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  • India
  • Spiritual India

Spiritual India

16 Day Escorted Tour

India, Indian Subcontinent
Intermediate Pace

The holy cities of the Sikhs, sacred waters of the Ganges and spiritual retreats of Buddhist ashrams have given rise to the hauntingly beautiful religious ceremonies and ornate temples and shrines of India.

2020 Dossier

2021 Dossier

Tour Highlights

  • Visit Amritsar, holy city of the Sikhs, and its famed Golden Temple
  • Take scenic drives between cities, through mountain ranges and countryside
  • Explore the city of Shimla, nestled in the Himalayan foothills
  • Witness the riverside prayer ritual of Ganga Aarti
  • Full-day tour of Delhi's delights
  • Namgyal Monastery, the personal monastery of the Dalai Lama in Dharamshala
  • Ride the UNESCO-listed Toy Train
Train
Coach
Boat
Airplane
Walking
1
Number of nights

Itinerary

Day 1
UK to Delhi

Depart London Heathrow on your scheduled, overnight flight to Delhi.

Day 2
Delhi

Lunch & Dinner

On arrival in Delhi, you'll be met by our representative and transferred to your hotel. Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure, exploring the sprawling metropolis of India's capital. Why not admire the marbled walls of the blossom-shaped Lotus Temple, or stroll the streets and take in the lively bustle and wafting smells of spicy food stalls before tonight's welcome dinner.

Day 3
Delhi

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Take in the sights of historic Old Delhi on this morning's tour, stopping at the ornate mosque of Jama Masjid before a rickshaw carries you through the bustling lanes of Chandni Chowk market and past the vermillion walls of the Red Fort. In the afternoon visit India Gate, a 42-meter high arch dedicated to the 90,000 India soldiers who lost their lives in World War One, before continuing to Gurdwara Bangla Sahib, a huge Sikh Complex which feeds thousands every day from its communal kitchens. Finish the day's touring amongst the towering minaret and ruins of the ancient Qutab Minar complex.

Day 4
Delhi to Rishikesh

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

After breakfast head north into the foothills of the Himalayas and towards spiritual Rishikesh. A renowned Hindu destination, Rishikesh is popular amongst devotees, yogis and adventurers. The city is known as the world capital of yoga and meditation, and India's sages have meditated here since ancient times

Day 5
Rishikesh

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Enjoy a morning at leisure, with time to explore this city of the sages at your own pace, possibly exploring the Tera Manzil Temple, a 13-storey shrine overlooking the Ganges. In the afternoon visit the famed ashram of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, visited by the Beatles in the 1960s. After writing over 40 songs during their ashram stint, including a number of hit singles, their spiritual retreat inspired millions and sparked Western interest in Indian spirituality. In the evening visit Triveni Ghat to experience the Ganga aarti. The aarti on the bank of holy Ganges is a truly spiritual experience. Amid chanting of Vedic Hymns, hundreds of devotee's worship Goddess Ganga. The aarti culminates around sunset with the floating of earthen lamps in the river.

Day 6
Rishikesh to Shimla

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Journey further into the Himalayan foothills and the city of Shimla nestled at its base. Set against a backdrop of the craggy peaks, the colonial architecture, churches, temples and natural beauty of the city draw local and international visitors. On arrival, enjoy your evening at leisure in this mountainside retreat.

Day 7
Shimla

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

This morning, you'll travel in style with a ride on the UNESCO recognised 'Toy Train' - built for the British Viceroy and his delegates, the train is hauled along by a tiny diesel locomotive which rattles at a leisurely pace through breath-taking scenery to its final destination of Kalka. This afternoon, enjoy a Heritage Walk in Shimla, experiencing the city's most beloved monuments and historic landmarks, learning about its colonial architecture and fascinating history.

Day 8
Shimla

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Use your day at leisure to unwind or immerse yourself in Shimla's spiritual landmarks and the tranquillity of the city centre, where traffic is banned. Follow the long, winding main street 'The Mall' to the numerous north Indian restaurants and shops of the area, or take in the exquisite, stained glass windows and moving Raj-era memorials of Christ Church, Shimla's most prominent landmark.

Day 9
Shimla to Pragpur

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Drive to the heritage village of Pragpur to visit Jwala Temple and witness the fire pit ritual. Finish up at the riverbank where you can enjoy Chai tea and Indian snacks.

