Best Tourist Places in Kerala

Alleppey

Kerala

The Serene Side of India – Kerala

When I came across a shot of Chinese fishing nets silhouetted against a setting sun in Fort Kochi, a city in the southern state of Kerala, India, I knew I needed to be there.

I admit to having a love affair with India, so it was with boundless enthusiasm that I started a deep dive to see what Kerala was all about. I came to the conclusion I would need four to five days to get the essence of this sliver of land that borders the Arabian Sea, and is often coined “God’s Own Country”.

The trip would need to include a visit to the hill station of Munnar, and an overnight on a private, luxury houseboat on Kerala’s backwaters. December through January would appear to be the ideal weather conditions for a Kerala visit.

Landing late in Kochi (Cochin), one of the three cities in Kerala that has an international airport, I settled into the Crowne Plaza Kochi. Sure it’s a chain hotel (and a darn nice one), but when you’ve been traveling all day and it’s almost midnight, a comfortable bed, an oversized bathtub for a soak, delightful toiletries, and an extensive breakfast buffet works wonders for me.

My local guide, Sanjay, along with our driver Murukesh, came to fetch me around 9 am the following morning. We were headed first to Munnar (at an altitude of 5,200 above sea level), which I was told was about a 5-hour drive so I should just sit back and relax. Indians love to say three things about driving in their country. You need good brakes, a good horn, and good luck. I might add a fourth – a strong arm to brace oneself against the dashboard as we rocked and rolled, darted in and out of traffic and passed cars, cows and motorbikes with mere inches between us and whatever happened to be on the road. The drive wasn’t all that relaxing.

Tea Gardens

As we climbed higher into a lush and forested landscape, we frequently passed farms and plantations interspersed with billboards touting Ayurveda products. We stopped to take a short tour of one of the farms and would learn how common spices, such as lemongrass and nutmeg, take on a second life as healing properties in Ayurvedic medicine. The terrain slowly transformed into undulating hills of emerald green tea plantations that Munnar is known for.

My accommodation in Munnar was the upscale and beautifully landscaped Chandy’s Windy Woods, stair-stepped into one of the hillsides. My room was quite sizable, with a most inviting deck that overlooked rows upon rows of tea bushes, a walk-in shower, a flat-screen TV that picked up a few English stations, and a desk setup should one feel the need to work.

Bike

Sanjay had gotten impatient with the drive to Munnar, apparently because he loves to drive and wanted to be in the driver’s seat. Once we had checked in, he announced he was going to see about renting a motorbike. Now India seems to have its own set of rules and regulations, which are basically that there are no rules or regulations! Half an hour later, there appears a bike; no money is exchanged, no paperwork appears, just a key and a helmet. What the bike did lack was gas…just enough for us to coast downhill and fill up, followed by a pleasurable exploration of the beautiful countryside…with many stops to drink in the view. The remainder of the day and evening was spent soaking up the ambiance of Munnar.

Alleppey

I was reluctant to leave the verdant paradise the next day, but after a delicious breakfast with both Indian and American options on the buffet, eaten out on a sun-drenched deck, it was on to my next adventure.

We braked, braced and honked our way down the mountains to Alleppey, known as the “Venice of the East”.   I had read about these private luxury houseboats on which you can overnight, cruising the backwaters of Kerala, serviced by a crew of three (cook, captain, and an assistant).

My own private chef?   Sign me up!

These handmade boats are called kettuvalloms, and are made of native materials, including anjili wood, bamboo, coconut fibers.   In former times, the boats were used to transport goods and passengers through the canals and lagoons to the remote villages. Today, they are primarily a tourist attraction – and a very unique and tranquil way to see life happening in and along the waters. There are several companies offering up this experience; I was booked with Lakes and Lagoons Backwater Experiences that run a stellar operation.

Backwaters Kerala

We boarded around 1:30 pm, and no sooner were we moving along then came a bowl of fresh fruit and banana chips, followed by a hardy luncheon of fish and other Indian specialties. Payasam, a milky rice dessert topped with raisins and cashews was to die for and I instantly requested this be served at dinner.

