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13 Nights Golden Temple with Mcleodganj & Bharmour

Destinations Covered
New Delhi-Amritsar-Mclodganj-Khajjiar-Chamba-Dalhousie-Bharmour-Pathankot


Day 1 New Delhi – Amritsar (1hr 10min flight)

On arrival at Amritsar Airport, you will be met by our representative and assisted to the designated coach/car booked.

Transfer and check-in at selected hotel.

Amritsar, literally meaning "holy pool of nectar" is the spiritual and cultural centre of the Sikh Religion. It was founded in the 16th Century by Guru Ramdas Sahib, the fourth guru of the Sikhs. Amritsar has a rich history, encompassing various mythical and historical narratives, including the epic Ramayana. Its ancient legends, historical monuments, places of worship, old bazaars, theatre traditions, food and colourful festivals all serve as a window to its robust past.

In the afternoon, transfer to Wagah on the India-Pakistan border to see the “Retreat Ceremony”. On the way back, visit The Golden Temple.

The Retreat Ceremony takes place at Sunset, and is the most attractive aspect of the Wagah Border. The choreographed and mirrored show of parade on either side of the border is a sight to see. The ceremony starts at sundown and lasts for 30 to 45 minutes. The retreat includes the changing of guards and the retreat of the Indian and the Pakistani flag. The show is synchronized between the Indian Border Security Force (BSF) and the Pakistani Sutlej Rangers, and has been conducted every day since 1959. The drill includes long and brisk strides, foot stamping and crisp salutes, as each side tries to outdo the other with respect to the sound of their footsteps and speed. The lowered flags are carefully folded and carried back to their respective countries, after which the gates slam shut.

The Golden Temple is a world-renowned Sikh shrine. It is the spiritual and cultural centre of Sikhism and incredible blend of Hindu and Muslim architectural styles. The main shrine is made of marble, and stands in the middle of a picturesque lake. The Guru Granth Sahib (the Sikh’s holy book) is housed in this peaceful and serene sanctum. The temple’s gold-leafed roof gives it its name.

The stunning sanctum, shimmering in the waters of the holy lake, is flanked by spotlessly clean marble walkways and pavements.

Overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 2 Amritsar – Mcleodganj (200km/4hrs)

Post breakfast, check-out and drive to Mcleodganj, visiting St. John’s Church on the way.

Mcleodganj, also known as Little Lhasa, is situated at 2,082 metres in the Dhauladhar Himalaya Mountains. It’s the headquarters of the Tibetan government in exile, and the residence of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. The impressive monasteries holds larger-than-life figures of the Buddha, Padmasambhava and Avaloktwshwara. The large Tibetan community, and the presence of traditional architectural designs drawn from Tibet, have greatly enhanced the area. Mcleodganj is a place of pilgrimage that attracts Buddhists and interested people from all over the world.

St. John Church is an Anglican church, dedicated to John the Baptist, which was built in 1852. It is located at Forsyth Gunj, near Mcleodganj, and was built in Neo-Gothic architectural style. The church is known for its Belgian stained-glass windows. In 1905, an earthquake destroyed its spire and bell tower. Later, a new bell was made in 1915 by Mears and Stainbank; this was brought from England and installed outside in the church compound.

On arrival, check-in at the hotel.

Overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 3 In Mcleodganj

Post breakfast, take a half-day walking tour of Mcleodganj, visiting the Tsuglagkhang Complex. This complex comprises Photang (the official residence of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, which is not open for visitors), as well as the Kalachakra Temple, Namgyal Monastery, Tsuglagkhang Temple Tibet Museum and a library. The Tsuglagkhang complex gives many insights into the Tibetan religion and culture.

The Kalachakra Temple is noted for its peerless murals of the Kalachakra (Wheel of Time) mandala, and is specifically linked to Avalokitesvara, of whom the Dalai Lama is said to be a manifestation.

