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Exploring India • Kuari Pass
March 29 — April 12, 2020
From New Delhi, India

This trip unfolds with incredible views, distinctive architecture and fascinating regional cultures. You spend time exploring in New Delhi, but soon leave the bustle behind to board the Shatabdi Express train on your way to Mussoorie, a historic hill station and gateway for your Himalayan trek.The region is one of the most culturally powerful in India. We trek near the source of the Ganges River — one of the world's most famous rivers with great religious and cultural significance. Kuari, which means "doorway," is a pass situated in the Garhwal region of northern India, south of the Tibetan border and on the western rim of the "Nanda Devi Sanctuary" Biosphere Reserve.

The highlight of your trekking days is reaching the Kuari Pass, where you will be rewarded by an impressive panorama. Your eyes will be drawn to the sweeping arc created by the incredible line-up of giant Himalayan peaks: Chaukhamba, Nilkantha, Kamet, Gauri Parbat, Nanda Devi, Bethartoli and Dunagiri.You will not only enjoy the opportunity to meet friendly locals but also learn more about the Himalayan culture and traditional ways of life. Views on the Kuari Pass trek are often regarded as the best in the Indian Himalayas. Upon your return, you can enjoy an optional trip to the bordering region of Uttar Pradesh, at Agra — to enjoy the Indian landmarks of the Taj Mahal and Agra Fort.Conditions in India are variable. Be prepared for weather changes (there is the possibility of everything including cold or light rain), rustic toilet facilities and the possibility of sickness. Conditions can cause detours or delays With a positive attitude you will enjoy the lifelong memories and great pictures.

Leadership: Our Trek Leader is Marin Johannsson. She holds a B.S. in Recreation with a special emphasis in Outdoor Leadership. Marin has taught rock climbing, snow camping, rafting and canoeing. Trained in first aid, she has led many treks for us since 1990. When not on the trail, Marin also is a rafting guide and collects Tibetan Thangka paintings. Marin works closely with our local guide and dedicated staff members (cook, porters and assistants) to make this special trip a complete success. Ask us for references if you would like to talk to people who have traveled with them.

Pre Trip Days: In transit from your home (those in the Americas lose a day crossing the international date line). Fly to Kathmandu, Nepal. Please note that you must arrive in New Delhi, India.

Daily Itinerary Detail:

Day 1: Delhi Arrival. Our staff will meet you after your arrival at New Delhi's Airport. Once outside the secured area, after completing customs and immigration formalities, look for a sign with your name. Our driver will transfer you to a delightful hotel. (No Meals)

Day 2: In Delhi. After breakfast, enjoy a half day tour of New Delhi — India's capital and a bustling gateway city. Visit Lutyens' Delhi, passing the President's Palace, known as Rashtrapati Bhavan, before arriving at India Gate, a World War I memorial. Lutyens' City is characterized by wide, tree-lined avenues, parks and palaces built for important Indian Princes. Visit Humayun's Tomb, built in the mid-16th century by Haji Begum, the Persian-born senior wife of Humayaun, the second Mughal emperor. This is wonderful early example of Mughal architecture. Overnight at your hotel. (Breakfast)

Day 3: Delhi-Dehradun-Mussoorie. Depart your hotel for an on-time transfer (24 kilometers, 15 miles, 1 hour) to the railway station to board the Shatabdi Express to Dehradun — departing the rail station at 6:55 AM. Breakfast will be served on the train. You will be met at the Dehradun train station on arrival at 12:40 PM for a 45 minute drive to Mussoorie and to your guest house, where you will check-in and enjoy the rest of the day. (Breakfast)

Day 4: Mussoorie. Mussoorie is a historic hill station offering your first glimpse of the surrounding snow-capped peaks. The name Mussoorie is often attributed to a derivation of 'mansoor', a shrub which is indigenous to the area. The town is in fact often referred to as 'Mansoori' by most Indians. We will enjoy a short day hike to visit the historic homes at Clouds End and Everest House to help us with acclimatization to higher altitudes. Return to town to prepare our trekking gear and bags for tomorrow's departure. Overnight at an area guesthouse. (Breakfast)

Day 5: Mussoorie-Ghat. Following breakfast, drive to Ghat (1,331 meters, 4,367 feet) via Devprayag, Rudraprayag, Karnprayag and Nandprayag. Ghat, the most famous confluence of Garhwal Himalayas, is a large village with schools, government offices and vibrant markets visited by many people from nearby villages. Overnight at an area guest house. (Breakfast)

Day 6: Ghat-Selu Bagar-Ghunni. After breakfast today, we begin our transition with a seven kilometer, thirty-minute drive to Selu Bagar (1,600 meters, 5,249 feet). Selu Bagar is a small hub with a handful of shacks which serve as village shops. It is also our starting point for the trek.

