Sacred Himalayan Cities & Foothills Tour

  15 Days / 14 Nights

   Delhi- Chandigarh-Amritsar- Dharamshala – Mandi- Shimla – Mussoorie – Dehradun – Rishikesh - Haridwar

Sacred Himalayan Cities & Foothills Tour of India is an original itinerary that will seduce lovers of great sights, culture and spirituality. This itinerary encompasses many spiritual centers of India in the lap of the Himalayas. From the vibrant New Delhi to Haridwar, one of the major sites of Hinduism, passing by Chandigarh, the Indian city designed by Le Corbusier, this trip to North India promises superb discoveries! Amritsar tour will be a journey to the heart of Sikhism. Dharamshala will unfold the Tibetan Buddhist culture and religious practices. Mandi and Shimla showcase Himalayan beauty with cultural colours. You will also be able to get rid of any negativity in Rishikesh, the yoga capital and experience a very local experience during the train journey from Haridwar to Delhi. All this is interspersed with superb landscapes of Himachal Pradesh in the Himalayan region.

Day 1


Your tour begins in New Delhi, the capital and main gateway to our beautiful country. You are welcomed at the international airport by representative of Optima Travels and then transferred to your hotel in Delhi. From the 17th to the 19th century, "Old" Delhi was the center of Islamic India, and then the British created "New" Delhi, the capital of the Indian Empire which dethroned Kolkata in 1931. Delhi was chosen as the capital of the country after Independence in 1947.

As the political capital of the sub-continent, New Delhi is the home of Indian notables and bourgeois families. With its avenues decorated with frangipani and bougainvillea, it presents charming assets! Numerous visits are possible in this immense city which blends with ancestral culture and modernity. New Delhi is also the starting point of a trip to Rajasthan, north India and Himalayan destinations, so if you want to discover northern India, you will definitely be there! Overnight stay is scheduled in New Delhi hotel.

Day 2

Delhi - Chandigarh

After a tasty breakfast, head towards Chandigarh. On your arrival, go and visit the city. It is located in a valley surrounded by the Shivalik Mountains which form part of the Himalayan range. Chandigarh is the first "planned" city after the advent of the British,designed by the French architect Le Corbusier. It takes its name from the goddess Chandi Devi whose temple was built on a slope of the Shivalik, north-east of the city. You can start your visit by the Museum and the Art Gallery. You will then continue this magnificent day with the visit of Sukhna Lake and the Rock Garden. Overnight stay is scheduled in Chandigarh hotel.

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Day 3

Chandigarh - Amritsar

Today you leave for Amritsar. Amritsar is one of the oldest and most fascinating Indian cities and a historically important site for Sikh religion & culture. It is also the most important city in the state of Punjab. Its name means "Nectar Pond" and refers to the sacred pond that surrounds the Golden Temple. As early as the 16th century, it was indeed a transit point on the commercial route of Central Asia and prospered rapidly. Overnight stay is scheduled in Amritsar hotel.

Day 4


This 4th day of travel to India will be devoted to the discovery of this incredible city.Glittering in the dawning daylight, at the zenith and sunset, the Golden Temple is a hymn to the Sikh religion. The construction of temple was initiated by the fourth Guru of the Sikhs, Guru Ramdas and completed by his successor Guru Arjan Dev. The original temple was destroyed in 1761 and rebuilt in 1764, covering the main shrine of gilded gold plates, hence its name. Architecturally it is Hindu -Islamic style. The religious book "Grand Sahib" is read uninterrupted by four priests who take turns 24/7. As in all Sikh temples, officials and volunteers cook and serve, throughout the day, more than 30,000 free meals for all visitors. It was the site of a bloody repression in the 1980s when the Sikh community invests it with the intention of claiming its independence. In 1984, Mrs. Gandhi, then in the government, sent the national army to dislodge the dissidents and many of them died there. That same year, Ms. Gandhi was murdered by a Sikh, in charge of her close guard.

In the late afternoon, take an excursion to the "Wagah Border", 28 km from the city, the only point on the border between India and Pakistan. The changing of the guard on both sides of the border attracts many visitors.

