Enjoy India’s real village life across the Himalaya mountains.

Walk from village to village in the Himalaya foothills and discover an extraordinary experience of India’s rural life whilst providing important supportive income to help sustain remote communities.

These walking and trekking holidays in the Himalayas offer options for every level of hiker.

Walk in your own party with a private guide so you can journey at your own pace, with plenty of time to spot wildlife and pause to admire the views.

Staying in rural villages where traditional life has been sustained for centuries, you’ll discover these special places through the eyes of the local people. At the core of each is a village-owned guest-house, like a home stay.

Your own local guide will trek with you between the villages, while your luggage is carried by porters, leaving you to enjoy the walks, mountain views and villages. Your guide will help you connect and interact with your hosts in your unique village homestays, where you’ll be warmly welcomed to enjoy delicious local cooking and experience the ancient rhythms of life and community.

Your trip helps sustain these remote agricultural communities with a further income stream and job opportunities where rural exodus could otherwise threaten the existence of the villages. This is what led to the organisation’s creation. (Read the story)

Importantly therefore, tourism runs alongside to support, but does not displace, traditional rural livelihoods.

For your trip, choose from a range of inspirational routes in two regions in the Indian Himalayas: The Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary, and the Saryu and Pindar Valleys.

Every village is different. But each one shares a sense of the people being attached to the land that goes back generations.

 
 

Be an Earth Changer:

Experience India’s real Village Ways in the Himalayas

Walking and trekking holidays to experience rural village life through local eyes and sustain local communities.
Recommended stay minimum 11 nights.

Enquire here: We connect you directly to the destination so locals benefit more:


The Place

  • True ecotourism and stay in the heart of timeless tranquillity in rural villages:

  • Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary in the heart of the Kumaon mountains

  • The Saryu & Pindar Valleys, just a few miles from the borders with Tibet and Nepal

  • Experience unparalleled depth of experience with people and places.

  • Enjoy extra-special experiences at Holi, Diwali or the annual cricket tournament!

+ Overview & The Villages

Binsar is a collection of six small villages situated in and around The Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary, at the heart of the Kumaon District in Uttarakhand, a mountainous state of northern India: Risal, Dalar, Kathdhara, Gonap, Satri and Matkanya.

Hillsides are cloaked in pine forest and dotted with stone houses. The villagers’ main sources of income are from agricultural and general labour, with many having migrated to find work.

Depending on your trip, you may also visit the small hillstation of Nainital, set on the edge of a volcanic lake, the vast Shiva temple complex at Jageshwar, and/or Corbett National Park with its wealth of wildlife, including tiger!

The Saryu and Pindar Valleys are about 5 hours' / 70km drive beyond Binsar, in the heart of the Kumaon hills, in the middle Himalaya, near the borders with Tibet (north) and Nepal (east), with guesthouses in 5 villages: Karmi, Dhurr, Khal Jhuni, Jhuni and Supi.

Here, the villages are larger and more self-contained than those in Binsar, but village life is dynamic and people are highly educated and very aware of the outside world, many having worked elsewhere. Farming is the mainstay of the communities, supplemented by traditional skills such as ringal bamboo basket weaving in Khal Jhuni, honey production in Karmi and woollen carpets.

The main winter crop is long-strawed wheat, with harvesting by hand in May, as well as Pahari potatoes, famed for their taste. Finger millet, kidney beans and amaranthus are rainy season crops. Fruit trees of pear, peaches, sweet lemons and apples abound, as well as walnuts. Higher up the slopes are forests of oak, lyonia and rhododendron trees, whose flowers turn from red to pink the higher you walk. Buffaloes and cows are kept for milk, oxen for ploughing; goats and sheep graze in the high hills. You meet women carrying huge head loads of grass and oak leaves for fodder for the animals and firewood for cooking and heating the homes.

