Arrive in Pragpur mid-afternoon and check into the Judge’s Court - a sumptuous heritage hotel overlooking the village. In the late afternoon, walk through the gardens of Judge’s Court into the unique heritage village of Pragpur - this is a rare example in India of an entire community having survived the relentless advance of modernity with its old buildings and neighbourhood atmosphere intact. The village is centred on a large ornamental pond and its cobbled lanes and serene ambience are a delight. Enjoy dinner on the lawn back at your hotel. Overnight in Pragpur.

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Day 7 : Pragpur- Mandi

After breakfast, depart for Mandi with a stop en route at a Tibetan Buddhist community near Taragarh. On arrival in Mandi, check in your hotel and in the afternoon explore the town of Mandi with its many temples and interesting ‘sunken garden’ central square. Overnight in Mandi.

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Day 8 : Mandi – Manali

After breakfast, drive 3 hours to Manali arriving late morning. Check into your hotel - our main recommendations here are all historic places with great views to the mountains or onto the neighbouring pine forests. Explore Manali on foot in the afternoon- it is a lovely town which benefits greatly from its main street being closed to vehicle traffic, making it perfect for leisurely walking. One of the main attractions of Manali is the parkland and forest on the edge of town- another great place to walk. Overnight in Manali.

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Day 9 : Manali – Kullu – Banjar

Drive 2 hours back down to Kullu. The Valley of the gods, as the Kullu Valley has come to be known, is perhaps the most delightful region in the western Himalayas. The valley is also famous for its exquisitely woven colourful handmade shawls and Kullu caps. Drive into the picturesque Banjar Valley, where you can enjoy a spectacular mountain trek, or a more leisurely drive to nearby scenic points. Overnight in the Banjar Valley.

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Day 10 : Banjar – Shimla

The theme of stunning scenery and beautiful drives continues with a short, steep ascent to the Jalori Pass, through thick oak and cedar forests, and a more gentle descent on the far side of the pass, eventually joining up with the main road to Shimla. This is a full day drive, reaching Shimla by mid-late afternoon. On arrival at Shimla, check into your hotel and relax. Overnight in Shimla

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Day 11 : Shimla

The day is free for you to explore the beauty of Shimla as it is one tourist destination that can be visited any time during the year. Summers are warm with cool and pleasant evenings while winters are bone chilling and the temperatures can fall below zero. Shimla’s pleasant climate, easy accessibility and numerous attractions have made it one of the most popular hill stations in northern India. The Splendid views of the snow clad ranges of the Himalayas, fine walk through the oak and flowering rhododendron, enchanting resorts within easy reach and its nearby places with scenic beauty make Shimla an attractive destination throughout the year. Overnight in Shimla.

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Day 12 : Shimla - Mussoorie

This is a long drive- 8 hours or more- so an early start is recommended. You’ll descend from the hills at Shimla, drive across agricultural areas, crossing into Uttarakhand and eventually climbing into the hills once more to reach Mussoorie. Again, scenery here is spectacular and there are many easy walks not far from the town. Overnight in Mussoorie

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Day 13 : Mussoorie

Today is set aside for sightseeing including the colonial-era cemetery, a cable car ride to Gun Hill, St Mary’s church, Kempty Falls and more. Wind up the day with a stroll along the Mall Road. Overnight in Mussoorie.

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Day 14 : Mussoorie - Rishikesh

Drive down to Rishikesh, one of the most sacred places in Hinduism but perhaps still best known in the west as the place where the Beatles came to study meditation with their guru, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Rishikesh had been a spiritual centre for centuries before the 1960s however, and is now one of the prime destinations for those seeking out a programme of yoga practice or meditation. True to the contradictory nature of the modern world, however, Rishikesh in the 21st century is also a base for adventure sports- the white-water rafting here is quite spectacular during the right season. Overnight stay at Rishikesh

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Day 15 : Rishikesh – Haridwar

Time around Rishikesh- this is delightful place to just wander about, seeing what you discover around the next corner, or you might want to go on a hike or rafting trip. Later in the day, head down to Haridwar, another very important pilgrimage site on the Ganges. As important to Hindus from the north-western part of India as Varanasi is to those further east, the ceremonies performed along the ghats here are every bit as vibrant as those in Varanasi; for many people Haridwar is preferable as the crowds are smaller and there is a lot less tourist-related hassle than in Varanasi. Overnight in Haridwar

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Day 16 : Haridwar

Start your final full day very early and head out onto the ghats before dawn. Here’s you’ll see pilgrims at prayer as their day’s devotions begin. Later in the day, explore Haridwar with a guide, before returning the ghats at dusk as the nightly Aarti ceremony unfolds. Overnight in Haridwar

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Day 17 : Haridwar- Dehra Dun- Delhi- Depart

Make the one hour drive across to Dehra Dun, and fly from here to Delhi, with international departure later in the day.

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Day 18 : Nainital

Nainital is one of the most charismatic hill stations in India. It is also called Land of Greens and Blues because of lush green forests and valleys and clear blue sky. Naini Tal Lake forms the nub of the beauty of Nainital. Naini lake is within a perimeter of nearly 2 miles. Girdled by lofty hills studded with attractive villas and cottages, it is the most frequented tourist visitation of the hill station. The exquisiteness of this lake is doubly magnified during the night when its sparkling waters flirt with the numerous lights hanging on its edges, and lend it an unbelievably beautiful magical aura. After breakfast proceed to visit the lake view point, visit cave Garden Barapathar, lover’s point, water fall and in the evening you have the option to go for the boat ride on the Naini Lake. You may also wish to go for shopping at Bada Bazaar, which is famous for aromatic candles. Overnight stay at Nainital.

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Day 19 : Nainital – Delhi

This day return back to Delhi. On arrival check in your hotel and relax. Overnight stay at Delhi

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Day 20 : Delhi

You will be transferred back to the airport to board your flight for your onward journey Tour Ends !

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