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For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni
For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni 
Golden Temple in Amritsar, Punjab, India.

Exploring India’s Intriguing North

By Suzanne McLaughlin
India Travel Expert for Alfred&

Visit the highlights of northern India taking a deep dive into some of the country’s most historic cities. Start in Amritsar where all roads lead to the spellbinding Golden Temple with a striking gold-leaf roof and a kitchen that feeds over 35,000 Sikh pilgrims a day. Head for the Himalayan foothills to Shimla, an old-world hill station where the British Raj holidayed among the pine. After a dose of invigorating mountain air, you’ll be ready to take on the Golden Triangle ticking off the iconic Taj Mahal, Jaipur’s surreal architecture and Delhi, India’s charismatic capital flooded by rickshaws, markets and monuments.


11 days
Guide price range
£2,750 - £2,975pp
including international flights
Best months to go
September to April

Top Experiences
Itinerary Highlights


Ceremonial pomp in the glittering eve

When the holy scripture reaches its bedroom, a huge fanfare erupts...


Take the scenic route to the summer capital of Shimla

A visit to Shimla is not complete without a ride on the toy train...


Taj Mahal at sunrise

Watch the Taj Mahal turn from gold yellow to a sparkling mountain white...

Day by day
Itinerary in detail


Arrival in Amritsar

On arrival in Amritsar, you’ll be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel. Regarded as the spiritual heart of Sikkhism, the city exudes an air of generosity and faith. Relax in your hotel before you head out in the evening to witness a palki ceremony at the sacred Golden Temple, a religious procession with fanfare befitting of a maharaja. Not only will you be in prime position to witness this important ritual but it’s also the best time to see the temple’s breath-stealing gold structure glittering against an inky sky. Overnight at Hyatt Regency Armritsar.

Things to do:



This morning, enjoy a heritage-focused walk through Amritsar’s old narrow lanes where banyan trees grow through crumbling havelis as if they were part of the structures. Explore colourful bazaars specialising in wedding bangles, traditional utensils and local literature. Then it's off to the glorious Golden Temple again but this time during the day when people bathe in the sacred pool waters and the community kitchen is in full swing feeding some 35,000 worshippers. The final stop is Jallianwala Bagh, a memorial garden commemorating the thousands of unarmed protestors who were massacred by British forces here in 1919. After some sobering reflection, there’s time to recover back at your hotel before you travel to the India-Pakistan border to experience a memorable border closing ceremony. Bollywood music, synchronised dance moves and roaring crowds make it feel like half time at the Super Bowl rather than a ritual. Overnight at Hyatt Regency Armritsar.

Things to do:


Amritsar & Shimla

Transfer to Amritsar station to board the train to the city of Ambala. From here, you will be met and driven to Shimla (approximately 4.5 hours). Your base for the next two nights is a charming hotel established in the 1800s when the British Raj appointed this mountainous city their summer capital. Enjoy spectacular valley views with pine trees rolling into the distance and perhaps a dip in the inviting swimming pool to rejuvenate you after your travels. Overnight at The Oberoi Cecil.

Things to do:



After breakfast, transfer to Shimla station for a ride on the famous toy train, Himalayan Queen. Descending approximately 2,400 feet at a trundle, you’ll snake through cedar forests, past waterfalls and mountain peaks before reaching Taradevi station. A driver will take you back to Shimla to enjoy a short introductory tour of the historic town visiting landmarks such as the Viceregal Lodge where the British Raj planned the Partition of India. After a spot of lunch, stroll along the Mall Road, Shimla's historic high street lined with mock Tudor buildings. Overnight at The Oberoi Cecil.

Things to do:



Today is free to relax or learn about Shimla’s literary and artistic heritage on a cultural walking tour. The trail takes you through picturesque meadows, brooks, and forests frequented by Rudyard Kipling finishing at an art gallery founded by the legendary late local artist, Sanath Chatterjee renowned for his mythological works. Alternatively, you may wish to unwind in your hotel's decadent spa known for its herb-infused massages, the perfect antidote to an refreshing walk in the neighbouring forest. Overnight at The Oberoi Cecil.

