Amritsar - Kangra - Dharamsala - Palampur - Mandi - Shoja - Thanedar - Shimla - Delhi
Day 1 Arrive at Amritsar
Traditional welcome on arrival at Amritsar at by Travel Pals (India) Pvt. Ltd. executive with fresh marigold flower garlands and then transferred by air-conditioned exclusive car to your reserved hotel. AMRITSAR (230m) - In Hindi the word Amritsar means a Holy pool of nectar and it was back in the year 1573 that work for digging the Holy pool began. Located in the North West region of India, Amritsar lies about 15 miles (25 km) east of the border with Pakistan. The most striking feature about Amritsar is its antiquity. Its central walled city has narrow streets mostly developed in the 17th and 18th century. The city is a peculiar example of an introverted planning system with unique areas called Katras. The Katras are self styled residential units that provided unique defence system during attacks on the city. Amritsar is the main seat of Sikh history and culture. The city itself was founded by the Sikh Guru, Guru Ram Das, and till present times it is the spiritual and temporal center of Sikh culture with the Golden Temple in Amritsar as its nucleus.
Day 2 Amritsar
Guided visit to the Golden Temple -holiest shrine of the Sikh religion, Jallianwala Bagh massacre Gardens and then towards evening the popular border gate closing ceremony of India-Pakistan
Day 3 Amritsar / Pathankot (by train) / Kangra (97 kms - 2 hours)
Morning transfer to Amritsar railway station to board train for Pathankot (0800/1130 hrs). On arrival in Pathankot, short drive to Kangra town (730 m) in the foothills of Himalayas. Late afternoon, you will be introduced with your bikes! Overnight at the hotel
Day 4 Kangra / Dharamsala (32 kms / cycling)
Today's ride, although short, does involve a lot of ascent. To begin with, the road through the upper Kangra Valley is very straightforward, but beyond the road junction at Gaggal it starts to climb in a series of long hairpins that are, thankfully, quite well graded. There's no rush, you can bike at your own pace, and anyone who wants to can take a ride in the support vehicle. Throughout today's ride, there are inspiring views of the Dhaula Dhar (White Mountains).
Dharamsala (1457m) is one of the most famous of British Raj 'hill-stations' and is spread across the foothills for several hundreds of vertical metres. Passing through the main streets of Dharamsala, we arrive at our hotel for check-in.
After lunch, we continue by car to the upper suburbs of Mcleodganj at around 2000 metres, where we visit Dalai Lama Temple, Buddhist Monastery, an interesting St. John's Church and souvenir buying in Mcleodganj.
Day 5 Dharamsala / Palampur (50 kms / cycling)
We will have some free time after breakfast to stroll around or ride around the city.
Further, an easy descent through Dharamsala, where we pick up a network of quiet country roads that take us eastwards just above the valley floor. We pass through a number of tranquil villages and tea plantations and stop off for lunch en route. We also stop enroute at a Hindu temple considered to be one of the holiest shrine of goddess 'Chamunda'. You will be mesmerised to see the devotion of the visitors and the prayers being offered to mother goddess. It's a sight that shows the spirituality of the country. We further ride 30 kms to our destination amongst spectacular views of the Dhauladhar range on our left. You will get ample of photo opportunities of snowcapped mountains.
Arrive at Taragarh Palace heritage hotel, a private palace still owned by the erstwhile Princely state of Jammu & Kashmir. A beautiful village on the outskirts of Palampur town surrounded by Deodar trees and abundant views of local Palampur tea plantation.
Enjoy a well deserved evening in the lawns of your palace over a cup of tea or a beer!
Day 6 Palampur
An excellent ride opportunities around Palampur (1100m) town visiting the Andretta potteries to experience the local art and converse with the local potter families being supported & encouraged by a couple.
Return to your palace by late afternoon and enjoy a dip in the pool.
Day 7 Palampur / Mandi (90 kms)
We ride on our bikes up to Joginder Nagar with views eastwards to the Himalayan ranges enjoying the spectacle of rural India going about its daily life. An early highlight of the ride is the chance to stop at the beautiful 13th century temple at Baijnath, dedicated to the Lord Shiva. Continuing our ride on quiet back roads, we reach our stop at Jogindernagar (1220m).
From here we shift into the car & make our way to our overnight stop in Mandi (800m). After checking in at our hotel in the early evening, there is time for those who are feeling energetic to do some exploration. Mandi is effectively our gateway to the Kullu Valley. It is the main town in the region and, with its dozens of old stone temples featuring many fine carvings, it is sometimes referred to as the 'Varanasi of the Hills'. The temples of Bhutnath, Trilokinath, Panchvaktra and Shyamakali are among the more famous.
Riding Mileage: 45 kms Driving: 45 Kms
Day 8 Mandi / Shoja (75 kms)
The Beas River cuts through the first of the Himalayan ranges and provides us with a convenient route into the southern end of the Kullu Valley. Although the road twists and turns it manages to stay reasonably level, considering the mountainous terrain on both sides of the river. The lowest slopes in many places are terraced and covered in apple orchards, whilst beyond the dam and hydro-electric plant at Pandoh, we find ourselves riding above an extensive reservoir. We take it steadily, with regular stops to admire the views and to take a breather.
