The western Himalayas are a region of exquisite beauty, with abundant greenery and many famous hill stations. The mountains are dotted with villages big and small, set amidst sloped teak forests, gushing waterfalls and a bracing climate.

Sample Itinerary
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  • Cox & Kings recommends 
Amritsar

Amritsar

  • Home of the Golden Temple
  • Retreat ceremony on Pakistan border

The city of Amritsar lies on India’s north-western border with Pakistan, in Punjab. This city, home of the Sikh dynasty, is the location of the holiest shrines of the Sikhs, the Golden Temple. Famed worldwide for its golden dome, and its shimmering pool of holy water, this sparkling white shrine was built in the 16th century by the 5th Sikh Guru, Arjan Dev. Ransacked in 1761 by invading Afghan hordes the shrine was rebuilt by Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the most famous of the Sikh kings, who donated the gold for gilding its dome. Near the Golden Temple is the Jallianwala Bagh memorial, dedicated to those who lost their lives here in an infamous massacre by the British in 1919. The Wagah border with Pakistan is a short drive from Amritsar where every evening a retreat ceremony is conducted by the border guards of both countries, a spectacular display and definitely an experience not to be missed.

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Dharamshala

Dharamshala

  • Home of the Dalai Lama & Tibetan government
  • Chanting monks

Dharamshala, at the foothills of the Himalayas of Himachal Pradesh, was originally ruled by the Katoch dynasty before it was discovered by the British as yet another summer retreat from the blazing plains of north India. Today the town is famous for its most distinguished inhabitant, the Dalai Lama, who now resides here along with members of the Tibetan government in exile, and the wonderful verdant countryside around it. The Tibetan settlement is the main hub of activity with crowded bazaars selling Tibetan food and handicrafts. A giant prayer wheel adorns the main road of the town and a statue of the Buddha casts a serene glow over monks immersed in prayer at the monastery here. The Dalai Lama’s home in McLeodganj has made the area a centre for Tibetan studies and culture and is a repository of rare and ancient Buddhist texts and manuscripts.

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Ladakh

Ladakh

  • Strikingly beautiful landscape
  • Impressive gompas & ancient monasteries

The stark landscape of Ladakh is perhaps the most beautiful on the planet. One of the most remote destinations in the world, Ladakh was a major halt along the trade routes to central Asia. However, following independence with territorial disputes between India, Pakistan and China, the region was temporarily closed off to tourists until 1974.The barren flatlands of the region are remarkably contrasted with the lush green valleys that cling to the banks of the River Indus, making a picturesque setting. Leh, the capital of Ladakh, is a town of ancient homes, narrow streets and monks, its most striking building being the Leh Palace, modelled on the Lhasa Palace in Tibet. Leh serves as the perfect base for trekking expeditions which strike out deeper into Ladakh to visit the many gompas, monasteries as well as to enjoy treks of varying intensities in the Himalayas. Cox & Kings recommends a stay of a minimum of 5 nights to fully enjoy Ladakh. Due to the high altitude and rarefied air, medical clearance is advised for those suffering from any ailments.

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Jim Corbett National Park

Jim Corbett National Park

  • Tigers & other wildlife
  • Lush forests & beautiful scenery

The Jim Corbett National Park is located in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, at the foothills of the Himalayas. This most delightful of all Indian reserves is also its oldest and was set up in 1936 near Nainital. Originally named Hailey National Park it was later named after Jim Corbett, the famous hunter turned conservationist. Corbett National Park was the first park where Project Tiger, India’s most ambitious program to save the Bengal tiger from decimation, was introduced. In addition to helping conserve and preserve the natural habitat of the tiger, Corbett National Park, with its deciduous forests and varied topography, is the habitat of over 600 avian species and other indigenous wildlife like elephants and gharials, and over 400 species of fauna as well.

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Haridwar

Haridwar

  • Spectacular evening aarti ceremony at the ghats

The holy city of Haridwar is located along the banks of India’s most sacred river, the Ganga, as it emerges from the Himalayas onto the plains of north India. Lined with ghats, the city is visited by vast multitudes that come here to offer prayers and to culminate the funeral rites of loved ones at the river’s shore. The evening aarti, like in Varanasi, is the highlight of each day. As the sun sets, Haridwar’s most famous ghat, Har ki Pauri, reverberates with the chanting of mantras set to music, the blaring of conch shells and the mellifluous notes of temple bells and cymbals. The air is scented with incense sticks and as the musicians’ play, flaming torches blaze in the dusk, a choreographed ritual that ends the day on a high note of fervour and spirituality.

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Kumaon

Kumaon

  • Rock paintings
  • Scenic views

The Kumaon region is nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas, located in the state of Uttaranchal. The region has a variety of archaeological remains like rock paintings and shelters from ancient times. Having been influenced by various cultures for over 4000 years, the customs and traditions of Kumaon, along with its divine location and views, make it a perfect getaway for those looking to relax and enjoy a calming holiday.

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Scenic Trails through the Himalaya

Scenic trails through the Himalaya

Join us on a walk in the Himalayas. These relaxed walks will take you past gentle streams, through dense forests and terraced farmland, as you visit the local villages and take in the laid back soothing environs of these beautiful mountain retreats. Kalmatia Sangam, a quaint resort in the Kumaon region is the perfect spot from where to head out on your treks.

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Village Walks in the Himalaya

Village walks in the Himalaya

Bespoke village walking tours can be created, walking from one village to another along rural tracts. Home stays at village homes adapted to suit western requirements is the ideal way to come into contact with rural life in Himalayan villages, bringing visitors close to the simplicity of the people here. The walks are of moderate intensity and require a reasonable level of fitness.

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