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Himalayan Mountains, Kumaon, India

Journey through the Himalayan Foothills



12 Days

Prices Start from

£3,450pp (ex. flights)

This 12-day, culturally varied journey takes you through the Himalayan region of Punjab in north-west India.


Visit the Punjabi capital of Amritsar before ascending by road and rail through the green tea estates of the Kangra Valley, to reach the lofty heights of Dharamshala and Shimla.

Key Highlights of this Itinerary

Golden Temple, Amritsar, Punjab, India 1

Visit the Magnificent Golden Temple

Witness the breathtaking spectacle of the Golden Temple in Amritsar.

Narrow guage railway, Shimla, Himalayas, India 2

Experience the Toy Train

Take a ride on a narrow-gauge Himalayan railway to view spectacular mountain scenery.

Kalaczakra Temple, Dharamsala, India 3

Visit the Home Town of the Dalai Lama

Converse with Buddhist monks at the Dalai Lama Temple in Mcleodganj, Dharamshala.

Viceregal Lodge, Shimla, Himalayas, India 4

Explore the History of Shimla

Take a walk through Shimla with a historian, learning about the summer capital of British India.

Why we like it

This holiday idea is perfect for those who want to experience glorious mountain scenery, charming hill stations and key religious centres in the Himalayan foothills. Start your journey in Amritsar, home to the magnificent Golden Temple, the spiritual nerve centre of the Sikh faith. Accompanied by our resident guide, visit the community kitchen where they feed thousands of people a day. Attend the evening ‘putting to bed ceremony’ and visit Wagah near the Pakistan border for the nightly show of closing the border. Travel through the Kangra valley, home to lush green tea estates and farmland and take a ride on the mountain railway. Visit Mcleod Ganj, home of the current Dalai Lama, then continue to Shimla to explore the summer capital of British India.

Included as Standard

Airport VIP meet and greet, a bottle of wine on arrival, a spa treatment, a dedicated member of our team available 24/7, an upgrade at one of your chosen hotels and cars with Wi-Fi connectivity.

Explore our suggested itinerary

  • Day 1


  • Day 2

    Delhi - Amritsar

  • Day 3


  • Day 4

    Amritsar - Dharamshala

  • Day 5


  • Day 6

    Dharamshala - Palampur

  • Day 7

    Palampur - Pragpur

  • Day 8


  • Day 9

    Pragpur - Shimla

  • Day 10


  • Day 11

    Shimla - Chandigarh

  • Day 12

    Chandigarh - Delhi

Day 1


Day 2

Delhi - Amritsar

Golden Temple, Amritsar, Punjab, India

Witness the impressive spectacle of the Golden Temple in Amritsar.

Day 3


Day 4

Amritsar - Dharamshala

Day 5


Kalaczakra Temple, Dharamsala, India

Converse with Buddhist monks at the Dalai Lama Temple in Mcleodganj, Dharamshala.

Day 6

Dharamshala - Palampur

Day 7

Palampur - Pragpur

Day 8


Day 9

Pragpur - Shimla

View of Shimla, Himalayas, India

Take a walk through Shimla with a historian, learning about the summer capital of British India.

Day 10


Day 11

Shimla - Chandigarh

Day 12

Chandigarh - Delhi

Our travel experts can tailor this itinerary to suit you.

More details

Golden Temple, Amritsar, India
Amritsar, India

The Holy City of Amritsar and the Golden Temple

A good place to start your Punjabi adventure is in Amritsar, home to the Golden Temple and spiritual nerve centre of the Sikh faith. Amritsar is a pleasant city to explore on foot with your guide, who will make sure you experience some of the most extraordinary sights. Join the community kitchen in the early morning and help to make some chapattis for the 30,000 people it feeds each day. Experience the evening ‘putting to bed ceremony’ of the holy book as it is ceremoniously returned to its resting place where it spends the night. The chanting, blessings and music are very special to be part of. For the theatre of it, visit Wagah near Amritsar on the Pakistan border, for the nightly ‘closing the border ceremony’. Your stay in Amritsar will be enlightening as well as enriching.



Trains, India

Ride on the Historical Kangra Mountain Railway

Through the dark green flanks of oak and deodar clad hillsides, you can glimpse the snowy white peaks of the Himalayas. Palampur and Pragpur are pretty hill-top villages providing the perfect territory for some gentle hiking and one of the most fantastic narrow-gauge rail journeys.

Nearly a century old, the Kangra Mountain Railway continues to function, albeit slowly, through the foothills. As you trundle gently along you experience deep gorges scarred by rivers and silver streams, feathery pine forests and fields of mustard basking yellow in the sun and terraced fields across valleys, rippling with wheat. Undulating tea gardens are dotted with the worker’s red headscarves and the ochre colour of the village huts. This is a special journey indeed.

Temple, Dharamashala, India
Dharamsala, India

The Dalai Lama and Dharamshala

Exchange Hindu shrines for Buddhist prayer flags at Dharamshala and McLeod Ganj, the residence of the current 14th Dalai Lama. This area became a settlement of Tibetan Buddhism from 1960 following their exile from Tibet. The journey to reach Dharamshala is a beautiful drive, through cedar-covered hills with stunning views towards the Himalayan peaks. In contrast to Hindu/Sikh Amritsar, this region is predominately Buddhist. Converse with a monk and learn about life in this small corner of Tibetan India. During your stay, you will understand more of their quest to preserve their traditional arts, crafts and unique culture.