Houseboat

Relaxation is not part of my vocabulary, so it took some doing to unhinge and settle into “chillaxing”. I found myself taking a few naps on a shady cushion near the front of the boat, followed by intermittent snacking, and most importantly witnessing life as it unfolds in these backwaters. My crew didn’t hover but were attentive as needed. We stopped once to wander through a local village. Around 5:30, our boat, along with several others that were overnighting with guests, docked together at the end of a village where they hook up to electricity for the night. It turned into a bit of a social hour…visiting with fellow travelers on adjacent boats.

HouseBoat Kerala

An evening stroll through the village found many of the kids running out to practice their English, which is no surprise at how proliferate they are, given that Kerala boasts one of the highest literacy rates in all of India. A delicious dinner (chicken tikka as the main course) in a twilight setting capped off the evening.

Food

I was up before dawn and watched the sleepy landscape spring back to life with locals moving about both on land and water. After breakfast and by 10 am, we were back on land, with Murukush waiting, and then it was back to Kochi. An afternoon of shopping, a visit to St. Francis church, then it was off to the shores of Fort Kochi to photograph those fishing nets.

Chinese Fishing Nets

Things were busy along the shore – locals milling about, street vendors with goods and food hawking their wares, a giant cargo ship steaming towards the sea and a slew of rickety fishing boats plying the waters. Assessing the setting sun and the clouds on the horizon, I could see straight away I wasn’t going to get the “killer shot” I had hoped for. Sure I was disappointed, but I made the best of the light – coming away with what I would call “moody” shots of the nets.

Kerala

Reflecting back, Kerala offers up something you wouldn’t come to expect from India – a place to disconnect, unwind, and soak up the sweet fragrance of a lush landscape that produces spices and teas that find their way to my kitchen. But most of all, it’s the Indian people that were the highlight of Kerala. In every visit to this country, the kindness and smiles that have been extended to me are like no place on earth and calls me out to be a better person in how I treat others.

Where to next you might ask? I’m knee-deep in researching the Himalayan region of India – stay tuned.

Donnie Sexton has moved on from a very long stint as staff photographer and media relations manager for the Montana Office of Tourism. Her path is now focused on feeding her addiction to travel and sharing her journeys in both words and photography. www.donniesexton.com

Published here by permission – Original Article at https://www.pointsandtravel.com/best-tourist-places-in-kerala/

Pushkar Camel Fair

setting-sun
boys-on-a-cart
Young boys catching a ride at Pushkar on a bullock cart harnessed to a camel. Donnie Sexton photos.

 

Pushkar Camel Fair: Getting Down and Dirty

By Donnie Sexton

I’m having a love affair with India.   I’ve found my way there three times in the last year and each time, I tear myself away knowing I must go back.

camel-trader
A camel trader contemplates his next move at the Pushkar Camel Fair in Rajasthan, India.

India gets a bad rap for being very polluted, overcrowded and beset with poverty.   While all of this is true, if you peel back these layers, you’ll discover an unbelievable world of kindness in her people, and a landscape rich with palaces, forts, the mighty Himalayas, tigers, elephants, tea plantations, sacred rivers…the list is endless.

My November trip, with a small group of photographers on a trek with Popular Photography magazine, included a day at the Pushkar Camel Fair.   I was psyched.   I have loved fairs from the time I was small and it was always an annual family outing to spend a summer day when the fair came to town.

setting-sun
Camels in the setting sun at the end of another day of the 5-9 day-long Camel fair.

A Sea of Camels

The Pushkar Fair takes place near the village of Pushkar in the Indian state of Rajasthan.

This November fair spans somewhere between 5-9 days (depending on who you ask) with the dates always encompassing the full moon of Kartik (from the lunar Hindu calendar).

This is one of the world’s largest camel fairs, with numbers of animals (including cattle, sheep, goats and horses) reaching over 11,000.