The Namgyal Monastery is an important centre for learning Buddhist religious rituals. Here, monks can be seen debating in the afternoon, sealing points of argument with a flourish, a foot stamp, and theatrical clap of the hands.

The Tsuglagkhang Temple is the biggest Tibetan temple outside Tibet, and is equivalent to the Jokhang Temple in Lhasa. It enshrines a 3 metres high gilded statue of the Sakyamuni Buddha, flanked by Avalokitesvara and Padmasambhava: the Indian scholar who introduced Buddhism to Tibet. The Avalokitesvara statue contains several relics that were rescued from the Jokhang Temple during the Cultural Revolution.

The Tsuglagkhang Library is known for its exceptional compilation of Buddhist scriptures.

Afternoon at leisure to relax.

Overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 4 In Mcleodganj

Post breakfast, take a full-day visit to Men-Tsee-Khang and the Norbulingka Institute.

Men-Tsee-Khang, or the Tibetan Medical and Astro Institute, was begun by the 13th Dalai Lama, at Lhasa, in 1916. After the occupation of Tibet, the 14th Dalai Lama re-established the institution in 1961 in Dharamshala. It’s the best resource centre for traditional Tibetan medical therapies and astrological science. Men-Tsee-Khang's museum displays plant paintings/photographs, documents relating to Tibetan medicine and astrosciences; and various samples of herbs, plants, woods, rocks, salts, minerals, gems with vivid captions describing their medicinal uses. It’s a charitable institute that aims to promote and practice Sowa-Rigpa: the Tibetan system of medicine, astronomy and astrology.

Norbulingka is dedicated to preserve the roots of Tibetan culture in exile, by handing down traditions, and restoring standards through training, education and employment for Tibetans. Founded in 1988, it also aims to preserve traditional Tibetan art forms, including woodcarving, statue-making, thangka painting, and embroidery. Norbulingka embodies the old-world charm of Tibetan architecture. Comprising a complex of buildings including a temple, library, college, design studio, guest house and cafe, it is set amidst a beautiful garden of meandering paths, flowing streams, waterfalls, bridges, and koi ponds, with the stunning backdrop of the Dhualadhar Mountains. All in all, it presents a perfect picture of old rural Tibet.

Overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 5 In Mcleodganj

Morning at leisure to relax.

At 15:00, take a guided walking tour to Bhagsu Waterfall and watch the evening aarti (ceremony) at Bhagsunath Temple.

Bhagsu Waterfall is located at Bhagsu village, 2km from Mcleodganj, behind the Bhagsunath Temple. The cascading waterfalls, about 20 metres in height, are an absolute marvel to behold, especially during the monsoons. A cool breeze from the Himalayan ranges here soothes the body and mind.

Bhagsunath is an ancient temple dedicated to God Shiva and is believed to have been built by King Bhagsu. Witness the evening aarti (ceremony) in the temple.

Overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 6 In Mcleodganj

Post breakfast, take a half-day sightseeing tour of Kangra Fort and Kangra Art Gallery.

Kangra Fort, also known as Nagar Kot, was constructed by the royal family of Kangra (in the Katoch Dynasty). This fort is mentioned in the great Indian epic Mahabharata, and also in the war records of Alexander the Great. Built at the confluence of the Rivers Banganga and Manjhi, the fort is bounded by thick walls and fortifications. It’s the largest fort in the Himalayas, and the oldest dated fort in India. The fort was used by Hindu rajas, Mughal warlords, and even the British, before it was finally toppled by the earthquake of 1905. A small museum at the fort has stone carvings from temples inside the compound, and miniature paintings from the Kangra School.

The Kangra Art Gallery houses an impressive collection of arts, crafts, artefacts, costumes and other treasures, which can be traced to as far back as the 5th Century. The items on display include fine miniature paintings from the Kangra School, along with temple carvings, fabrics and embroidery, weapons and palanquins, all belonging to the Katoch dynasty.

Note

  • The Kangra Art Gallery remains closed on Monday.

