• In the Foothills of the Himalaya

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    Himalaya

    Rudyard Kipling’s timeless classic, The Jungle Book, will be brought to the big screen once again this spring in a live-action remake by Walt Disney, reigniting worldwide interest in the extraordinary life and works of the Nobel laureate author. Titan’s brand new tour, In the Foothills of the Himalaya, will take you to areas of India that Kipling knew and loved such as Shimla, the colonial hill station and summer capital of British India, Delhi and Amritsar. Shimla, which was then known as Simla, held fond memories for Kipling, who set some of his short stories in the town. Writing in his autobiography many years later he recalled his time there in the 1880s: it was, he said, “pure joy – every golden hour counted.” The memsahibs and retired colonels may be long gone, but Shimla retains a marked English atmosphere, with its Victorian churches, mock-Tudor post office and grand Viceregal Lodge, and both Indians and foreign visitors still come to the ‘Queen of the Hills’ to escape the summer heat and relax in the cool climate, as in Kipling’s day.

    Shimla

    Further north, Dharamshala is another hill station, surrounded by the soaring, snow-capped peaks of the Himalaya. Like Shimla, it was a popular summertime resort for the British officials in Delhi, while today it is more famous as the home of the exiled Tibetan government and the residence of the Dalai Lama. Thousands of Tibetans have settled here and there are several colourful and welcoming Buddhist temples and monasteries to visit, along with Hindu shrines and a neo-Gothic Anglican church, where Lord Elgin, a one-time Viceroy of India, lies buried.

    Travelling westwards to the Punjab, you’ll come upon Amritsar, the holiest site in Sikhism. The Harmandir Sahib, more commonly known as the Golden Temple, was built more than 400 years ago and is one of the great sights of India. Exploring this shimmering architectural jewel and witnessing a religious ceremony here is a truly unforgettable experience.

    Amritsar

    It is with great pleasure that I am able to introduce a new and vibrant tour into the Titan portfolio – In the Foothills of the Himalaya. Titan has been escorting tours through India for many years, although the Northern Himalayan region remained largely unexplored.  Our journey commences from Amritsar, home to the beautiful ‘Golden Temple’ which is the holiest place in Sikhism. From Amritsar we venture up to Wagah on the Pakistan border where we are treated to a flamboyant ceremony where the Indian and Pakistani guards perform an elaborate march in front of each other before closing the border for the evening. The tour will then head into the foothills of the Himalaya to discover some of the most fascinating hill stations, from Dharamshala, which is now home to the Dalai Lama to Shimla, once the summer capital of the British Raj. Whilst in the Himalaya, time will be spent visiting tea plantations, enjoying rail journeys over mountain passes and discovering Tibetan settlements. Touching upon some of India’s more remote locations and travelling through narrow mountain passes, a decision was made to cap the tour at 24 passengers and conduct the Himalayan portion of our journey in smaller vehicles to promote comfort and enjoyment. Our journey concludes in Delhi with the discovery of both the new and old parts of this bustling and ever-changing city. Upon the competition of this tour it felt somewhat wrong not to have featured the Taj Mahal, so just in case you want to visit or revisit one of the world’s most iconic monuments a two-night Agra extension is available.

     

     

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    Phil Ellis

    Phil has 11 years’ experience in the travel industry, seven of those as a product manager, but he is one of the newer members of Titan’s team. As Titan’s Long Haul Product Manager, Phil is responsible for covering our tours in Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, the Indian subcontinent and China.

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