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Amritsar – Dharamsala – Kullu – Manali – Lahaul – Leh
Regions: Amritsar, Kangra Valley, Kullu-Manali, Lahaul & Ladakh
Duration: 13 Days
Type: Motorbike Tour
Amritsar Golden Temple is the holiest Sikh shrine. It was founded about 400 years ago by Guru Ram Das. The city takes its name form the sacred pool- amrit (nectar) sar (pool). In 1803, the Sikh ruler, Maharaja Ranjit Singh (1780 – 1839 A.D.) rebuilt the temple in marble and gold (its domes took 400 kg of gold leaf to be covered). Ever since, it has been known as the Golden the Harimandir (the temple of God) or Darbar Sahib (the temple of God) The golden Temple complex has a number of shrines of historical importance, notably the Akal Takht (throne of the timeless Gold) facing the Golden Temple where arms of the warrior gurus, their dresses and emblems can be seen, and the eight – storied Baba- Atal tower. Overnight stay at the hotel.
This day is free for the local sightseeing of the city. Visit the Famous Golden Temple of Amritsar in the morning. In the evening, visit the Jallianwala Bagh, Ram Bagh and at the end of the day, visit the Wagah Border. Overnight stay at the hotel.
The Golden Temple, Amritsar:
Unlike many historical sacred sites, the Golden Temple of Amritsar is still fully alive with religious fervor and sacredness, and visitors are welcomed to join in the experience. Although the building itself has great historical and architectural interest, it is the Golden Temple’s great spiritual meaning for Sikh believers (and others) that is most memorable to visitors.
Despite its great sacred status, the Golden Temple is open to visitors, like all Sikh temples. The only restrictions are that visitors must not drink alcohol, eat meat or smoke in the shrine. And unlike many other Indian temples, visitors to the Harmandir Sahib are made to feel truly welcome and not pressured to buy anything. The information office left of the main gate gives helpful advice and information, as well as booklets on Sikhism.
Most visitors to the Golden Temple, whether Sikh or not, are humbled by what is quite simply the most tangibly spiritual place in the country. Arrive with a few good hours set aside and get lost in its magical beauty. Visitors must leave their shoes at the facility near the entrance, cover their head (bandanas are provided, or you can buy a souvenir bandana from a vendor), and wash their feet by wading through the shallow pool before entering.
Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar:
Jallianwala Bagh is located at a stones throw from Golden Temple. It is a witness of the tragedy called Jallianwala Bagh Massacre. As the history goes, during the time of freedom struggle, when Mangal Pandey blew the bugle for commencing the struggle for independence, General Dyer made a law that no Indian will be allowed to hold gatherings or processions.
On 13 April 1919, Baisakhi Day, thousands of Punjabis gathered from nearby places to celebrate the festival. As the communication system was underdeveloped at that time, they were not informed regarding this law. Thinking it as a violation of the law, General Dyer entered in the Park with his troops and open fired on all the innocent men women and children present there.
Some people were shot dead, some were wounded, and a majority of the people tried to jump in the well to escape the death form the hands of foreign power. There is no accurate record of the number of people died and wounded.
Wagha Border is located at a distance of 28 kilometers from Amritsar. It is the only border crossing between India and Pakistan. It is an army outpost to protect check intrusion from Pakistan and prevents any Indian from going to Pakistan. Special buses and taxes from Amritsar take the tourists to Wagha Border. En route Wagha the tourist’s chance upon seeing some of the most fertile lands of Amritsar.
People visit Wagha border to see “Beating the Retreat” ceremony performed by the soldiers in evening. Soldiers from India and Pakistan perform a flag march. The flags are both the countries are brought down. Then the gates between India and Pakistan are opened. Soldiers perform some drills and then the complex is illuminated. The whole ceremony takes about half an hour. O/n Hotel
Dharamsala (1987 mts). by Jeep
To the north, the Kangra valley is flanked by the snow clad Dhauladhar ranges of the Himalayas, to the side which Dharamshala and Mcleodganj (also called Upper Dharmshala) Founded in 1855, Dharmshala is the principal township of Kangra commanding splendid view of the surrounding country. Surrounded by deodar forests, it is set against a back drop of massive peaks on three sides.
