The slow rehabilitation of Kashmir as a travel destination took a major step forward recently, when the Foreign Office eased its travel warning for Jammu & Kashmir. Warnings against visiting the cities of Jammu and Srinagar and the road between them were lifted. At last we exclaim with a huge sigh of relief. This beautiful and remote region of India should be on everyones travel wish list.
This holiday to India begins in Delhi where you have time to explore before travelling on to Srinagar.
Srinagar once offered the Moghuls and British Rulers refuge from the summer heat. Today, its location on the banks of the Jhelum River with its famed gardens, lakes, waterways and houseboats offers a captivating place to spend time on your holiday to India.
Explore this beautiful area whilst staying on Sukoon, a traditional house boat, brimming with history and luxury. Spend your time wandering the magical Mughal gardens, the Hazrathbal mosque and the amazing Shahi Hamdan dargah, with a shikara ride on the famous Dal Lake and a day trip into the mountains. From here fly to the neighbouring region of Ladakh and the capital of Leh. At some 3,500 metres above sea level this town lies in the ancient Indus valley and has been a trading post for Himalayan peoples for centuries. Leh will be your base for 4 nights from where you can visit the many monasteries chortens and gompas in the surrounding area.
We recommend a buffer day in Delhi at the end of your trip to allow for any flight delays or cancellations on leaving Ladakh.
For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.
what is included
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PLEASE NOTE THE ABOVE FLIGHT COST IS A SUGGESTED FROM PRICE. FLIGHT COSTS WILL BE CONFIRMED AT TIME OF BOOKING. ALL FLIGHTS ARE ATOL PROTECTED.
Fly London to Delhi
Blaring horns and the babble of its many inhabitants often drown out the fact that there is more to Delhi than the chaos on its busy streets. It may be one of the world's largest metropolises, but architectural wonders - new and old - fill the city, hidden beneath Delhi's urban sprawl.Mughal treasures, including the Red Fort and Jama Masjid, are complemented by more recent additions to Delhi's architectural heritage, such as the stunning Lotus and Akshardham Temples.Meanwhile, contemporary Delhi thrives in Connaught Place, which - with its colonially-designed buildings - is the most westernised part of the centre. Globalisation is in evidence, with brand names splashed across every storefront.
Half a Day Visiting Gandhi's Memorial and Old DelhiHead to Mahatma Gandhi's serene memorial, located within the Raj Ghat on the banks of the Yamuna River. The site of his cremation, this tranquil park features an eternal flame and lies next to memorials to other Indian leaders.From here, continue to Old Delhi. Take a bicycle rickshaw through the lanes to Jama Masjid, India's largest and most famous mosque. This vast 16th century construction is built from the archetypical Mughal blend of red sandstone decorated with white marble and can hold up to 25,000 worshippers.
You will be staying at Claridges Hotel
Fly Delhi to Srinagar
Famous for its serene Dal Lake that stretches along the city's eastern edge and noses its way towards the centre, Srinagar is surrounded by picturesque Kashmiri landscape. An integral part of everyday life, the lake plays host to floating vegetable gardens and lotus blossom fields, whilst small villages dot the shores.In recent times, the city's tragic problems have managed to overshadow this idyllic location, but its relaxed lakeside ambience seems at odds with simmering regional tensions.
You will be staying at Sukoon
Heritage Walk and Visit to Mughal GardensBegin with a visit to Srinagar's famous Mughal Gardens, built by the Mughal Emperors in the 17th century. These beautifully designed gardens incorporate terraced lawns, fountains, pools and flowerbeds; interspersed with examples of Mughal-era Islamic architecture.Continue on to the Heritage Walk, starting at the Shah-e-Hamdan Sufi shrine in Old Srinagar. From here, explore the old city and walk through the narrow alleys, passing by local markets, historic buildings and everyday hustle-and-bustle. End up at the city's Grand Mosque, famed for its 370 beautiful wooden pillars.Afterwards, head to the old wooden bridge that spans the River Jehlum. Traditional houses lie on both sides of the river, built by the city's rich elite when the waterways were still the main method of transportation.