The Saryu Valley ranges in elevations from 1,500m by the river to 3,150m at Supi Chilta. Saryu’s charming, self-contained communities spread along the middle slopes of the upper valley, high above the Saryu river, beyond which you’ll see valleys, waterfalls and snow-covered peaks.

Closer to the Himalaya is astounding Pindar Valley, whose river draws its water from the great Pindari Glacier, with an immense sense of space, and mountains on a grand scale. The charming hill-side villages of Karmi and Dhurr are surrounded by terraced fields, waterfalls, rhododendron forest and lush open pastures

A night at Jaikuni Bhugiyal in the splendid tented camp on the ridge of a 'bhugiyal' (high hills) meadow offers breathtaking views of the Himalayas, waking to see the sunrise over the snow-capped peaks.

The Binsar Villages

The Binsar villages are isolated: none are connected by road and there is no electricity. Most households are below the poverty line in all but two of the villages.

  • Dalar (1835m) is divided into two hamlets: Valli ("This Side") Dalar and Palli ("That Side") Dalar, surrounded by pine forest with beautiful views of Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, Kamet and Trishul peaks from the upper village. It is relatively thriving with a school and temple and is a little more accustomed to visitors than other village. The village homestay, Minivet House, looks out over the valley, with views of high Himalayan peaks in the distance.
  • Risal (1650m) is a secluded village set on the slopes above a deep valley. Surrounded by a mixed forest of oak, pine and rhododendron, little paths offer glimpses of wooded hills and green pastures. The Forest Department has established a fence to protect the villagers’ vegetables and other crops from damage by wildlife from the adjacent Sanctuary. Bulbul House homestay is neatly located on a terrace near the main village.
  • Satri (1584m) is a remote and secluded village on a high ridge surrounded by mountain landscapes with uninterrupted views to the peaks. In 2003 the villagers believed that they would have to abandon their village, and let their homes and fields be overtaken by the forest. Consequently some of the beautiful series of village houses are empty. The arrival of Village Ways has helped Satri’s dream come true to sustain its four remaining families. So you'll be given a very special welcome here in Pipit House.
  • Kathdhara (1900m) means wood (kath) and stream (dhara), and it offers views over hills and a wide valley, plus glimpses of the awe-inspiring Panchachulli range beyond. Enjoy the rhythms of traditional rural life in the foothills, orchards and terraced fields of this vibrant farming community at Myna House guesthouse. The villagers are keen to show guests their farms and let them help with field activities. They have also created a small farming museum.
  • Gonap (1900m) village farmhouses are set on a hillside among terraced fields and vegetable gardens, with wonderful open views backed by richly forested slopes. The village joined the project starting with the building of a retaining wall for the Barbet House guesthouse site – to become known as "The great wall of Gonap"! Although it is a poor village, it has a primary school: the teacher, children and villagers are eager to meet and get to know their visitors, to show them round and invite them in.
  • Matkanya (1584m) lies above and beyond the Jageshwar temple complex, just outside the Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary. There are wonderful views of the Himalayan ridge on clear days. The village is large and relatively poor, with more than 150 households dispersed across the terraced hillsides. It is a dry area and water is scarce. The small village shop just above the guesthouse sells the bare essentials. The Drongo House guesthouse is an original village house that was renovated and converted into a guesthouse in 2012 in partnership with Uttarakhand Parvatiya Aajeevika Sanverdhan Company, part of an internationally-funded project to improve livelihoods of poor, remote communities in Uttarakhand.

The Pindar and Saryu Villages

In the Pindar Valley:

  • Karmi community offers accommodation in two converted houses at the top of the village, overlooking the village and valley below.

  • Dhurr has three village guesthouses, one converted and two newly constructed by the community enterprise with local government aid.

  • The houses in Karmi and Dhurr have separate outside toilets and showers.

In the Saryu Valley:

  • The Supi community has renovated a traditional Berklay house into an attractive five-bedroom guest house, complete with simple en-suite bathrooms and individual upstairs sitting rooms.

