Flight - 1 night

Amritsar - 2 nights

Dharamsala - 2 nights

Pragpur - 1 night

Shimla - 3 nights

Delhi - 2 nights

Spendology - Widgets

Sikhs & Exiles

This rewarding journey takes you off the beaten track to Himalayan hill stations, heritage hotels, and the home of the Dalai Lama; revealing the history of Sikhism, Buddhism and Christianity

Touring to places of pilgrimage, ancient temples, and the enthralling enclave of Tibetan exiles; and witnessing sacred ceremonies and hypnotic religious chants; this tour takes you through the centuries and sanctuaries of northern India, amid the landscapes of the Himalayan foothills. Sikhism is relatively young, founded in the 15th century, and focused on Amritsar and the fabled Golden Temple, where the Palki ritual takes the Guru Granth Sahib book ‘to bed’ each night, and back to the temple every morning, symbolically treating the holy book as a human teacher. With the largest Tibetan temple outside Tibet, Dharamsala means “pilgrim’s rest”. Its high numbers of visiting ‘pilgrims’ may suggest that it’s no longer a ‘rest’, but in fact this beautiful home of Buddhism retains its ethereal spirituality, where the monastery and ‘Dalai Lama’s Temple’ are enveloped in peace and serenity. The ‘Queen of the Hill Stations’, Shimla has evolved from its ‘white paradise’ colonial past, when only high-ranking Indians were allowed on its Mall, to a place where Hindus visit the Christian church, and children eat chapatis in old-style tea rooms; and in Delhi, a Sikh temple/palace has an embracing sense of calm and a soundtrack of mantra chanting.

Key Features

Culture & Natural Wonders

Jules Verne Sightseeing

Low Single Supplement

Local Expert Guide

Special Events

Kangra Fort & High Tea & Cooking Demo

Visit Kangra Fort on a rock dominating the valley, thought to be the largest and oldest fort in the Himalayas, and its museum with displays of the Maharaja’s possessions.  Enjoy a high tea at one of Shimla’s oldest residences. Learn how to cook Indian dishes in Amritsar and Delhi.

Kangra Fort

Day 1 Fly overnight from London Heathrow, via Delhi, to Amritsar.

Day 2 On arrival in the afternoon, transfer to the boutique hotel Ranjit Vilas, brimming with traditional Punjab character, for a two-night stay. Relax for the rest of the afternoon, or perhaps explore the city’s labyrinth of lanes and bazaars, selling everything from carpets to kites and cut-glass. This evening, enjoy a cooking demo and dinner at the hotel. (D)

Day 3 Visit the Golden Temple, gleaming with hundreds of kilos of gold leaf. The most sacred place of pilgrimage, in the holiest city of the Sikh religion, it stands as an island of calm amid the melee of the medieval ‘old town’. Continue to visit the ‘world’s largest’ community kitchen, where thousands of volunteers feed tens of thousands of pilgrims every day; and the garden memorial to those killed in the 1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre. Optional early-evening excursion to the Indo-Pakistan Wagah Border village, to see the Changing of the Guard ceremony (£25, bookable locally). Later attend the Palki religious ceremony at the Golden Temple. (B)

Day 4 Drive to Dharamsala (5hrs), stopping enroute to visit the Masrur Rock Cut Temples, a unique, 8th-century, Hindu complex, cut into a cluster of rock towers, and housing stone statues of Lords Rama and Laxmana, and the goddess Sita, and a carving of Shiva. Surrounded by dense forestry in the secluded Kangra Valley, Dharamsala is the headquarters of the Tibetan government-in-exile, and the residence of the Dalai Lama. Stay two nights at the simply styled and scenically positioned Clouds End Villa. (B, L, D)

Day 5 At 1,700m above sea level, McLeod Ganj is the upper section of the split village, and the spiritual home of Tibetan Buddhism. Among the shrines and statues of the serene Tsuglagkhang Complex, visit the magnificent Namgyal Monastery, the library, and Tibetan Museum of traditions and art; and drive to the spellbinding surroundings of Norbulingka Institute, established to support Tibetan refugees and to preserve Tibetan culture and crafts. Enjoy exotic views on a village walk this afternoon. (B, D)

Day 6 Travel just 20km south to visit Kangra Fort, the little-known but largest fortress in the Himalayas and, dating back to 400BC, believed to be the oldest in India. Continue to Pragpur. An intriguing step-back-in-time, with an ongoing programme of restoration and conservation, its cobbled, traffic-free lanes are lined with painted, mud-rendered houses, its market draped with colourful fabrics. Overnight at the heritage hotel Judge’s Court, a country manor built for Justice Sir Jai Lal. (B, D)

