Day 1 (July 11): Departure from Switzerland
Arrival in Delhi around midnight. After a warm welcome at the airport, transfer to the hotel for your check-in.
Day 2 (July 12): Visit Delhi
After breakfast, visit New & Old Delhi. Near Old Delhi:
The Red Fort: one of Delhi's most magnificent monuments, built by Emperor Shah Jahan, who also had the Taj Mahal built in 1648.
Jama Masjid: India's largest mosque in front of the Red Fort. Built in 1656, it is an eloquent reminder of Mughal religious fervour.
Auto-rikshaw" hiking in the narrow streets of Chandni Chowk, the nerve centre of Old Delhi.
The President's house: Passage through the official residence of the President of India.
Gateway to India: A majestic 42-metre high arch, built in memory of Indian soldiers killed during the First World War.
Qutub Minar: The 72.5-metre high tower dates from the 13th century and is one of the greatest legacies of Islamic culture.
Sikh Temple (Gurudwara Bangla Sahib): Gurudwara Bangla Sahib is located in the heart of Connaught Place.
Day 3 (July 13): Delhi - Amritsar by train
Early morning transfer to the station to take the train to Amritsar (departure at 07:20 / arrival at 13:25). On arrival in Amritsar transfer to the hotel.
Amritsar is one of the most important cities of the Sikh religion. It was founded in 1574 by Guru Ram Das Sahib.
On arrival in Amritsar we drive to the Wagah Boarder. This border is 22 km from Lahore and 28 km from Amritsar and marks the border between India and Pakistan. People from all over the country visit this place to see the Ceremony of Changing of the Guard, which takes place every day before sunset. This ceremony includes the closing of the international gates and the hoisting of the flags of both countries. It is truly a spectacle to witness this and to see that the heart of every Indian is filled with pride and enthusiasm.
Overnight stay in Amritsar.
Day 4 (July 14): Amritsar - Dharamsala (1700m) 200km/4h
In the morning you will visit the Golden Temple : Sri Harmandir Sahib, also known as Sri Darbar Sahib or Golden Temple, which means the Temple of God.
Every day Sikhs from all over the world visit Sri Amritsar and prostrate in their ardency before Sri Harmandir Sahib.
We continue our journey of discovery with the visit of the Jallian Wala Bagh. This place is famous for the infamous massacre in this region under British rule. It is located 400 meters north of the GoldenTemple. At that time, in 1919, the British General Dyer was the lieutenant governor of the country.
Later in the morning we continue our journey to Dharamsala, perhaps better known as "Little Lhasa". Dharamsala lies in the steep mountains of Dhauladar, in the middle of pine and deodar forests. The region offers fantastic views of the Himalayan peaks and the Kangra Valley. After China's invasion of Tibet in 1959, the fourteenth Dalai Lama and his Buddhist government were granted asylum in Dharamsala, also a former British station in the mountains.
Since then, many Tibetans in exile have settled there, and some still cross the Himalayas in winter to escape oppression and get closer to the man they consider their religious and political leader.
In the evening you will visit the lively streets of the local bazaars (market).
Day 5 (July 15): Dharamsala
We suggest you visit the Namgyal monastery in front of the Dalai Lama's residence. The monastery contains large golden bronzes of Buddha, Padmasambhava and Avalokitesvara. Buddha Avalokitesvara - the bodhisattva of compassion - of whom the Dalai Lama is the embodiment, was saved from the Tokhang temple in Lhasa and brought here during the massive destruction caused by the Chinese cultural revolution.
The visit will continue at the school of the Tibetan Children's Village, which is located near the monastery. The school has housed, cared for and educated more than 2500 orphaned Tibetan children under the patronage of the Dalai Lama since 1960. You can also discover the Tibetan Medical and Astro Institute of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, which was re-installed in India in 1961. It is an Institute of Traditional Tibetan Practice and Care.
Day 6 (July 16): Dharamsala - Manali (2050m) 235km, 5h
After breakfast, on the way to Manali. On the way, we will cross small towns and villages, such as Palampur Mandi and Kullu, along the Beas River.
Manali is located at the end of the valley, on the national road leading to Leh. The scenery at this stage of the tour is breathtaking. We can see snow-covered peaks, and in the heart of the valley, the Beas River that flows through the city. On the other side, there are deodars and pines, a succession of fields and orchards. Manali is a very popular tourist destination in India.
Upon our arrival, we will visit the 16th century Hadimba temple, the thermal spring of Vashisht and the old Manali - to this day still an enclave of the hippie movement.