  • Khal Jhuni and Jhuni beautiful villages further up the valley have similar guesthouses have been completed, Jhuni’s with help from the regional government agency UPASaC, each with three twin en-suite guest bedrooms.

  • Jaikuni Bhugiyal provides a stunning balcony view on to the range of the Indian Himalayas. Here, the communities have established a tented camp on the ridge for the autumn and spring seasons, removing it in time for the grass to be ready for summer grazing. (The bhugiyals are the high hills where shepherds take the goats and sheep up to graze in summer, returning October). It is simple and comfortable, with twin-bedded tented-rooms along the lines of substantial mountain-ready safari-type tents. A dining tent and clean, simple washing and toilet facilities are provided, with solar-charged lanterns. The food is excellent but water short at the camp, so please use sparingly. A stay here is a highlight and a real privilege.

+ Accommodation & Facilities

The special village guesthouses reflect the local style and traditions. Local craftsmen undertake the build, renovation and maintenance using traditional materials – stone, mud mortar and timber – and furnished attractively and simply with local materials wherever possible.

Owned and managed by the village committee, these are so much more than typical homestays; you are hosted by a village, rather than just one family and your visit benefits the wider community.

  • Specially constructed or restored village guesthouse are simple and comfortable
  • Your stay gently reflects the way your hosts live in their own village houses.
  • Enjoy life at the heart of a village, without feeling that you are intruding in anyone's home.
  • The welcome is genuine and warm, hospitality natural (not professional hoteliers).

Binsar guesthouses are simple and comfortable, built in traditional style by the communities. They have a living/dining room, kitchen, four twin bedrooms and shared shower/WCs.

Saryu and Pindar Valleys guesthouses created from beautiful traditional terraced design white-washed walls houses, or 'berklays', with stone roofs and intricately carved doorways.

Khali Estate All trips stop at this small family-run hotel steeped in the rich history of modern India on the way between Delhi and the mountains. Your double room garden bungalow is in one of the picturesque stone rondavel cabins set amongst the pine trees, clustered around the British Raj style house that was built by General Sir Henry Ramsay. You can truly relax at Khali - it is peaceful (no TV), with good vegetarian food, attentive service and plenty of short walks. In winter there is a warming log fire in the sitting room.

Facilities

Houses typically have

  • Combined dining and sitting room
  • Often a terrace, making the most of views.
  • Simple twin bedrooms, some en-suite and some with separate, shared washing and toilet facilities.
  • All bedding provided.
  • Limited electricity or solar power providing warm water for showers and power for light.
  • Water comes from the village’s own source and drinking water is boiled and filtered.
  • Limuited rsources, and guests are asked to use them modestly.

+ Eating & drinking

All meals are provided during your stay in the villages, typically delicious home-grown vegetarian food and picnic lunches taken when trekking.

+ Activities & Wildlife

The trekking is ideal for every level of walker and a typical day might involve 4 -5 hours of walking.

  • For first-time visitors to the Himalayas, walking tours in Binsar are ideal: the altitude is not high - a maximum of around 2400m; the routes and open to everyone and flexible each day - choose with your guide how much walking you wish to do. Paths are well-made along terraced fields and magical, ancient forests and there are not too many steep sections; and the panoramas of the high peaks such as Nanda Devhi are unforgettable. Your local guide will help you spot the birds and animals.

At the villages you may watch or help harvest fruit, tend buffalo or work in the fields, or relax on the terrace with a cup of hot chai. • You are welcome to help prepare traditional dishes using the day's harvest if you wish. There is a wonderful diversity of produce; from coriander, buck wheat and rice, to cocoa yams, sweet lemons and pomegranates. After dinner you may be invited to join in the village games of gooli-dandia or cricket.