View of Shimla, Himalayas, India
Shimla, India

Shimla - Summer Retreat and Hill Station

What better way to explore the summer capital of British India than in the company of a local author who is well-versed in the history of Shimla. Christianity made a late appearance after the arrival of the British less than 150 years ago. You will see the Christ Church dominating the ridge of Shimla. Visit other landmark buildings along with the Jakhu temple, the Viceregal Lodge, Chadwick Falls and the local downtown bazaars. Take a ride on the narrow-gauge railway which links Shimla to Kalka, an important rail link built in 1924. Its “toy trains” still ply between the two stations, passing through 105 tunnels and beautiful railroad stations. At every stop on the journey, you will see smiling faces giving a warm welcome.

Location Views, Shakti 360 Leti, Kumaon, India
Kumaon, India

Shakti Villages Walks

Combine driving through the western Himalayas with a few days of walking. The Shakti Village Walks were conceptualised to facilitate an authentic ‘underfoot’ experience and provide a ‘snapshot’ of rural life in the Himalayan foothills. Shakti offers a rare opportunity to discover the compelling beauty of this region, combining an honest and sustainable approach with sophisticated simplicity and style. The walks traverse the terraced foothills with overnight ‘homestays’ in various villages. The finale of the walk is arriving by a dramatic trail at 360º Leti. Situated on a stunning mountain spur close to where Nepal, Tibet and India meet and with mind-blowing views of the Great Himalayan Range. On arrival at Leti, enjoy the outstanding mountain scenery and rest the legs with a good book.

Outdoor Jacuzzi, View of Himalayas, Wildflower Hall, Oberoi, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, India
Oberoi Wildflower Hall, Shimla, India

Trip Extension Suggestion

Why not extend your stay in Shimla and treat yourself to a relaxing stay at Wildflower Hall, a short 45-minute drive out of Shimla. Once the estate of Lord Kitchener, today this mountain retreat, managed by Oberoi is a little slice of heaven. The views are simply magical and the well thought through activities and spa programmes will keep you busy.

A note on price

Prices will vary depending on the time of year you are travelling. Prices do not include international flights. Please ask one of our Travel Experts for an accurate quote. Flights purchased through Steppes Travel departing from the UK are ATOL protected.

This Itinerary
From £3,450 Per person

When to travel

India in January

January is a very popular time to travel to India, due to mild temperatures and very little rainfall. The climate varies across India from snow in the Northern States to the Southern regions experiencing daily sunshine – perfect for an escape to Kerala’s beaches.

India in February

During peak season, February is an ideal month to travel to India, experiencing all regions of the country from Rajasthan in the North to Karnataka in the South.

India in March

Temperatures begin to rise with March typically being the last month of the peak season. A significant month for religious, Hindu festivals, March can become busy in some regions however also a perfect time to travel to experience Indian culture and wildlife.

India in April

With temperatures starting to rise, regions in Northern India start to become more accessible with excellent opportunities to discover hiking trails and the wildlife of these regions. Temperatures can sometimes exceed 40°C, with high levels of humidity in Southern India.

India in May

From May to September, Monsoon rains affect the North and Central states of India with daily rainfall and thunderstorms. During the Monsoon season, it is best to experience high altitude regions and avoid beach resorts.

India in June

Most regions of India will experience the Monsoon season in June alongside high daily temperatures and high levels of humidity. Whilst, not a popular time to travel, experience the mountainous regions as opposed to Central India to experience slightly cooler temperatures at the start of the month.

India in July

At the peak of the Monsoon season, most of the country experiences frequent, heavy rainfall. Whilst travel plans may be interrupted due to the climate, it is a great time to visit India to experience the national parks and the great outdoors.

India in August

As the Monsoon continues, the climate is very similar to that of June and July. Whilst not a suitable time to travel to India’s Southern beaches, other Northern Regions are popular with locals for hiking and outdoor pursuits.

India in September

As the final month of the Monsoon season, rainfall will be less frequent with the occasional sunny spell showcasing the lush, green vegetation that has flourished during the heavy rains.

India in October

As the monsoon rains have finished, humidity levels remain high and the peak travel season begins. During the month of October, there are lots of religious festivals, including Diwali, where some regions may become busier with domestic tourists.

India in November

As one of the best times to visit the country, November brings comfortable temperatures for sightseeing with the monsoon rains dying out from October. As the temperatures drop, however, Northern India and the Himalayas will become less accessible.

India in December

In December, temperatures and climate will be dependant on the region. In the Southern States, India will see a pleasant and mild climate, ideal for sightseeing, whereas, in Northern India and mountainous regions, snow and cold temperatures are likely.

Holiday Inspiration

Our experts have created and curated these tailor-made holiday ideas to get you started. Take the time to search through them and find something that is the spark for your unique adventure.

Why Choose Steppes?

Our knowledge and expertise set us apart. So too our curiosity. It is this that drives us to create a journey that is really bespoke to you, all the while ensuring we travel and operate sustainably.

Are you ready to discover extraordinary once again?

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