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History, art and hiking in Delhi, Chandigarh and Shimla

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What's Included

  • Luxury accommodation throughout
  • Specialist guides
  • All transfers and return flights between Delhi and Chandigarh
  • All excursions and hike mentioned in the itinerary
  • Full support from your Travel Concierge before, during and after your trip
Use this itinerary to inspire your bespoke journey

At a glance

Begin with two nights in Delhi, spending a full day being shown around its historic architectural highlights from the bustling Old Town, the neoclassic New Town and towering 800 year old Qutb Minar.

You’ll then fly north to the city of Chandigarh, a modernist masterpiece, staying at the brand new Oberoi Sukhvilas Resort & Spa, and touring the fascinating Rock Garden.

Spend the last four nights based in the beautiful Wilderflower Hall overlooking the Himalayas. Shimla, the capital of Himachal Pradesh, was once the summer capital of British India due to its wonderful climate and stunning scenery. Explore the hill resort, take a ride on its railway – UNESCO World Heritage Site – and explore the forested valleys that surround it on hikes and mountain bike rides.

Example Trip Itinerary

Days 1-3

Delhi

Flights & Transfers

Transfer

Airport assistance at Delhi Airport

Transfer

Private transfer to your hotel in Delhi with guide

Accommodation in Delhi

Two nights in Delhi Two nights in Delhi

With a population of over 18 million, Delhi is an international metropolis. Perhaps daunting at first sight, a little exploring soon reveals a rich, diverse and fascinating culture. Throughout most of its history, it has served as the capital of various kingdoms and empires, captured and rebuilt time and time again. Every dynasty left its mark and as you start to explore, you’ll discover reminders and relics from this colossal game of pass the parcel.

As well as centuries worth of history to explore, Delhi is also one of the best places in India to shop, try the many different styles of food and experience the buzz of a city where its millions of inhabitants are going about their daily business. And if weaving your way in and out of the rickshaws and cyclists ever starts to get too much, turn the corner and you’ll find a tranquil garden or a quiet enclave in which to stop, gather your thoughts and recharge.

rickshaw-old-delhi-india
Old Delhi tour Old Delhi tour

In complete contrast to the new city, the old city is a labyrinthine maze of lanes overhung by a tangled mass of electric wires. Within this chaos lies a semblance of order – each lane in this area is dedicated to a particular item, rather like a department store. There are lanes selling bangles, grocers, items used in weddings, silverware, clothes, spices and shoes. Sharing the same space are vendors with carts selling a variety of items, street side dentists, natural healers and cobblers. The old city has space for all professions. You will explore the old city in cycle rickshaws and will also walk along some of the more interesting alleys.

New Delhi tour New Delhi tour

Explore New Delhi, an area within Delhi built as the seat of the British Indian government in the early twentieth century. Much of the design was by architect Edwins Lutyens, and thus it is referred to as Lutyens' Delhi, who invented his own order of classical architecture. There are grand buildings, such as Rashtrapati Bhavan (formerly known as Viceroy’s House), as well as the Lutyens Bungalow Zone, a green area of residential buildings that has the most expensive real estate in India and possibly the world. You’ll also see Humayun's Tomb, built in 1570 as the first garden-tomb on the Indian subcontinent.

qutb-tower-delhi-india
Qutb Minar and Humanyun's Tomb Qutb Minar and Humanyun's Tomb

Visit the immense Qutb Minar - at 72.5m (238 feet) in height, the tallest brick minaret in the world. The intricate tower was built in 1199AD to commemorate victory over the Rajput king, marking beginning of Muslim rule in India. Qutb Minar and the complex around it form the Qutb Complex, a UNESCO World Heritage Site the contains other structures in the complex include the Alai Gate, the Alai Minar, the Iron Pillar and the ruins of several earlier Jain temples.

You'll also see Humayun's Tomb, commissioned in 1569 by the Mugal Emperor's son Akbar as the first garden-tomb on the Indian subcontinent, starting a fashion that would culminate in the Taj Mahal.

