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Package Overview

All the riding on this tour takes place in the North Indian state of Himachal Pradesh (HP), which, covering 21,500 square-miles, consists almost entirely of high mountains and their foothills. HP is one of India’s wealthiest states, gleaning its income from agriculture, tourism and hydroelectric power. Local handicrafts also add to the economy, with woollen shawls and other textiles being the most commonly seen. This state is also among the best for both state and private education facilities and challenges Kerala to have India’s highest literacy rate. Perhaps the fact that although still prevalent, corruption in HP is generally at lesser levels than other parts, helps in this regard. The 95 per cent Hindu occupants of HP have a life expectancy higher than the Indian average, a lower birth rate and, also thanks to the steepness and altitude of the terrain, population density is lower. Around eight million Himachalis speak some 20 major languages. Among the other religions in Himachal, Tibetan Buddhism is among the most noticeable and although HP has its endemic Buddhists, many of these communities are refugees from Chinese-infested Tibet. The Tibetan Government-in-Exile and Tibet’s spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, reside in the state at McLoud Ganj. During our tours we have found the people of HP to be among the most welcoming (it’s part of the reason we have chosen to make our home here). This may be due to the fact that these hills are a cultural crossroads and outsiders, both traders and those of a more martial bent, have travelled through these hills for millennia. Various parts of what is now Himachal have been under the control of dozens of invaders, the incursions recorded all the way back to the time of the Indus Valley civilisation (around 2000BC). Timur, Alexander the Great and many great Mughal warriors have all marched here. The state capital, Shimla was (in the late-seventeen-hundreds/early eighteen-hundreds) in the hands of the Gurkhas, who had spread their power all the way from central Nepal. They were, however, defeated at Kangra Fort – which we will see on tour – and their power started to wane. With the onset of the first Anglo-Sikh War in 1846, the British managed to expel the Gurkhas. Following the end of colonial rule, much of modern southern Himachal Pradesh was part of the Punjab, with Himachal Pradesh being not a state, but a province. Over the years boundaries were re-drawn until in 1971 the State of Himachal Pradesh Act was passed by parliament and HP became India’s 18th state. Although mainly mountainous (average elevation 2319m), HP is also geographically diverse. It ranges from as low as some 350m above sea-level, to nearly 7000m above. To the heavily-forested south and west, the state is greatly influenced by the monsoons, but to the east, where the state borders the Tibetan Plateau in the Spiti Valley region, are high-altitude deserts. The average summer temperature in HP is 32ºC; in winter 7ºC.Entrances fees of all monuments mentioned in program. Any Alcohol, Wine, Beer with Lunch. Camera fees at monuments. Tipping for guide & driver. Anything not mention in included features list.

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Day wise Itinerary

  • Day 1 : MCLEODGANJ – CHAMBA

    Fly overnight to land at Delhi airport in the wee hours. From there you will be escorted aboard an air-conditioned train, which will carry you to Kalka, where the plains meet the mountains. At Kalka you will transfer from the mainline onto the historic ‘toy train’ (made famous by Michael Palin’s BBC Himalaya series) up to Shimla at an altitude of 2159m. This railway, completed in 1897, packs 103 tunnels, 24 bridges and 18 stations into 96 km and is a spectacular feat of colonial engineering. Small steam trains have now given way to diesel engines, but the rolling stock still reeks of antiquity and the experience is of another age.

  • Day 2 : MCLEODGANJ – CHAMBA

    Fly overnight to land at Delhi airport in the wee hours. From there you will be escorted aboard an air-conditioned train, which will carry you to Kalka, where the plains meet the mountains. At Kalka you will transfer from the mainline onto the historic ‘toy train’ (made famous by Michael Palin’s BBC Himalaya series) up to Shimla at an altitude of 2159m. This railway, completed in 1897, packs 103 tunnels, 24 bridges and 18 stations into 96 km and is a spectacular feat of colonial engineering. Small steam trains have now given way to diesel engines, but the rolling stock still reeks of antiquity and the experience is of another age.

  • Day 3 : SHIMLA SIGHTSEEING

    A day to explore the British Raj’s biggest, oldest and most prominent hill-station, to which the majority of the Delhi administration was moved every summer to escape the stifling heat of the Gangetic plain. Walk The Mall, picking out the historic sights still remaining in this busy Indian tourist town, visit Hindu temples, shop, or simply enjoy eating at the many (and very good) restaurants. Views from the higher vantage points of the town should stretch all the way to the mighty snow-capped peaks of the Great Himalaya. In the evening, before dinner, you will be given a full briefing on the adventure ahead.

  • Day 4 : SHIMLA – MANDI

    A full day’s ride will carry us into the hills of rural Himachal Pradesh and, as with every day of this tour, the views will be simply amazing as we wind our way into the mountains. We will pass through the sacred hot-spring town of Tattapani and travel on into the back of beyond. As with nearly all of this tour there is barely a straight piece of road and the riding is sublime. Our destination, Mandi (870m), is a thriving market town on the banks of the holy Beas River. Our accommodation, a characterful heritage hotel, will be found in what was once the local ruler’s palace.

  • Day 5 : MANDI – MCLEOD GANJ

    From Mandi we head east – and up – along a sweeping highway. Following this blissful road, the huge hills of the Dhauladhar Range soon come into view, looming ahead of us. Turning off the highway we climb steeply, passing through Dharamsala and up to our hotel, set by a small village on a spectacular valley-side a few kilometres above McLeod Ganj.

