Secrets of Kashmir

    New Delhi, India

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    Book this tour through our partner: MT Sobek

    Unravel the mysteries of Kashmir, recently opened to tourism, on this behind-the-scenes journey through one of India's most remote regions. Trek the pristine mountains around Srinagar, take tea with local villagers, visit Lake Dal's vibrant floating market, and tour the mythical "Seat of Solomon." Experience the deep spirituality of the Dalai Lama's community in Dharamsala, behold the magnificent Sikh Golden Temple at Amritsar, and witness the colorful pageantry of the Wagah border ceremony. All this plus classic Tibetan, Indian, and Kashmiri meals equals the cultural exploration of a lifetime!


    Arrive in New Delhi

    Welcome to India! Arrive at Indira Gandhi International Airport in vibrant New Delhi and transfer to the luxury Taj Mahal (Taj Man Singh) Hotel.

    See the Sights of Historic Delhi

    After our welcome breakfast, tour New Delhi today, beginning with a drive through Lutyens' Delhi, named for the British architect who was responsible for much of the building during the British Raj. Pass the Presidential Palace, the imposing 138-foot-tall India Gate, and Birla House, former residence of Mahatma Gandhi. Take an afternoon walk through stunning UNESCO-listed Humayun's Tomb and Lodhi Gardens. Dinner is on your own.

    Fly to Dharamsala & Explore the Dalai Lama Temple

    Fly to Dharamsala, the seat of his holiness the Dalai Lama. In the afternoon, take a serene kora (circumambulation) of the Dalai Lama Temple and Namgyal Monastery, strolling with the monks as they chant, and learning about the various deities and forms of the Buddha. Within the complex is Kalchakra Temple, whose empowerment ceremonies are believed to contribute to world harmony.

    Experience Tibetan Rituals & Traditions

    Visit the Tibetan Parliament and, time permitting, the Tibetan Traditional Medicine and Wellness Centre to meet a traditional healer. Travel to Gyuto Monastery, famous for its tantric rituals. Explore the workshops of craftsmen practicing traditional Tibetan painting and woodcarving. Conclude with an exclusive tour of the Zen-inspired Dolma Ling Nunnery, where the nuns spend up to three years in solitude!

    Enjoy a Scenic Hike in the Himalayan Foothills

    Drive to the Gallu Devi Temple above Dharamkot, surrounded by pristine forests. Head out for a scenic 4.5-hour forest trek to Triund (9,275') in the foothills of the mighty Himalayas, offering spectacular views of the Dhauladar Mountains and the Kangra Valley. Return to Dharamsala and enjoy some free time before dinner.

    Arrive in Amritsar & Sundown Flag Ceremony

    Today drive to Amritsar, capital of the state of Punjab, and check into your hotel. In the afternoon, travel to the Wagah border for VIP access to the extraordinary sundown flag ceremony. The sight of soldiers from Pakistan and India, dressed in fantastically ornate uniforms and good-naturedly trying to outdo each other in pomp and pageantry, is an experience you'll never forget. Return to Amritsar and make a quick photo stop at the Golden Temple, spectacularly lit at night.

    Explore the Magnificent Golden Temple

    This morning, you’ll tour the magnificent Golden Temple in Amritsar, the holiest temple of the Sikh faith. You’ll visit the inner sanctum, climb to the roof for an amazing view of the city, and see the world’s largest kitchen, which offers free meals to some 50,000 people each day, regardless of caste or religion. Next, take a short rickshaw ride through the lanes of the old town, filled with tea and spice traders. This afternoon, fly to Srinagar, where you’ll visit the Mughal pleasure gardens and the Palace of the Fairies, overlooking jewel-like Dal Lake.

    Meet Locals in Pahalgam, Valley of the Shepherds

    Depart Srinagar and head to remote Pahalgam, Valley of the Shepherds. Here, visit the Shepherd Project, which helps native Gujjar women sustain themselves through traditional weaving and embroidery. Meet the women and hear their stories as you join them for tea. Return to your hotel in Pahalgam for a traditional Tarami dinner.

    Scenic Trek in the Aru Valley

    Head out after breakfast for a drive to the scenic Aru Valley and begin your trek through pristine meadows and thick pine forests, visiting the local shepherd communities along the way. Enjoy a picnic lunch in the wilderness, ending with traditional Kashmiri saffron tea and the local kalari cheese, a dense ripened cheese indigenous to the region. Return to Srinagar for dinner at your leisure.

    Walking Tour of Old Srinagar

    Step back in time on a walking tour of old Srinagar. Wander through ancient spice and fabric markets, and metal workshops. Pay a visit to Budshah Tomb, resting place of King Zain al Abidin, and two incredible mosques — the lavishly decorated, 13th-century Khanqah of Shah Hamadan, and the immense Jama Masjid, built in 1400. Both feature an unusual blend of Buddhist, Hindu, and Islamic designs. Explore mysterious Shankaracharya Temple, an ancient temple to Shiva. After lunch, visit Hazratbal, one of the holiest places in the state, housing a relic of the Prophet Mohammed.

    Boat on Lake Dal & Hike in Dachigam National Park

    After breakfast, depart for a hike in unspoiled Dachigam National Park. A top naturalist offers insights on the local plant and animal life. Take a shikara (classic wooden boat) ride on Lake Dal to see how the 150,000 people live on the lake — with schools, shops, homes and floating farms. Enjoy onboard tea service as you cruise through the communities. This evening, wrap up your fascinating Kashmir journey with a special farewell dinner accompanied by Sufi music.

    Depart from Delhi

    Fly back to Delhi and enjoy a relaxing afternoon at the day rooms of the JW Marriott. Transfer to the airport for your flight to home or onwards.


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    Duration: 12 Days
    Starts in: New Delhi, India
    Ends in: New Delhi, India
    Group Size: 5-14

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