Minya Konka, Old Eastern Tibet Minya Konka stands proud and alone at 7,556m/ 24,790ft high, cast almost a thousand miles adrift from her Himalayan neighbours. Climbed successfully for the first time in 1932 by a small American team, their heroic story was captured evocatively in the book Men Against the Clouds, the stuff that alpine legends are made of. Minya Konka is sacred to the local Minyak Tibetan people, and is guarded by her beautiful sister peak, Namtusi, a Buddhist ‘treasure-keeper’ found depicted in monastery murals across Tibet. We stay two nights in the ancient monastery founded at the foot of the mountain. After several acclimatisation nights in Kangding, former capital of East Tibet, we set out following the Shuangcha River through rolling green valleys, camping in idyllic riverside meadows, carpeted with wild-flowers. The trek crosses two high passes where we are rewarded with dramatic views of snow-capped peaks, glaciers and icy alpine lakes stretching into the distance. 41 tel: 0845 330 8579 (local call rate, UK only) international tel: +44 1453 844 400 www.himalayankingdoms.com Left: White Miao lady Photo: Wild China Right: Kawa Karpo in the distance Photo: Steve Berry South West China £2,845 £2,295 Sun 18 May – Tue 03 Jun £2,945 £2,295 Sun 13 Jul – Tue 29 Jul land only land only Grade: Vigorous On Trek: 10 days European Leader: tbc Nights’ Accommodation: Hotels: 5 Camping: 7 Gompa: 2 Optional: Single Room £125 Single Tent £105 Insurance: £145 (Insurance Plus) Days Itinerary Duration: 17 days 1–2 Fly to Singapore, connecting flight to Chengdu 3–4 Drive to Kangding, acclimatisation trek 5–14 Trek around Minya Konka and Konka Gompa to Kangding –15 Return to Chengdu 16–17 Fly to London Guaranteed to run for a minimum of clients Himalayan Kingdoms is the only UK operator to offer this spectacular trek 5 Guilin and the Tribes of South West China This trek combines the colours of some of China’s most unspoilt and beautiful countryside, the spectacular karst scenery for which Guilin is world-famous and the sights and sounds of bustling Beijing. The trip starts with sightseeing in Beijing and a visit to the Great Wall, built over 2000 years ago to protect China’s northern frontier from raiding Mongol horsemen. We then fly down to Guizhou province, a land of jagged mountain peaks and terraced emerald rice-fields, home to many colourful ethnic minority cultures and largely untouched by the tourism and development of its neighbouring provinces. We drive and trek between remote minority villages through dramatic limestone karst hills and ‘stairs’ of paddy fields. For two nights on trek we stay in the villages, one is a genuine home-stay, the other in a village guesthouse. Both have simple but clean facilities and we provide the bed-linen and crockery. This is a unique experience and offers the chance to get to know the Shining Cloth, Miao and Dong families we stay with. The October departure takes in the Lusheng Festival celebrations in Chong’an. The Lusheng is the traditional reedpipe, played by the Miao and some other ethnic groups south China, and in addition to Lusheng performances there is much singing and dancing, with villagers dressed in exotic festival costumes with delicate silver head-dresses. The trek finishes in Guilin, long famed for its scenery culture, a land of lush green mountains, and bizarre karst rock formations. It feels as though we are stepping into an ancient Chinese scroll painting as we explore the ethereal beauty this area by boat, bicycle and on foot. £2,895 £2,495 Dates: Tue 01 Apr – Thu 17 Apr*, Sat 18 Oct – Mon 03 Nov† land only Grade: Gentle Day Walks: 4 days European Leader: M A Harper*, David Bathgate† Nights’ Accommodation: Hotels: 11 Village/Guest House: 4 Optional: Single Room £295 Insurance: £145 (Insurance Plus) Days Itinerary Duration: 17 days 1–4 Fly to Beijing, sightseeing and at leisure –5 Fly to Guiyang, drive to Kaili (Spring departure only) 6–12 Trekking between minority villages around Kaili 13–15 Drive to Guilin, sightseeing and exploration 16–17 Fly to Beijing, overnight and on to London Guaranteed to run for a minimum of clients Improved itinerary • October: Lusheng Festival 5 Guardian deity Photo: Steve Berry
