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India Secrets of Kashmir Cultural Discovery

Historical Wonders & Local Life in Three Unique Regions

 

Unravel the mysteries of Kashmir, recently opened to tourism, on this behind-the-scenes journey through one of India's most remote regions. Hike the pristine mountains around Srinagar, take tea with local villagers, visit Lake Dal's vibrant floating market, and tour the mythical "Seat of Solomon." Experience the deep spirituality of the Dalai Lama's community in Dharamsala, behold the magnificent Sikh Golden Temple at Amritsar, and witness the colorful pageantry of the Wagah border ceremony. All this plus classic Tibetan, Indian, and Kashmiri meals equals the cultural exploration of a lifetime!

  • Penetrate three unique regions - the ancient capital of Amritsar, Dharamsala's Tibetan community-in-exile, and long-isolated Kashmir

  • See awe-inspiring Sikh Golden Temple and get VIP seats to the India-Pakistan border ceremony

  • Have tea with Kashmiri villagers, hike untouched forests, and experience Lake Dal's floating markets

Contact an Expert

Arrive:

New Delhi, India

Depart:

New Delhi, India

Price: from $6,595

Duration:

12 Days

Departures:

See Dates

Group Size:

2-14 Guests

Min Age:

13 yrs

Activity:

Level 3

This trip is ranked moderate. You will be walking 2-5 hours a day on several days through forests and villages where some tracks are quite uneven. Elevations are between 780\' in Delhi and 9,400\' at Triund. You need to be in good health and physical condition to enjoy such an experience.
Learn more here.

Download Detailed Itinerary

Click here to download the Detailed Itinerary.

  • Arrive in New Delhi

    Day 1

    Welcome to India! Arrive at Indira Gandhi International Airport in vibrant New Delhi and transfer to the luxury Taj Mahal (Taj Man Singh) Hotel.

    Accommodation: Taj Mahal Hotel – Delhi, India

    Dignitaries and heads of state visiting New Delhi prefer the Taj Mahal Hotel given its stateliness, its timeless hospitality and service, its original culinary innovations, and the quiet, restrained luxury that permeates every guest's stay. Central to the Taj Mahal Hotel's prominence is its old-world grace and charm, blended effortlessly with contemporary comforts and amenities.

  • See the Sights of Historic Delhi

    Day 2

    After our welcome breakfast, tour New Delhi today, beginning with a drive through Lutyens' Delhi, named for the British architect who was responsible for much of the building during the British Raj. Pass the Presidential Palace, the imposing 138-foot-tall India Gate, and Birla House, former residence of Mahatma Gandhi. Take an afternoon walk through stunning UNESCO-listed Humayun's Tomb and Lodhi Gardens. Dinner is on your own.

    Accommodation: Taj Mahal Hotel – Delhi, India

    Dignitaries and heads of state visiting New Delhi prefer the Taj Mahal Hotel given its stateliness, its timeless hospitality and service, its original culinary innovations, and the quiet, restrained luxury that permeates every guest's stay. Central to the Taj Mahal Hotel's prominence is its old-world grace and charm, blended effortlessly with contemporary comforts and amenities.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

  • Fly to Dharamsala & Explore the Dalai Lama Temple

    Day 3

    Fly to Dharamsala, the seat of his holiness the Dalai Lama. In the afternoon, take a serene kora (circumambulation) of the Dalai Lama Temple and Namgyal Monastery, strolling with the monks as they chant, and learning about the various deities and forms of the Buddha. Within the complex is Kalchakra Temple, whose empowerment ceremonies are believed to contribute to world harmony.

    Accommodation: Serkong House-Dharamsala, India

    Enjoy the warmth of Tibetan hospitality and get a true taste of Tibetan culture at Serkong House. Centrally located, this friendly, well-maintained hotel is close to everything, yet still quiet and peaceful. The 15 rooms - many offering spectacular views of the Kangra Valley - are bright, spacious, and beautifully accented with furnishings and textiles handmade by the Norbulingka Institute's craftsmen.

    Transportation: 1.5-hour flight transfer

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Experience Tibetan Rituals & Traditions

    Day 4

    Visit the Tibetan Parliament and, time permitting, the Tibetan Traditional Medicine and Wellness Centre to meet a traditional healer. Travel to Gyuto Monastery, famous for its tantric rituals. Explore the workshops of craftsmen practicing traditional Tibetan painting and woodcarving. Conclude with an exclusive tour of the Zen-inspired Dolma Ling Nunnery, where the nuns spend up to three years in solitude!

