Foothills of the Indian Himalaya

Delhi – Kathgodam – Deora – Alai – Kana – Almora – Corbett – Delhi

Duration:9 Days / 8 Nights

Day 1

ARRIVE DELHI

Arrive Delhi, after clearing Immigration & Customs formalities; you will reach the arrival hall. Here you will meet your Banyan tour guide and be transferred to your hotel. Overnight: The Claridges, Deluxe Room.

Day 2

DELHI – KATHGODAM (overnight train)

Full day sightseeing tour of Old and New Delhi. Old Delhi pulses with energy and colour, the hustle and bustle of thronged bazaars and is laced by a maze of narrow lanes which twist and turn between tall, leaning houses. It is full of the sights, sounds and aromas indicative of the Indian sub-continent. In Old Delhi you will see the famous Red Fort surrounded by shops, and bazaars, the Jama Masjid with its tapering minarets and wonderful marble domes and Chandni Chowk. In Old Delhi you will also have an opportunity to experience a rickshaw ride.

As a complete contrast to the medieval Old Delhi, New Delhi stands in formal splendour. It is a city of wide boulevards which offers ever-changing perspectives of Lutyen’s landscaped city. It is a city known for its formal parks, magnificent Parliament Building, the Rashtrapati Bhawan (the official residence of the President of India in the 330 acres of land and designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens) and India Gate. In New Delhi you will also visit Qutab Minar, the 72.5 metre high tower dating back to the 13th century, and Humanyun’s Tomb which was built in the 16th century and architecturally considered the fore runner of the Taj Mahal. Day use room will be occupied till departure to Railway station. Late evening transfer to Delhi Railway Station to board train for Kathgodam (Ranikhet Express at 2155/0545 Hrs).

Day 3

KATHGODAM – DEORA

Arrive Kathgodam this morning at 05.40am (Duration: 7h45m). On arrival in Kathgodam (the last station on the line), please wait in your compartment as our guide will come and collect you from there. You will then be driven to the Kumaon region (three hours away) stopping en route for breakfast, from where the Village Walks will begin.

The concept of the Village Walks is to facilitate an authentic ‘underfoot’ experience and provide a ‘snapshot’ of rural life in the Himalayan Mountains of Uttaranchal. The walks traverse the terraced foothills with overnight ‘home stays’ in various villages. As an honoured guest, the locals are keen to share their way of life with you so you can encounter life as it is. Setting off from the road head on the Kasar Devi Ridge (1862m), where on a clear day, a grand sweep of the Great Himalayan Range is visible, you will begin by walking down through the pretty village of Maath, scenically positioned on a ridge. The walk continues downhill through terraced fields and into a chir (pine) forest, where you will stop for a drink.

Continuing on from the forest, the path turns a little dry and rocky before you pass the village of Bimtola and climb for twenty minutes to your lunch point. Lunch will be served in the grounds of a temple, around two hours after you set off from the Kasar Devi Ridge.

After lunch, you will walk down through the colourful Naini Valley passing two temples dating from the 10th and 12th centuries. One of these temples is dedicated to Lord Shiva (you can tell by the many ‘lingams’ visible in the temple) and the other is dedicated to Lord Ram. Your private guide will elaborate further on the history of these temples. Continue walking through the fields and gently climb uphill to the village of Deora. Overnight: Deora Village House – Twin Room. Village altitude: 1495m, distance travelled: 8.6 km, time: 5 hours.BLD

Day 4

DEORA – JWALABANJ

Setting off from Deora, you will reach the village of Chirala after approximately thirty minutes of walking, where you can visit the local school. If he is around, you can also visit the house of an interesting ex army officer.

Continue walking through a pine forest, descending into the Shivalaya valley as the forest peters out. The scenic valley has a stream running down one side and one can often see children playing in the stream and adults working the fields. Walk along the valley before turning left and climbing up towards the village of Alai. Follow a water canal for twenty minutes before stopping for a drink and the opportunity to dip your feet in a natural rock pool.

Continuing along the path, passing a ‘ghatt’ (water powered flour mill) and terraced fields through the village of Palyu, before climbing for twenty minutes to the road head at Ka-chula Pool.

From Ka-chula Pool you have the option of taking our car (which has been waiting for you) to Dhaulchina, around twenty minutes away, before walking gradually uphill for thirty minutes to the lunch spot. For those who are feeling more energetic, the walk from Ka-chula Pool to the lunch spot (without taking the car) takes around an hour and a half with two fairly steep uphill stretches. After lunch, continue walking gradually uphill through stunning rhododendron forest for around one and a half hours until you reach the village of Jwalabanj. Overnight: Jwalabanj Village House – Twin Room. Village altitude: 2147m, distance travelled: 14.8-17.1 km, time: 6-7 hours.BLD

Day 5

JWALABANJ – KANA

Provided the weather is clear, we will wake you up early and walk you up to the road head for a very short drive to our mountain viewing point. Watching the sunrise over the Great Himalaya Range is well worth getting out of bed for!