  • For reasonably fit walkers, the Indian valleys of Saryu and Pindar offer great trekking in an open, green Himalayan pastures and landscape, with stunning open views of the high peaks and occasional steep sections. Walks take you through alpine pastures and rhododendron forest, where you will discover the wonderful Path of a Thousand Steps, and see spectacular scenery, particularly from Dhurr.

Wildlife

  • The wooded hillsides of the Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary are rich in bird and animal life. You might see deer, boar, porcupine, eagles, woodpeckers, and maybe even catch a glimpse of an elusive leopard.
  • Also included in a “Kingdom of Kumaon” tour is Corbett National Park, named after legendary hunter-turned-conservationist Jim Corbett. This reserve is home to a wealth of wildlife, such as deer, wild boar, jackal, langur and even tiger.

+ Weather

In general, mountainous areas have unpredictable weather, and rain showers can develop with little warning, with snowfalls at higher levels. Temperatures at the higher altitudes can also fall quite suddenly, especially when the sun goes down, so always carry a sweater, even during summer months. At the campsite the team usually lights a fire for warmth while you sip hot soup. However, even with the thick duvets, warm night clothing is required - and hot water bottles are provided.

The weather also varies markedly by season, so choose a time that suits your preferences:

  • Mid-September to October: Day temperature: 20C Night temperature: 5-10C.

    The end of the Monsoon rains can mean clouds and localised rain storms, usually in the evenings, clearing the air and views! Bring an umbrella, waterproof rucksack, and keep an eye out for the odd leech in damp places!

  • October to November: Day temperature: 15-18C, Night temperature < 5C

    With very little rain from mid-October onwards, it’s the best time for clear views of the Himalayan snow-capped peaks. The landscape is verdant green after the rains and the days are warm and sunny. The air temperatures start to drop as the winter progresses. Bring layers of warm clothes for evenings.

    Witness the harvest of the ‘kharif’ crops (finger millet, Amaranthus) and the planting of the winter season crops (wheat, vegetables)

  • December to February: Day temperature: 5-12C, Night temperature: -5C – 0C

    The arrival of real winter! Cool but comfortable with sunny days and good views. Some rain possible. Extensive snow cover occurs above 2,500m, potentially down to Supi - Jhuni areas. Bring warm clothes, a woolly hat, gloves, scarf, a padded jacket, light wind/waterproof jacket and umbrella.

  • March to May Day temperature: 15C March – 25C May, Night temperature: 0C – 10C

    This is the dry, hot season when villagers harvest the dry season crops and prepare the land for the monsoon crops. The air can become hazy, so views of the Himalayan peaks are limited to early mornings and evenings. Bring a couple of sweaters and a small umbrella, and warmer clothes if venturing to Jakuni Bhugiyal (3,000 m) and Supi Chilta (3,150 m).

  • Mid-June to Mid-September: Closed for Monsoon period

The People

Most important are the village communities with whom you stay. You will be welcomed warmly and feel genuine village life all around you. This wonderful social exchange forms the most enduring memory for many guests.

The places can feel far from the modern world, but the villagers are rightly proud of their heritage, and delighted that guests travel vast distances to visit them.

“One of the partnership's core values is mutual respect, of guests and village partners, recognising we should all celebrate and encourage the maintenance of diversity”

+ The Community Guest Houses

The set-up offers a unique opportunity to earn about each others’ lives through a wonderful mix of authentic experiences.

  • Each village owns the homestays.
  • Each community forms a democratically-elected committee to set up and manage the homestays.
  • Local coordinators and community members ensure you are looked after from the moment you arrive and your stay is a success.
  • Village teams receive good training in hygiene and hospitality management but are not professional hoteliers.

+ The Community

The village communities have embraced their new host roles with huge hearts.

  • A local coordinator for each area forms the vital link with community partners. They help to ensure that standards are maintained, logistics are efficient and guests’ experiences are inspiring.
  • Local people cook and serve excellent traditional meals and introduce you to themselves and their way of life.
  • Guides come from in and around partner villages and unobtrusively share knowledge and passion for their local community, flora, and fauna. You will have unique and privileged access to experience and understand traditional ways.
  • Hosts, guides, cooks, housekeepers and porters are all drawn from different families through the village, sharing the pleasure of hosting you and the financial benefit.

