Day 1: Delhi
Arrival in Delhi and transfer to hotel near airport.
Day 2: Delhi
Afternoon sightseeing of Old & New Delhi (exact sites TBD based on the group's past India experiences, including a rickshaw ride through the old Chandi Chowk bazaar).
Day 3: Chandigarh - Shimla
We board Shatabdi Train Express to Chandigarh and drive to Shimla, in foothills of the Himalayas.
Day 4: Sarahan
Visit Jhaku (Hanuman) Temple in Shimla. Then drive to Sarahan, a beautiful village surrounded by apple orchards and dominated by Shrikhand Mahadev Peak (16908 Ft), which resembles the "Shivling."
Day 5-6: Kalpa
Drive to Kalpa, which boasts the best view that one can have of the mighty Kinner Kailash Range of the Greater Himalaya. Arrive in time for lunch at our hotel, the lovely Kinner Villa. Full day visits (easy walking) to the ancient and exquisite villages Chini, Peo, Kothi, Pangi and Telangi.
Day 7: Nako
The village of Nako lies at an altitude of 11890 ft, high above the vast stretch of Spiti Valley. It was once a very important center of Buddhism in the region. There are seven temples belonging to different periods of Buddhism between 11th and 12th centuries distributed all over the village, including a monastic complex on its western edge. Boasting four temples and a number of additional buildings, this complex preserves the earliest artistic heritage. The austere and unornamented exteriors of the buildings give little hint of its important artistic and spiritual legacy that lies within these walls.
Day 8: Tabo
Today we enter Spiti Valley. Geographically and archeologically, Spiti is a living museum. The mountains are devoid of any vegetation due to erosion by wind, sun and snow over thousands of years. Our vehicles climb up to the village Tabo (10000 Ft.). Built in the year 996 ACE. HH The Dalai Lama performed the Kalachakra teachings and ceremony here in 1996, being closest ever to Tibet.
Day 9-10: Kaza-Ki-Kibber-Gete-Kaza
We join the monks in their morning Puja (prayer) ceremony at Tabo monastery. Then drive to Dhankar, the ancient capital of Spiti. Dankar Gompa (12500 ft) was built in the 12th century.
Next, we drive to Lhalung, a magnificent village of just 45 houses. In this village stands the second most interesting monastery of Spiti. Like Tabo, it was designed as a Chokhor site, a place for learning and debate as opposed to a simple chapel for worship by the local people.
We experience the highest monastery that houses the oldest and largest collection of Tankha paintings in the world- Ki Monastery; the highest road-connected permanently inhabited village in Asia - Kibber and the highest vehicle fuel outlet in the world at Kaza.
Day 11: Kunzum Pass - Rohtang Pass - Manali
A thrilling drive over the famous Kunzum Pass, en-route visit Lahaul Valley. Aptly called no man's land, it is dominated by glaciers and rocky mountains cut across by the Chandra River. We pass the Bar Shingri Glacier, 25kms long and 3 kms wide, the largest glacier in Himachal Pradesh. We continue over the Rohtang Pass, where we will stop for refreshments and soak up the beauty.
Day 12: Manali
We enjoy an easy day of strolling around the picturesque "Valley of the Gods." Visit Dhungri Temple (also known as Hadimba Temple by locals) and the quaint village Nagar with its many ancient temples including the 11th-12th century Temple Gauri and the Tripura Sundri Devi Temple.
Day 13-14: Kullu-Bir-Baijnath-Taragarh
Drive through Kullu to Kangra, "Valley of Temples." We visit the most ancient and oldest existing Shiva temples at Baijnath. Baijnath houses one of the oldest existing Shiva temples. Just below the village is the Tashijong Gompa that is the focus of a small Tibetan community who hail from Kham province in Tibet.
We visit Sherab Ling Monastery, home of the 2003 Grammy winning chanting monks. (Best Traditional World Music Album). Sherab Ling Monastery nestles in the gentle pine-forested foothills of northern India's Kangra Valley, the seat of its founder His Eminence Ti Situpa XII, a leading Tibetan Buddhist teacher and peace campaigner. Here the monks perform mesmerizing prayer ceremonies, as part of their daily lives, originating many centuries ago in the great Buddhists monasteries of Tibet. We attend Mahakala Ceremony with the monks, the day's closing ritual.
Day 15: Norbulingka-Dharamsala
On way to Dharamsala (McLeod Ganj), the official residence of HH The Dalai Lama and seat of the Tibetan Government in exile we will visit the institute of Tibetan Arts and Handicrafts Norbulinka.
Day 16: Amritsar
Early morning departure to Amritsar, in the state of Punjab, in the Himalayan foothills. Amritsar, home of the Golden Temple, is one of the most ancient and fascinating cities in India. It is an important seat of Sikh history and culture. We spend the day visiting the Golden Temple Complex.
This evening we travel to Wagah, the border town between India and Pakistan, to arrive just before sunset to witness the flag ceremony between these two countries that were once one.
Day 17: Delhi-Depart
Fly to Delhi and Depart.