The team is waiting — meet your ponies and trek staff and prepare yourself to begin a high Himalayan adventure.

The trail from here is distinctive with continuous switch backs, winding up to the ridgetop. Here you will see the small settlements of Ramni and Ghunni (1,900 meters, 6,234 feet). From here, we tread past small, colorful Himalayan villages where our trail reaches an open plateau above Ghunni — here is our campsite! Overnight in tents. [Trek: 6 kilometers, 3.73 miles, 2-3 hours] (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 7: Ghunni-Vinayak Pass-Jhinjholi Village. Today requires a very-early breakfast and start — not only to negotiate the long day's walk, but also to have the time to appreciate beautiful Himalayan views along the way. Our trail first winds up to the ridgecrest, towering high above the Ghunni campsite. After traversing the ridge, we arrive at an open meadow with jaw-dropping views of the Himalaya's greatest jewels — the peaks of Nanda Ghunti, Chaukhamba — set against awesome views of Ramni and Ghunni, now appearing lower in the valley.

The trail continues with a gentle climb, passing beautiful Rhododendron forests and pasture grasslands for sheep and cattle, punctuated with the herders' nomadic huts. The trail rises-up with moderate switchbacks leading to an open meadow with gorgeous views of Nanda Ghunti Peak. Continue gently climbing to reach to Vinayak Pass (3,352 meters, 10,997 feet). The pass is highlighted with prayer flags and a Ganesha Temple. Savor the front-row seat with a stunning Himalaya panorama and Kuari Pass in the distance. From Vinayak Pass, the trail gently descends (but at times becomes steep, passing through Sem Kharak) with today's destination locagted at the village of Jhinjhi. Overnight in tents. [Trek: 13 kilometers, 8 miles, 6-7 hours] (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 8: Jhinjholi-Pana. We awake this morning in the midst of the mountain lifestyle and culture of Jhinjholi Village (2,043 meters, 6,703 feet). After breakfast, our route descends through the village, eventually arriving at the valley floor. We soon cross a high suspension bridge over Birahi Ganga River (1,840 meters, 6,037 feet).

We now begin an upward direction on a trail which soon switchbacks steeply, passing several plateaus, finally leading us to the ridge with yet another stunning panorama of the mighty Himalaya. Our path returns to a gradual rise, passing through a beautiful Rhododendron forest, passing Kaliagad Village (2,700 meters, 8,858 feet), to arrive at Pana. A final-push (just one-half mile!) brings us to our campsite perch above Pana, to overnight in tents. [Trek: 8 kilometers, 5 miles, 4-5 hours] (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 9: Pana-Dakhwani. Today's trail leads above the campsite, rising first through Rhododendrons, then reaching several plateaus, but continuing upward to the ridge. We hike moderately through the forest, reaching an open meadow near the village of Sartoli (3,048 meters, 10,000 feet) — a campsite with summer pasture for sheep and cattle. This is an ideal spot to view Kuari Pass which now dominates the horizon. The trail from Sartoli descends gradually at first for a few miles but later, the trail descends steeply as we hike on a canyon side with loose rock, following a stream — you will want to use trekking poles and go slowly for this stretch. Reaching the bottom, we cross the stream to begin a steep ascent of the opposite side — a series of switchbacks leads to the ridge top. Reaching the top, the trail becomes easier, with gentle ups and downs, finally leading past another stream just below Dalehwani. It's only one-half mile up to our campsite at Dalehwani (3,353 meters/10,824 feet). Overnight in tents. [Trek: 14 kilometers, 8.6 miles, 5 hours] (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 10: Dakhwani-Kuari Pass. This day requires an early start in order to pause and enjoy the best views at the pass during the day and still reach our next camp at a good hour. The trail from Dakhwani climbs through the forest until we reach treeline. Here, the path snakes to the left of the valley, just below the pass and continues with a series of switchbacks up to the pass. Reaching the pass, stunning and magnificent views of the Himalaya are waiting to be admired — relax, photograph and soak-in the spectacular vista. The trail now leads up a small knoll for an excellent view of Dronagiri Peak. From here, the trail now descends to Tapovan and we continue on this trail to Tali (near a ridge festooned with prayer flags and a temple). Soon the great Nanda Devi Peak bursts into view. The trail first reaches pasture land and then the forest — finally leading to our campsite at Tali (3,800 meters/12,467 feet). Overnight in tents. [Trek: 9 kilometers, 5.5 miles, 5-6 hours] (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 11: Tali-Auli-Joshimath. This morning should be a more-relaxed start at camp, before hiking begins. The trail from Tali is a gradual climb across a ridge. Though not difficult, this part of the trail is narrow, so be alert until you reach Gorson Meadows. From here, it's "Himalayas all around." Great Nanda Devi peak dominates the scene. Crossing Gorson Meadow is a very enjoyable section of our day's hike. In the distance, buildings mark the village of Auli (2550 meters/8364 feet) and the climax of our trek. It's time to say goodbye and thanks to the ponies and trerk staff. Here, we'll hop a jeep for a quick ride to town of Joshimath (15 kilometers, 9 miles, 1 hour). Joshimath (1,890 meters, 6,200 feet) is a colorful marketplace, supplying goods to many nearby villages. Overnight in an area hotel. [Trek: 10 kilometers, 6 miles, 3-4 hours] (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 12: Joshimath-Rishikesh. Today we arise early, have breakfast and enjoy a scenic drive to Rishikesh (approximately eight hours). You'll find the drive beautiful, with excellent views down the valleys. Arrive in Rishikesh and check into the Narayana Resort and Spa for our overnight stay. (Breakfast)