Return to the house for breakfast, before starting your walk with a short ten minutes climb. You will walk down through ancient oak forest, passing the village of Kandhar, where you will have to clamber down some slightly steep terraced fields. Once you have reached the bottom of the valley, you will follow the stream through the oak forest, getting to see a kingfisher diving into the stream if you are lucky.

An hour or so after you have left the house, you will emerge onto a proper road which leads to the 8th century temple complex at Jageshwar, a hindu pilgrimage sight. Explore the temple complex before continuing along the road and back through terraced fields.

The final part of the walk takes you through a thick mixed forest to the village of Kana where lunch will be waiting for you at the village house. This last part of the walk is uphill most of the way.

As you will only have walked for around two and half to three hours today, we have arranged for you to take an afternoon walk to the village of Jhankarshein which has an interesting temple. The three hour return journey takes you through an interesting mix of pine, oak and rhodendron forest dotted with berry trees and a peach orchard. The temple is dedicated to a local deity, Golu Devta and is a popular local pilgrimage sight.

If you feel that you have walked enough by the time you have reached Kana at lunchtime, your itinerary is completely private and flexible and if you wanted to, you could spend your afternoon sitting outside reading a good book and admiring the scenery. Overnight: Kana Village House – Twin Room. Village Altitude: 1892m, distance travelled: 12 km, time: 6-7 hoursBLD

Day 6

KANA – ALMORA

Enjoy a morning at leisure or go for a walk in the area with your guide before walking to the road head, around twenty minutes away down the hill. You will then be driven to Almora approx 3 hrs drives. Overnight: Kalmatia Sangam, Category 2.BLD

Day 7

ALMORA – CORBETT

Morning drive to Corbett approximately 4 hrs. Arrive Corbett and transfer to the hotel. Aptly called the ‘Land of Roar and Trumpet’, this forest of flowing rivers, blue waters and Sal-dappled glades, was christened after the famous Colonel ‘Gentleman’ Jim Corbett. It also happens to be one of the last surviving stretches of untouched sub-Himalayan wildernesses. In 1936, it was finally notified as the Hailey National Park, named after Governor Hailey of the United Provinces. After India gained her Independence from the British, the name was changed to Ramganga National Park in 1952. It was eventually re-christened as Corbett National Park in 1957. Project Tiger was set up in April 1973 to protect the tiger and its habitat. Appropriately, the Corbett Tiger Reserve was the location for the launch of Project Tiger, which was officially inaugurated on 1 February 1974. Evening enjoy the game drive. Overnight: Hideaway River Lodge, Tents. BLD

Day 8

CORBETT NATONAL PARK

Morning and Evening enjoy the game drive. Overnight: Hideaway River Lodge, Tents. BLD

Day 9

CORBETT – DELHI – ONWARDS

Early Morning enjoy the game drive. After breakfast drive to Delhi approximately 6 hrs and transfer to International airport for your onward flight.

HimalayaJageshwarTemple3 Note: All hotels and suggested flights mentioned within the itinerary are subject to change due availability at the time of booking. HimalayaNatureTreck

  • B: BREAKFAST
  • L: LUNCH
  • D: DINNER

Dates and cost

please contact us for dates and prices

This tour is operational with a minimum of 2 people travelling.

What’s included

  • Accommodation in Hotels/ Tents/ Village Houses on a fully inclusive (twin/double share) basis, including all meals, all drinks (soft and alcoholic) as mentioned in the itinerary
  • All activities.
  • An accompanying English speaking guide, cook, support guide and porters.
  • Car at disposal (Mahindra Scorpio, Toyota Innova or similar).
  • All taxes.
  • The Village Houses will always be PRIVATE, i.e. just for your party.
  • Return transfers between the Kathgodam station/Pant Nagar airport and village houses (if you are buying a 3 night experience).

What’s not included

  • International airfare, visa fees, airport tax or any kind of insurance cover.
  • Items of personal nature like drinks, laundry, telephone calls, tips, camera fees etc.
  • Any other meals than those mentioned in the itinerary.
  • Liability for change in itinerary due to reasons beyond our control like change in flight and train schedule; cancellation of planes/trains, political disturbances, natural phenomenon, etc.
  • Any other item not specifically mentioned above as ‘INCLUDED’.