  • Day 6 : MCLEODGANJ SIGHTSEEING

    Options for the day include a visit to McLeod Ganj, a town now famous as home to the exiled Dalai Lama and a huge Tibetan community, including the Tibetan government-in-exile. The town is very cosmopolitan, colourful, packed with shops and eateries and is a wonderful opportunity for photographers. There are also a few colonial relics to explore, including the St John in the Wilderness Church. If you prefer something more strenuous, local treks of various durations and severity can be arranged with known local guides.

  • Day 7 : MCLEODGANJ – CHAMBA

    Today we leave McLeod Ganj and head over remote hills to Chamba. This is an incredible road and an incredible ride as the tarmac ribbons its way steeply upward, with huge drop-offs and vast panoramic views. Although the distance to be covered is relatively small, the twistiness of the road means this is a whole day’s ride, with time to take a few cups of chai and stops to admire the scenery.

  • Day 8 : CHAMBA – KHAJJIAR

    We will have the morning to to explore the back-streets and important temples of this thriving market town. From Chamba it is only a short, but very pretty ride to the mountain village of Khajjiar. Set beside a tree-fringed meadow, Khajjiar is famous for its holy lake, temples and beauty. We will be staying a little way outside the village itself, as there is no adequate accommodation, but will have time to explore.

  • Day 9 : KHAJJIAR – DHARAMSHALA

    Again we are in the hills, following small, quiet roads that carve unfeasibly – and sometimes unnervingly – across the steep hillsides. We will pass through deodar forests and many charming villages with their traditional (and fast-vanishing) wooden houses. On reaching Dharamsala we’ll relax at a terrace restaurant and look miles down to the plains as the sun sets.

  • Day 10 : DHARAMSALA – REWALSAR

    From Dharamsala it’s back down to the Kangra valley floor at just 615m above sea level. We will pass through Kangra Gorge, where we have views across to Kangra Fort and continue until we hit our steep hill road up to Rewalsar. This small mountain town is sacred to Buddhists, Hindus and Sikhs and colourful tribespeople can be seen circling the lake, chanting prayers. Overlooking the lake are huge statues of Buddha, monasteries and temples. It is quite a spot.

  • Day 11 : REWALSAR – MANALI

    Another day riding in the hills on lesser routes, we head down from Rewalsar and re-cross Mandi, before again climbing on a beautiful minor road and riding through lush mixed forest. We descend to the main Manali highway (not main in western terms – more like an A/B road) and ride up the twisting left bank of the River Beas to Manali.

  • Day 12 : MANALI SIGHTSEEING

    Manali is the gateway to the high Himalaya, pinned in on three sides by massive mountains and the point from which adventures to Ladakh and beyond begin. It is also a thriving tourist hub catering to Indian honeymooners, trekkers, skiers and mountaineers. In the busy markets you will find goods from China, Tibet and Kashmir, flaunted alongside more local specialities such as shawls and pashminas. Good restaurants abound, whether you’re looking for Indian, Tibetan, or western fare. There are several interesting temples in the area, hot springs and the option of trekking, or taking part in other adventure activities.

  • Day 13 : MANALI – CHINDI

    An early start for a long and very, very curvaceous ride. Leaving Manali, we will follow the open road on the right bank of the Beas, through busy villages, skirting the district capital, Kullu. Soon the route breaks into a huge canyon with the road carved into the cliff-face, with small shrines and waterfalls littering the splendid scenery. Around 80 km into the ride we quit the highway and hit the rural roads again, climbing several forested passes of around 2400m metres elevation. Again, as with every riding day, the scenery is immensely beautiful. We end the day at a hilltop hotel, set in pine forest, with wonderful vistas all around.

  • Day 14 : CHINDI – CHAIL

    A lesser day in terms of distance, but we will nonetheless set off early-ish to give time at the other end. More mountains, forest and sublime roads await as we climb the hills from Chindi over to the magnificent Sutlej Valley, where we follow the road (one of the best riding roads in existence) up to Narkanda. On a good day the views from here stretch all the way to the Great Himalayan National Park. A short way off the Shimla-Narkanda highway is Chail, another old Himalayan kingdom. Here we will stay in the old palace, set in wonderful wooded grounds, now converted into an hotel.

  • Day 15 : CHAIL – DELHI DEPARTURE

    From the palace hotel at Chail you will be transported to Shimla for a look around and last minute present shopping. Then down the hill to Kalka by train or road, where you will be ushered aboard the A/C night train to Delhi. Here you will be met by a Abish Travels representative and escorted to the airport for an 1100 flight home.

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Inclusions

  • Hotel
  • Meals
  • Sightseeing
  • All transfers and sightseeings by exclusive air conditioned private Toyota car.
  • Professional English Speaking Tour Guide in Agra for sightseeing.
  • Lunch at one of the finest local AC restaurant.
  • Battery Bus Ride at Taj Mahal from parking up to monument and back.
  • All Taxes and Parkings.
  • Unlimited mineral water.
  • Our personal care and attention.

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Exclusions

  • Entrances fees of all monuments mentioned in program.
  • Any Alcohol, Wine, Beer with Lunch.
  • Camera fees at monuments.
  • Tipping for guide & driver.
  • Anything not mention in included features list.

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Terms & Conditions

Payment Terms & Methods :
* Some Advance Percentage of total booking amount
* Airfare/Transport fare to be paid full at one time in advance.

Cancellation & Refund Policy :
* Upon cancellation, refund will be made after deducting the Retention Amount.
* Retention Amount varies as per the number of days left before your package start date.

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This Tour is Offered by

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  • 1093/1162, Church Compound Mehrauli,1, St. John Church, New Delhi, Delhi, India
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  • Budget | Private Tour Package
  • New Delhi, Chamba, Khajjiar, Manali, Mandi, Shimla, Dharamshala, Mcleodganj, Rewalsar
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