42 Download detailed itineraries from www.himalayankingdoms.com e: email@example.com Northern India The Source of the Ganges, Garhwal This spectacular trek gives us a perfect blend of cultural interest and physical challenge. Dramatic canyons, majestic mountains, cascading waterfalls, pine and birch, together with the holy waters of India’s most sacred river, make the Source of the Ganges a feast for the soul and senses. We begin with an acclimatisation trek, near Rudraprayag, which gives commanding views of the Garhwal Himalaya, and takes us through lush terraced hills, pristine forests and villages. For the second part of the trek, we begin at Gangotri, which is bustling with Sages and Sadhus who have journeyed here to pay homage to the source of that holiest of holy rivers: the Ganga. The spiritual intensity of Gangotri, one of India’s most sacred pilgrimage sites, is palpable as we witness the daily puja at the temple, and the Hindu devotees bathing at the water’s edge. As we weave our way from Gangotri to Tapovan (4463m/14,294ft), every twist in the trail reveals another stunning 6,000m/20,000ft Garhwal Himalayan giant. Our campsite at Tapovan must rate as one of the most aweinspiring spots in the world, as we gaze at Mt Shivling’s elegant peak – rising like a great deity before us. £1,795 £1,375 Dates: Thu 03 Apr – Sat 19 Apr*, Thu 09 Oct – Sat 25 Oct** land only Grade: Vigorous On Trek: 10 days Indian Sirdar Leader Nights’ Accommodation: Hotels: 6 Camping: 8 Lodges: 2 Optional: Single Room £195*/£225** Single Tent £40 Insurance: £95 (Standard Policy) Days Itinerary Duration: 17 days 1–2 Fly to Delhi, at leisure –3 Train to Haridwar, drive to Rishikesh 4–8 Drive to Gultir, acclimatisation trek 8–9 Drive to Rudraprayag, drive to Gangotri 10–14 Source of the Ganges trek (Gangotri–Tapovan–Gangotri) –15 Drive to Rishikesh 16–17 Drive to Delhi, fly to London Guaranteed to run for a minimum of2clients Shipton/Tilman & Nanda Devi Inner Sanctuary Approach, Garhwal Leaving Delhi by overnight train we arrive the next morning at the busy town of Haridwar on the banks of the River Ganges. After seeing the holy ghats we continue to Rishikesh. This is one of the most important places in the Hindu religion and the peaceful ashrams paint a real picture of India. From the roadhead at Debal, we set off on our trek to the Kauri Pass, which is also known as Curzon’s Trail after the famous British Viceroy of India. It is considered by many to be the most beautiful trek in the Garhwal. The climb to the pass is hard work, but the reward is a dazzling panorama of peaks. After descending to the pilgrim town of Joshimath, we drive to Lata and take the exciting pathway some way into Nanda Devi’s Inner Sanctuary. The views of India’s highest peak and the Rishi Ganga Gorge are stupendous. The Indian foothills of the Himalaya, directly north of Delhi, were a favourite retreat for officers of the Raj from the hot Indian plains. The British developed many famous hill stations here, building English-style churches and colonial houses to remind themselves of home. Gentle trekking was one of their favourite pastimes. £1,875 £1,395 Dates: Tue 20 May – Tue 10 Jun*, Tue 30 Sep – Tue 21 Oct** land only Grade: Vigorous On Trek: 15 days Indian Sirdar Leader Nights’ Accommodation: Hotels: 6 Camping: 14 Train: 1 Optional: Single Room £95*/£160** Single Tent £70 Insurance: £99 (Standard Policy) Days Itinerary Duration: 22 days 1–2 Fly to Delhi, sightseeing, overnight train –3 Arrive Haridwar, onto Rishikesh 4–13 Drive to roadhead, trek to Joshimath 14–19 Trek part way into the Inner Sanctuary 20–22 Drive to Rishikesh, sightseeing, drive to Delhi. Fly to London Guaranteed to run for a minimum of clients Improved itinerary 2 Col. N. Kumar (Bull) Col. Kumar (Bull) is a living mountaineering legend in India. He led an illustrious career in the Indian Army, and earned international acclaim for his record-breaking expeditions on Everest, Kangchenjunga and in the Karakoram. ‘Bull’ has successfully led mountaineering expeditions to the highest peaks of Bhutan, Sikkim, Nepal, Garhwal, Kashmir and the Eastern Karakoram. Out of the 13 highest peaks above 24,000ft climbed by Indians, nine have been climbed under his leadership. Bull has authored numerous books on the Indian Himalaya, and knows his mountains better than anyone in the business. He is the Chairman of the Winter Games Commission and also the Ex Officio Vice President of the Indian Olympic Association. Akshay Kumar Akshay heads operations for our partners in India, along with his father, Col. N. Kumar (Bull). They handle virtually all our treks and tours in Garhwal, Kumaon, Himachal Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Dharamsala. Akshay is a national level skier, one of the most experienced white water specialists in India and a keen trekker. He is passionate about the environment and ensures that all the treks he runs for us achieve a high standard of Responsible Tourism. He has led trail-blazing treks into the Nanda Devi Inner Sanctuary, the Siachen Glacier and the Rupshu Valley. He has numerous first rafting descents under his belt including the Brahmaputra and the Teesta rivers.