After dinner, a second visit to the Golden Temple to attend the 'Palki' ceremony. It is on this occasion that the sacred book is carried in the temple which is illuminated. It is led by the priests on a decorated palanquin, at the sound of the songs of devotees and traditional instruments, in the heart of the shrine where he spends the night. You will also be able to visit the Jallianwala Bagh, a sadly historic place, since 379 Indian men, women and children were killed on 13 April 1919 by General Michael Dyer and his British troops. This event was a major event in the struggle for independence. The walls still bear the traces of this frightful carnage. A memorial has been built within this listed national monument site.

Overnight stay is scheduled in Amritsar hotel.

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Day 5

Amritsar - Dharamsala

Today you head towards Dharamshala. Dharamshala is a city in northern India, located in the state of Himachal Pradesh. It is sometimes called small Lhasa because it is the home of the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, currently in exile from Tibet. When the 14th Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso left Tibet, Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru authorized him and his family to establish a Tibetan government in exile in Dharamshala in 1960 . Since then, several thousand Tibetan refugees have settled in the city. Most of them reside at the top of Dharamshala (McLeod Ganj), where they have established monasteries, temples and schools. Overnight stay is scheduled in Dharamshala hotel.

Day 6


Your day will be dedicated to the visit of Dharamshala. You can start with the Norbulingka Institute. Located in the lower city, the Norbulingka Institute for Tibetan Culture is a foundation presided by the Dalai Lama whose mission is to preserve Tibetan culture threatened with extinction in his homeland. The Institute's Trades Center ensures more than 300 artisans, among the most talented artists in Tibet and their apprentices, an exceptional setting in which they can preserve traditional customs, develop their potential and adapt their talents to current needs. The Center for the Arts is currently the only institution offering artistic training and the production of high-quality art objects. The Center for Literary Research is responsible for the development and publication of a large sample of texts. Then visit the Tibet Museum. This modern museum, opened since 2001, testifies to the contemporary history of Tibet, especially the Chinese repression since the invasion in 1950. Overnight stay is scheduled in Dharamshala hotel.

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Day 7

Dharamshala - Mandi

Today you take the road towards Mandi. Mandi, 800 meters above sea level, is a pleasant little town on the banks of the River Beas. It is a crossroads of roads leading south (Chandigarh and Shimla), west (Dharamsala) and north (Manali and Leh) and, therefore, a lively shopping mall. The heart of the city is undoubtedly the Indira Market, in terms of modern activity. It is an unusual commercial complex in the basement, around an open-air garden. But it is in the bazaar, which is only 200 m away, and on the banks of the river one can visit several temples. It is said that there would be in all 81 temples. Among them, the Bhootnath temple, located in the heart of the city and at the top of the bazaar, is most famous and revered. It is very old and dates from the beginning of the 16th century. During the Shivaratri, many decorated palanquins carrying gods from the surrounding temples are brought to this place. Many of the Mandi temples are dedicated to Lord Shiva, such as the beautiful Triloknath temple (on the road to Kullu, on the right bank of the river), where Shiva appears as Lord of the Three Worlds (which is the meaning of Triloknath). Built in 1520, one admires the purity of its walls, as well as carved stones scattered throughout the courtyard, which date from the period 13-16th century. Many decorated palanquins carrying divinities from the surrounding temples are hitherto conveyed. Overnight stay is scheduled in Mandi hotel.

Day 8

Mandi - Shimla

Your eighth day of travel takes you to Shimla today. The city of Simla, now called Shimla, is the capital of the state of Himachal Pradesh, India. It is a very touristic city, which was even named summer capital by the British settlers who occupied it for a long time. It is located near a huge forest. Its summers are hot, but its winters are the occasion of heavy snowfall, especially in January and February. The city takes its name from the goddess Shyamala Devi. Overnight stay is scheduled in Shimla hotel.

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Day 9


Among the most interesting tours of Shimla, Christ Church is a must. This church is one of the oldest in northern India. It is truly magnificent, with large decorated stained glass windows. Its visit is a must for all travelers who appreciate its beauty and peaceful atmosphere. The Jakhu Temple is also a magnificent temple worth visiting, especially for watching sunrises and sunsets. The Jakhu temple is located on the top of Jakhu Hill, dedicated to Lord Hanuman. Located in the heart of the Jakhu forests, the temple takes its name from the Hindi word Yakhsa. The Yakshas are characters of Hindu mythology, a link between humans and gods, according to legend.