+ The Staff

A dedicated team help make the most of your stay in partner villages.

  • Led by Manisha Pande, founding Managing Director, a leading light in the fast-growing responsible tourism sector within Asia.
  • Gauri, Madhu, Sandhya and Pooja are experts at putting together bespoke itineraries if you want to talk through bespoke options.
  • Tailor-made arrangements + your own local guide iron out the challenges without taking away the adventure.
  • In the background, the founder directors and specialists bring further expertise in international development, responsible tourism, marketing and finance.

+ Culture & Behaviour

These trips take you to a remote part of the world and an area of unspoiled and outstanding natural beauty where you will also be spending time getting to know small, rural communities. Please act responsibly, respect the environment and their way of life, customs and religious sentiments at all times.

Food: Please respect eating habits: the food in many of the communities is vegetarian. Please inform in advance of any allergies or special dietary requirements.

Dress: Please dress appropriately in clothes are not revealing.

Photos: It’s disrespectful to take a photo of locals without asking. If you’re with a guide you can have them ask on your behalf — but ensure that they do, and be prepared to accept being declined.

The Purpose

Rural communities in remote places often struggle to survive. As they lose economic viability, they face a brain and culture drain of migration as young people head for the cities, depleting traditional knowledge and skills. Village Ways is a shared value social enterprise aiming to:

  • Develop responsible tourism with poorer village communities:

  • Create village ownership, sustaining village life and culture

  • Connect you to rural life.

  • Provide villages benefits directly from your presence and improving livelihoods in remote areas, reducing the need for outward migration.

  • Conserve traditional livelihoods, culture, environment and wildlife.

+ Economic Sustainability

With this model, a partnership is established with each village to develop and manage a local tourism enterprise offering unique ethical, responsible tourism.

Working in partnership with the villagers, it is important that this low-key tourism runs alongside, but does not displace, traditional livelihoods.

The aim is to develop a sustainable form of tourism that builds on local resources, which will provide demonstrable, practical and positive economic and social uplift for the participating communities and will raise their awareness of environmental and social issues, at the same time benefitting tourists by introducing them to local people, culture, walks and wildlife.

It is the responsibility of the Village Committees to data monitor, usually manually recorded as most villages do not have access to a computer. At the end of each financial year the regional coordinator collects the data from each Village Tourism Committee.

This way, economic opportunity is achieved by building on the villagers’ own strengths, traditional skills and deep local knowledge to develop enterprise, bringing income and rural population retention.

From 2013 to 2014 in Binsar, where 58% households are below the poverty line, Village Ways generated 14% of Binsar’s income, equivalent to two local full-time primary school teachers’ annual salaries. 81% of families and 20% of individual are involved with the organisation.

Such income means people can return to live in the villages and helps reduce dependence on risky seasonally crop yields or low agricultural prices.

There is ongoing monitoring to check benefits are spread around the households over each season, with priority given to those who are below the poverty line.

“People like to migrate because they want the money, but I don’t think they want to migrate if there is an alternative. We’ve shown that here with the village ways concept, people would be very very happy to stay in the village if they could afford to do so.” – Keith Virgo, Director.

+ Social Sustainability

Typically a village-owned guesthouse is at the centre of the tourism enterprise - a ‘home-stay’ offered by the whole village.

The hosts, guides, cooks, housekeepers and porters are all drawn from different families through the village, all undertaking training to improve their skills and sharing the benefits.

Wherever possible all necessary work is undertaken by the villagers, supplies (food, building materials, furnishings etc) are sourced locally and the use of local skills is encouraged and developed, with training and guidance provided where necessary in, for example, selling craft products.