Day 13: Rishikesh. Rishikesh is an ancient pilgrimage centre nestled along the banks of the Ganges River — in the foothills of the Garhwal Himalayas. Millions of devout Hindus gather here every year, cleansing themselves of their sins by bathing in the Holy Ganges — waters which have supported the civilization of the north Indian plains for centuries. Visit Muni Ki Reti and Lakshman Jhula. This evening, attend Arrti (prayers) on the banks of Ganges by Parmarth Niketan. Overnight at our hotel. (Breakfast)

Day 14: Rishikesh-Delhi. This morning, drive to Delhi in approximately 6-7 hours. Check-in to your hotel and enjoy the evening. Optional: A Tour of Old Delhi, if time allows. Overnight at our hotel. (Breakfast)

Day 15: Delhi. Check out from your hotel at the appropriate hour and transfer to the airport for your departure flight home. Note: The program ends here for those not taking the optional extension tour to Agra, below.

[Optional Agra Extension:]

Delhi-Agra. Drive to Agra in about four hours and check-in to your hotel. This afternoon, visit Agra Fort. Composed of the massive red sandstone, Agra Fort (along the banks of the Yamuna River) was constructed by Emperor Akbar in 1565. The fort's colossal double walls rise over 20 meters (66 feet) in height and measure an amazing 2.5 kilometers (1.5 miles) in circumference. [We have the option to visit the Taj Mahal this evening or the following morning. Our tour includes one entrance fee only.] Overnight in our area hotel. (Breakfast)

Day 16: Agra-Delhi. Visit the Taj Mahal. Described as the most extravagant monument ever built for love, it was constructed by Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his second wife Mumtaz Mahal. The temple was described by the Indian classical poet Tagore as a "tear on the face of eternity." Return to Delhi, visiting Fatehpur Sikri on the way, in about six hours. Once the capital city of Akbar, Fatehpur Sikri was built in 1569. Though the unusual placement of its buildings seems whimsical, in fact they were planned purposefully for an atmosphere of playful brilliance. Back in Delhi, transfer directly to the airport for your flight home. (Breakfast)

Post Trip: Same day return date to the Americas, crossing the international date line — to arrive home about midday.

Important Note: This is meant only as a guide to what our days will be like. Changes may be made as we go along. These depend upon local conditions, our acclimatization and health. It should be noted that this is adventure travel! Good health, a reasonable level of fitness, and a positive outlook make it enjoyable. Sturdy vehicles will be provided, but remember that adventurous travel is not for those who are prone to car sickness. Some of the areas to be visited are remote and facilities can be limited outside of Kathmandu.

Travel Details: If you are making your own flight arrangements, note that you must arrive in New Delhi no later than Day 1 and you may not depart earlier than the afternoon of Day 16. Ask us about booking a room should you have an overnight stopover, wish to arrive early or depart late. You are welcome to travel early or stay late — we can arrange additional journeys, accommodations or transfers on request.

Payment for any added services may be required at the time the service is received. Please refer to the "Our Policies" section of this website for more information.

Kuari Pass • Administrative Details:

(+) Land Cost (land cost as itinerary has described):

$2790 USD

(+) In-Trip Airfare Estimate (air during itinerary program):

+  $ None USD

(=) Total Program Cost (Land & In-Trip Air costs combined):

$2790 USD

Trip Deposit (submit with application):


Single Supplement (optional single accommodation):

$560 USD (optional)

Agra Extension (optional):

$ 150USD (optional)

Maximum Group Size:

Eight Participants

Other Cost & Need Considerations:

Passport, Visa, Physicians Visit, Emergency Medical & Evacuation Insurance, Travel to/from New Delhi, Meals Beyond Above Itinerary, Beverages, Spending/Personal Money.

Trip Activity–Level:

Moderate: Usually involves hiking an average of four to six hours each day — with some trekking time being spent at high altitude. Accommodations consist of evenings spent at tea or guest houses and tent camping along the trail.

Registration Deadline:

Dec. 29, 2019 ($100USD late fee thereafter)

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