    Accommodation: Serkong House-Dharamsala, India

    Enjoy the warmth of Tibetan hospitality and get a true taste of Tibetan culture at Serkong House. Centrally located, this friendly, well-maintained hotel is close to everything, yet still quiet and peaceful. The 15 rooms - many offering spectacular views of the Kangra Valley - are bright, spacious, and beautifully accented with furnishings and textiles handmade by the Norbulingka Institute's craftsmen.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Enjoy a Scenic Hike in the Himalayan Foothills

    Day 5

    Drive to the Gallu Devi Temple above Dharamkot, surrounded by pristine forests. Head out for a scenic 4.5-hour forest trek to Triund (9,275') in the foothills of the mighty Himalayas, offering spectacular views of the Dhauladar Mountains and the Kangra Valley. Return to Dharamsala and enjoy some free time before dinner.

    Accommodation: Serkong House-Dharamsala, India

    Enjoy the warmth of Tibetan hospitality and get a true taste of Tibetan culture at Serkong House. Centrally located, this friendly, well-maintained hotel is close to everything, yet still quiet and peaceful. The 15 rooms - many offering spectacular views of the Kangra Valley - are bright, spacious, and beautifully accented with furnishings and textiles handmade by the Norbulingka Institute's craftsmen.

    Activity: 4.5 hours/7 miles hiking with 1,800' elevation gain/loss

    Transportation: 1.5-hour private van transfer

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Arrive in Amritsar & Sundown Flag Ceremony

    Day 6

    Today drive to Amritsar, capital of the state of Punjab, and check into your hotel. In the afternoon, travel to the Wagah border for VIP access to the extraordinary sundown flag ceremony. The sight of soldiers from Pakistan and India, dressed in fantastically ornate uniforms and good-naturedly trying to outdo each other in pomp and pageantry, is an experience you'll never forget. Return to Amritsar and make a quick photo stop at the Golden Temple, spectacularly lit at night.

    Accommodation: Hyatt Amritsar-Amritsar, India

    Just 10 minutes from the famed Golden Temple, the 5-star Hyatt Amritsar offers contemporary luxury in the heart of the city. The elegant guest rooms are well equipped with ergonomic beds, flat-screen TVs, and minibars. Other hotel features include two in-house restaurants serving international cuisine, 24-hour concierge service, and a premium spa offering a range of traditional treatments.

    Transportation: 4-hour private van transfer

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Explore the Magnificent Golden Temple

    Day 7

    This morning, you'll tour the magnificent Golden Temple in Amritsar, the holiest temple of the Sikh faith. You'll visit the inner sanctum, climb to the roof for an amazing view of the city, and see the world's largest kitchen, which offers free meals to some 50,000 people each day, regardless of caste or religion. Next, take a short rickshaw ride through the lanes of the old town, filled with tea and spice traders. This afternoon, fly to Srinagar, where you'll visit the Mughal pleasure gardens and the Palace of the Fairies, overlooking jewel-like Dal Lake.

    Accommodation: Lake Dal Houseboat

    Welcome aboard your beautifully carved, deluxe wooden houseboat on Dal Lake, known as the Jewel in the crown of Kashmir. The excellent facilities include twin- or queen-sized beds, high-quality hotel linens, en-suite bathrooms with showers, and hot and cold running water. Enjoy air conditioning, a dining/breakfast area and a large living room as you explore the scenic lake.

    Transportation: 1-hour flight transfer

    Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

  • Meet Locals in Pahalgam, Valley of the Shepherds

    Day 8

    Depart Srinagar and head to remote Pahalgam, Valley of the Shepherds. Here, visit the Shepherd Project, which helps native Gujjar women sustain themselves through traditional weaving and embroidery. Meet the women and hear their stories as you join them for tea. Return to your hotel in Pahalgam for a traditional Tarami dinner.

    Accommodation: Pahalgam Hotel-Pahalgam, India

    Established in 1931, the historic Pahalgam Hotel is set on the banks of the ice-blue Lidder River and conveniently close to the main market. The 20 suites and 25 well-appointed double bedrooms are homey and comfortable, giving the hotel a reputation for rejuvenation. Guests enjoy warm, personalized service, complimentary high tea, and breathtaking views of the river and snowcapped mountains.

    Transportation: 3-hour private van transfer

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Scenic Trek in the Aru Valley

    Day 9

    Head out after breakfast for a drive to the scenic Aru Valley and begin your trek through pristine meadows and thick pine forests, visiting the local shepherd communities along the way. Enjoy a picnic lunch in the wilderness, ending with traditional Kashmiri saffron tea and the local kalari cheese, a dense ripened cheese indigenous to the region. Return to Srinagar for dinner at your leisure.

