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Escorted Tours

Spiritual India

  • Route:
  • UK
  • Delhi
  • Chandigarh
  • Amritsar
  • Dharamshala
  • Shimla
  • Haridwar
  • Rishikesh
  • Delhi
  • UK
TOUR PACE:
16 DAYS from £1839pp

Tour Highlights

  • Visit Amritsar, holy city of the Sikhs
  • Scenic drives through mountainous countryside
  • Visit Shimla, nestled in the Himalayan foothills
  • Witness the Riverside prayer ritual of Ganga Aarti
  • Full day tour of Delhi
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or call us on 0800 408 0506

Spiritual India

The holy cities of the Sikhs, sacred waters of the Ganges and spiritual retreats of Buddhist ashrams have given rise to the hauntingly beautiful religious ceremonies and ornate temples and shrines of India.

Tour Itinerary

Day 1: UK to Delhi

Depart London Heathrow on your scheduled overnight flight to Delhi.

    Day 2: Delhi

    On arrival in Delhi, you'll be met by our representative and transferred to your hotel. Enjoy your first Indian fare with lunch at your hotel then enjoy the rest of the day at leisure, exploring the sprawling metropolis of India's capital. Why not admire the sacred pool and gilded dome of the large Sikh complex of Gurdwara Bangla Sahib, see what lies beyond the marbled walls of the blossom-shaped Lotus Temple, or stroll the streets and take in the lively bustle and wafting smells of spicy food stalls before enjoying a welcome dinner in the evening.

    • Lunch & Dinner

    Day 3: Delhi to Chandigarh

    Depart Delhi this morning for the neat roads of Chandigarh, India's first planned city. Nestled at the foot of the Shivalik Hills, the French architect who planned this space replaced the haphazard layout of other Indian cities with the orderly, self-contained sectors which make up this city, the capital of Punjab and Haryana. Explore these distinct regions on a guided tour of this peaceful, green city.

    • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

    Day 4: Chandigarh to Amritsar

    Today's journey takes you to Amritsar, home to the Golden Temple which gives it its spiritual significance. Explore this sacred city of the Sikhs and its atmospheric surroundings at your leisure this afternoon. Enjoy the fascinating Maharaja Ranjit Singh Museum - the summer palace of the Maharaja who founded the Sikh empire, seek out one of the city's many temples or sip on a cold glass of the city's famed lassi, all at your own pace.

    • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

    Day 5: Amritsar

    Amritsar's Golden Temple is your first stop on today's half-day tour. Witness the marble sculptures, gleaming golden turrets, and jewel-studded interior of this holy shrine of the Sikhs, and the cleansing rituals of pilgrims who bathe in the waters that surround it. Visit the Commemorative gardens of Jallianwala Bagh where a memorial serves as a poignant reminder of the 1919 massacre of civilians by occupying forces. After lunch, enjoy an afternoon to explore at your own pace or perhaps join an optional excursion to the India-Pakistan border to experience the fascinating flag-lowering ceremony, a daily ritual where each country's soldiers compete to march, salute and shout better than the other.

    • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

    Day 6: Amritsar to Dharamshala

    After breakfast, embark on a scenic drive where your car will wind through the soaring snow-capped peaks of the Dhauladhar Range to Dharamshala, best known as the home of the Dalai Lama. Established by the British in 1815, today the city has a decidedly Tibetan flavour seen in the Tibetan handicrafts, restaurants and museums which abound in this area.

    • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

    Day 7: Dharamshala

    Explore Dharamshala and the upper Dharamshala area of McLeodganj, a region steeped in the religious rituals and structures of Buddhism. Visit the imposing hilltop location of Namgyal Monastery, the personal monastery of the Dalai Lama, then travel onward to the vivid murals of the Kalachakra Temple and the fascinating Norbulingka Institute, a key centre for Buddhist teaching opened to safeguard the survival of Tibetan Buddhism's cultural heritage.

    • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

    Day 8: Dharamshala to Shimla

    Journey to the Himalayan foothills and the city of Shimla nestled at its base. Set against the backdrop of the craggy peaks of the Himalayas, the colonial architecture, churches, temples and natural beauty of the city draw local and international visitors. Stop for lunch en route to Shimla and, on arrival, enjoy your evening at leisure in this mountainside retreat.

    • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

    Day 9: Shimla

    Use your day at leisure to unwind or immerse yourself in Shimla's spiritual landmarks and the tranquillity of the city centre, where traffic is banned. Follow the long, winding main street 'The Mall' to the numerous north Indian restaurants and shops of the area, or take in the exquisite stained glass windows and moving Raj-era memorials of Christ Church, Shimla's most prominent landmark.

    • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

    Day 10: Shimla

    This morning, you'll travel in style with a ride on the UNESCO recognised "Toy Train" - built for the British Viceroy and his delegates, the train is hauled along by a tiny diesel locomotive which rattles at a leisurely pace through breath-taking scenery to its final destination of Kalka. This afternoon travel to the neighbouring hill station of Kufri for a day of exploration in this charming town. Surrounded by the lush greenery of a forest reserve and lying under the imposing heights of the Mahsu Peak, the town enjoys fresh mountain air and sweeping views. Tour the magnificent Rashtrapati Niwas, the palatial former home of the British Viceroy, exploring its maze of corridors, grand wood-panelled rooms and the ancient articles and photographs of British rule in India.

    • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

    Day 11: Shimla to Haridwar

    Take in India's enchanting rural and city landscapes on this morning's drive as you make your way to Haridwar. On arrival, take a walking tour of a local market, where the smells of spiced pastries mix with the noise and bustle of vendors selling their wares. Walk to the shores of the Ganges, where chants and prayers fill the air and fire-lit offerings float along the river during the Ganga Aarti ceremony, a daily evening ritual dedicated to the gods and goddesses of the Ganges River. Every day hundreds of devotees participate in this ceremony, with numbers swelling to thousands on full moons or the eve of festivals. Witness this spell-binding ceremony before returning to your hotel for the night.

    • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

    Day 12: Haridwar to Rishikesh

    Located on the banks of the sacred Ganges River, Rishikesh is a famous Hindu religious destination, popular amongst devotees, yogis and adventurers. The city is known as the world capital of yoga and meditation, and India's sages have meditated here since ancient times. After a late afternoon arrival, acquaint yourself with this spiritual stronghold of northern India as you enjoy some time for sightseeing. In the evening, experience a second Ganga Aarti, soaking in this religious ceremony as the sun sets over Rishikesh.

    • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

    Day 13: Rishikesh

    Enjoy a day at leisure, with time to explore this city of the sages at your own pace. Why not explore the Tera Manzil Temple, a 13-storey shrine overlooking the Ganges, or visit the famed ashram of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, visited by the Beatles in the 1960s. After writing over 40 songs during their ashram stint, including a number of hit singles, their spiritual retreat inspired millions and sparked Western interest in Indian spirituality. Alternatively, take an optional evening excursion (at a fee) and return to the Ganges for an hour-long boat ride which ends with the sun setting over the water, ghats and bathers of this sacred river.

    • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

    Day 14: Rishikesh to Delhi

    A drive to Delhi takes you to the final stop on your Indian escape. Enjoy your afternoon at leisure in Delhi, with time to relax before tomorrow's full-day tour of Delhi's delights or explore the area further. Why not visit the 16th-Century Jama Masjid mosque, Shah Jahan's pre-Taj Mahal architectural feat, which offers fantastic views of Old Delhi from its minarets?

    • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

    Day 15: Delhi

    Admire the transition from Old Delhi's historic charms to New Delhi's detailed colonial town planning on today's rickshaw tour through the city. Travel past the imposing red sandstone exterior of the magnificent Red Fort and through Delhi's bustling streets to Humayun's Tomb, an elaborate mausoleum set in beautifully landscaped gardens. Journey onwards to the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial, draped in floral tributes, and the towering minaret and ruins of the ancient Qutab Minar complex.

    • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

    Day 16: Delhi to London

    After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your scheduled flight back to the UK.

    • Breakfast
    Your Meals
    • Included Breakfast will always be served at your accommodation each morning during the tour.
    • Included Lunch and Dinner, where included, will be served in local restaurants or at your accommodation.

    Important Information

    Visas

    A visa is required for entry into India. British Citizen Passport Holders will need to obtain an e-Tourist Visa (eTV) for travel to India. We work closely with The Travel Visa Company who will be able to arrange your visa on your behalf. Please call them on 01270 250 590 and quote "Mercury Holidays". The cost of the visa is approximately £96 per person. The Travel Visa Company can only apply for this 120 days before your proposed travel date and takes around 10 working days to issue. It is only valid for a 60-day single entry stay from the date of arrival. When calling the Travel Visa Company, they will advise you of any changes to the fees or the procedure, they will also advise you of all information they will require in order to apply for the visa. Alternatively, you can visit The Indian Visa Application Centre in London: 142-148 Goswell Road, London, EC1B 7DU.

    Payment

    If booking more than 10 weeks before departure a deposit of £250pp will need to be paid at the time of booking with the full amount payable at 10 weeks prior to departure. The deposit applies to adults and children. If you are within 10 weeks of travel then the full balance of the holiday will be payable.

    Flight Information

    Your flight is to Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi with Jet Airways (JIA) departing from
    London Heathrow Terminal 4. Each passenger is entitled to 23kg of hold luggage plus one item of hand luggage providing the exterior dimensions (height length width) do not exceed 115cm and 7kg in weight. Weight restrictions will be finalised on your e-ticket receipt. Should you wish to take additional luggage you will need to pay extra at check-in. Heathrow Airport advises that check-in should be three hours before your flight departure time. If you wish to arrange Airport car parking or accommodation at preferential rates, we recommend you book this in advance with Holiday Extras on 0871 360 2000, quoting HX313.