Day 10
Pragpur to Dharamshala

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Travel to Dharamshala stopping off at Kangra Fort and Masrur Temples enroute. Mighty Kangra Fort is the largest in the Himalayas and the oldest in India dating back to the ancient Trigarta Kingdom. Whilst it's age has not been accurately confirmed it is thought to have been built 3500 years ago. Later visit the 8th century monolithic rock-cut Marsur Temples. Dharamshala is best known as the home of the Dalai Lama. Established by the British in 1815, today the city has a decidedly Tibetan flavour seen in the Tibetan handicrafts, restaurants and museums which abound in this area. Upon arrival you will have time to explore the local market and St Johns Church.

Day 11
Dharamshala

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Explore Dharamshala and the upper Dharamshala area of McLeodganj, a region steeped in the religious rituals and structures of Buddhism. Visit the imposing hilltop location of Namgyal Monastery, the personal monastery of the Dalai Lama, then travel onward to the vivid murals of the Kalachakra Temple and the fascinating Norbulingka Institute, a key centre for Buddhist teaching opened to safeguard the survival of Tibetan Buddhism's cultural heritage.

Day 12
Dharamshala to Amritsar

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Today's journey takes you to Amritsar, home to the Golden Temple which gives it its spiritual significance. Arrive in time for the sacred Palki Ceremony, accompanied by the reciting of hymns, the Guru Granth Sahib (the Holy Book) is carried by devotees on a beautifully gilded palanquin from the main shrine to the inner sanctum, where it is kept until the opening ceremony the following morning.

Day 13
Amritsar

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Return to the Golden Temple as your first stop on today's half-day tour. Witness the marble sculptures, gleaming golden turrets, and jewel-studded interior of this holy shrine of the Sikhs, and the cleansing rituals of pilgrims who bathe in the waters that surround it. Visit the commemorative gardens of Jallianwala Bagh where a memorial serves as a poignant reminder of the 1919 massacre of civilians by occupying forces. After lunch, travel to the India-Pakistan border to experience the fascinating flag-lowering ceremony, a daily ritual where each country's soldiers compete to march, salute and shout better than the other.

Day 14
Amritsar to Delhi

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

After breakfast you will have some free time to relax before departing for your flight to Delhi.

Day 15
Delhi to the UK

Breakfast

After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your scheduled flight back to the UK.

View Full Itinerary

Dates & Prices

Dates
Price (per person)
Dates available
January 2021
from £1,899
1 Date
26th Jan - 9th Feb
£1,899
February 2021
from £1,999
1 Date
2nd Feb - 16th Feb
£1,999
March 2021
from £2,089
1 Date
9th Mar - 23rd Mar
£2,089
June 2021
from £1,999
1 Date
7th Jun - 21st Jun
£1,999
September 2021
from £1,799
1 Date
20th Sep - 4th Oct
£1,799
October 2021
from £1,999
1 Date
11th Oct - 25th Oct
£1,999
November 2021
from £1,999
1 Date
9th Nov - 23rd Nov
£1,999

Accommodation

The hotels listed below are provided for guidance only and final confirmation of your accommodation will be sent to you approximately 90 days before you travel
Radisson Blu Dwarka
2 nights
Delhi, India
More details
Divine Resort
2 nights
Rishikesh, India
More details
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Tour Reviews

Sukainah Jauhar

27 Mar 20

All hotels were good.

Ruth R

28 Nov 19

All within the range of standards stated. A well organised tour covering some outstanding locations. Excellent value for money.

Barry Richards

14 Nov 19

Having travelled with Mercury before, we felt the hotels were of a lesser standard. The food and service was excellent but the hotels felt a little dated. The Ramada in Delhi really needs a refurbish. The tour guide Kaleem from Earthen Experiences was excellent. Very knowledgeable, helpful and attentive to everyone on the tour. He deserves a special mention for always ensuring we were looked after on the excursions and in the hotel.

Julie Wood

21 Oct 19

Was not keen on the hotel in Chandigargh or in Haridwar.

  • I realise these were 'stop off hotels to break the journey, but they weren't to the same standard as the rest of the hotels we stayed in. The other hotels were excellent.

Garry & Joan Marsh & Clarke-Marsh

24 Jun 19

Some lovely hotels, most with Swimming Pools.

Pat Janiec

07 Mar 19

Dinesh was the best guide I had ever had. I hope he gets the recognition he deserves. He worked so hard to ensure we had a great holiday

Elizabeth Bradder

05 Dec 18

Overall the trip was well organised and managed, well done Mercury.

Susan Loud

01 Nov 18

Quality hotels which provided good amenities

Balasundaram Rajasundram

18 Oct 18

Delhi & Shimla hotels were excellent .