Afternoon at leisure to relax.

Overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 7 Mcleodganj – Bharmour (230km /8hrs)

Post breakfast, check-out and depart for Bharmour via Chamba.

Bharmour, formally known as Brahmpura, was the ancient capital of Chamba District. It's situated at an altitude of 7000 feet in the Budhil Valley. Bharmour is blessed with abundant alpine pastures and ancient temples.

On arrival, check-in at the hotel.

Later in evening, witness the evening aarti (ceremony) in Chaurasi Temple.

Dinner and overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 8 In Bharmour

Post breakfast, day at leisure to relax.

Dinner and overnigt stay at the hotel.

Day 9 Bharmour

Post breakfast, take a half-day excursion to Chaurasi Temple.

Chaurasi Temple is an ancient temple in the centre of Bharmour Town. Chaurasi is the Hindi word for “eighty-four”, and is so named because of 84 shrines built into its periphery. These shrines were built between the seventh and tenth Century, with varying architectural designs. The beautiful shikhara-style temple of Mani Mahesh occupies the centre of the complex. It has a Shivlingam on a raised platform, and a life-sized idol of Bull Nandi made of polished brass guarding the entrance. It is believed that when 84 siddhas (perfected souls) were coming from Kurukshetra and passing through Bharmour to visit Mani Mahesh, they fell in love with the calmness of Bharmour and decided to meditate here. Lakshna Devi and Ganesh have the oldest temples in the complex, made in hill-style with gable roofs and rubble masonry. The Nar Singh Temple is another shikhara-style temple, where Shree Vishnu in his incarnation as Nar Singh (also spelt as “Nursimha”) has been cast vividly. There is a small water source called Ardh Ganga in a corner of the temple complex. The temple of Dharmaraj / Yamaraj is believed to be the only temple of Dharmaraj in the world. Dharmaraj decides the fate of souls, and it’s believed every departed soul stands here to seek final permission from him to go on to their next destination.

Afternoon at leisure to relax.

Dinner and overnight stay at the hotel.

On arrival, check-in at the hotel.

Overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 10 In Bharmour

Post breakfast, take a half-day walking excursion to the Bharmani Temple.

The Bharmani temple is an ancient temple, situated 4km from Bharmour, on top of a ridge covered with pine and deodar trees. The temple is dedicated to Goddess Bharmani, an incarnation of Mother Durga. Bharmani Devi is the patron goddess of the people of Bharmour. There is a glorious view of beautiful Bharmour from here.

Afternoon at leisure to relax.

Dinner and overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 11 Bharmour – Chamba - Khaijjar – Dalhousie (204km/6hrs – excluding sightseeing)

Post breakfast, check-out and drive to Dalhousie, enroute visiting Chamba and Khaijjar.

The ancient city of Chamba lies on the banks of the River Ravi, and has a rich history that dates back to the 2nd Century BC. Resplendent with historically and architecturally important buildings, Chamba Town preserves much of its rich medieval past. Chamba's temples are mostly dedicated to Lord Shiva and Vishnu, and are built of richly engraved stone. The town is also a base for Gaddi shepherds who, though nomadic in their way of life, return to Chamba periodically to restock their supplies. Chamba is so sheltered by snow-clad mountain barriers that its monuments escaped destruction at the hands of any invaders, thus it retains some of the best Himalayan arts and handicrafts in India.

On arrival in Chamba visit, The Lakshmi-Narayan Temple, Bhuri Singh Museum, Chamba Church and Chamab Chaugan.

The Lakshmi-Narayan Temple is frequented by devotees of the Vaishnavite sect. The main Lakshmi-Narayan temple was built in the 10th Century by Raja Sahil Verman. It has wooden chatries, a shikara, and a sanctum sanctorum (garbhagriha) with an antarala and a mantapa. Over time, the temple was improved by various kings of Chamba. King Balabhadra Verma, for example, added a metallic figure of Garuda on a high pillar by the temple's main gate. King Chhatra Singh contributed the gilded pinnacles on top of the temple, which he did to protest the order of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb to destroy all the Hindu temples in the country.