In addition to the buying and selling of livestock, there are camel races, a camel beauty pageant, competitions for the longest mustache, cricket matches, food vendors, stalls selling goods, including jewelry, toys, and clothing and rounding the whole affair out – carnival rides.

It is estimated that well over 100,000 people between visitors, locals, tradesmen and farmers attend this colorful event.

A Man’s World

When our driver dropped us off, it was abundantly clear this was going to be a hot, dusty, and smelly adventure. I made a beeline for the herds of camels lounging about on a landscape of sandy dunes, determined to make a few new friends in this rural slice of life.   Many of the camels had their front legs hobbled together so as not to run off.   There was not a fence or enclosure of any kind in sight to contain any of the livestock.

women-with-camel-food
Women with their heads full, carrying food for the camels in Pushkar.

Save for two women literally carrying a head full of fodder for the animals and a few kids running around, the scene was punctuated with the leathery, weathered faces of men.

Most were dressed in what looks like a white sheet bunched up between the legs to hide the family jewels with a long shirt over the top and all sporting lofty turbans.

Sitting on Haunches

Indians are adept at sitting on their haunches, so this particular dress lends itself well to this position.     When I approached these gentlemen and used hand signals to ask if I could take a photo, they gestured me to sit down, relax and even suggested I have a toke of whatever they were smoking.

This was the India I loved – that genuine hospitality that holds a country together.

Here I was down on my haunches with these men whose life’s toil had been so much harder than mine, yet through the smiles and gestures in this hazy landscape we were becoming fast friends.

A young girl carrying food for the many vendors and locals who attend the fair.

Maybe it was the heat of the day, but nobody seemed to move too fast, including the camels and their owners or buyers.   Occasionally there would be a buyer examining the health of a camel by prying open its mouth and examining the teeth, apparently a telltale sign of its health.

That was followed by a heated conversation between buyer and seller coupled with a sufficient amount of gesturing.

Cotton Candy

There was a single paved road that bisected the fairgrounds and served as the dividing line between the carnival and the livestock grounds.   It was busy with cars, motorcycles, bullock carts adorned with colorful tapestries plodding along, and the occasional wandering Brahma bull.   I took a break from the ungulates to check out the carnival.

Like any great carnival, there was no shortage of kids being kids, along with women socializing and checking out the colorful goods from the vendors.

The food stalls drew my attention.   I was lured in by giant bubbly vats of dal cooked over the coals, along with stacks of naan and poppadums.   I graciously turned down several offers of free samples, again, part of the Indian kindness that I know and love.

Then I spotted my all-time favorite fair food – cotton candy!   Had it not been coated with a bit of dust from the fairgrounds, I might have succumbed to temptation.

toys-and-stuff-for-sale
Toys and all sorts of items for sale at the Camel Fair.

It has been my mantra while in developing nations to stay away from street food; while it sometimes looks so tantalizing, I try to minimize my risk of getting sick.

Greener Pastures

Late in the afternoon, the pace had picked up over at camel central.

The herders were unhobbling their camels and began moving them out to greener pastures on the hillsides surrounding the fairgrounds, running alongside to keep the herds together.

heading-home-in-a-truck
Heading home from the fair in typical Pushkar style, in the back of a dump truck.

In an attempt to get some action photos, I took off on a run as well, only to discover running in tennis shoes full of sand wasn’t that easy.

In the background, hot air balloons, another option for enjoying Pushkar, were starting to appear on the horizon.

A sea of camels.

We were to meet out driver again just after sunset, so I headed to the meeting point.   While we waited, a young gentleman in a nearby tent offered us bottled water and welcomed us to sit.

Turns out he worked in the movie industry as a production assistant, including most recently being involved with “The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.”   Our ride was late, very late, and I realized I hadn’t peed all day, nor had I actually seen any sort of porta potties.

Stirring-the-pot
Stirring the big pot at the Camel Fair.