If you think about Lahsa (Tibet), the only other name comes in mind is, Mcleodganj. The name has almost become synonymous to Lahsa. This is where His Holiness Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of the Tibetan’s, resides and also this is where the headquarters of the Tibetan Government in exile are located. Here one gets amazed to see that how the Tibetan peoples in exile, have kept their culture resonant and going. Here there are many gompas to visit and some of them house treasures of ancient and priceless thankas and scrolls. Tibetan Institute of performing Arts (TIPA) preserves a number of musical dance and theatrical traditions of Tibet. O/n in Hotel
Norbulingka Institute is a registered Trust functioning under the chairmanship of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Established in Dharamshala, India it is committed to the preservation of Tibetan culture, which is threatened with destruction in its homeland. It is build according to traditional Tibetan style, following a ground plan based on the proportions of Avalokiteshvara, the Bodhisattva of compassion. Set amidst beautiful gardens, surrounded by the green fields of the Kangra Valley. The Institute promotes Tibet’s traditional arts and literary studies and comprises the following sections; the center for arts; the academy of Tibetan culture, the culture and literary research center, Publications and the Library. It also houses a wonderful doll museum showing the culture and tradition of Tibet. Thanka painting. Visit the Astronomical Medical Center about 8 km from Norbulingka Institute. The Tibetan medicine is made from herbs gathered from the high altitude of the Himalayas. This herbal medicine can cure many different diseases and are famous all over the world. Later visit the Gangchen Kyishong monastery. Evening free to discover the local market.
The Kangra Town known to the ancients, as Nagar Kot is the seat of Shri Bajreshwari Devi. Though the main Temple was ravaged by foreign invaders and flattened by the 1905 earthquake, it has since been restored to its pristine glory. The market of the Temple provides a very good ambiance
O/n in a Hotel
Palampur is a green hill station and a beautiful town of the Kangra Valley in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, surrounded by tea gardens and pine forests before they merge with the Dhauladhar ranges. Palampur is the tea capital of northwest India but tea is just one aspect that makes Palampur a special interest place. Abundance of water and proximity to the mountains has endowed it with mild climate. Palampur is also hometown of Capt. Vikram Batra who was awarded Paramvir Chakra (posthumous).
The town has derived its name from the local word palum, meaning lots of water. There are numerous streams flowing from the mountains to the plains from Palampur. The combination of greenery and water gives Palampur a distinctive look. Palampur is at the confluence of the plains and the hills and so the scenery shows the contrast: plains on one side and the majestic snow-covered hills on the other side. In the backdrop of this beautiful town stands the Dhauladhar mountain range, which remains snow-covered for most part of the year
Baijnath is one of the foremost pilgrimages in the Kangra District. The temple of Shiva is one of the oldest in the country. It is dated about 804 A.D. O/n in a Hotel
Himachal’s main tourist resort, Manali stands at the head of the Kullu Valley. Majestic Mountain scenery and the areas seemingly limitless supply of inexpensive charm makes the place very popular among the tourists. Though it has gone a very fast change last 10 years but still the old charm does remain in Old Manali and nearby villages.
Resting on the stone platform in a dense stand of Old Deodar, Hadimba Temple is Manali’s oldest shrine (built in 1553) . It is a fine example of Pagoda architecture.
Old Manali, the village from which the modern Town takes its name, lies 3 Km. from the main mall. Unlike its offspring, the settlement retains an unhurried and traditional feel. There is a Temple of Sage Manu here out of which the name Manali has originated.