Bhuri Singh Museum was founded in 1908 and named after Raja Bhuri Singh, the Chamba ruler of that time. The construction of the museum was proposed by J. Ph. Vogel, an Indologist who wanted to preserve the various ancient inscriptions containing the history of Chamba. This museum has a wonderful collection of miniature paintings from the Chamba, Kangra and Basohli schools, as well as wood carvings, weapons, rumal (embroideries), intriguing copper-plate inscriptions, and ornately carved centuries-old fountain slabs from around the Chamba Valley.

Chamba Church is situated in the main Chamba market. It was erected by Raja Sham Singh and gifted to the Church of Scotland Mission for the use of the Christian community in Chamba. Its foundation stone was laid on 17th February, 1899, and the construction was finished in 1905.

Chamab Chaugan is a public promenade, a grassy ground that is a busy local trading centre for villagers from the surrounding hills. Each year, Chaugan is the site of the Minjar procession (Minjar Fair).

Afterwards resume driving to Khaijjar.

On arrival in Khaijjar, take an afternoon walking excursion to Khaijjar Ground, visiting Khaijjar Lake and Khajji Nag Temple.

Khaijjar Lake is set in a huge grassy landscape with evergreen cedar trees surrounding it on all sides. The lake takes its name from Khajji Nag, the deity in the temple nearby.

Khajji Nag Temple is dedicated to Khajji Nag, the serpent god. The temple dates back to the 10th Century. Various patterns and images decorate the ceiling and wooden posts. The carved wooden ceilings and posts show a curious blend of Hindu and Mughal styles. The image carvings are said to represent the Kauravas, who were tied up here by the Pandavas. The temple consists of a spacious congregation hall enclosed by wooden supports. The dome-shaped shrine is made of slates from local limestone quarries.

After sightseeing proceed to Dalhousie, a beautiful hill station, spread over five hills and established in 1854 by the British Empire as a summer retreat for its troops and bureaucrats. The town was named after Lord Dalhousie, who was the British Viceroy in India at that time. With its plunging pine-clad valleys and distant mountain views, Dalhousie has serenity with its own distinctive flavour.

On arrival, check-in and overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 12 In Dalhousie

Post breakfast, take a half-day excursion to Dalhousie, visiting Kalatop Sanctuary, Panjpulla and St. John's Church.

The Kalatop Sanctuary hosts many different kinds of trees and grasses, making it a very scenic addition to the beauty around Kalatop hill. The sanctuary houses a variety of wildlife like bears, Himalayan black martens, leopards, deer, barking gorals, squirrels, serows, jackals and languor. In the middle of the sanctuary, there are open meadows with soft grass where animals happily graze. From the parking area, enjoy the wonderful 1.5km walk to Kalatop Hill.

Panjpulla is a beautiful spot around 3km from Dalhousie. On the way to Panjpulla are Satdhara Springs, gurgling with refreshing water and believed to contain medicinal properties. Panjpulla Stream is the main source of water for Dalhousie and Bahloon. There is an elegant monument erected at Panjpulla where several streams meet at one point. This monument, a samadhi (funerary shrine), was built in memory of the great revolutionary Sardar Ajit Singh, who breathed his last in Panjpulla.

St. John's Church is the oldest church of the town, and is filled with the memories of the British regime here. Its style is reminiscent of the Victorian era. Established in 1863 by Protestant missionaries, it rests amid beautiful surroundings. A library, adjacent to this church, has an amazing collection of books and magazines related to the history and geography of the region.

Later in the afternoon, return to hotel.

Overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 13 In Dalhousie

Post breakfast, full day at leisure to relax.

Overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 14 Dalhousie – Pathankot.(83km/2.5hrs)

Post breakfast, check-out and transfer to Pathankot Railway Station / Kangra Airport, for your onward journey.

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