This is a wild and seldom-visited part of the Indian Himalaya, cloaked in forest of pine and oak. At the village of Banjar, after approximately 10 kilometres, we pass through a main street lined with wooden-fronted shops and then just a couple of kilometres further on have the chance to take a break at the attractive, pyramidal Murlidhar Temple, dedicated to Krishna. The last leg of the ride to Shoja will be driven in car.
Overnight in a deluxe camp with attached toilets in Shoja (1962m). The camps are located in a picturesque zone with great views over the valley. Riding Mileage: 60 Kms Driving: 15 Kms
Day 9 Shoja / Thanedar (80 kms)
We have quite a tough day today, with lots of climbing and many zig-zags to negotiate. The steady ascent above Shoja soon takes us up to the tree-line. We leave the forest of pine behind and find ourselves in a sub-alpine world with stunted birch trees and closely-cropped grassland. The road surface deteriorates, too, broken by winter freeze-thaw and there are long stretches of hard packed earth and gravel. At the Jalori Pass (3135m), we can look beyond the nearest ridges to an unbroken crest of snow-capped peaks, the Pir Panjal. From here, it's all downhill and we need to ride carefully, keeping our speed under control, particularly on the many bends.
Finally, we reach the Sutlej River and shortly thereafter we are driven to our overnight accommodation in Thanedar (deluxe camps with attached toilets) Riding Mileage: 60 Kms Driving: 20 km
Day 10 Thanedar
Free day to enjoy views, relax your muscles and stroll around the village. Plenty of time to in this charming village to meet villagers who are not used to seeing may foreign visitors. You will be able to experience the many usages of cow dung in a normal lifestyle of a villager!
Day 11 Thanedar / Shimla (75 kms)
The big climbs are behind us now and we are left with a delightful, high-level ride through Himalayan foothills to Shimla. The road twists and turns, contouring around ridges and generally managing to avoid doing a lot of climbing. Mixed forest of pine and oak covers most of the valley sides and we have occasional glimpses westwards into the Sutlej Valley, far below us. After several stops, including a lunch stop in a village en route, we cross a final low crest and drop down into the widespread settlement of Shimla (2400m), another former British Raj hill-station.
We have time to look around in the evening and to walk along the pedestrian main street, known as the Mall Riding Mileage: 60 kms Driving: 15 Kms
Day 12 Shimla
SHIMLA - Way back in 1817, a small village tucked away in the Himalayas was discovered by British surveyors and pronounced an ideal retreat for the homesick colonizers. Named after Shyamla Devi, an incarnation of the fierce goddess Kali, stories of Shimla's salubrious climate and invigorating surroundings made it grow in popularity. Sprawled over 12 kms on a crescent shaped ridge, Shimla is the largest hill station and erstwhile summer capital of the British in India. Descending in layers from the top of the ridge, at 2,213 meters, Shimla straddles several hills, including the Jakhoo, Prospect Hill, Observatory Hill, Elysium Hill, and Summer Hill.
Though Shimla, which is now the capital of Himachal Pradesh state, has come a long way from the days of the Raj, the old British buildings, quaint cottages and churches still remind visitors of an era long gone by. Shimla is also famous for Kalka to Shimla train journey which is the one of the most sought after journey in the country. This track is now on the UNESCO's world heritage rail site. This is one of the oldest hill railway track built by the British in India
Day 13 Shimla / Delhi (by train)
You cannot miss one of the highlights of this route that is a ride on the Kalka-Shimla Railway line riding on the narrow gauge toy train from colonial Shimla railway station to Kalka junction. The line passes through 106 tunnels and several single and double arch bridges over this 80 kms long railway line. On arrival in Kalka, switch from narrow gauge platform to the broad gauge platform to board the air-conditioned chair car express train to Delhi. DELHI - It is a city that bridges two different worlds. Old Delhi, once the capital of Islamic India, is a labyrinth of narrow lanes lined with crumbling havelis and formidable mosques. In contrast, the imperial city of New Delhi created by the British Raj is composed of spacious, tree-lined avenues and imposing government buildings. Delhi has been the seat of power for several rulers and many empires for about a millennium. Many a times the city was built, destroyed and then rebuilt here. Interestingly, a number of Delhi's rulers played a dual role, first as destroyers and then as creators.
Day 14 Delhi
After breakfast in the hotel, you will be introduced with your guide for a city tour of Old & New Delhi. The city where one can experience the influence of the many rulers who ruled this region, a city built and destroyed and re-built over seven times. The guided tour takes you to the monuments that depict the different eras. The tour includes visit to the magnificent Red Fort (exterior), The Jama Masjid - one of the Asia's largest mosque, cycle rickshaw ride through the narrow lanes of Old Delhi passing through Chandni Chowk, Chawri Bazaar etc, Humanyun's Tomb, Qutab Minar - 73 mt. tall minaret, India Gate war memorial, President's House and drive through Connaught Place. Evening, see Son-et-Lumiere (Sound and Light show) at Red Fort with dinner at an Indian specialty restaurant (Optional with supplement cost involved).
Day 15 Onward Travel
Relaxed breakfast at hotel. Today at an appropriate time, you will be met and transferred to Delhi International airport to connect with your homebound or onwards flight.
Bon Voyage !