    Accommodation: Vivanta by Taj-Srinagar, India

    Vivanta by Taj Srinagar is a five-star luxury resort offering modern comfort with stylish touches of traditional Kashmiri design. Perched on a hillside overlooking jewel-like Dal Lake and cradled by the majestic Zabarwan Mountains, it's the perfect base for exploring the delights of Srinagar. Bedrooms feature rain showers with separate bathtubs and private balconies with mountain or lake views.

    Transportation: 4-hour private van transfer

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

  • Walking Tour of Old Srinagar

    Day 10

    Step back in time on a walking tour of old Srinagar. Wander through ancient spice and fabric markets, and metal workshops. Pay a visit to Budshah Tomb, resting place of King Zain al Abidin, and two incredible mosques - the lavishly decorated, 13th-century Khanqah of Shah Hamadan, and the immense Jama Masjid, built in 1400. Both feature an unusual blend of Buddhist, Hindu, and Islamic designs. Explore mysterious Shankaracharya Temple, an ancient temple to Shiva. After lunch, visit Hazratbal, one of the holiest places in the state, housing a relic of the Prophet Mohammed.

    Accommodation: Vivanta by Taj-Srinagar, India

    Vivanta by Taj Srinagar is a five-star luxury resort offering modern comfort with stylish touches of traditional Kashmiri design. Perched on a hillside overlooking jewel-like Dal Lake and cradled by the majestic Zabarwan Mountains, it's the perfect base for exploring the delights of Srinagar. Bedrooms feature rain showers with separate bathtubs and private balconies with mountain or lake views.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Boat on Lake Dal & Hike in Dachigam National Park

    Day 11

    After breakfast, depart for a hike in unspoiled Dachigam National Park. A top naturalist offers insights on the local plant and animal life. Take a shikara (classic wooden boat) ride on Lake Dal to see how the 150,000 people live on the lake — with schools, shops, homes and floating farms. Enjoy onboard tea service as you cruise through the communities. This evening, wrap up your fascinating Kashmir journey with a special farewell dinner accompanied by Sufi music.

    Accommodation: Vivanta by Taj-Srinagar, India

    Vivanta by Taj Srinagar is a five-star luxury resort offering modern comfort with stylish touches of traditional Kashmiri design. Perched on a hillside overlooking jewel-like Dal Lake and cradled by the majestic Zabarwan Mountains, it's the perfect base for exploring the delights of Srinagar. Bedrooms feature rain showers with separate bathtubs and private balconies with mountain or lake views.

    Activity: Scenic boat ride & 2 hours/2 miles hiking

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Depart from Delhi

    Day 12

    Fly back to Delhi and enjoy a relaxing afternoon at the day rooms of the JW Marriott. Transfer to the airport for your flight to home or onwards.

    Transportation: 1.5-hour flight transfer

    Meals: Breakfast

India Secrets of Kashmir Multi-Adventure

Download Detailed Itinerary

Click here to download the Detailed Itinerary.

What to Expect

 

Why take this trip with us?

Reason #01

MT Sobek's immersive Secrets of Kashmir itinerary is led by expert local guides who understand the complexities of the region.

Reason #02

Only MT Sobek uniquely combines Sikhism, Buddhism and Islam and three different geographical areas of India

Reason #03

As part of our philanthropic endeavors, we donate $250 per guest to benefit the Tibetan Nuns Project at the Dolma Ling Nunnery & Institute.

Meet your guides

Inder Dugal

Inder Dugal

Born in Delhi to a Sikh father and American mother, Inder grew up in the capital city at a time of strong British influence in India. After studying in the US, the lure of India and its wonders finally pulled him back and into the travel world. Today, as a guide and tour director, Inder works closely with guests to ensure the best experience possible. He blends an understanding of Western perspectives with a local's approach to customs and languages (Hindi and Punjabi). A self-taught chef, history buff and travel enthusiast, with a great sense of humor, he brings a lot to your trip.

Activities

Cultural touring by private van and foot, with easy walks to explore Kashmir's historical wonders and meet local people.

Lodging

Relax at comfortable and well-appointed hotels, including the elegant and luxurious Vivanta by Taj at Lake Dal - an exquisite five-star resort.

Climate

In April and September, low temperatures will range from 40°F - low 60°F and highs will range from 50°F - 100°F.

FAQ

Who will meet me on arrival?

An MT Sobek representative will meet you at the Delhi Airport.

Do I need a visa for India?

Yes, you do, but you can go online to apply for an Indian e-visa, which is fast and convenient.

Is Kashmir safe?

