SERENE, TRANQUIL, LIFE CHANGING
A Wonderful trek through the Himalayas that includes a visit to the delightful hill stations of Dharamsala and the adjacent quaint and charmingly distinct McLeod Ganj, home to the Dalai Lama and a vibrant Tibetan community. Our carefully planned itinerary offers magnificent views of the Dhauladhar range, the beautiful Kangra valley and an amazing experience of Pragpur, a heritage village. North of the Punjab plains and rising to 5,000 meters above sea level, lay the southernmost ridges of the India Himalayas, the Dhauladhar. Here, amongst these ‘White Mountains’, the British established several hill stations, including Dharamsala and McLeod Ganj, which is today the ‘Sharma and Karma’ capital, home to Tibet’s popular leader, the Dalai Lama.
After a day’s exploration of this colourful Buddhist place of pilgrimage we trek through pretty villages and high pastures on the south side of the ranges, following trails used for centuries by local shepherds. Gaining height gradually and walking foe an average of just 4 hrs each day, we enjoy a series of scenic camping sites with plentiful opportunities to meet friendly villagers. Camping at Triund (2,850m), allows for particularly fine views of the peaks and ridges of Dhauladhars. There is also time to see local craftsmen at work, visit the tea capital of the region and stay in a delightful old manor house in the World Heritage Village of Pragpur.
- McLeod Ganj – Home to the Dalai Lama, with a vibrant Tibetan community, requented by celebrities
- Dharamsala – Surrounded by dense coniferous forests
- Triund – the highest point at the foot of the Dhauladhar range
- Andretta – a small village in Kangra Valley known for its pottery
- Pragpur village – a Heritage village known for its historical, cultural and religious importance
Day 1 - 2Traditional welcome on arrival
Arrive at the International airport of Delhi. After the traditional welcome, transfer to the hotel for overnight stay.
In the afternoon we visit the walled city of Old Delhi; crowded, full of activity and still influenced by the great Mughals who once ruled from the ramparts of the majestic Red Fort Delhi. Here we visit Jama Masjid Delhi - the largest 17th century mosque in India; Chandni Chowk - the typical Indian market always abuzz with activities; and Rajghat - the memorial of Mahatma Gandhi (also called the 'Father of the Nation’). We also visit New Delhi where we drive past the Presidential Palace, Secretariat Buildings and down the impressive Rajpath to India Gate .
In the evening, we are transferred to the Railway station to board our overnight train to Pathankot. It is said that the journey is half the experience as we move from the crowds and chaos of the Delhi Railway Station to the rustic scenes of life in the countryside.
Day 3Arrival in morning at Pathankot and drive to Dharamsala
Pathankot - Mcleod Ganj
In the afternoon,we have a walking tour of the town and its environs that includes visiting the Dalai Lama’s Complex, the Tibetan Library and St John’s Church. Evening is free to explore the local bazaar of this beautiful town.
Day 4Trek to Kareri Village (1985m)
Mcleod Ganj - Kareri Village
Today we meet the trekking crew and begin our trek. We walk from McLeod Ganj (1,760m) to Kareri village (1,985m). This gentle ascent and walk takes us through traditional Gaddi shepherd villages and terraced fields of rice and barley. We set up our camp at a beautiful site by a river and watermill. The rest of the day is free to explore the village.
Duration of Trek: 4 Hrs
Distance: 13 Kms
Day 5Trek to Barlai Village
Kareri Village - Barlai Village (2475m)
After the breakfast, we enjoy a gentle walk from Kareri to Barlai village (2,475m). We ascend gradually through village fields and rhododendron forests. These forests are home to pheasants, bears and leopards (since the latter too animals are found only in the remote areas of the forests they are unlikely to be sighted). Around midday, we stop for a relaxed lunch and then complete our walk to overnight camp at Barlai Village.
Duration of Trek: 4 Hrs
Distance: 8 Kms
Day 6Trek to Dharamkot (2000m)
Barlai Village (2475m) - Dharamkot
Today it is going to be a slightly longer but very spectacular day as we walk through a woodland reserve overlooking the beautiful Kangra Valley. Our today’s destination is the village of Dharamkot at approx. 2,000m. This village is inhabited by Gaddis and its location offers more sensational views of the Dhauladhar. Dharamkot was the chosen retirement home of the English artist, Alfred Hallett whose paintings are still exhibited in Dharamsala. We set up our camp outside the village.
Duration of Trek: 5 Hrs
Distance: 10 Kms
Day 7Trek to Triund
Dharamkot - Triund
After breakfast we continue our trek towards the highest point of our trekking at Triund (2,850m). The path from Dharamkot takes us steadily uphill for around 3 hours through forests of deodar and rhododendron to a ridge where we have superb views of the snow-covered mountains of Dhauladhar. The panorama extends out across the Kangra Valley and down to McLeod Ganj. We camp overnight on the ridge.
Day 8Trek till McLeodGanj and drive to Andretta
Triund - Mcleod Ganj
This morning, we return to McLeod Ganj about 10km away, and mostly downhill. This walk takes around 3-4 hours and concludes the trek.
Duration of Trek: 4 Hrs
Distance: 10 Kms
Mcleod Ganj - Andretta
After the lunch, we drive to Andretta. This small Kangra Village, with its perfect climate and beautiful Himalayan setting, is widely known as an artistic enclave for its pottery. It’s quiet and meditative environment is also bursting with inspiration from all sides, from the snow-white mountains surrounding it to the vast plains that lie beyond. Here we visit a studio to see the potters working and selling their wares. We stay overnight at a restored private house.
Day 9Drive to Pragpur via Palampur
Andretta - Pragpur
Today we drive down to the town of Palampur, which is surrounded by tea gardens-making it the tea capital of northwest India. Upon arrival, we visit the tea gardens and see the processes involved in its production followed by lunch in Palampur. This hill station is not only known for its numerous tea gardens and paddy fields but also for its colonial architecture and temples. In the afternoon, we continue by road to Pragpur, a World Heritage Village, where we check into our accommodation in the ‘Judges Court’. This lovingly restored 300-year-old manor house and associated cottage is set in its own gardens and has an ambiance reminiscent of the days of the Raj.
Day 10Drive to Pathankot and overnight train to Delhi
Pragpur - Pathankot
After breakfast the morning is free to relax at the hotel or to explore the local area. The town of Pragpur is very interesting and remains largely unchanged from a century ago, with cobbled streets, an ornamental village tank and houses built of stone and mud-daub with slate roofs
In the afternoon, we make the scenic drive through the Himalayan foothills down to Pathankot where we board the overnight sleeper train to Delhi.
Day 11Arrival in morning and departure to airport towards evening
Early morning arrival and transfer to the hotel where you can refresh yourself.
Check-out from the hotel and transfer to the International airport or any point of convenience for onward journey to respective countries.