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Extend Your Tour

Spiritual India with Dubai City Stay

3 Day Extension
from

£119

pp

Spiritual India with Delhi City Stay

3 Day Extension
from

£149

pp

Spiritual India with Agra and the Taj Mahal Extension

2 Day Extension
from

£219

pp

Spiritual India with Tigers of Ranthambore Extension

5 Day Extension
from

£359

pp

Spiritual India with Kerala Beach Stay

5 Day Extension
from

£359

pp

Important Information

A visa is required for entry into India. British Citizen Passport Holders will need to obtain an e-Tourist Visa (eTV) for travel to India. We work closely with The Travel Visa Company who will be able to arrange your visa on your behalf. Please call them on 01270 250 590 and quote "Mercury Holidays". The cost of the visa is approximately £114 per person. The Travel Visa Company can only apply for this 120 days before your proposed travel date and takes around 10 working days to issue. It is only valid for a 60-day single entry stay from the date of arrival. When calling the Travel Visa Company, they will advise you of any changes to the fees or the procedure, they will also advise you of all information they will require in order to apply for the visa. Alternatively, you can visit The Indian Visa Application Centre in London: 142-148 Goswell Road, London, EC1B 7DU.

We strongly recommend that you and all members of your party are suitably insured as soon as you book your holiday. It is a condition of booking that you must have suitable travel insurance. It is important that you purchase travel insurance that suitably covers your participation in whatever activities you may undertake at the time that you make your booking. To assist you with this, we have arranged travel insurance in partnership with Holiday Extras. To arrange your travel insurance with Holiday Extras, please call 0800 781 4237 and quote 'WK830' for preferential rates. Please ensure you provide us with the name of your insurer, policy number and their 24-hour emergency contact number as soon as possible. Mercury Holidays will not be liable for any costs incurred by you due to your failure to take out suitable travel insurance from the date of booking.

If booking more than 10 weeks before departure a deposit of £49pp will need to be paid at the time of booking with the full amount payable at 10 weeks prior to departure. The deposit applies to adults and children. If you are within 10 weeks of travel then the full balance of the holiday will be payable.

Flights are operated with Emirates, departing London Heathrow via Dubai. Each passenger is entitled to 30KG of hold luggage plus 1 item of hand luggage not exceeding (Max 10kg - 55cm/38cm/ 20cm) in size. Weight restrictions will be finalized on E-ticket receipt. Should you wish to take additional luggage you will need to pay extra at check- in. Check-In should be at least 3 hours before departure. IMPORTANT: Please note that final flight details will be confirmed on your e-ticket and final documentation which will be sent to you approximately 10 days before departure. If you wish to arrange Airport car parking or accommodation at preferential rates, we recommend you book this in advance with Holiday Extras on 0871 360 2000, quoting HX313.

It is your responsibility to check any health and vaccination requirements applicable to your booked arrangements. We can only provide general information about this. Health and hygiene facilities and disease risks vary from country to country. You should take health advice about your own needs as early as possible and in sufficient time before your departure. Sources of information include; www.fco.gov.uk, www.travelhealthpro.org.uk, www.hpa.org.uk, your General Practitioner or a specialist clinic. It is not advisable to drink the tap water.

This tour is accessible to most people with a good level of fitness and able mobility. It involves climbing steep stairs and getting on and off coaches and boats.

The minimum number of travellers in your group will be 10. If in the unlikely event there are less than 10 people booked on your tour date, we will endeavour to reduce any disruption to your holiday and try to operate your tour with lower passenger numbers. If we are not able to operate your departure date then you may be asked to change to a different date and a full refund will be made available to you should this alternative not be suitable.

This is a fully escorted tour, meaning that you will be met on arrival by your national guide who will remain with you for the duration of your trip. You will also be joined by a local guide in each of the cities which you visit, ensuring that you have first-hand knowledge at all times.

The currency in India is the Rupee or Rs. The Rupee is a closed currency and officially you are not allowed to take any cash out of India. US Dollars and GBP are also widely accepted in India should you wish to keep an alternative currency on you. There are restrictions on taking Indian rupees into India. Visitors, including tourists, are not permitted to take any amount of Indian currency into the country. You can take cash or travellers' cheques (in pounds sterling or another foreign currency) and/ or a bank card with you and exchange or withdraw rupees once in India.

You will need to take some extra money with you to cover any personal purchases, such as souvenirs, laundry and extra drinks and snacks. Approximately £500 per person will be sufficient for the duration of the tour. Tipping is not compulsory and is at your discretion. Should you wish to tip, this will be collected by your guide at the end of your tour for your convenience. It is asked that if you do not tip in the local currency, please do not give coins as these are difficult to exchange.