Day 7 (July 17): Manali - Rohtang Pass (3'980m) - Keylong (3'350m) 117 km, 5h
After breakfast, you will head to Keylong. You will cross the famous Rohtang Pass (4'000m), the first of our journey. Along the way, you can admire the spectacular scenery of the Lahul Valley, along the Chandra River, as well as the confluence of the Chandra River and the Bhaga at Tandi. The road we will take to Keylong is upstream along the Bhaga River.
Keylong, popularly known as the "country of monasteries", is the administrative centre of the Lahaul and Spiti district. The exhilarating and archaic mountain ranges and green valleys are breathtakingly beautiful!
Upon arrival, we offer a 2-hour hike to Khardong Monastery, which is thought to date back to the 12th century. This monastery has a large library of Kangyur and Tangyur volumes of Buddhist writings in Bhoti.
Day 8 (July 18): Keylong - Sarchu (4'250m) 140km, 5h
In the morning we offer you a 2-hour walk to the monastery of Shashur, founded in the 17th century AD. It belongs to the Red Hat Sect and is located among the blue pines. The paintings on display there, which you can admire, represent the history of 84 Buddhas.
Afterwards, we will continue our journey towards Sarchu. The landscape becomes more and more austere and barren as we climb from the top to the Baralacha Pass, at an altitude of 4,875 m. This pass, the second of our trip, offers you a magnificent panorama with very beautiful views of the meadows and snow-covered mountains.
In the late afternoon, we will arrive at the small hamlet of Sarchu which is located on a large plateau.
Day 9 (July 19): Sarchu - Leh (3,400m) 235km, 8am
Early in the morning, the road to Leh gives you the impression of being on the Tibetan high plateau. Going up from Sarchu, the road first follows a series of loops, composed of 32 hairpin bends. At the end of the Pang Valley, we cross the Tzanspo River and continue to another plateau for a long crossing of the legendary Moore Plain. It is the highest Tibetan plateau at 4200 meters above sea level. The road then continues to Tanglang La (5'280 m). It is the second highest pass in the world that can be crossed by car and offers breathtaking views of the Zanskar mountain range. A pleasant journey of about 20 km then takes you to the hamlet of Ladakhi, Gya, announced by prayer flags. A few more villages will still have to be crossed, before finally reaching the great Indus River.
The journey will continue for a few more hours to the city of Leh.
Day 10 (July 20): visit of Leh and its monasteries
Hemis Monastery is distinguished by the fact that it is the largest and richest monastery in Ladakh. It dates back to 1630 and was founded by the first incarnation of Stagsang Raspa Nawang Gyatso.
Hemis Monastery is located in a gorge, about 47 km from Leh.
Stakna Gompa of Ladakh is located on the right bank of the Indus River, about 25 km from the city of Leh. The name,'Stakna' literally means'tiger nose'. The monastery was so named because it was built on a hill, which has the shape of a tiger's nose. Ladakh Takthok Monastery is located in the village of Sakti, about 46 km from the town of Leh. The site where the monastery is now located once housed the Mahassid meditation cave "Kunga Phuntsog". The name Takthok literally means "Thiksey monastery with a stone roof", located about 18 km from the city of Leh. One of the most beautiful monasteries in Ladakh, it belongs to the Gelukpa Order of Buddhism.
Day 11 (July 21): Leh - Nubra (5,360 m) 130km, 5h
After breakfast, we head towards the Nubra Valley via the Khardung Pass - the - (the highest road in the world) at an altitude of 5360 m.
The Nubra Valley is located in the far north of Ladakh; this desert land is characterized by its white sands.
Hike around the villages and interact with the local population. Visit Diskit & Hunder Monasteries.
Diskit Monastery, is located on the highest point near the village. Belonging to the Gelugpa sect (yellow hat), parts of the gompa, which houses 120 resident monks, are about 760 years old. Hunder gompa, this little gompa, was built during the time of King Jamgyal Namgyal who came here with his wife Gyal Khatun. We suggest you to discover the village which has some beautiful old houses.
Optionally, a 30-minute camel ride.
Overnight at the hotel.
Day 12 (July 22): Nubra - Leh, 130km, 5h
Morning visit to the village of Samstanling. Then back to Leh.
On arrival, visit Leh Palace, Sankar gompa, and shanti stupa.
Leh's Palace is a majestic 17th century palace that was built for King Singge Namgyall. The architecture of Leh's palace is very impressive.
The Shankar gompa is located a few kilometres north of the city centre.
A relatively modern monastery, it is closely associated with the Spituk monastery.