As you move from village to village, you can connect easily to the communities and their way of life, sharing benefits even more.

The democratic organisation of the village tourism committees and encouragement of women’s participation has also improved governance and gender balance.

“These were absolutely fabulous weavers once upon a time. And because the terrain where they live is so harsh, that just merely existence… they needed food and to farm these very difficult lands, and these skills were dying. And if we could now bring in revival of these techniques, we would find that they would be able to produce a fabulous product, and at the same time, the tourists will come, and guests will come to visit and will be buying this product so whereby promoting and preserving an old skill” – Ratnamala Kapur

+ Environmental Sustainability

Traditions and local knowledge are key to sustainability, enabling the villages to live in balance with their surroundings, and to develop understanding of the changes (positive and negative) that the modern world can bring.

As most journeys are on foot, you can take this in slowly, from guides’ knowledge of local flora and fauna, to witnessing craftsmen using traditional skills and materials whilst simultaneously incorporating energy-saving technologies.

Guests are encouraged to respect the traditions and beliefs of the host villagers, and to participate in local activities where possible.

The training and role of guides is instrumental to this and communicating local knowledge to tourist guests, including respect for and awareness-raising of local environmental issues to both villagers and tourists, is encouraged by providing information and interaction.

Communicating and sharing these experiences with outside guests has the added social benefit of generating self-confidence, greater pride in the villages and enhanced appreciation of the importance of their environment and wildlife, thereby reducing poaching and conserving nature.

Environmental consideration is a critical element of all economic decisions at all levels. Through the village tourism committees, there is education on vital matters such as pollution (especially litter), energy saving and water collection.

People are coming back because their roots are strong. But the soil was weak. Projects like Village Ways are making the soil strong again.
— Himanshu Pande

Enquire here and we connect you directly to the destination so locals benefit more:

Trip Options & Rates

Below are some of the most popular suggested itineraries – though all are flexible to your needs.
As such, prices are indicative and season and duration dependent so subject to change.
Trips do not run mid-June to mid-September due to the monsoon season.

Getting There: You need to arrange your own flights to Delhi.

+ Trip Inclusions

Trips Include: Transfers from Delhi airport to and from the hills including:

  • Taxi transfer to Old Delhi station;
  • A journey on the overnight Ranikhet Express train north east from Delhi to Kathgodam. Accommodation is in 2nd class, air-conditioned carriages - 2 tier, open plan with curtains around groups of berths. Rail journeys will be confirmed upon reservations opening 3 months before departure. (You can also choose to travel by car.)
  • Onward road transfer to Khali Estate and the villages (4 hours).

Trips Exclude:

  • International flights
  • Tourist visa for India (details)
  • Medical requirements (your health professional will confirm)
  • Personal travel insurance

Optional extras on request:

  • Upgrade to 1st class train: berths are in air-conditioned compartments of four or two. There is only one 1st class carriage which may get fully booked early on (from 3 months before date of departure)
  • Extra nights at the Khali Estate, in the villages or Jageshwar Temple complex near Binsar.
  • Stay in Delhi: Extra nights in guesthouses or hotels.
  • Driver & car in Delhi: Carefully selected drivers will look after you for the day to take you to shops, India Gate, the Red Fort, dinner - or wherever you wish.
  • Visit Agra and the Taj Mahal: Day or overnight stay
  • Visit Jaipur the capital of Rajasthan, with its architecture and history, Jantar Mantar observatory and renowned Amber Fort.

Short Escape | 3-4 nights | from £

  • Flexible walking for all abilities

  • Add-on stay to existing travel plans

  • Warm hospitality, hillside images

Choose from gentle walking in the wooded Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary or more rugged walking in the Saryu Valley, with the option to add an extra night in the tented camp in Saryu - unforgettable!