    Health and Vaccinations

    It is your responsibility to check any health and vaccination requirements applicable to your booked arrangements. We can only provide general information about this. Health and hygiene facilities and disease risks vary from country to country. You should take health advice about your own needs as early as possible and in sufficient time before your departure. Sources of information include; www.fco.gov.uk, www.travelhealthpro.org.uk, www.hpa.org.uk, your General Practitioner or a specialist clinic. It is not advisable to drink the tap water.

    Physical Accessibility

    This tour is accessible to most people with a good level of fitness and able mobility. It involves climbing steep stairs and getting on and off coaches and boats.

    Group Size

    The minimum number of travellers in your group will be 10. In the unlikely event, there are fewer than 10 passengers booked on your tour date, you may be asked to change to a different date. A full refund will be made available to you should this alternative not be suitable.

    Tour Guide

    This is a fully escorted tour, meaning that you will be met on arrival by your national guide who will remain with you for the duration of your trip. You will also be joined by a local guide in each of the cities which you visit, ensuring that you have first-hand knowledge at all times.

    Currency Information

    The currency in India is the Rupee or Rs. The Rupee is a closed currency and officially you are not allowed to take any cash out of India. US Dollars and GBP are also widely accepted in India should you wish to keep an alternative currency on you.

    Personal Expenses

    You will need to take some extra money with you to cover any personal purchases, such as souvenirs, laundry and extra drinks and snacks. Approximately £500 per person will be sufficient for the duration of the tour. Tipping is not compulsory and is at your discretion. Should you wish to tip, this will be collected by your guide at the end of your tour for your convenience. It is asked that if you do not tip in the local currency, please do not give coins as these are difficult to exchange.

    Tour Dates & Prices

    Depart UKArrive UKPrice
    2018 Dates
    08 May 201823 May 2018£1908
    04 Sep 201819 Sep 2018£1839
    25 Sep 201810 Oct 2018£1954
    16 Oct 201831 Oct 2018£2184
    13 Nov 201828 Nov 2018£2207
    2019 Dates
    15 Jan 201930 Jan 2019£2023
    05 Feb 201920 Feb 2019£2069
    19 Feb 201906 Mar 2019£2126
    12 Mar 201927 Mar 2019£2034
    16 Apr 201901 May 2019£1988
    07 May 201922 May 2019£1919
    03 Sep 201918 Sep 2019£1839
    24 Sep 201909 Oct 2019£1954
    15 Oct 201930 Oct 2019£2218
    12 Nov 201927 Nov 2019£2230

    Itinerary changes

    The order of events and sightseeing may vary according to local conditions or for operational purposes. Your local guide will inform you of any schedule changes as they are informed of them. Some road construction and/or weather conditions may lengthen the driving times. Our intention is to adhere to the day-to-day itinerary as printed; however, the order of events and sightseeing may vary according to local conditions.

    Tour Map

    Spiritual India Route Map

    Tour Dossiers

    2018 Dossier

    2019 Dossier

    Extensions

    • India
      Visit the Tigers of Ranthambore4 nights from £493pp View
    • Kerala
      Extend your tour with a Kerala Beach Stay4 nights from £528pp View

    Here to help

    • Get in touch with one of our experts on India
    • 0800 408 0506 (free)
    • (mobile friendly)
    • Request a call back

    Hotels and Accommodation

    Radisson Blu Dwarka

    Radisson Blu Dwarka

    Regenta Almeida

    Regenta Almeida

    Holiday Inn

    Holiday Inn

    Clouds End Villa

    Clouds End Villa

    Marigold Sarovar Portico

    Marigold Sarovar Portico

    Hotel Godwin

    Hotel Godwin

    Divine Resort

    Divine Resort

    Extensions

    Visit the Tigers of Ranthambore

    India

    Tour route

    • UK
    • Delhi
    • Chandigarh
    • Amritsar
    • Dharamshala
    • Shimla
    • Haridwar
    • Rishikesh
    • Delhi
    • Ranthambore
    • UK

    Once a famous hunting ground for the gallant rulers of Jaipur, Ranthambore National Park is spread over 1,344km2 and is one of the biggest national parks in India. Choose this extension to experience a variety of wildlife including tigers, leopards, deer and much more.

    View

    Extend your tour with a Kerala Beach Stay

    Kerala

    Tour route

    • UK
    • Delhi
    • Chandigarh
    • Amritsar
    • Dharamshala
    • Shimla
    • Haridwar
    • Rishikesh
    • Delhi
    • Kerala
    • UK

    Extend your tour with a relaxing beach stay in the Indian State of Kerala. Relax in the popular resort of Kovalam, known locally as the paradise of the south, amongst the coconut groves for which the town is famous.

    View

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