North India Himalaya Explorer - 12 days/11 nights
New Delhi - Amritsar - Dharamsala - Shimla - Rishikesh - Haridwar
Highlighting India’s diverse religions, culture and landscape, this adventurous tour takes you north from New Delhi to the Pakistan border at Amritsar, then east to the Dalai Lama's current refuge in Dharamsala in the Himalaya foothills,and on to the ancient Hindu pilgrimage towns and British hill stations of Shimla, Rishikesh, and Haridwar on the Ganges River.
This tour involves a couple of train rides from and to New Delhi and spends much of the time in the Himalaya foothills, which makes it an excellent option for experiencing India in the summer months from April through September. Accommodation isn't luxurious, but you can stay in former summer homes of the Indian Royalty and British Raj in these forested hill stations.
Local Guides and Private Car with Driver! Whether you are a single person, a couple, or a group, you'll have your own driver for all airport pickups, dropoffs, and daily excursions, plus local, English-speaking guides for your tours.
Choose Your Own Dates! This is not a fixed-departure-date tour. Just let us know the dates that work best for you and we will arrange everything.
Customizable! Need more time? Less time? Want to see or do something that isn't mentioned in the itinerary? Just let us know.
What Our Clients Say - Our clients can't wait to tell us how their trips went: Client Feedback
- Amritsar and the Sikh Golden Temple
- The pomp and circumstance of the Pakistan Wagah Border Ceremony
- Dharamsala, the home of the Dalai Lama
- Rishikesh, the yoga capital of the world, once visited by the Beatles
- The ghats on the Ganges River at Haridwar
Humayun's Tomb, New Delhi
Day 1: Arrive New Delhi
Arrive in New Delhi where you’ll be welcomed by our airport representative and transferred to your hotel for check in. Overnight in New Delhi.
Day 2: New Delhi
Your guide and driver will meet you at your hotel and take you on a tour of the best sites of New Delhi. Start in the southern end of the city with a visit to the Qutab Minar, the tallest stone tower in India, followed by Humayun’s Tomb, a grand example of Indo-Persian style architecture similar to the Taj Mahal. After lunch, take a short walk through the bustling Chandi Chowk shopping area in Old Delhi, and visit the adjacent Jama Masjid, the largest mosque in India. Continue to the serene park setting of Raj Ghat, the cremation site of Mahatma Gandhi. Finally, visit the Laxmi Narayan Hindu Temple near Connaught Place, the heart of Delhi where you can shop or have dinner. Overnight in New Delhi. (Breakfast)
Day 3: New Delhi to Amritsar
After breakfast, transfer to the train station for a 6-hour train ride to Amritsar. Your guide will help you board the train and find your seat. Upon arrival, you will be welcomed at the platform and transferred to your hotel for check in. Late afternoon, drive about 45 minutes to the Pakistan border at Wagah for the “Beating the Retreat” ceremony. Each day at sunset, soldiers from both countries march in an amazing spectacle of pomp and circumstance while crowds watch and cheer them taking down their respective national flags. Overnight in Amritsar. (Breakfast)
Day 4: Amritsar to Dharamsala
After breakfast, visit the Golden Temple. Originally a small lake in the midst of a quiet forest, the site has been a meditation retreat for wandering mendicants and sages for hundreds of years. Your guide will explain the Sikh Temple as you view the glimmering inner chambers, where the holy texts are kept, and the community kitchen, which provides free meals for more than 40,000 people a day. Afternoon, drive east about 5 hours to Dharamsala. Set against the backdrop of the stunning Dhauladhar Mountains, Dharamsala is sometimes referred to as “Little Tibet” because it is now home to the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government in exile. After checking into your hotel, the evening is free to explore Dharamsala. Overnight in Dharamsala. (Breakfast)
Day 5: Dharamsala
Enjoy breakfast and views of the sunrise over the Himalayas at your hotel. Today visit the Norbulingka Institute, an educational and historical institute dedicated to preserving Tibetan culture and providing employment for Tibetan refugees living in India. See the world's finest thangka painters, copper sculptors, wood carvers and appliqué artists as they create traditional art work and handicrafts in their workshops. Here you will learn about Tibetan culture and witness the merging of new lifestyles with ancient traditions for many young Tibetans who call India their home. Later visit St. John's Church and enjoy a nature walk in local tea gardens. Overnight in Dharamsala. (Breakfast)
Day 6: Dharamsala to Shimla