Kingdom of Kumaon: | 11 nights | 4 days walking | from £814 per person
Availability: mid-Sept to end May

  • Gentle journey into the foothills

  • Wonderful wildlife opportunities

  • Leisurely woodland walks, charming guesthouses

  • Lakeside hillstation, tiger reserve

Itinerary: Delhi - Kathgodam station – Khali Estate – visit and stay in two of the Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary villages – Khali Estate - lake town of Nainital, 2 nights Corbett Tiger Reserve - Kathgodam station – Delhi.


Ramsay's Ramble | 11 nights | 6 days walking | from £815
Availability: mid-Sept to end May

  • Accessible walking, warm hospitality

  • Wildlife Sanctuary, great mountain views

  • Authentic hill-village life

The original trip: For 10 years, guests from all over the world have been inspired by these special places and special people. With a balance of walking and village stays, follow the footsteps of Sir Henry Ramsay, a gentle way to discover the majestic beauty of the Binsar region.

Itinerary: Delhi - Kathgodam station – Khali Estate – visit and stay in 4 villages of the Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary villages - Khali Estate - Kathgodam station – Delhi.


Colours of Holi / Glittering Diwali | 11 days | 5 days walking | from £967
Fixed Departure only: March / October

  • Special small-group holiday

  • Guided walks from village to village

  • Colourful village festivals

Get a fascinating opportunity and insight joining in with traditional celebrations. Experience the bright colours, music and dancing in the Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary at:

- The Springtime festival of Holi: Bonfires and singing joyously signify the end of winter and welcome the new season with festivity and fun as caste, class and gender rules are abandoned. People throw colourful powders and perfumes on each other, exchange sweets and celebrate - bring an old white shirt!

- The autumn festival of light, Diwali: Spiritually signifying the victory of light over darkness or good over evil, and is a time of hope, with homes decorated with rangoli and alight with lamps. A great time to visit Binsar for weather and flora too!

Itinerary: Delhi - Kathgodam station – Khali Estate - Almora - stay in 4 of the 5 Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary villages - Khali Estate - Kathgodam station - Delhi.


In the Footsteps of Anwals Last Shepherds of the Himalayas | 11 nights | 5-6 days walking
from £1052 | 1st Oct- 30th Nov | 15th April – 15th May

  • Encounter transhumance shepherds in the high alpine pastures

  • 2 nights camping in standard dome tents, set up by local porters

  • Optional extra to visit Chilta Temple

  • Limited availability

Witness the extraordinary traditional, tough, yet prestigious mountain life of the inspirational ‘’Anwals’’, the last remaining transhumance shepherds, as they seasonally move their flocks between the lower altitude villages and lush, green, higher alpine pastures. Spend 2 days with them as they begin their transhumance journey, in the company of local guides. Walk with the shepherds between the Saryu valley bhugiyals (meadows) at Patalkhod and Jaikuni and get to hear their local stories. Take a detour via Pakhwa Top for extensive mountain views on a clear day. 4-5 hours walking per day

Itinerary: Delhi - Kathgodam station – Khali Estate - Supi - Patlakhod & Jaikuni camps – Dhurr – Karmi - Khali Estate - Kathgodam station - Delhi.


From Binsar to Jageshwar | 12 nights | 6 days walking | from £1026
Availability: mid-Sept to end May

  • Ideal introduction to Indian Himalayas

  • Flexible walking for all abilities, average 4 hours/day

  • Timeless villages, rich wildlife

Itinerary: Delhi - Kathgodam station – Khali Estate – visit and stay in each of the six Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary villages – Shiva Temple complex at - Khali Estate - Kathgodam station – Delhi.


Into the Pindar Valley | 13 nights | 6 days walking | from £1,156
Mid-March – mid-June | Oct - Dec

A holiday for good walkers with an average of five to six hours a day.