Flights & Transfers

Transfer

Private transfer to Delhi airport with guide

Flight

Flight from Delhi to Chandigarh

Days 3-5

Chandigarh

Flights & Transfers

Transfer

Private transfer to your hotel in Chandigarh

Accommodation in Chandigarh

Two nights in Chandigarh Two nights in Chandigarh

Chandigarh is the capital of both of Haryana and Punjab states, located on their borders yet technically within neither, in the green foothills of the Sivalik mountain range. It was one of the earliest planned cities in post-independence India, a modernist masterwork by Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier who worked on top of the plans of Polish architect Maciej Nowicki and American planner Albert Mayer and in a team with Jane Drew and Maxwell Fry. The Capital Complex was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2016

A grid street system was adopted, along with a ‘Garden City’ design where high rises were ruled out, parks, gardens, lakes and rivers incorporated into the overarching scheme, and all surrounded by forest. Many of the public buildings such as Capitol Complex with its High Court, Secretariat and Legislative Assembly, as well as the giant Open Hand Monument, are Le Corbusier’s grandest works and have been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Chandigarh is generally regarded as a grand success and today is one of the cleanest, happiest and wealthiest cities in India with one of the highest standards of living. ,

Rock Garden and Rose Garden tour Rock Garden and Rose Garden tour

Take a stroll around the Rock Garden of Chandigarh, a 40 acre park filled with waterfalls and sculptures made entirely from recycled materials created by a government official in secret over an 18 year period before being discovered, and the city's man made Sukhna Lake which draws boaters, artists and anglers.

Day at leisure Day at leisure

Spend today at leisure, perhaps indulging in some treatments at the ayurvedic spa, relaxing with a yoga session or heading back in to the city to discover its modernist architecture.

Days 5-9

Shimla

Flights & Transfers

Transfer

Private transfer to Shimla

Accommodation in Shimla

mountains-shimla-india
Four nights in Shimla Four nights in Shimla

A humble mountain village until the 19th century, British officers and officials who were taken by the region’s familiar climate began building ‘pucca’ houses here for use as a retreat from the hot Indian summers. It soon became the office summer capital of the British Raj and a centre of the European social scene, hosting high society balls and raucous parties. Grand houses, the Gothic Christ Church, a library, theatre and connecting dramatic railway were constructed (the railway itself is a UNESCO World Heritage Site), and it was made capital of the undivided Punjab.

Today it is the capital of the mountainous Himachal Pradesh state, its largest city despite being home to just 170,000 people, and a centre for education and culture. Shimla’s climate is as appealing as ever and it remains a favourite for Indian’s escaping the heat of the south and as a jumping off point for explore the Himalayas further north. During the winter months, a blanket of snow makes it even more attractive.

mashobra-valley-shimla-himachal-pradesh-india
Mashobra Valley hike Mashobra Valley hike

Enjoy quiet moments with nature and experience the range of unique flora and fauna of the middle Himalayas as you walk along picturesque trails that wind through serene forests, traditional mountain villages and ancient temples. This full day 15-18km trek (9-11 miles) ends with a challenging 90 minute climb that is rewarded by its culmination in the midst of an apple-orchard nestled in a rolling meadow. From, you can opt to be driven back to Wildflower Hall or climb back to resort on foot.

Narrow Gauge Train on the Kalka Shimla Railway in India
Private tour of Shimla Private tour of Shimla

Today you will explore Shimla with your private guide. Enjoy scenic train journey on the narrow gauge from Shimla to Kandaghat station, returning to town for a delicious lunch at the Oberoi Cecil. Later, savour the nostalgia of the Raj Era on a guided tour that exhibits Shimla’s glorious history and rich architectural heritage

Sanctuary cycling trail Sanctuary cycling trail

Bike the trail that runs around the forests of the Shimla Water Catchment Sanctuary. The Sanctuary, protecting an important watershed, is blanketed in pine, oak, cedar, rhododendron, maple, horse chestnut and wildflower meadows which home to barking deer, jackals, Himalayan eagle, leopards and a rich array of bird life. Enjoy a picnic lunch in the forest during your ride.

Flights & Transfers

Transfer

Private transfer to Chandigarh Airport

Flight

Flight from Chandigarh to Delhi

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Winter in the Indian Himalayas

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