General Conditions

  • We reserve the right to change the order in which you stay in the houses.
  • All prices are subject to any revision of tax and tariff structure.

How to Book

To ensure your place on this exciting adventure, please contact us directly to reserve a place, then complete a Booking Form and return to us with your deposit. Reservations are established when you receive written confirmation and acceptance of the deposit and Booking Form.

Deposit required: $1,000 pp
Balance due: 60 days prior to departure
If booking on or within
60 days of departure:
full payment must be made

Travel insurance is strongly recommended and Adventure Associates will be pleased to forward a selection of insurance proposal forms.

Cancellations

Written instructions only will be accepted by Adventure Associates to cancel a reservation. Cancellation charges are subject to regulations of airlines, coach and tour operators, hotels/boats/trains and other principals involved. If it is necessary to cancel your arrangements, the following non-refundable charges will apply.

More than 100 days prior to departure AU$800 pp
Between 99-60 days prior to departure Full loss of deposit pp
Between 59-45 days prior to departure 75% of tour cost pp
On or within 44 days prior to departure No Refund

All cancellation charges will be strictly applied. If the cancellation charge is more than your advance payment you remain liable for the difference. For these and other reasons mentioned above you are strongly recommended to take out travel insurance. Once the tour has departed there will be no refund for any unused portions of the trip.

HimalayaFlora HimalayaJageshwarTemple2 Group tour costs shown are quoted in Australian Dollars and are subject to change due to exchange rate variations and other factors. Please check with us at the time of booking.

Our Accommodations

HotelClaridgesThe Claridges, Delhi

With 137 rooms & suites, The Claridges, New Delhi offers a wide choice of accommodation ranging from well-appointed spacious Deluxe Rooms to Luxury Suites, some with their own private terrace. The rooms are amongst the most spacious in Delhi and are a blend of the classic and contemporary, providing guests with all modern conveniences and facilities like interactive plasma television and wireless Internet access.

HotelShaktiVillageHousesVillage Houses, Deora, Jwalabanj, Kana.

Shakti offers a rare opportunity to discover compellingly beautiful and remote regions of the Indian Himalaya, combining an honest and sustainable approach with sophisticated simplicity and style. Without the strenuous effort involved in trekking, the romantic and rejuvenating effects of the Indian Himalaya can now be experienced. Shakti’s Village Houses offer a complete change of pace.

HotelKalmatiaSangamKalmatia Sangam, Almora

Hotel Kalmatia Sangam in Almora is tucked away at the heart of Kumaon hills, exuding an old world charm which reminds of the Raj era. It lies leisurely amidst an area of two hectares and the very first sight will impress you with its naive charm. The breathtaking view of the snow-studded peaks from the site, adds to its beauty. With its unmatched quality and service, Hotel Kalmatia Sangam is a winner all the way. Accommodation at Kalmatia Sangam Resort Almora: Hotel Kalmatia Sangam, Almora offers pretty cottages where the colonial style architecture bears imprints of Kumaoni inspiration. Each cottage is distinct from the other in terms of style, taste and décor. The cottages come with separate living and sleeping areas and are furnished with modern amenities to keep you in comfort. The cottages feature individual verandas or terraces.

HotelHideawayRiverLodgeHideaway River Lodge Tents, Corbett Game Park

The First of its kind from a professional hospitality chain in India, The Hideaway River Lodge is an endeavour to provide an experience of the unadulterated wilderness of the Corbett National Park. Its location on the periphery of the reserve forest by the Ramganga River makes Hideaway River Lodge an ideal for those who want to be in close proximity to one of the natural wonders of the world, lush Sub-tropical forests and the bountiful flora & avifauna. One can look forward to exciting game -drives in open 4WD safari vehicles led by experienced Naturalist and lot of exciting activities like Mahsheer Angling, Walking through the forest, birdwatching, Elephant Rides in the wild.

General travel guidelines for India

Passports

Passports must be valid at least six months beyond the date of intended departure from India. Travellers are advised to carry a photocopy of their passport and Indian visa.

Visa Formalities

For visiting India, all foreigners are required to acquire their visa in their home country. No visa is granted upon arrival in India. For those traveling to Sikkim an additional permit is necessary. This will be obtained once in India.

Dress

The hotels are smart but not hugely formal and the smart casual label is the best description for suggested dress code. Do carry a warm coat/jersey for early morning starts and especially for any train journeys, as the onboard air-conditioning can be very severe.

Dress Code for National Parks

Please wear appropriate colours when in any National Park or Reserve – these should be muted earthy colours. You may also like to carry a sun hat and sunglasses with you.

