43 tel: 0845 330 8579 (local call rate, UK only) international tel: +44 1453 844 400 www.himalayankingdoms.com Wayside temple, Source of the Ganges trek Photo: John Leonard Northern India Echoes of the Raj – Gentle Trekking in Kumaon This trip was introduced three years ago as an addition to our gentle trekking series. It offers a whole range of experiences – gentle walks in the foothills of the Himalaya with snow-capped peaks as a backdrop, gameviewing in one of India’s finest national parks and a visit to Agra to see the Taj Mahal. We travel first to Ranikhet, home of the Kumaon Regiment, a pretty little hill station set on a ridge with wonderful views of the Himalaya. Near to hand are gentle walks through woodland and excellent opportunities for birdwatching. Then it is on to Khali Mountain Resort set in a wildlife sanctuary on Binsar ridge near Almora. Some beautiful walks are possible from here including a lovely one, through forest, to the superb ancient temples at Jageshwar. Then it is time to move on to Ramgarh, which was a colonial outpost of the British after they occupied Kumaon in 1815, and remains to this day a rural backwater set in orchards of apple, plum and peach trees. The trip concludes with a visit to Corbett National Park with time in Agra. £1,750 £1,295 Dates: Sun 06 Apr – Thu 17 Apr, Sun 02 Nov – Thu 13 Nov land only Grade: Gentle Day Walks: 6 days Indian Sirdar Leader Nights’ Accommodation: Hotels: 2 Lodges: 1 Mountain resorts/bungalow: 5 Train: 2 Optional: Single Room £tbc Insurance: £95 (Standard Policy) Days Itinerary Duration: 12 days 1–2 Fly to Delhi and overnight train –3 Ranikhet 4–6 Drive to Khali Estate, local walks 7–8 Drive to Ramgarh and temple walks 9–10 Corbett National Parks and overnight train –11 In Agra and drive to Delhi –12 Fly to London Guaranteed to run for a minimum of2clients After completing the Echoes of the Raj trek, enjoy a 4-night trip on the legendary Palace on Wheels train where you will be able to luxuriate in the royal style of the Maharajas. Live aboard in comfort, stopping to explore the palaces of Rajasthan. Prices on request Palace on Wheels TREK EXTENSION To reach Dharamsala, we take the overnight, air-conditioned sleeper train from Delhi to Pathankot and drive two and a half hours to Dharamsala. A good hotel is provided in Delhi before and after the treks to break the journey, and to allow you the opportunity to sample the heat, dust, sights and sounds of India’s frenetic capital. £1,895 £1,495 Dates: Tue 01 Apr – Wed 16 Apr, Tue 07 Oct – Wed 22 Oct, Tue 28 Oct – Wed 12 Nov land only Grade: Gentle Day Walks: 7 days Indian Sirdar Leader Nights’ Accommodation: Hotels: 14 Optional: Single Room £tbc Insurance: £95 (Standard Policy) Days Itinerary Duration: 16 days 1–2 Fly to Delhi, at leisure –3 Train to Chandigarh, drive to Nalagarh –4 Short walk, drive to Pragpur 5–6 Day walks, drive to Dharamsala 7–8 Day walks, drive to Palampur 9–10 Day walks to monastery & Billing, drive to Manali 11–14 Drive to Shimla, at leisure, local treks in Shimla, mountain train ride 15–16 Evening train to Delhi, fly to London Guaranteed to run for a minimum of2clients Gentle Trekking, Palaces & Hill Stations, Himachal Pradesh This trip has the perfect balance of culture, nature and history, all combined with gentle treks through idyllic villages in rural Himachal Pradesh, and stays in fabulous converted palaces and castles, chosen for their immense charm and character. We explore little-known gems such as Pragpur Palampur, as well as the more renowned beauty spots Dharamsala, home of the Dalai Lama, and Manali, ‘gateway to the Himalaya’, and no trip to Himachal Pradesh would complete without a promenade along the Mall at Shimla, summer capital of the British Raj. We have included a ride the narrow-gauge mountain train, rafting in Rishikesh visits to Buddhist monasteries, Hindu temples, art galleries, handicraft centres and an optional morning’s pottery. forgetting that this is a holiday, we also have ample time relax and enjoy the ambience and amenities in fascinating heritage properties in which we will be staying.
