Home to the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government in exile, Dharamsala is one of Himalchal Pradesh’s most fascinating destinations. Originally a British hill station spread across wooded ridges below the peaks of the Dhauladhar Range, it was transformed into a center for Tibetan culture when the young Dalai Lama settled here after the Chinese invasion of Tibet in 1959. Today it is bustling with temples, nunneries, and meditation centers and is a place of pilgrimage for Buddhists from all over the world. Our extension also includes an overnight in Amritsar, holy city of Sikhs, with a visit to the resplendent Golden Temple, built by Guru Arjan Dev in the late 16th century.
Delhi / Amritsar
Transfer to the airport in the morning and fly from Delhi to Amritsar, arriving around 1:00 pm. This afternoon, meet your guide and driver and visit the serene Harmandir Sahib, or “Golden Temple.” The opulent building is the spiritual center of the Sikh faith, and many believers take at least one pilgrimage here to listen to the music and bathe in the purifying waters of the temple’s “pool of immortality.” We relax by the Harmandir Sahib’s lake during sunset, listening to the music from the temple. Overnight at Hyatt Amritsar. Meals on your own. Your guide is happy to make recommendations with options to go as fancy or as local as you wish.
A five-hour drive meandering through the Himalayan foothills brings us to Dharamsala (6,500'), and our accommodations, the Grace Cottage Hotel. This evening, enjoy an optional visit to the Dharamsala bazaar, a lively marketplace brimming with local delights, or relax in your comfortable room overlooking the valley. Overnight at Grace Cottage Hotel...BLD
We make our way to the Forsyth Ganj and nearby McLeod Ganj, nestled below the peaks of the Dhauladhar Range. We visit the Namgyal Monastery, the personal monastery of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the Church of St. John in the Wilderness, a neo-Gothic stone church dating to 1860 surrounded by dense cedar trees, and the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, which holds an extensive collection of Tibetan manuscripts and sacred texts. Overnight at Grace Cottage Hotel...BLD
Today finds us deep in Tibetan culture as we visit the Tibetan Medical Institute and learn about environmentally safe practices of Tibetan medicine, and the Dolmaling Nunnery where more than 200 nuns dedicate themselves to higher Buddhist education and learn modern skills. We also explore the Norbulingka Cultural Institute, dedicated to the preservation of Tibetan arts and culture. Overnight at Grace Cottage Hotel...BLD
Delhi / Depart
After a five-hour drive to Amritsar in the morning, bid farewell to your guide and driver and take an afternoon flight to Delhi. Day rooms will be held for you at the Radisson Blu Airport Hotel until your late-evening transfer to the airport for homeward-bound flights...BL