Northern India Delight Group Tour
On this 22-day tour of Northern India, you'll have the opportunity to explore the spectacular Ladakh region of the Himalayas. Here you'll discover India’s fascinating landscapes, visit magnificent monasteries and temples, and experience the tranquil, Buddhist atmosphere of hilltop towns and villages.
- 22 days
- 4-24 participants
- Accommodation included
- English speaking guide throughout
On this tour you’ll get the chance to see the best places in India, which is sure to leave you with a lasting impression. The rugged and remote highlands of Ladakh not only provide one of the world’s most breathtaking landscapes, but this sparsely populated region of the Himalayas is both serene and awe-inspiring. When you join this fascinating tour, you'll have the opportunity to visit amazing sites such as Dharamsala, the current seat of the Dalai Lama, and opt for an optional trek from Leh to Alchi: a true memorable experience! You’ll also be able to visit the Golden Temple of Amritsar, explore Delhi, and experience the romantic temples in the small town of Mandi. This will surely be a three week adventure you won’t soon forget.
Northern India Delight Itinerary
This tour takes you on an enchanting journey of discovery through the majestic Himalayas. From Delhi you'll drive northward to the mountainous Ladakh region. Here you'll visit sites such as Dharamsala, Manali, and Leh and will have the opportunity to undertake a three-day hike through the mountains. You'll also have plenty of time to visit many temples and Buddhist monasteries, and to enjoy the unique atmosphere therein. This tour is sure to be a special experience!
Namaste! Welcome to India! Your tour starts in Delhi, where you can use your hotel room from check in time (12.00 hrs at noon) on day 1. Most of your travel companions will arrive in the late evening of day 1 or early morning of day 2, the exact time will be depending on their flight schedule.
Free day In Delhi. In this chaotic city there is much to experience and the contrast between the old and new areas is enormous. The old part is an anthill of narrow streets, temples and mosques including the Red Fort and Jama Masjid, the largest and most beautiful mosque in the country. The new section is a vast city stuffed with long, wide, straight streets, parks and pavilions. All in all there is plenty to see but if you do not have enough time to do everything then do not worry as you will return here at the end of your trip.
Early today you’ll take the train named 'Swarna Shatabdi' to Amritsar. The trip takes about six hours and you’ll arrive in the afternoon. Perfect timing as you can then visit the Golden Temple of Sikhs, the main attraction of Amritsar. The famous temple is a very special place and is located in the heart of the old town. Alternatively you can stroll through the many markets in the city and look at the mosques and the Golden Temple. If that isn’t enough you can also choose an optional trip to Attari where you’ll witness the elaborate and interesting border ceremony between India and Pakistan. It’s quite the spectacle to watch as the flags are taken down for the nightly closing ceremony.
In the morning we'll continue the journey to Dharamsala, a sleepy town at the foot of the Himalayas. The trip takes about six hours and will take you along winding roads, past many picturesque scenes of pine forests, paddy fields, and tea plantations. Dharamsala is the seat of the Dalai Lama and his government. Sometimes it is possible to see the Dalai Lama, at least when he is not travelling. You can also visit the famous Tibetan monastery, the interesting markets of Mcleod, or the Ganj Bhagsunag temple.
Today you'll have the whole day to explore the verdant Dharamsala region as you see fit. This lush area is ideal for hiking and meditation. You may choose to roam the woods and fields, or venture into the mountains, up to the snow line. It is also possible to spend the day exploring the vibrant city and enjoying its unique and compelling atmosphere.
Travel through the pretty Kullu Valley with green hills and numerous waterfalls as the journey continues today on to Manali. The wooded-valley along the Beas River is also called the "Valley of the Gods" and is known for its apples, apricots, raisins and Kullu scarves. After a light 4-hour climb, you'll arrive at Manali, at an altitude of 2050 meters. This city was the former capital of the kingdom of Mandi and while it underwent rapid development, it has still retained much of its original character and charm. Mandi is particularly known for its 81 old stone temples which are covered in frescoes and decorations.
You'll spend today in the lovely, Manali, where there are many ancient palaces and preserved colonial buildings to explore. You can visit the Dhungri Temple (built in 1553) or the Gadhan Thekchokling Monastery or stroll through the city. Marvel at the old houses, stroll through the orchards or take a trip to the hot springs of Vashisht.
