Settled in the early 18th century by the French, Pondicherry on the Bay of Bengal in the state of Tamil ...
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Once you've arrived in Delhi, you'll be met and transferred to and afternoon flight to Amritsar and hotel check in.
This morning enjoy a tour of Amritsar, taking in the beautiful Golden Temple, considered the holiest shrine to Sikhs the world over, yet open to all. Surrounded by a complex of sparkling white marble and a lake for purification the lavishly guilded temple with bulbous golden domes houses the Adi Granth, the book of teachings for the Sikh faith. This evening we drive to the Wagah Border crossing (a land crossing between India/Pakistan) to watch the highly animated ‘Flag Lowering’ ceremony - a must for any visitor to the north of India.
Driving north to Dharamsala offers some dramatic scenery, where rolling foothills rise high toward snow capped peaks. Dharamsala, the British hill station turned Tibetan settlement, home to the Dalai Lama and thousands of Tibetan refugees offers a sense of peace and tranquility to all those who arrive.
We have guided sightseeing of the area surrounding the Dalai Lama’s residence, Dharamsala’s main Buddhist Temple - Tsug Lakhang and the Norbulingka Institute - centre for Buddhist learning and handicrafts.
En route to Manali a stop is made at Palampur - a pretty hill station enclosed by aged British tea plantations. Touring a colonial plantation, set upon the mounting slopes of Kangra Valley, criss crossed by babbling brooks offers a chance to enjoy a fine cuppa. Arriving to Manali, the adventurous can opt to go white water rafting, mountain biking or skiing. Or simply spend the afternoon relaxing.
Enjoy a half day sightseeing tour of the city and an afternoon of leisure.
Continuing north and rising to 3980 metres above sea level along the Rhotang Pass we arrive at the village of Keylong - 120 km from the Tibetan border.
En route to Sarchu there is time to stop and explore Sahsur Gompa, a beautiful Buddhist Temple built in the 17th century housing priceless 5 metre ‘Tankha’, (wall painting) depicting all 84 sidhas of Buddhism.
Rudyard Kipling said of the region “Surely the Gods live here this is no place for men.” Travelling over the Tanglang La Pass at a dizzying height of 5350 metres confirms our arrival to the remote and sparsely populated region of Ladakh. Cradled by the Karakoram and the Great Himalayan ranges, the vast and often snow covered desert is often discribed as the last ‘Shangri-La’, (land of high mountain passes) and is one of the last enclaves of Mahayana Buddhism, Ladakh’s principle religion for nearly a thousand years, now much suppressed in its native homeland of Tibet. The following 3 days are spent exploring this delightful region.
We have a Leh city tour with visits to the Sankar Gompa and Shanti Stupa.
We have guided touring of Hemis Monastery, Shey Monastery - a former royal palace and Tikse Gompa - a 12 story high complex resembling Potala Palace in Lhasa, housing Buddhist art, statues, art and swords.
Alchi is set amongst the desolate gorges of the Indus River and spectacular mountains. Here we will visit the Alchi Gompa, a must see Buddhist Temple dating back to 1000 AD.
Today we head back to Leh.
Morning flight to Delhi and hotel check in upon arrival. The remainder of today and tomorrow offer free time to independently explore. Consider visits to the Red Fort, Qutab Minar and Raj Ghat.
We will transfer you to the airport in time for your departure flight.