Things to do:


Shimla & Jaipur

Transfer to Chandigarh Airport (approximately 4 hours) to board your flight to Jaipur. On arrival, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Famously named the Pink City, Jaipur was painted in salmon-rose hues to welcome the Prince of Wales (the future Edward VII) and Queen Victoria in 1876. This striking walled city is a photographer’s paradise known for block printing and spectacular clay pottery as well as being home to colourful temples, splendid palaces and the imposing Amber Fort. Overnight at Samode Haveli.

Things to do:



Explore Jaipur independently this morning or opt for a half-day sightseeing tour investigating the serene avenues of the all-rose City Palace, the attractive latticework of the Palace of the Winds, as well as the striking architecture of the Royal Observatory. In the afternoon, you’ll be driven to the 16th-century Amber Fort, a sprawling, UNESCO-listed palace. Teetering high on a hill surrounded by the Aravalli mountains, you can wander its cobbled paths, imposing ramparts and elaborate halls reliving battles, the secret lives of the maharajas and extravagant royal processions. After some downtime, you could opt for a cooking experience in the courtyard of a local noble family or stay put for cocktail hour on the rooftop of your haveli. Overnight at Samode Haveli.

Things to do:


Jaipur & Agra

This morning is free to enjoy optional activities. This could be a hot air balloon ride for a romantic view of the city or you may choose a walking tour of Jaipur's history-rich havelis and temples. Afterwards, drive to Agra (approximately 5.5 hours) stopping en route to see the perfectly preserved deserted Mughal city of Fatehpur Sikri. This immense red sandstone structure was founded in 1569 but abandoned just 16 years later due to a lack of water supply. Consider this a magical prelude to the main event tomorrow, a tour of the iconic Taj Mahal. Overnight at Taj Hotel & Convention Centre.

Things to do:


Agra & Delhi

Rise early for the incredible highlight of your tour: the once-in-a-lifetime experience of watching the sunrise over the spectacular Taj Mahal. One of the finest pieces of architecture in the world, this wedding-cake white domed palace is all the more mesmerising during the early hours as it takes on an ethereal pink glow in the changing light. After time here to absorb its architectural marvel and immaculately designed gardens, you could choose an optional activity in Agra from an introductory walking tour or a countryside bicycle ride. Otherwise continue straight to Delhi (approximately 4 hours) to start exploring India's capital. Overnight at The Claridges.

Things to do:



Once made up of seven separate cities, today Delhi is a vibrant metropolis full of textured history, culture and colour. Enjoy a full day exploring. If you’re feeling energetic, opt for a Delhi by Dawn tour to see the city come alive in the early hours and foodies should not miss a culinary tour with a local expert. Take a rickshaw ride around Old Delhi’s higgledy-piggledy lanes, the best way to gain ground or embark on a photography excursion to capture the city’s traditional spice markets and bazaars. Alternatively, you could explore independently, carving through the capital on your own terms, seeing where the wind takes you. For your final evening, we would recommend a tour of Chandni Chowk market which includes dining at a local hotspot known for lip-smacking Mughlai cuisine. Overnight at The Claridges.

Things to do:


Delhi & Departure

You will be transferred to the airport in time for your flight home, or onward travel.

Another stop?




Holiday Budget
Guide price information

Low Season

10 Jan - 15 Apr, 01 Oct - 19 Dec


High Season

16 Apr - 30 Sep


Holiday Season

Supplements may apply over holiday seasons in India and for dates not listed above. Please contact us for details.


Alfred & Suzanne McLaughlin

Suzanne loves travelling to India and has recently returned from northern India and the famous The Golden Triangle route. Highlights were helping serve chapatis to the Golden Temple’s hundreds of worshippers in Amritsar and watching the sun set over the Taj Mahal from her hotel balcony. But it’s the offbeat adventures that inspired her the most such as walking through Shimla’s fairytale foothills.

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