Today we'll continue along a spectacular mountain road on to Leh. The first part leads up through green forests and apple orchards, to the Rohtang Pass. It lies at an altitude of 3978m and many Indian day-trippers from Manali come here. As the road continues on to Jispa, the landscape becomes more mountainous. We'll spend the night at a hotel in the Bhaga river, at an altitude of 3400m. If you do not arrive too late, this area is ideal for hiking.
Today you'll wake up in Jispa, a Himalayan city. Enjoy a day of leisure in Keylong. You can explore the small village or hike to one of the surrounding monasteries, for example the Shashur Monastery. In the middle of beautiful landscape you will find huge wall paintings and Thangka drawings from the 17th century. The walk to Shashur Monastery takes about 2 hours, but the view over the valley is definitely worthwhile.
After breakfast we'll drive through the valley of Lahaul and Spiti. You'll once again have beautiful views of the countryside, including the Baralacha La (4890 m). The pass connects Lahaul with Ladakh, and is named beudeutet which means "the pass, at the crossroads of many ways". Nearby is Suraj Tal, a small lake which is fed from the springs of the Bhaga river. After crossing the pass, you'll arrive at the Sarchu camp site (4250m) where you'll spend the night.
Today we'll drive on and pass the More level, an area in which Khampa nomads sometimes stay with their herds. You'll drive past the Tanglang La (5328 m), Lachulang La (5060 m) and the monasteries of Shey and Thikse. These can be visited from Leh. In Leh itself you'll find the many magnificent palaces and temples of the "small Lhasa" and quite a few other beautiful monasteries and palaces as well. Leh is the only city in the valley with a market so locals congregate here to buy and sell goods.
After breakfast we'll visit the Royal Palace, an impressive structure which dominates the city of Leh. It was modeled after the magnificent Potala Palace in Lhasa. The building dates from the 17th century and has nine floors. Even though it is in need of restoration it remains an impressive structure and offers beautiful views overlooking the city. High above the palace there is a viewpoint at Namgyal Gompa and the Castle Tsemo fortress, which are accessible via a goat track. The gompas (monasteries) in and around Leh house many fascinating Buddhist statues and manuscripts. There is a tranquil atmosphere in these religious sanctuaries that makes visiting them more than worth the journey.
You'll have the whole day to do as you please. This is a great time to visit some of the small gopas in the area and admire the art and treasures of the friendly Lamas (monks). One possible tour will take you to visit the following: Shey Gompa, Thikse Gompa, Hemi Gompa, and Matho (all south-west of Leh). Shey Gompa is a former summer palace and houses a twelve-meter-tall statue of Buddha made of copper and gold leaf. From the roof of the Thikse Gompa you'll have a stunning view of the temple and landscape. Hemis Gompa is the largest monastery in Leh and is widely known for the Hemis festival.
Today you can choose to explore Leh or you can take an optional walking tour through the rugged mountains of Ladakh. There’s no need to worry about your luggage – leave it at the hotel and it will be transported for you. In the morning you'll drive to Likir (3500m). From there your guide will take you along stony goat paths. You'll leave the green zone behind to cross the Pobe La (Pobe = pass) 3550m above sea level. At 3650 meters you cross the next pass, Charat La. In the first camp in Yangtang, the picturesque village of adobe (3600m), your chef will prepare a hearty local dish around the campfire.
Your hiking tour continues to Hemis Shukpachu. From Yangtang you'll climb downhill to cross the river Wuleh Tokpo and then uphill to the Sarma Chan La pass (3750m). From there you'll already be able to see the village. The camp is located on the banks of a cold, fast-flowing river and is surrounded by mountains. You can spend the rest of your day exploring the picturesque village or take a longer route between Yangtang and Hemis Schukpachu. The longer route will lead you past the secluded Rizdong Monastery, known for its strict order.
We'll begin the day by crossing a small pass (3710m) and then continue by taking a meandering path downhill. From here you'll have a great view of the valley and the pastel shades of the surrounding mountains. Later, we'll climb to the next pass (3750m), Lake La. You'll pass the village of Ang before reaching the final hiking destination for the day - Themisgam, the largest and most prosperous village on the tour. Here apricots, apples and nuts grow in abundance. We'll spend the night in lovely Achi where we recommend a visit to the monastery.