Please note from mid November until end February, the early morning and evening games drives can be very cold – this is attributed largely to the wind factor of the ‘open air’ jeep. We highly recommend you to carry fleeces, jackets, hats, gloves and scarves. By about 8/9am, the sun is out and you will begin ‘de-layering’ and be comfortable in a t-shirt for the majority of the midday.

Currency

India’s currency is ‘Rupee’, abbreviated as ‘Rs’. One Rupee is equal to 100 paise. Coins are in various small denominations of 10, 25, 50 Paise (these are rarely in circulation these days) & 1, 2, & 5, Rupees. Notes (Bills) are in denominations of 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 & 1000 Rupees.

Foreign Exchange

Visiting foreigners can exchange money at international airports where 24-hour exchange facilities are available, through banks and approved moneychangers. Or, one may change money at the big city hotels.

One can also change money at national or international banks such as Standard Chartered, Citibank, Bank of America, Hong Kong Bank and others in the major metro cities. Most of these have 24-hour ATMs. American Express and Thomas Cook offices may be found in major metros and tourist cities.

Bank timings are usually from 1000 hrs to 1700 hrs on weekdays and 1000hrs to 1400 hrs on Saturdays. Please remember that not all banks will exchange foreign currency or travellers cheques particularly in small towns.

Exchange money only through authorized banks or Money Changers. Insist on a receipt/encashment certificate when changing money. Retain all receipts to facilitate re-conversion of unspent money on departure from India. The current exchange rate of the Australian Dollar to the Indian Rupee is 1 AUD = Rs 41.82.

Travellers Cheques/Credit Cards

travellers’ Cheques should be of well-known brands like Thomas Cook, American Express and Visa. Large establishments generally accept Major Credit Cards like American Express, Master Cards, Diners Club, Visa, etc, including hotels, shops and airlines.

Payments

All foreign nationals must pay their hotel bills in foreign currency (cash, Traveler’s Cheques or even by Credit Cards). This can be paid in Rupees if the visitor has a receipt to show as a proof of currency exchange.

Tipping

It is usual to tip the waiters, porters, guides and drivers. Tips are not included in the bills, whether of hotels, transport companies or any other suppliers. At hotels and restaurants, about 10% of the bill is usually acceptable.

Though we give below the general guidelines, it is to be remembered that tipping is a sign of gratification for good service, and therefore please view the below guidelines as the middle ground, which can be adjusted depending on the level of service you feel you have received.

Please note the below amounts are per couple/ individual traveller.

Electricity

In India voltage is 220 volts AC, 50 cycles, though some areas also have DC supplies. Visitors are advised to check the voltage before using electrical appliances. Socket sizes vary, so it is as well to take a set of plug adapters, available from most electrical stores.

Prohibited Articles

The import of prohibited articles such as dangerous drugs, live plants, gold/silver bullion and coins, not in current use, is either totally prohibited or restricted. The law provides heavy penalties for the infringement of this restriction, and in some cases punishment can extend to the death sentence. Also, by law, visitors are banned from taking antiques and wildlife products out of the country – any infringement is punishable by fines and imprisonment.

Caution

The Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act bans all forms of wildlife trade. Violations of the provisions of the Act are punishable with heavy fines and imprisonment up to 7 years. Foreigners are, therefore, advised not to buy any wildlife or wildlife products or derivatives especially ivory articles, fur and skin articles derived from wild animals such as Shahtoosh.

Photography

Visitors to India find varied subjects for photography including people, monuments, wildlife, festivities, and landscapes. Note, however, these formalities, in respect of photography:

Special permission of the Archaeological Survey of India, New Delhi, is required for use of tripod and artificial light on monuments.

Special permission of Government of India is required for any photography for the purpose of publicity and commercial use.

Photography is prohibited in tribal areas.

Taking photographs of airports, railway stations, bridges, military installations, and from the air is prohibited.

Visiting Places of Worship

Removing one’s shoes before entering temples, mosques or Gurudwaras (Sikh Temple) is essential. Avoid taking leather goods of any kinds (bag, belt etc) and cigarettes into places of worship, as these are often not permitted. Do not wear shorts or sleeveless tops in places of public worship.

Insurance

It is always advisable to obtain good travel insurance to cover the worst possible scenario. Do keep a copy of your policy separately as a safeguard.

Inoculations/Vaccinations

Before traveling to India it is advised that you get vaccinations for tetanus, hepatitis, rabies and typhoid. Consult your doctor before taking them / also take advice on other vaccinations for meningitis and tuberculosis. Most vaccination courses are completed within four weeks, best taken before the trip. Malaria preventive course may be taken before your trip, but again this should be consulted with your doctor.

Henna Flowers