Left: Chai break Photo: David Bathgate Right: Rishikesh puja ceremony Photo: John Leonard Valley of the Goddess & Dharamsala The ‘Valley of the Goddess’ lies between the Dhaula-Dhar range of mountains and the Kangra valley. It is an enchanting region of heavily-wooded glades of pine, oak and rhododendron trees, green meadows and Gadi shrines dedicated to the Hindu Goddess Durga. The Gadi shepherds themselves annually migrate with their flocks in search of grazing areas, a search that will entail covering huge distances through the mountains and crossing high passes for six months of the year. Our trek is taken at a relaxed pace, and the maximum altitude attained is 3,350m/ 11,000ft. There is the option for the fit and energetic to visit a pass of 4,420m/14,500ft. This is an area rarely trekked and it is unlikely that we will meet other Westerners, except the more colourful people encountered in Dharamsala. We travel from Delhi by train, in air-conditioned sleeper compartments, and will have ample time to meet Tibetan refugees and visit both McLeod Ganj and Dharamsala. £1,650 £1,125 Dates: Sat 05 Apr – Sun 20 Apr*, Sat 04 Oct – Sun 19 Oct** land only Grade: Moderate/Vigorous On Trek: 10 days Indian Sirdar Leader Nights’ Accommodation: Hotels: 2 Camping: 9 Train: 2 Optional: Single Room £160*/£195** Single Tent £40 Insurance: £95 (Standard Policy) Days Itinerary Duration: 16 days 1–2 Fly to Delhi, sightseeing, overnight train –3 Arrive Pathankot, drive to McLeod Ganj, sightseeing Dharamsala 4–13 Trek to the Valley of the Goddess with a rest day half way –14 At leisure Dharamsala, evening train 15–16 Arrive Delhi, fly to London Guaranteed to run for a minimum of2clients The Chamba Valley & Dharamsala This is a trek set in a remote and largely unexplored area of the western Himalaya – the Dhaula-Dhar and Chamba valley region of Himachal Pradesh. During the trek we camp near small Gadi villages or close to the many temples that are dedicated to local deities. As we cross the Indra-Har Pass (4,453m/14,610ft) there are spectacular views of the snow-capped Pir Panjal range and the revered Mt Kailash, the highest mountain of a subsidiary range between the Dhaula-Dhar and Pir Panjal and sacred to the Hindus as the resting place of Lord Shiva. We then descend into the Chamba valley. The capital of the nomadic Gadis is Brahmour. Known as the ‘Little Switzerland of India’, many of the intricatelycarved stone temples date back to the 7th and 9th Centuries. In all there are over 80 individual temples contained within the surrounds of the village. As for the ‘Valley of the Goddess’ we will have ample time to soak up the atmosphere of the Tibetan community at Dharamsala before boarding the sleeper to Delhi. £1,545 £1,145 Dates: Wed 16 Apr – Fri 02 May*, Wed 17 Sep – Fri 03 Oct** land only Grade: Vigorous On Trek: 11 days Indian Sirdar Leader Nights’ Accommodation: Hotels: 2 Camping: 10 Train: 2 Optional: Single Room £130*/£165** Single Tent £40 Insurance: £95 (Standard Policy) Days Itinerary Duration: 17 days 1–2 Fly to Delhi, sightseeing, overnight train –3 Arrive Pathankot, drive to McLeod Ganj, sightseeing Dharamsala 4–14 Trek to Chamba Valley and Brahmour –15 At leisure in Dharamsala, evening train 16–17 Arrive Delhi, fly to London Guaranteed to run for a minimum of2clients Interesting Facts Dharamsala/McLeod Ganj Elevation of Dharamsala: 1,457m/4,780ft. Elevation of McLeod Ganj: 1,700m/5,580ft Dharamsala literally means “rest house” In 1848, the area was annexed by the British The town was virtually destroyed in an earthquake in 1905 The quake killed an estimated 20,000 people After this event the British moved their summer HQ to Shimla The Dalai Lama fled Tibet in 1959 Prime Minister Nehru allowed him to set up his “government in exile” in Dharamsala in 1960 Northern India 44 Download detailed itineraries from www.himalayankingdoms.com e: firstname.lastname@example.org Holding tight Photo: Richard Heller