I asked the movie man about facilities and he pointed to a white building at least a quarter mile off in the distant.   Knowing I would never make it, he insisted I jump on the back of his motorbike for a ride up.   While I don’t advocate jumping on the back of a motorcycle with a stranger in India, there was no question in my mind this was a safe bet to put an end to my discomfort.

The Love Affair Continues

In hindsight, it would have been great if our day at Pushkar had been one filled with camel races or the longest mustache competition, but with travel, there are no guarantees that you’ll hit the perfect day of activities, weather, etc. while on the road.   As a photographer, I’ve found it’s best to take what any day presents and make the most of it.

I came away having witnessed once again, the kindness and hospitality of the Indian people and having been privy to a slice of life never before experienced.   I left the fairgrounds happily covered in dirt and dust, the insides of my shoes layered in sand, with a heart content that the love affair was stronger than ever.

Donnie Sexton has moved on from a very long stint as staff photographer and media relations manager for the Montana Office of Tourism. Her path is now focused on feeding her addiction to travel and sharing her journeys in both words and photography. www.donniesexton.com

Published here by permission – Original Article at https://www.gonomad.com/85288-pushkar-camel-fair-getting-dirty

Delhi City Tour

Delhi City Tour

Our One Day Delhi Sightseeing tour, is the most popular package where you will explore all the famous tourist destinations in Old and New Delhi.

Delhi City Tour

The best time to start this tour is before 9-10 am so that we can visit all tourist sites that are open between 9 am to 5 pm.

This tour covers 10 popular tourist sites.

Start the day with the tour of:

1. India Gate and Rashtrapati bhawan (Rajpath)
2. Rajghat, & then
3. The Old Delhi area

Old Delhi area is “Chandni Chowk” where you can visit:

4. Red Fort
5. Jama Masjid
6. Shri Digambar Jain Lal Mandir, &
7. Local street food of Old Delhi

Then after lunch time, you will visit:

8 & 9. Humayun Tomb or Lotus Temple
10. Qutub Minar

Will reach Qutub Minar before 5 pm, as entry close after 5.

Fare for this tour:

> Rs 2400 in sedan cab for 8 hours
> Rs 2800 in Innova taxi for 8 hours

Above fare is all inclusive (taxes & parking) & after 8 hour, added fare will be Rs 200 per hour.

The above mentioned sites are the 10 best tourist attractions to visit in Delhi (in a day).

If you want to extend this tour till night, then you can also visit:

  • Birla Temple (laxminarayan temple)
  • Gurudwara Bangla Sahib
  • Lodhi Garden, &
  • Sound Light show at Purana Quila (from 8:30 pm to 9: 30 pm)

These sites are open till 9-10 pm.

To book this Delhi City Tour to get any tour customized to your requirements, please contact us.

Jaipur City Tour from Delhi

City Palace jaipur

Jaipur – the capital city of Rajasthan is an all time favorite destination of travelers from across the world. Also known as the ‘Pink City’, Jaipur is famous for its architectural wonders. The captivating architectural structures are painted pink which draw the attention of the visitors.

With our 2N/3D Jaipur City Tour, you can explore the popular destinations in luxury and style!

Day 1 : Delhi to Jaipur

Begin your Journey from New Delhi railway station to Jaipur in the early morning. We will meet and greet you on your arrival at Jaipur and assist you to the pre-booked hotel.

City Palace jaipur
City Palace jaipur
Hawa Mahal jaipur
Hawa Mahal jaipur

In the afternoon, you will go for sightseeing to the City Palace and museum along with an expert guide. The sightseeing tour will also cover Hawa Mahal and Jantar Mantar. Comfortable overnight stay in Jaipur.

Day 2 : Jaipur Sightseeing

Morning Pay a visit to the Amber Fort, riding an elephant’s back post breakfast (depends on the availability of the elephants).

Elephant ride to the fort
Elephant ride to the fort
amber fort jaipur
amber fort jaipur

The Sheesh Mahal (Hall of Mirrors), Jal Mahal and the Kali Temple are the must to visit places.

Overnight stay in Jaipur.