Alchi Gompa is the largest and most beautiful monastery in the valley, with magnificent paintings and carvings. A total of five temples belong to the complex. Unlike other monasteries, the Alchi monastery is on flat land, rather than on a hill or mountain. In the morning we'll drive back to Leh where we'll spend a few days. The journey takes about two hours.
Today you may be able to go rafting on the river Indus in a traditional Tibetan boat (not always available) and then spend the evening watching a show or sampling the local cuisine at one of the many delicious restaurants in the area. You may also decide to visit the monastery: The Stok Gompa is located upstream from Leh and contains a small museum known for its exquisite Thangka exhibitions. Taktok Gompa is the only monastery of the Nyingmapa sect in Ladakh, the oldest Tibetan monastic orders. In any case, you should visit the ancient Spituk Gompa.
This will be your last day in lovely Leh and your last opportunity to visit the Buddhist monument of Shanti Stupa, which is located at the top of 500 steps, on a hill outside the city (4267m). The Shanti Stupa was built in 1983 by a Japanese sect and was opened by the Dalai Lama. You'll have a stunning view of Leh from here in the afternoon sun.
Take an early flight from Leh to Delhi; the journey is about 1.25 hours. You'll have the rest of the day to spend in Delhi doing as you like. This is a great time to explore the markets and shop for souvenirs. Chandi Chowk, the vibrant center of the old town, has plenty of shops and a large market. The streets are full of people, cattle and horse carts, bicycles, rickshaws, cars, buses and everything else that moves.
After breakfast you can begin a whole day of sightseeing. We recommend a visit to the Qutab Minar, a 72 meter minaret with five floors (each with an overhanging balcony). At the foot of the tower is the first mosque built in Tibet: Quwwat-ul-Islam Masjid. It was built on the ruins of a Hindu temple. The delightful and unique Lotus Temple, built in the shape of a giant lotus flower, is also worth a visit. This temple belongs to the Baha'i religious community, a group that believes that all religions must be one. You may depart either tonight or tomorrow morning.
Today is your last and time to bid farewell to this beautiful country. There will be a bit of time in the morning to explore the area around the hotel or have a leisurely breakfast. We hope that you have seen and experienced a lot of fascinating things on your tour and wish you a pleasant journey home! Or if you're interested in extending your stay, our friendly staff are happy to help you do so!
We recommend that you read this information carefully before booking or departure. Here you will find important information about our Northern India Delight tour. Be aware that you may need to get some vaccinations in advance. This trip includes several excursions, but there is also allocated time for optional activities. Let one of our friendly tour guides help you book any additional adventures.
Important advice regarding entry and exit, necessary vaccinations and general information about the country and people can be found here. If you have any further questions one of our staff members would be more than happy to help.
Important Travel Information
- To travel to India you will need a Visa
- You will likely need travel Vaccinations
- English-speaking guide
- Overnight stays in hotels
- 1 overnight stay in tents in Sarchu – breakfast and dinner included
- All transfers are described
- Train from Delhi to Amritsar
- Domestic flight from Leh to Delhi
- Airport Tax
- Fuel Tax
- English-speaking guide throughout
What's not included?
- International flight to/from destination
- Optional hike from Leh (request when booking)
- Other meals and drinks
- Optional excursions
- Entrance fees
- Travel insurance
- Transfer to/from airport
- If you want to book the optional hike from Leh, please add it when you place your booking.
- If you book this exciting excursion, you'll camp in tents for a few nights.
- Most of the trip is at very high altitudes, so make sure to drink plenty of water and bring medicine in case of altitude sickness.
- Please also familiarize yourself with the most recent safety recommendations from the Foreign Ministry.
- Your accommodation will be in double rooms and if you are a lone traveller you will be paired up with a fellow traveller of the same sex (where possible).
- If you would prefer a single room then please request this when you make your booking. There are no single rooms available for the optional hike from Leh through the Himalayas.
- The itinerary of festival tours may change.
Dates and Prices Northern India Delight:
Price pp in DBL
19.06.2020 - 10.07.2020 Festival Tour*
07.07.2020 - 28.07.2020 Festival Tour*
19.07.2020 - 09.08.2020 Solo Traveler Tour* (age 21-45)
- Single-room supplement: £269 per person
- *here you can find more information about Solo Traveler Tours and Festival Tours