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Unwind in Uttrakhand (Tour Code: IN/New) – Indian Hill state of Uttrakhand was once a part of British Indian state of United Provinces which later had become Uttar Pradesh. Mussoorie was a very popular British Hill stations though it is still now and in contrast is a close by religious places of Rshikesh and Haridwar, a city through which the Ganges flows and the largest religious fair of Kumbh takes place. We take you through all these places in this relaxed 8/9 days itinerary with numerous add-ons or possible extensions.
Day 01: Delhi / Dehradun
Post breakfast fly to Dehradun (International arrival will connect a domestic flight to Dehradun and will be assisted at airport). Upon arrival at Dehradun you will be met by our representative and transferred to the hotel in Dehradun. Check-in at hotel and rest of day at leisure. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 02: Dehradun
Breakfast will be served at the hotel and post breakfast set out for a day tour of Dehradun. The flower-carpeted valley of Dehradun cozily rests on the foothills of the majestic Himalayas, at a height of 2,200 ft. With its Victorian buildings, the place looks like a traditional mural and still radiates the flavor of the British Raj. An acclaimed city of India; its popularity lies on the various academic institutions and research centers that it houses.
Visit some famous places like Tapkeshwar Mahadev Temple :Located at the outskirts of the city, at a distance of 5.5 km from the city centre, this cave temple sprawls on the banks of a seasonal river. It is dedicated to the Hindu Deity ‘Shiva’ and derives its name from the Hindi Word Tapak, which means ‘to drip’. Water naturally drips on the ‘shivling’ (holy stone) from the ceiling of the cave. According to legends, during the time of the Mahabharata, Lord Shiva made milk flow from this cave for Ashwarthama, son of Rishi Dronacharya. Forest Research Institute (FRI): Located to the northwest of the city center, on the Kaulagarh Road, is the vast campus of the Forest Research Institute (FRI). Established by the British in 1906; the institute constantly strives towards the preservation of the various species of India’s forest wealth and is one of the best institutes in the world on the science of forestry. The six museums located within its premise house diverse specimens of Indian flora and fauna and remain open for the public on weekdays. Back to hotel and overnight at hotel in Dehradun.
Day 03: Dehradun / Mussoorie
Breakfast at hotel and post breakfast, drive to Mussoorie by road (35 Kms approx / 1 hour). Mussoorie is a city about 30 km from Dehradun and falls in Dehradun district in the Indian state of Uttarakhand. This hill station, situated in the foothills of the Himalayas is also known as the Queen of Hills. Being at an average altitude of 2,000 meters (6,600 ft), Mussoorie, with its green hills and varied flora and fauna, commanding snow ranges to the northeast and glittering views of the Doon Valley and Shivalik ranges in the south, the town was once said to present a ‘fairyland’ atmosphere to tourists. We explore a bit of Mussoorie and take an evening walk on the Mall Road enjoying the fresh mountain air. Also enjoy the view of the twinkling valley of Doon.
Also visit the Camel’s Back Road in Mussoorie is a 3 km long road from Kulri Bazaar to Library point where one can enjoy the beautiful view of the mountains. The main charm of this road is horse riding and walking down the road at the time of sunset. One gets to see the natural layout of rocks shaped like
camels’ hump and hence this place gets its name, Camel’s Back Road. Camel’s Back Cemetery is around 180 years old British Cemetery, established in the year 1829. Thousands of graves line the slopes – a constant reminder of the British presence in Mussoorie. Here lie the hill stations’ first pioneers and settlers, as well as Generals and common soldiers, memsahib’s and their infants, schoolmasters, revered gentlemen and brewers. A visit to this cemetery is quite an experience and so is reading the epitaphs on some very old graves that are present here. Of course hard to relate with each one, but a visit to this cemetery takes us back in the days of the Raj and helps us understand, how the British fancied this and many other hill‐towns in India.
Back to hotel and overnight.