Afternoon Shikara Ride on Dal LakeTake a leisurely Shikara ride on Dal Lake, through winding waterways covered with water lilies and lotus flowers. Visit the famous 'floating gardens', man-made islands on which local people - living in villages around the lake - cultivate vegetables. Watch the sun setting across the lake against a backdrop of the Hari Parbat Fort and snow-capped Pir Panjal Mountains.
Day Trip to GulmargTravel into the mountains to the pine-fringed town of Gulmarg, meaning 'valley of flowers'. Sitting amid highland pastures, the town is lush green in the summer and pristine white in the winter.Take an easy trek up in to the Himalayan foothills; sit down for a picnic whilst taking in the fresh mountain air and spectacular views. For thrill seekers there will be the option to take the 'Gulmarg Gondola' cable car to the top of Kongdoori Mountain.The world's second highest cable car, consisting of two stages, the 'Gulmarg Gondola' takes skiers to a height of almost 4,000 metres.
Fly Srinagar to Leh
Once the capital of the Himlayan Kingdom of Ladakh, Leh lies on edge of the Tibetan plateau at a height of more than 3,500 metres. Closer geographically, culturally and anthropologically to Tibet than India; the city's dominating palace - with its clear architectural similarities to Lhasa's Potala Palace - highlights this connection.Surrounded by irrigated barley fields and overlooked by rocky peaks, the city sits in the fertile Indus River Valley. In this idyllic location, modernity has only just started to take hold. Traditional Ladakhi buildings, with their flat roofs and solid walls, still fill the area surrounding the city's age-old bazaar.
You will be staying at The Grand Dragon Hotel
Spend Half a Day Visiting Leh Market, Palace, Museum and NAMOHead to Leh Market, once a melting pot of Central Asian cultures and still a lively place despite Leh's role as a trading town having diminished over the years. The winding alleys remain the same, yet many of the traditional buildings have been replaced or modernised.Continue on to the Central Asian Museum, lying at the heart of the old town, before walking up through ancient alleyways to the Ladakh Arts and Media Organisation Centre. An organisation that helps in conserving local crafts and heritage, the LAMO Centre exhibits Ladakhi paintings and photos.Afterwards, head to Leh's 17th century palace, built by King Sengge Namgyal. Unoccupied since the royal family left in 1846, this nine-storey palace is Leh's most imposing building.
Full day excursion to Shey, Thiksey and Hemis Monasteries15kms from Leh, the ruins of the once beautiful Palace of Shey stand high on a sheer rock cliff and appear to be an architectural extension of the rock formations. The palace contains the largest golden Buddha statue in LadakhNoted for its resemblance to the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Thiksey monastery is an impressive complex and the largest monastery in central Ladakh. The monastery belongs to the Gelugpa sect and is home to about 500 monks. It is a 12-storey complex housing many items of Buddhist art such as stupas, statues, wall paintings and also an enormous two-storey statue of Maitreya (the future Buddha.The 17th century red hat Hemis monastery is the most important monastery in terms of spiritual hierarchy and is also the richest in Ladakh. The Dukhang houses the throne of the Rinpoche (abbot) alongside another larger throne for the Dalai Lama. There is another Dukhang, which has a large statue of Sakyamuni Buddha. Behind the statue is a huge chorten made of solid silver, with edgings of gold, and studded with turquoise and coral stones. Hemis possesses a gigantic thangka - believed to be one of the largest in the world - that depicts a beautifully embroidered figure of Padmasambhava and is displayed to the public every 12 years.
Half Day Visit to Stok PalaceHead to the impressive Stok Palace, still home to descendants of the Ladakhi royal family. Slightly reminiscent of Lhasa's imposing Potala Palace, this photogenic building is notable for its whitewashed walls and colourful window frames. Inside, a museum displays a variety royal treasures. These include costumes, jewellery, armour, weapons and jade carvings.
Fly Leh to Delhi
Buffer Day in DelhiThis is an essential buffer day to allow for unexpected delays. Traveling out of season increases the risk of severe weather, which can disrupt flight schedules. Experience has shown time and again, that this additional day is indispensable.Should this day be free, have the opportunity to spend the day sightseeing in Delhi.
You will be staying at Claridges
Fly Delhi to London
Phone: +44 (0) 1285 651 010
Phone: +44(0) 1285 651 010
For a detailed itinerary or to book your place on this tour, please contact us.
+44(0) 1285 651 010
+44 (0) 1285 651 010
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