Shanti Stupa: In order to advance the cause of world peace and the spread of Buddhism, a Japanese Buddhist sect established the Shanti Stupa in Leh. The Shanti Stupa was inaugurated by the Dalai Lama in 1985 and its main objective is to spread peace and the message of Buddhism throughout the world.
Day 13 (July 23): Domestic flight from Leh to Delhi, then drive to Agra (210 km, 4 hours)
Early morning transfer to Leh airport for Delhi.
Arrived in Delhi, transfer by bus to Agra.
In the afternoon, departure for the visit of the famous Taj Mahal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, fabulous and unique in the world. The monumental work of love of a great sovereign for his beloved queen. The ultimate realization of Emperor Shahjahan's dream. One of the wonders of the world. From 1631 A.D. onwards, it took 22 years of work. An estimated 20,000 people worked to complete the enchanting mausoleum on the banks of the Yamuna River.
Day 14 (July 24): Agra - Delhi, 210 km, 4h
In the morning, visit the Agra Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site: the great Mughal Emperor Akbar commissioned the construction of the Agra Fort in 1565 AD, although additions were made until the time of his grandson Shahjahan. The exterior of this fort hides an inner paradise. There are a number of exquisite buildings like Moti Masjid - a white marble mosque.
In the afternoon, we set off again in the direction of Delhi.
On arrival in Delhi, you can check in at the hotel near the airport for a rest and refreshment (up to 22.30 hours) before your transfer to the airport for your flight back to Switzerland.
Day 15 (July 25) : Return flight
Departure of your international flight to Switzerland.
Good to know
This travel offer is valid until 11 May 2020 at the latest,
- This circuit, which is proposed on the road from Manali to Leh and Ladakh, is a circuit that takes place in high mountains; the road passes several times through high passes (the highest at an altitude of more than 5,000 metres!). A healthy person will gradually acclimatize to high altitude. However, at some levels, headaches, dizziness and the urge to vomit may appear temporarily. Most of the time, these discomforts are only temporary. However, for this type of circuit, it is recommended to have a good general state of health.
- The stops in Keylong and Sarchu offer clean but very simple places to stay overnight. No other alternative exists in this region where only rudimentary facilities are available. The acceptance of these accommodations is an essential condition for this tour. For the entire trip and in all cities where 4 and 5* establishments exist, we have chosen them for your trip.
- The road between Manali and Leh is a high mountain road. As already mentioned in the program, some steps can be difficult: there may be large stones on the road, landslides and mud in some areas. The road can also be temporarily blocked.
- No major trekking is planned during this trip. However, two treks, of two hours each, are proposed to visit temples that are located on the road from Manali to Leh. So no big difficulties to reach them. However, equipment consisting of good shoes, pants, jackets, hats and glasses for mountain running are recommended.
- The food that is cooked in the mountains is also quite simple. It is cooked, often with lentils, rice, vegetables and soups. It is often rather vegetarian and rather tasty. As a reminder, drinking water that is not bottled is to be avoided at all costs, as well as all raw vegetables.
- As for the sanitary facilities, they will be clean but very rudimentary, as will the sleeping areas in Keylong and Sarchu. However, a rudimentary wash can be done in these accommodations until you can reach the Ratna Hotel in Leh.
- The guide who will accompany us knows the region and this tour well, having already done it several times with Westerners (from Germany in particular). The best month to do this tour (during the opening months of the Manali Road, from mid-June to mid-October) is July.
- Throughout India, many efforts have been made to develop telecommunications extensively. And overall, the network is quite good. However, for this route, whether on the Manali road or in Ladakh, the network may be non-existent on some sections or have many cuts in Ladakh. These conditions are an inherent part of this circuit and the adventurous part it contains. By choosing such a tour, you also agree to not necessarily be reachable for a few days.
- We recommend you to read the general travel conditions mentioned on the website of India & You: https://india-and-you.com/en/
on which date the number of travellers will be reported. The minimum number of participants is 8 persons (in addition to the accompanying person from Switzerland and the guide in India). If the registered number of participants is not at least 8 persons, the trip will not take place.
However, depending on the number of confirmed travellers and in agreement with them, this tour can still take place with a new price calculation and with the acceptance of this new price by all travellers.
With the confirmation of the execution of the journey on 11 May 2020, the international flight must be booked by you and 10% of the total cost of the journey must be paid by 17 May 2020 to the account of the Banque Cantonale Neuchâteloise with the following bank details
Name of the beneficiary: Travel & You Sàrl, chemin de la Cascade 1, 2024 St-Aubin-Sauges
Account number: 103431971 CHF
Name of the bank: Banque Cantonale Neuchâteloise
Bank address: Place Pury 4, 2001 Neuchâtel
Bank Swift code: BCNNCH22
IBAN number: CH1000766000103431971
The remaining amount is to be paid to the same account up to 30 days before departure.