Day 04: Mussoorie
Breakfast at Hotel and post breakfast, proceed for a local sightseeing tour visiting Mussoorie Lake, A newly developed picnic spot, situated on Mussoorie-Dehradun road is about 6 kms from Mussoorie. It is a delightful spot with the availability of pedal boats. It gives an enchanting view of the Doon valley and the nearby villages. Also visit Kempty falls – Kempty Falls in Mussoorie are the most beautiful waterfalls in Uttarakhand. The water-falls set on the hilly terrains, are stunningly beautiful. The water cascading down from an altitude of 4,500 feet and splitting further into five cascades, the water falls from a height of 40 feet giving the appearance of water jumping and playing on the rocks before falling down. This place was developed as a tourist destination by John Mekinan, after 1835. The name Kempty is derived from ‘Camp-tea’, as the British would organize their tea parties here.
Later we visit Gun-hill enjoying a ropeway ride to the second highest peak of Mussoorie (subject to availability of the ropeway and time conducive). Gunhill, can also be reached by bridles path which forks-off from Mall Road near Kutchery and to reach this point takes about twenty minutes. Gun Hill offers a beautiful panoramic view of the Himalayan ranges to name a few, Bunderpunch, Srikantha, Pithwara and Gangotri. A bird’s eye view of Mussoorie town and Doon Valley is also breathtakingly beautiful from here. During the pre-independence era a gun mounted on this top used to be fired heralding mid-day to enable people to adjust their watches and hence it got its name.
Back to hotel and overnight at hotel in Mussoorie.
Day 05: Mussoorie
Breakfast at the hotel and the day is at leisure to explore a bit more of your choice or better still visit Landour Cemetery – Situated at an altitude of 2,286 meters above sea level, the top of Landour ridge is the highest point in Mussoorie. This also remains the most secluded and beautiful area of the town, with spectacular view of the snow clad mighty Himalayas, dense deodar forests, and steep slopes. Landour, a small cantonment town contiguous with Mussoorie, is about 40 km from Dehradun. The twin towns of Mussoorie and Landour together, are well‐known hill towns of the era of the British Raj in India. Mussoorie‐Landour is widely known as the ‘Queen of the Hills’. The name Landour is drawn from Llanddowror, a village in Carmarthenshire in southwest Wales. Landour was initially built by and for the British Indian Army. From 1827 when a sanatorium was built in Landour, the town was a convalescent station for the military, and hence much of Landour is a Cantonment. The first permanent building in all of Mussoorie‐Landour was also built in 1825 by Captain Young, who was also the Commandant of the first Gurkha (or Gorkha) regiment raised by the British after the Gurkha War. The Christian Cemetery at Landour is the oldest cemetery in Mussoorie and has graves dating back to 1830s. One can also see the cypress tree planted in 1871, by the then Duke of Edinburgh.
Overnight at the hotel in Mussoorie.
Day 06: Mussoorie / Rishikesh
Breakfast at hotel and post breakfast today we leave Mussoorie to reach Rishikesh (90 kms / 3 hrs).
Arrive Rishikesh, check-in at hotel in Rishikesh. This is the holy town, through which the holy Ganga (Ganges) flows and Shiva dwells. Experience the feeling of spiritualism and all that India is known for. Rishikesh, the Yoga and Meditation Capital of India, is a center of spiritual teachings in world. The city is close to Haridwar, increasing the spiritual sense manifolds. Rishikesh is also known for its ashrams and Lakshman Jhula. Lakshman Jhula is a famous landmark of Rishikesh. The bridge is known for its design. It is a suspended iron bridge, made over river Ganges. Hindu mythology makes us believe that it was the site where Lord Lakshmana made a jute bridge to cross Ganges.
The ashrams of Rishikesh are globally renowned for the serene environment. Lunch will be at Choti Wala Restaurant that is famous for a man with a long upright strand of hair (Choti) to be welcoming the guests at the entrance of this eatery. Or choose to lunch at the German Bakery, very old and popular restaurant which serves great deserts, sizzlers and their own baked cookies which are really awesome. This happening restaurant has the best view of the Ganges and has really good international food. It’s one of the busiest places in Lakshman Jhula for good reason.
A walk down the banks of Rishikesh around Laxman Jhula and Ram Jhula is another enriching experience that will be the highlight of this tour and of course the evening Parmarth Niketan Ganges aarti.
Back to hotel and overnight at hotel in Rishikesh.