Continue on this amazing day of tour in India and visit the Shimla State Museum. This building contains all the historical and cultural remains of Shimla. Here you can admire sculptures, paintings, bronzes, costumes and jewelery as the traditional art of the city and even from the whole region. The Ridge is the hub of all cultural activities of Shimla. It is located along the Mall Road, the famous shopping center in Shimla. Finally, discover the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies, a British colonial building full of history. It is built atop the hill of the observatory, one of the seven hills that surround the city. Most of the building is in the basement and contains prisons and torture rooms. It was originally built to welcome Lord Dufferin, the viceroy of the Indies from 1884 to 1888. Since 1965, this building has housed the prestigious Indian Institute of Advanced Studies. Overnight stay is scheduled in Shimla hotel.

Day 10

Shimla - Mussoorie

After delicious breakfast, head for Mussoorie, a hill station in the State of Uttarakhand in India. Mussoorie is a climatic station located at 2000 meters above sea level and 34 km northeast of Dehradun. It has many colonial houses and Indian princely palaces. Enjoy a nice view of the valley of Doon. A cable car leads to the top of Gun Hill. Enjoy your day in this charming village/ town. Overnight stay is scheduled in Mussoorie hotel.

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Day 11

Mussoorie - Dehradun

Today you head towards Dehradun, the capital of Uttarakhand. Located 7 hours by train from Delhi to the foothills of the Himalayas, Dehradun was a former Raj center renowned for its prestigious boarding houses. At the beginning of the 20th century, the English created the "Forest Research Institute" which is now recognized as one of the best institutes of forestry in the world! It is located in a large botanical garden. Enjoy your day to go visit it! Overnight stay is scheduled in Dehradun hotel.

Day 12

Dehradun - Rishikesh

After a delicious breakfast, head towards Rishikesh. Rishikesh, 24 km north of the effervescent Haridwar, is a much quieter city. It is nevertheless the world capital of Yoga and hosts the Yoga International Festival every other year. On this occasion, the greatest Indian masters gather to convey their knowledge and their wisdom. In the sixties, the Beatles retreated to their guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi here in Rishikesh. Overnight stay is scheduled in Rishikesh hotel or ‘ashrama’.

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Day 13


Enjoy your day to visit the charming town of Rishikesh. It is the starting point for trekking, rafting, safaris in Rajaji Park. Alternatively, you can enjoy your day to learn yoga. Overnight stay is scheduled in Rishikesh hotel or ‘ashrama’.

Day 14

Rishikesh - Haridwar

Enjoy a last stroll in the heart of Rishikesh before heading to Haridwar. Haridwar is one of the seven sacred cities of Hinduism. It is here that the world-famous religious festival of the Kumbhamela takes place. The city is particularly important because, according to the religious belief, the faithful who immerse themselves in the Ganges at Haridwar escape the cycle of rebirth in the world of forms. Haridwar is located at the place where the Ganges emerges from the Himalayas which gives it a special sacred aura. The main ghat, Har ki Pairi, is at the precise spot where the Ganges comes out of the mountain to throw itself into the plain and confers it a double purifying power. It is there that every evening the priests perform the ceremony of the Ganga Aarti (adoration of the river): candles are lit and offerings (prasaad) are offered to the sacred river as they begin precise rites to the sound of traditional instruments. You can also take the chairlift to the Mansa Devi temple. At the end of the day, go to attend the Aarti ceremony on the Ganga ghats in Haridwar. Overnight stay is scheduled in Haridwar hotel.

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Day 15

Haridwar - Delhi

The last day of your tour has arrived. You will enjoy a last stroll in Haridwar before being transferred to the railway station to catch your train to New Delhi. Upon arrival, you will be transferred to the airport to board your international flight for onward destination.

  • Above rates are based on current exchange rate, fuel price, entrance fee, hotel rates and tax structure as applicable on the date of mailing the package proposal, however any change in these components beyond our control shall affect the cost accordingly.

Payment Terms:

We would require 50% advance payment to secure your bookings and process the file. We accept bank transfers and payment by credit cards through PAYPAL international payment gateway only. Balance amount needs to be paid on arrival in India by cash, Traveller’s Cheques or credit cards. All credit card payments are subject to 4.88% bank fees.

Cancellation Terms:

50% cancellation if cancelled within 45 days.

75% cancellation if cancelled within 30 days.

100% cancellation if cancelled 15 day or less.

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