Kumaon Himalayas

Himalayan Village Walking Trail

10 nights from £1,975pp (excl. international flights)

Delhi  – Bhimtal  – Thikalna  – Ganghet

Our experts say

A beautiful walking trail through Himalayan foothills, with overnight stays in charming traditional village houses

On your holiday would you rather drive from city to city, or walk from village to village? If the answer is the latter, have a look at this lovely gentle walking circuit in the foothills of the Indian Himalayas. The scenery is simply beautiful, local people greet you with a friendly namaste as you cross paths, and you get to stay overnight in lovingly restored traditional village houses.

Kumaon is a green hilly region of the Himalayas bordering with Nepal. Walking in these areas is really the best way to get a feel for rural India. On the three full days of hiking, the average walking time is about 4 hours, but go at your own pace – there is plenty time to stop for lunch or to have a rest in small village tea shops and temples.

You will be accompanied by a walking guide who will show you the way and help you mingle with local people. Luggage is carried ahead by porters, and food is prepared on site using fresh local ingredients.

Remember, this is just a suggested itinerary - your own holiday can be tailored to your preference of budget, duration, locations and experiences. For example you could tie this walking itinerary in with a visit to Rishikesh for some yoga, or relax in a nearby hill station like Nainital. Get in touch to discuss your holiday.

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The itinerary…

Day 1: Take to the skies

Take the overnight flight from wherever you are to New Delhi.

Day 2: Welcome to India

Lodi  Gardens In  Delhi

Lodi Gardens in Delhi

On arrival in Delhi you will be met and transferred to your hotel.

Day 3: Explore Delhi

Tomb Of The  Emperor  Safdarjung In  Delhi

Tomb of Emperor Safdarjung

Today head out with your guide to explore Old Delhi with its magnificent Red Fort, winding alleys and bazaars, and take a cycle rickshaw to the magnificent mosque at Jama Masjid. Later on stop at the tomb of the emperor Humayun, and the medieval tower at the Qutab Minar.

Day 4: Train to the Himalayas

The Lake At  Bhimtal

The lake at Bhimtal

It’s an early start today as we pick you up from your hotel in Delhi and drop you at the station to board your train to the foothills of the Himalayas. The Shatabdi Express departs New Delhi at 06:00 and arrives at Kathgodam at 11:50. From here it is a 1-hour drive to the lakeside town of Bhimtal, and a short drive uphill to Fredy’s Bungalow, your home for the night.

Check in, relax and enjoy the surroundings. You can have a boat ride on the lake, and check out the extensive butterfly collection both at the hotel and at the nearby Butterfly Research Centre.

Day 5: Almora & walk to Thikalna

Thikalna  Village  View

View from Thikalna village house

This morning starts with a 2.5-hour drive to the ancient hill town of Almora to spend some time exploring the bazaar. From here continue to the unique Chitai temple where devotees leave offerings of brass bells to Golu Devta, god of justice.

Your walking starts from a little further up the road, with an easy 1-hour walk through forests of oak and rhododendron to your traditional village house in Thikalna. The village sits at an altitude of 2100m with views of great Himalayan peaks. The house has no electricity, so lanterns are provided after dark.

Day 6: Walk around Thikalna

Living  Room At  Fredys  Bungalow

Fredys Bungalow, an accommodation option

There is a nice walking trail today of 4 to 5 hours, passing through some nearby villages and stopping in a nice spot for a picnic. Rest a while before the return walk to your cottage at Thikalna.

Day 7: Walk from Thikalna to Ganghet

Temple At  Jageshwar

Jageshwar temple

Today’s walk from Thikalna to the village of Ganghet takes about 4-5 hours, but take it more slowly if you prefer. Along with great views there are some interesting ancient temples along the way - pine forests give way to deodar as you approach Jageshwar, a cluster of temples dating as far back as the 7th century.

A picnic lunch will be served nearby, and then it’s on to your next village at Ganghet (altitude 1780m), where your stay will be in another traditional house on the edge of the village. The house has two bedrooms with attached bathrooms, living room and traditional kitchen.

Day 8: Walk from Ganghet to the Itmenaan Estate

Ganghet  Village  House  Exterior

Ganghet village house

The first stop on today’s walk is at the Jhankar Sem temple, before descending the valley through terraced farms and small villages. Have a picnic at the bottom before the uphill walk to your home for the next two nights at the Itmenaan Estate. Again, the total walking time will be about 4-5 hours. Reach your destination, put your feet back and take in the panoramic mountain views.

Day 9: Itmenaan Estate

Terraced Fields Of Wheat

Run through terraced fields of wheat

Rest and explore the beautiful surroundings at the Itmenaan Estate.

Day 10: Return to Delhi

Itmenaan  Estate  Exterior

Your home at the Itmenaan Estate

Your return journey to Delhi starts with a 20-minute walk to the road head to meet your car, then a 3 – 4 hour drive to Kathgodam to board the Shatabdi Express train to Delhi (15:45/21:15). At Delhi we will transfer you to your hotel.

Day 11: Fly home

Check out of your hotel before 12 noon, and we will transfer you to the airport to board your return flight home.

Duration: 10 nights

Location: Indian Himalayas Holidays, India

Price: £1975pp

Our 'Himalayan Village Walking Trail' itinerary includes: accommodation, daily breakfast (with lunches & dinners whilst walking), guide & porters, rail travel, transfers & drives in chauffeur-driven AC vehicle, and sightseeing as indicated.

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