  • Excellent walking to a mountain backdrop

  • Tented camp with panoramic Himalayan views

  • Charming village guesthouses, warm hospitality

Itinerary: Delhi - Kathgodam station – Khali Estate – visit and stay in all 5 villages of the Pindar and Saryu valleys - 2 nights under the stars at Jakuni Bhugiyal tented camp - Khali Estate - Kathgodam station – Delhi.


The Complete Himalayan | 16 nights | from £1,296

A unique walking route, from the wooded valleys of Binsar up to the wonderful open mountain aspects from the Saryu and Pindar Valleys. Discover charming hillside communities, unrivalled views of the Himalayan peaks and superb walks.

  • Good walking combined with village exploration

  • Breath-taking Himalayan views

  • Wealth of wildlife, secluded villages

Itinerary: Delhi - Kathgodam station – Khali Estate - stay in 4 of the 5 Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary villages - stay in the 5 Pindar and Saryu valley villages - a night under the stars at the tented camp at Jaikuni - Khali Estate - Kathgodam station – Delhi.


Himalayan Cricket - Village Tournament, Saryu Valley | 10 nights | from £883
Early June

  • 5 days playing / watching cricket & walking village to village

  • Join in the annual inter-village cricket tournament: Watch or even play

  • Fine walking to a wonderful mountain backdrop

  • 1 night quality camping

Once the spring harvest is gathered, the mountain communities relax for a moment in June, so the villages of the Saryu Valley compete in a high altitude cricket tournament. They take it seriously, but it is great fun! Join the team this year! Matches are played in the cooler mornings followed by picnic lunches by the river.

Itinerary: Delhi - Kathgodam station – Khali Estate – 5 cricket days in Saryu Valley villages - a night under the stars at the tented camp at Jaikuni - Khali Estate - Kathgodam station – Delhi.

 

Awards & Accreditations

2017 World Travel Market - World Responsible Tourism Awards – Winner - Best for Poverty Reduction

2013 World Travel Market – World Responsible Tourism Awards – Winner, Best for Local Economy

Affiliation: The International Committee of the Red Cross

Affiliation: Madhya Pradesh Ecotourism Development Board (MPEDB)

 

Enquire here so we can connect you directly to the destination - so locals benefit more

Terms & Conditions:

Payments

  • Deposit 25% of the total value of the pre-booked trip, though some third-party hotels may require up to full payment at the time of booking.

  • Balance required no later than six weeks before the date of the start of your trip.

  • Full payment of the total value of the trip is required on confirmation if you make your booking 6 weeks or less before arrival.

  • Cancellations are required in writing, subject to the following charges on date of receipt of notification. Per person:

More than 6 weeks before departure: Deposit retained.
41- 29 days before departure: 30% of holiday cost
28- 15 days before departure: 40% of holiday cost
14-8 days before departure: 65% of holiday cost
7 days or less before departure: 95% of holiday cost

  • Amendments to bookings are required in writing. Major alterations may incur a standard fee of the equivalent of INR 2,000 per person in addition to any difference in costs between the original holiday and new arrangements.

Transfers: The organisation is responsible for booking your included travel by train and vehicle from Delhi, if this has been requested by you. Please note in India rail travel can be booked only 60 days prior to the date of journey. The organisations cannot be liable for any delays or disruption to or cancellation of services by public transport providers.

Physical fitness: Many walks take place at an altitude of 2,000- 3,000 meters where temperature and weather conditions may be different from those you have previously encountered. It is your responsibility to ensure you are physically fit and to keep yourself hydrated. You will be walking on steep terrain that may become slippery in certain weather conditions. You must ensure you have appropriate footwear and/or kit as may be recommended. Anyone suffering from illness/disability or undergoing treatment for any physical or medical condition must declare the true nature of such condition at the time of reservation and make arrangements for the provision of any medication or treatment required during the holiday. Failure to make such disclosures shall absolve the organisation from any consequences emanating from such physical or mental condition and of all obligations that it may otherwise have under theses booking conditions.

Authority of guide is paramount: They may modify itinerary accordingly in the interests of safety.