Naggar offers a very beautiful landscape comprising of vast cultivation fields dotted by chalets in the middle takes one to the Naggar the ancient capital of Kullu. There is a castle, which now have been renovated and converted in to a hotel also there in an art gallery of the famous Russian painter, writer and philosopher Sir Nicholas Roerich. O/n in a Hotel
As we start our journey, leaving the lush green countryside of Manali towards Rohtang pass (3,978 Mts.). Rohtang Pass – Few places on the Earth can mark so dramatic a change in landscape as the Rohtang Pass. To one side, the lush green head of Kullu Valley; to the other, an awesome vista of bare, chocolate – colored mountains, hanging glaciers and snowfields that shine in the dazzlingly crisp fight. On the Valley floor, we drive through the field of potato and peas, dotted by Lahauli Villages, and we encounter the local inhabitants working in the fields. After crossing a bridge at Tandi, the meeting point of Chandra and Bhaga Rivers, which later becomes Chenab, These Rivers originate from Baralacha Pass, and flows all the way into the plains of Punjab. O/n hotel
Today’s journey as we move further towards Jispa, we see along the River many villages with Buddhist prayer flags and Stupa’s and the landscape also embodies more desert look. In a way this is the beginning of, what we are going to experience and see for the next few days. We eventually reach Jispa, Situated in the middle of an open valley beside the Bhaga River. There are quite a few villages around. Further the route takes you first to Darcha, commencing point for trekking to Zanskar, the road now climbs up to Patseo, Army encampment, leaving behind the greenery. The landscape now turns more alpine with snowcapped mountains all around up to Baralacha-la (4800 mt), high pass that stands as a barrier between the great Himalayas and the middle Himalayas. From here we enter in to a totally different landscape that is almost barren. Chocolate colored mountains surround you through the way.
You will leave the vast Sarchu plateau, to head up a curvy drive until you reach Naki La (4950 m / 16,240 ft.), where you can experience the spectacular views of rugged rocks and their unique geological formation. Then you go over Lachu Lang La (5090 m / 16,699 ft.) before descending to the gorge of the cliffy KanglaJal to Pang. You will then continue through the vast plateau of Kyang Chu-Thang (plateau of wild donkey) to Tsokar, via dusty and unidentified trails. The Tsokar lake – also called White Lake because of the salt deposits around it – is where extracted salt from its shores is still sold all over Ladakh, as well as yellow headed Wagtail, Pled Wagtail, Desert Wheatears, Raven, Horned Lark etc
After the breakfast drive to Leh by passing through Tanglang La Pass 17,585ft, second highest motor able road in the world, reach Upshi for entry of tourist and tourist vehicle, from here drive along with banks of Indus river & Valley. Arrive at Leh by evening. Overnight in hotel.
Visit Likir and Alchi Monasteries and view of Basgo monastery and confluence (Sangam) of Zanskar river and Indus River at Nimo.
Travel distance and travel time (40 kms one way) approx. Today we take a ride to Khardung la Pass, World’s highest motor able road at 18380 feet. Khardung La is historically very important as it lies on the major Silk route from Leh to Central Asia. About 10,000 horses and camels used to take the route annually. Return Leh in the afternoon. Rest of day free. Overnight stay at hotel. End of our services.
What to bring for the tour
Good Warm internal clothing (woolen and fleece, thermals), water proof and wind proof clothing, Comfortable hiking boots with good resistance against the snow and water with a good grip, haversack, sandals, walking sticks, gaiters, woolen/tennis socks (quite a few pairs) and stocking, gloves, cap, sunglasses (very important), Sunscreen lotion, day sack, camera and binocular (OPTIONAL), water bottle, torch and batteries
Day temperature in the sun is pleasant but windy but nights are cold. The temp at night in rain and snow can really go down; sometimes below zero so you have to be well prepared.
It is also possible that a route change may become necessary due to weather, inaccessibility through the mountain passes due to heavy snow, condition of the trail and physical fitness of the clients.