Day 7 Call in at the neighbouring village of Garli, where old-world shops include a cobbler’s and a traditional bakery; and continue (7hrs) to Shimla, the British-era summer capital, a picture-perfect retreat, now blending cool colonial charm with fabulously colourful Himachal character. Stay three nights at the heritage Clarke’s Hotel, set on the broad pedestrian avenue, The Mall (The 5-star Oberoi Cecil for October 24 departure). (B)

Day 8 Explore the Mall on a morning tour of Shimla, which includes a visit to the very grand Viceregal Lodge (now named Rashtrapati Niwas), its majestic façade matched by manicured gardens at the summit of Observatory Hill, its museum recording the British colonial era with texts and photographs. Enjoy high tea and meet a member of the family at Chapslee House, one of the town’s oldest surviving residences. (B)

Day 9 A day at leisure, perhaps to see the five windows of the Virtues in Christ Church, explore the tumble of twisting lanes of the bazaar, or take an optional tour into Shimla’s surrounds, including high tea at Wildflower Hall, and a gentle walk along Mahasu Ridge (£65, bookable locally). (B)

Day 10 Board the narrow-gauge ‘Toy Train’ for its spectacularly scenic journey (5hrs), cutting through pine forests and countless tunnels, and crossing 864 bridges to reveal fantastic panoramas, on its route to Kalka; where we switch to the Shatabdi Express train for Delhi (4hrs), with a light dinner aboard. Two nights at the heritage Maidens Hotel, one of the first hotels in the city. (5-star The Claridges Delhi for October/November departures). (B, D)

Day 11 A ‘Return to Delhi’ tour includes Bangla Sahib Gurudwara, formerly the Jaisinghpura Palace, its golden cupolas, elegant colonnades and Sarovar pool now a sacred site, home to the haunting chants of the Sikh religion; the city’s iconic Red Fort, where huge sandstone walls encircle a series of pavilions, linked by the Nahr-i-Behisht (‘stream of paradise’) water channel; the 14th-century, Agrasen ki Baoli step well, 60m-long and three storeys deep; and the National Rail Museum, celebrating 17 decades of railway heritage, with historic locomotives and carriages. A cooking demo this evening is followed by a farewell dinner. (B, D)

Day 12 Transfer to the airport for the return flight to London Heathrow, arriving later the same day. (B)

  • Key
  • B - Breakfast
  • L - Lunch
  • D - Dinner


This is a full itinerary with some visits on foot over uneven surfaces and inclines.
Heritage properties are full of charm but rarely have lifts and rooms can vary in size and décor.
Travel beyond the main tourist routes in smaller vehicles (3 guests per car all with window seat).
Travel is not ‘off-road’ but these vehicles allow for greater contact with local people and easier access whilst still travelling with a small Jules Verne group through dramatic mountain scenery.

Time to relax or see even more of India!

No one can cover all of India on one tour, so why not make the most of your time in India by choosing further experiences?

We invite you to customise your tour by adding one or more extensions from our great range shown on the following pages. Relax in a resort or discover more of India with our specialist guides.

Also please consider adding extra nights before the tour if you would like to draw breath after the flight to India or stay on to reflect, relax or explore independently. Extra nights can also be added to most extensions. Please talk to one of our knowledgeable Personal Travel Experts to let us know what you are looking for and they will work out the best way. Sometimes extra transfers, internal flights and nights are recommended or needed, and sometimes two extensions can be combined into a more logical sequence.

Click here to view all our pre- and post- India extensions


per person in a twin/double room
Virgin Atlantic from Heathrow

Date Price
October 24 £2395
November 14 £2345
November 21 £2445


Click here for 2024 departures

Supplements per person

Single Supplement

Double for sole use: £345 (Apr-Sep £295)

Flight Options

Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy
 - On request
Virgin Atlantic Business Class - On request
British Airways from Heathrow – On request

Extension Options

We offer a wide variety of pre- and post-tour extensions, click here for more information.
Pre/post tour extra nights and transfers are available.

Privately Guided

Privately guided tours are on request, please call to discuss your requirements

Tour Only

Save £750
Arrival or departure transfer add £24

Price Includes
Air travel and taxes, transfers, 10 nights’ accommodation, breakfast daily, 1 lunch and 6 dinners, itinerary as described, services of guides and local representatives. If our specially negotiated airfares are unavailable at the time of booking, a supplement may apply.

Not Included
Travel insurance, visa procurement, optional excursions, overseas airport taxes, tipping, any government taxes or compulsory charges introduced after publication.

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Sikhs & Exiles

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