After breakfast, drive 6-7 hours to Shimla. Situated in the northwest Himalayas, Shimla is the Capital of the Himachal Pradesh and was the summer capital of the British Raj. The drive is incredibly scenic through dense forests of oak, pine, fur and rhododendron and offers an opportunity to see the daily life of Indians in Himalayan villages. Check into your hotel and enjoy a free evening in Shimla. We suggest taking a walk through the city's mall street, which is Shimla's social and economic hub and comes alive in the evenings. Overnight in Shimla. (Breakfast)
Day 7: Shimla
This morning, drive 25 minutes to visit a lookout point in the nearby village of Fagu with 360-degree panoramic views of the Himalayas. Tour the former capitol building, now the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies, the Gaiety Theatre, the Mall, and the Christ Church. Overnight in Shimla. (Breakfast)
Day 8: Shimla to Rishikesh
Enjoy breakfast at your hotel, then drive about seven hours through beautiful forested villages to Rishikesh, a pilgrimage city and destination for Hindu and Yoga devotees from all over the world. The evening is free. Overnight in Rishikesh. (Breakfast)
Day 9: Rishikesh
Today tour Rishikesh. Visit the Shivananda Ashram, the Nikantha Mahadev Temple, the Shri Tryambakeshwar Temple and the Triveni Ghat. Enjoy a rest in the afternoon and then return to the main ghat at sunset to witness the chanting and prayers at the Aarti Ceremony on the river. Overnight in Rishikesh. (Breakfast)
Day 10: Rishikesh to Haridwar
The morning is free to explore the temples and ghats on your own. In the afternoon, drive 30 minutes to Haridwar. Visit the Ghats in Haridwar this evening at sunset for the Aarti ceremony. Overnight in Haridwar. (Breakfast)
Day 11: Haridwar
Today tour Haridwar. Visit the colorful temples for which city is known, then continue to Har Ki Pauri, the main ghat on the Ganges and the religious and social focal point of the city. Spend the afternoon near the river where you can immerse yourself in the culture and energy of this holy city and explore the nearby market. Overnight in Haridwar. (Breakfast)
Day 12: Haridwar to New Delhi for Departure
Wake early for your 5-hour train to New Delhi. Upon arrival, you will be met at the platform by our representative. A car and driver is available for you until you need to be at the airport for your flight home. (Breakfast)
End of Services
Taj Mahal Extension
If you have more time in India, please consider adding a day trip by train from New Delhi to Agra to see the Taj Mahal. Contact us for details.
Per Person Rates (based on double occupancy) start from:
Contact Us for advice on hotels and a quote based on your choice.
Please note that peak season supplements for stays over Christmas and New Years may apply.
- Arrival and departure airport transfers
- Hotel accommodation on double occupancy basis inclusive of taxes and service charges
- Transportation by air conditioned car
- Meals as listed in the itinerary
- Services of a local, English-speaking guide for tours and excursions
- All tours and activities mentioned in the itinerary, including entrance fees
- Train transportation in an A/C Chair car from
- New Delhi to Amritsar
- Haridwar to New Delhi
Rates do not Include
International flights, airport taxes, visa fees, lunches or dinners except as noted in the itinerary, tips for driver and guides, and expenses of a personal nature.
To Book This Tour
Please call us toll free at 1-877-362-2793 and let us know that you would like to book this tour. Then follow these instructions:
- Download, print, and fill out the Reservation Form for each person.
- Fax the form to us at 206-529-4803, or mail it to:
Red Lantern Journeys
1000 N. Northlake Way, Suite H
Seattle, WA 98103
- Pay a non-refundable $500 per person deposit and we will initiate your reservations.
- Final payment is due 75 days prior to departure.
If your reservation is made less than 75 days prior to departure, the non-refundable deposit will allow us to initiate reservations. Full payment will be due immediately upon confirmation of all hotels and transportation services. If the services quoted cannot be confirmed, alternate accommodation or transportation will be arranged and the price will be adjusted accordingly.
Payments can be made by personal check, bank wire transfer, or credit card. Upon receipt of your deposit, we will initiate your reservations and send you a statement showing your payment. Approximately 4 weeks prior to your departure, we will send you a final confirmation package containing your itinerary and detailed information on the logistics of your trip.
Forms to Download (pdf file)
Reservation Form with Complete Terms and Conditions
- Cancel more than 60 days prior to departure - forfeit your deposit.
- Cancel between 30 and 60 days prior to departure - forfeit 50% of the tour cost.
- Cancel less than 30 days prior to departure - NO REFUND of tour cost.
- Cancellations must be made in writing and sent via mail, fax, or email to Red Lantern Journeys.
- Refunds will be processed within 30 days of receipt of your written request.
- No refunds are available for unused services or tours during your trip.