Day 07: Rishikesh / Haridwar / Rishikesh
Breakfast at hotel and post breakfast today we take an excursion to Haridwar (25 kms / 30 min). Haridwar is a holy city of India. It is believed to be as old as Varanasi. Haridwar has a distinction of holding the Kumbh mela every 6th and 12th year on the famous Har ki Paudi Ghat. Meaning of is The Gateway to God, with ‘Hari’ meaning God and ‘dwar’ meaning the gate. Haridwar is regarded as one of the seven holiest places to the Hindus. Later explore the city of Haridwar visiting Mansa Devi Temple, Pawan Dham and Daksha Temple.
Evening proceed for Ganga Aarti ceremony at Har Ki Pauri (Ganges Ghats) and enjoy a visit to the traditional local bazaar .Har ki Pauri Ghat, to witness the evening Aarti. Har ki Paudi means Steps (Paudi) of Shiva (Har). It is believed that Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu visited the ghat in the vedic era. The ghat is said to have a large footprint, supposed to be that of Vishnu. Legends have it that Lord Brahma too had performed a Yagna (Prayers) at the banks of Ganga, on Har ki Paudi. Later Shiva visited the place and found it suitable to release Ganga on the plains. The sacred ghat was constructed by King Vikramaditya in memory of his brother Bhartrihari.
Back to hotel and overnight at Rishikesh.
Day 08: Rishikesh
Enjoy your breakfast at the hotel and post breakfast today we will visit Vashisit Cave.
If there is heaven on earth, it is certainly Vasishta Guha. Guha means a cave and Vasishta Guha is situated at about 22 kms from Rishikesh on the bus route to Badrinath/Kedarnath. In the Himalayas, the names of many caves are linked with some renowned sages. Vasishta is one of the Saptarshis (7 sages) and one of the first creations of Lord Brahma (the creator). He was the chief priest (Kula Guru) of the line of kings tracing his roots to the family of Sun God (Surya Vansha), the most famous in that line being the Lord Rama ‐ an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Vasishta’s one hundred sons were killed by the black magic another sage Viswamitra. When one enters the opening of the cave, one is engulfed by darkness, unable to see anything around. This sustains for about a minute during which one could feel the resence of some people inside who are meditating. This cave is about 20 ft long, 10 ft wide at the entrance but slowly tapering down and the height is about 7 ft. At the furthest end of the cave, there is a Shivling. Apparently, sages from the remote and higher reaches of the Himalayas come down to this cave for meditation. Below this cave, is the majestic Ganges that flows towards Rishikesh, giving a scenic appeal to the entire location. The cave is being looked after by Swami Chaitanyananda Ashram. This ashram was established by Swami Sri Purushottamananda Maharaj (guru of Swami Chaitanyananda). Purushottamananda was a disciple of Swami Brahmananda (disciple of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa). Many believe that this great cave has some divine presence as well. Vasishta Cave is a wonderful place for meditation and to find a few moments of solace.
Enjoy a picnic lunch here on the banks of the river Ganges and relax here till evening, Later you have an option to revisit the Laxman Juhla and Ram Jhula and when here visit The Beatles Cafe – A tribute to the Fab Four’s stay in Rishikesh is this swinging Beatles-themed cafe hidden down the bazaar leading into Laxman Jhula. It gives off a very chilled out and comfortable vibe. 60’s era anthems are being pulsed through the speakers and tables and chairs are aligned with colourful blankets and cushions. It’s not just the ambiance in Beatles Café that’s enchanting, but the vegan, gluten-free cuisine is also delectable and the large variety on offer is sure to satisfy every palate. The menu, which reads like a book, also sticks to its theme and offers enticing preparations like ‘The Green Revolution’ and ‘John Lennon Roll’. The views of the Ganges are awesome as are its sandwiches and smoothies. There are plenty of vegan and raw-food dishes, including a tasty eggplant lasagne with cashew cheese.
Or just return to the hotel and overnight at the hotel.
Day 09: Rishikesh / Dehradun / Delhi
Breakfast at hotel. Post breakfast you will check-out and be transferred to Dehradun airport in time to connect your flight back to Delhi (if connecting an international flight, you would be transferred to international airport in Delhi).
Evening Aarti at Rishikesh and Haridwar exemplifies the river Ganges that is a revered Hindu Goddess.
Picnic lunch while in Rishikesh.
Tours of British Cemeteries in Mussoorie.
Extend tours further to include any place in North India.