Some useful information:
Money and credit cards:
For 1 CHF you will receive 70 Indian Rupees (INR). We recommend to have 21'000 INR with you upon arrival in India (equivalent of CHF 300.-). It is always practical to have some cash on hand, especially for paying for drinks, which are not all included in the programme, and to be able to tip (which is an integral part of the remuneration system in India and allows a margin of personal appreciation based on satisfaction with the service provided - porters, tip box at the hotel reception, guide, driver, etc.).
Credit cards can be used anywhere in India (sometimes even in local markets!). We also recommend that you bring a Travel Cash or other debit card that can be used to withdraw money from ATMs in India (with a lower commission than a credit card). ATM withdrawals are often limited to INR 5,000 or INR 10,000.
If you want to take foreign currency with you, it is preferable to take Euros or USD.
Tipping is always appreciated in India and is also part of the remuneration system. Wages are very low in most sectors of the economy and especially in the tourism sector. However, tipping remains optional and, above all, provides a "margin of manoeuvre" that you can give a little more or less depending on your satisfaction with your service. For your orientation: luggage racks in hotels are given between 50 and 100 INR , 20 INR when using the toilets, 500 INR in so-called "tip boxes" at the reception of hotels, 300 INR/day for the driver, 200 INR/day for the driver's assistant (if available), 600 INR/day for the guide.
Applying for an e-visa is convenient (online application), less expensive than a conventional application (visa application office in Geneva or Bern for Swiss citizens) and allows you to pass through the entry control on arrival in Delhi faster. The link is: https://indianvisaonline.gov.in (only 25 USD for 30 days!) For your visa application your passport must be valid for up to 6 months after your return home.
As mentioned several times before, travel insurance covering illness, accident, repatriation and cancellation must be taken out before departure.
Security in India:
Contrary to the information often given in the media, India is a safe country (calculated in relation to the number of inhabitants!). However, it is important to respect local customs (take off your shoes in front of the temple and cover your body - in most cases) and behave respectfully towards the inhabitants. In general, Indians are very hospitable and often helpful. However, stress is more pronounced in the big cities (Delhi with 23 million inhabitants) and of course, as everywhere, there are undoubtedly some neighbourhoods that should be avoided during the night!
It is important for us to travel in good general health.
Otherwise it is always useful for smaller injuries to have anti-inflammatory drugs, painkillers, Imodium, disinfectants and bandages with you.
No special vaccinations are recommended for India.
Food in India:
The food is very tasty and often predominantly vegetarian. However, there are also non-vegetarian dishes that taste just as good. As a western tourist it is better to be careful with spices! Depending on the region the dishes are more or less spicy! In northern India (Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan) the food is not too spicy.
The magic formula is to eat cooked food and not drink water that is not bottled. It is also important to avoid raw foods and fruit that are not peeled.
Copy of your travel documents:
We recommend you bring a copy of your passport, visa, credit cards and insurance cards. It is always helpful to have these in case of loss or theft.
Clothing and shoes for your trip:
Bring comfortable but also good clothing (as well as shoes). Even if we don't do big hikes, we will always do some walking. So bring comfortable shoes as well.
We also recommend bring warm but also comfotable clothes, as the temperatures at the high in July could be fresh. It would also be nice to have some more elegant, but always loose clothes, especially for Delhi.
Permissible weight of your luggage:
7 kg hand luggage and 23 kg for checked luggage.
We usually carry a small device with us that allows us to connect anywhere (except in the high mountains) during our travels. Also in most hotels we have a Wlan connection, which is often quite good.
Small gifts for children:
If you like, you are welcome to bring sweets, pens and small pads that you can give to the children during the trip. Because it is not unusual for children to come to us. Even small gifts always bring joy. ☺
A few words about begging:
In India you will see many beggars. Sometimes you feel uncomfortable and do not know exactly how to react. First of all we would like to stress that it is important to look at the people and to greet them. The hello, which can be short and often very welcome, can help to make this perhaps unpleasant situation a little easier. In general, it is better not to give money and especially not to give money to children, especially those caught in trafficking. Knowing that everyone does what they can and what they feel. Sometimes we will be emotionally touched and still give something small. In general we tend to encourage the purchase of items from young street vendors. But don't forget to negotiate, as this is the custom in India!
And please note that by choosing a trip with India & You, a sum of CHF 50 will be donated to a social and humanitarian institution in India, per participant and for each organized trip.