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For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni
For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni 
Discover remarkable Indian sights like these Dharamshala prayer flags among the Himalayas when you take a tailor-made holiday with Alfred&.

Tibetan Retreats and Toy Trains in the Western Himalayas

By Richard Pearson
Travel Expert for Alfred&

Head into the heart of the Himalayas on this 11-day mountain adventure. You’ll visit sacred temples, hike to hidden villages and explore remote Tibetan retreats including Dharamshala, home of the Dalai Lama. In Shimla you’ll discover the colonial influences that have shaped this iconic hill station, before descending out of the mountains by toy train towards Delhi – India’s energetic capital.


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

Top Experiences
Itinerary Highlights


The Golden Temple: a shimmering symbol of faith and humanity

The temple's striking gold-leaf structure could be mistaken for a mirage...

A smoking firepit at Jungle House in Shimla

Jungle House: your fairytale cottage in the Shimla hills

Jungle House lies on Jakhu Hill in an ancient forest. In winter, you can lie in a hot bath and watch snowflakes drift past the window...


Tour the Masroor Rock Temples

The temples are a real engineering feat, carved with floral, geometric and animal patterns...

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. The morning is free to enjoy this spiritual city, regarded as one of the country’s holiest centres for Sikhism. In the afternoon, you’ll be driven to the India-Pakistan border to witness the memorable evening ceremony, when guards march and lower flags in a display of cooperation between the two nations. Overnight at Ranjit Svaasa.

Things to do:



Enjoy a city tour of Amritsar this morning. You’ll start at the Golden Temple – the centrepiece of the Sikh faith, built from white marble and gold leaf and set in the middle of a sacred lake, where pilgrims come to bathe. While here, visit the community kitchen, where volunteers feed 35,000 worshippers every day. Afterwards, stop by the historic Jallianwala Bagh, a historic garden which commemorates the thousands of unarmed protestors who were massacred by British forces here in 1919. The afternoon is free to explore as you wish. Overnight at Ranjit Svaasa.

Things to do:


Amritsar & Dharamshala

Travel further into the mountains this morning to reach Dharamshala – home of the Dalai Lama and the exiled Tibetan government, where Buddhist temples meet robed monks, Tibetan gongs and bronze prayer wheels. Spend the afternoon exploring this fascinating city, or head out on a short hike to admire its cedar forests, icy peaks and waterfalls on foot. Alternatively relax at the hotel and take in the views. Overnight at Amritara Surya.



Enjoy a full day in Dharamshala today. Wander its heritage-filled streets on your own terms or choose from one of several experiences; options include a visit to the Dalai Lama Monastery Complex and a guided mountain walk via the Tibetan Children Village – a non-profit community for Tibetan children in exile. Overnight at Amritara Surya.

Things to do:


Dharamshala & Palampur

After breakfast, you’ll be driven to Palampur – a quaint town in the Kangra Valley, set between tea plantations, pine forests and streams in the snow-capped Dhauladhar mountains. The region is a hotspot for trekking as well as tea-tasting, with historic sites scattered around the surrounding area. Visit a 3,500-year-old fort on an optional tour through the valley, complete with a ride on a toy train, or head out on an independent walk to take in the captivating landscape in your own way. Overnight at Lodge at Wah.

Things to do:


Palampur & Pragpur

Transfer towards the village of Pragpur this morning, stopping en route at the Masroor Rock Temples. Also known as the ‘Ellora of the Himalayas’, this is one of northern India’s most impressive architectural treasures, comprised of 15 monolithic temples that were carved from a single rock in the 6th or 7th century. Afterwards, continue to Pragpur where you’ll have free time to explore this historic village, dating to the 16th or 17th century and home to cobbled streets and postcard-pretty architecture blending Kangra, Rajput and European influences. Overnight at Judges Court.

Things to do:


Pragpur & Shimla

Travel to Shimla today with an optional stop along the way in Garli. This was the most prosperous village in the region until India’s independence and is lined with elegant havelis and Italianate buildings, decorated with stained-glass windows and elaborate tilework. Walk around the village before continuing to Shimla, the 19th century seat of the British Raj, where colonial influences are felt in everything from the English uniforms to the buildings. Overnight at Jungle House.

Things to do:



Explore Shimla at leisure today, or opt for a guided walking tour through meadows, brooks, grasslands and forests to reach the village of Heaun, where famous artist Sanath Chatterjee lived. An optional day trip to the Dhami estate – once a favourite hunting ground for the British Viceroys – is also available. Here you’ll meet local resident Kunwar Dushyant Singh and his wife for a home-cooked lunch and nature walk, learning more about the flora and fauna that surrounds this stately house. Overnight at Jungle House.

Things to do:


Shimla & Delhi

After breakfast, transfer to Shimla station for a ride on the famous toy train, Himalayan Queen. You’ll meander past pine forests, waterfalls and mountain peaks before reaching Kandaghat station. From here, travel by road to Kalka to board the Shatabdi Express to Delhi. On arrival in the capital, you’ll be met by a local representative and transferred to your hotel. The rest of the day is free to enjoy. Overnight at Haveli Dharampura.

Things to do:



Enjoy a full day in the capital today. If you’re feeling energetic, opt for a Delhi by Dawn tour to see the city come alive in the early hours. Alternatively, you might opt for a culinary tour with a local food expert, take a rickshaw ride round Old Delhi’s higgledy-piggledy lanes or embark on a photography-themed amble to capture the city’s spice markets and bazaars. Otherwise, head out to explore this captivating city independently as you make the most of your final day; don’t miss the Red Fort, the UNESCO-listed Humayun’s Tomb and the elaborate Jama Masjid Mosque. Overnight at Haveli Dharampura.

Things to do:


Delhi & Departure

Your tour ends today. Transfer to Delhi airport for your flight home or onward travel.

Another stop?




Holiday Budget
Guide price information

Low Season

01 Apr - 30 Sep


High Season

01 Jan - 31 Mar, 01 Oct - 31 Dec


Alfred & Richard Pearson

The term ‘well-travelled’ is an understatement when describing Richard. They've been swept up in the cultural portals of Japan and China and fallen in love with Vietnam’s historical melting pot and romantic karsts of Halong Bay. Their mantra is ‘expect the unexpected,’ which is why they find India so attractive; its manic city streets, stunning yet seldom-visited temples and off-road safaris in the wildest tiger reserves.
Richard Pearson

Plan your holiday withAlfred&

Your journey will start with one of our UK team – someone like Malcolm, who's travelled extensively in India. They’ll shape your ideas into the trip of a lifetime. But they won't do it alone. They'll draw on the expertise of our contacts on the ground, connecting you to the people who'll make your holiday one you'll always remember.

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