We only run our trips if we believe the situation is safe. We monitor the situation in Kashmir regularly through our local partners in the area, and using a global risk management company who we retain.

Since Kashmir is a Muslim-majority state, do women have to cover themselves?

No, women do not have to cover themselves except when going into the mosques. We do suggest trousers when walking here. Local women wear scarves or chadors, but no one expects visitors to do so.

Can I do an extension to the Taj Mahal or Varanasi?

Absolutely! Please call your Adventure Coordinator as we can organize extensions throughout India.

Does this trip contribute to any local conservation efforts?

Yes! MT Sobek makes a donation of $250 per traveler to the Tibetan Nuns Project for all participants that join the trip. Travelers will also get to volunteer at the free kitchen at the Sikh Golden Temple in Amritsar, which feeds ups to 50,000 people a day - all with volunteer labor!

2022

Scheduled Dates

  • Mar 25 - Apr 05, 2022
    $7,195 price per person dbl occ
    +$880 internal airfare+$1,700 single supplement
    Available
  • Sep 23 - Oct 04, 2022
    $7,195 price per person dbl occ
    +$880 internal airfare+$1,700 single supplement
    Available
  • Oct 14 - 25, 2022
    $7,195 price per person dbl occ
    +$880 internal airfare+$1,700 single supplement
    Available

Price Includes

  • Expertise and services of our experienced adventure guides
  • All accommodations as noted in the itinerary
  • All breakfasts, almost all lunches and dinners as noted in the itinerary
  • Snacks and water between meals
  • Additional regional guides and experts on many trips
  • Comprehensive Trip Planner with detailed pre-trip information
  • Private guided tours at historic sites, museums, wineries and other select attractions as noted in the itinerary
  • Special events and other select attractions as mentioned in the itinerary
  • All gratuities at hotels and restaurants
  • Equipment and experienced guides for activities as described in the itinerary
  • Park and other entry fees (unless otherwise noted)
  • Fares for trains, ferries and other modes of travel as listed in the itinerary
  • Select transfers as mentioned in the itinerary
  • Baggage transfers and porterage

Price Does Not Include

  • International airfare, airport taxes, and excess baggage fees
  • Alcoholic beverages (MT Sobek provides wine at select events)
  • Gratuities for MT Sobek guides and guide-drivers
  • Travel Protection Program
  • Personal expenses

Contact An Expert

800-974-0300

Need help picking your next adventure? Call us to answer your questions.

Go Private

Go Private

Gather your favorite travel companions to share an MT Sobek adventure on an easy-to-book Private Trip.

Choose from the selection of dates below for your group or if your preferred date is not available, we'll create a departure just for you.

Call or email us to get the ball rolling.

Private Trip Pricing:

2021 Pricing

4 to 5 guests from $8,095 per person double occupancy

6 to 7 guests from $7,695 per person double occupancy

8 to 14 guests from $7,095 per person double occupancy

2022 Pricing

4 to 5 guests from $7,695 per person double occupancy

2 to 3 guests from $8,995 per person double occupancy

6 to 7 guests from $7,495 per person double occupancy

8 to 9 guests from $7,295 per person double occupancy

10 guests from $7,195 per person double occupancy

	

Take Over One of These Dates

Make Your Own Dates in These Months

Price Includes

  • Expertise and services of our experienced adventure guides
  • All accommodations as noted in the itinerary
  • All breakfasts, almost all lunches and dinners as noted in the itinerary
  • Snacks and water between meals
  • Additional regional guides and experts on many trips
  • Comprehensive Trip Planner with detailed pre-trip information
  • Private guided tours at historic sites, museums, wineries and other select attractions as noted in the itinerary
  • Special events and other select attractions as mentioned in the itinerary
  • All gratuities at hotels and restaurants
  • Equipment and experienced guides for activities as described in the itinerary
  • Park and other entry fees (unless otherwise noted)
  • Fares for trains, ferries and other modes of travel as listed in the itinerary
  • Select transfers as mentioned in the itinerary
  • Baggage transfers and porterage

Price Does Not Include

  • International airfare, airport taxes, and excess baggage fees
  • Alcoholic beverages (MT Sobek provides wine at select events)
  • Gratuities for MT Sobek guides and guide-drivers
  • Travel Protection Program
  • Personal expenses

Contact An Expert

800-974-0300

Need help picking your next adventure? Call us to answer your questions.

Go Custom

Create Your Very Own Adventure

Dreaming of an adventure designed exclusively for you? With insider access and decades of experience, our travel experts create custom tailored adventures that are perfect for families, couples, and large groups. MT Sobek's custom adventures are designed to our exacting standards and led by our award-winning adventure guides.