Day 3 : Jaipur to Delhi

Carry out your activities in the morning. In the afternoon, leave for Jaipur railway station and board a train for Delhi.
After arriving in Delhi, either have an overnight stay in the hotel booked earlier or move towards the airport to board a flight for onward journey.

End of Tour

Golden Temple Amritsar

Golden Temple Amritsar

Golden Temple Amritsar

The Harmandar Sahib also known as Darbar Sahib, is a Gurdwara located in the city of Amritsar, Punjab, India. The name Sri Harmandir Sahib literally means the “Temple of God”. It is the most important shrine of the Sikh religion. It is usually called the Golden Temple in English, because it is plated with gold.

Golden Temple Amritsar

Originally a small lake in the midst of a quiet forest, the site has been a meditation retreat for wandering mendicants and sages since deep antiquity.

The Buddha is known to have spent time at this place in contemplation. Two thousand years after Buddha’s time, another philosopher-saint came to live and meditate by the peaceful lake.This was Guru Nanak (1469-1539), the founder of the Sikh religion. The Golden Temple was founded in 1574 by the fourth Sikh guru, Guru Ram Das.

Golden Temple Amritsar

In December 1588, the fifth Sikh Guru, Guru Arjan initiated the construction of the gurdwara and the foundation stone was laid by Muslim saint Mian Mir on 28 December 1588. Guru Arjan, designed Sri Harmandir Sahib to be built in the center of this holy tank, and upon its construction, installed the Adi Granth, the holy scripture of Sikhism, inside the Harmandir Sahib. The gurdwara was completed in 1604.

Golden Temple Amritsar

On numerous occasions the temple was destroyed by the Muslims, and each time was rebuilt more beautifully by the Sikhs. The present-day gurdwara was rebuilt in 1764 by Jassa Singh Ahluwalia with the help of other Sikh Misls. uring the reign of Maharaja Ranjit Singh (1780-1839), the Golden Temple was richly ornamented with marble sculptures, golden gilding, and large quantities of precious stones.

Golden Temple Amritsar

Floating at the end of a long causeway, the Golden Temple itself is a mesmerizing blend of Hindu and Islamic architectural styles, with an elegant marble lower level adorned with flower and animal motifs in pietra dura work. (as seen on the Taj Mahal). Above this rises a shimmering second level, encased in intricately engraved gold panels, and topped by a dome gilded with 750 kilograms (1653 pounds) of gold.

Golden Temple Amritsar

The main hall of the Golden Temple houses the Guru Granth Sahib, the sacred scripture of the Sikh religion. It is placed on a raised platform under a canopy studded with precious jewels. This scripture is a collection of devotional poems, prayers, and hymns composed by the ten Sikh gurus and various Muslim and Hindu saints.

Golden Temple Amritsar

Structurally, the temple is located on a level below the ground level as it signifies that one must be humble and go down to reach the temple of God. This design is quite opposite to that of the Hindu temples, most of which are built at an elevated level. The Golden Temple is surrounded by the Sarovar, a large lake or holy tank, which consists of Amrit (“holy water” or “immortal nectar”) and is fed by the Ravi River.

Langar at Golden Temple Amritsar

The largest langar is found at the Golden Temple. It typically feeds roughly 40,000 people a day for free. On religious holidays and weekends, the langar can feed upwards of 100,000 people a day.This incredible feat is made possible through donations and volunteers.

All the diners have to sit on the floor, irrespective of caste, status, wealth or creed, symbolizing the central Sikh doctrine of the equality of all people.

For a private trip to Golden Temple Amritsar, please contact Indus Trips.

Varanasi Photography Tour

Varanasi

Varanasi

(Varanasi ) Benaras is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend and looks twice as old as all of them put together – Mark Twain

Varanasi is a city in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh dating to the 11th century B.C. Regarded as the spiritual capital of India, the city draws Hindu pilgrims who bathe in the Ganges River’s sacred waters and perform funeral rites. Along the city’s winding streets are some 2,000 temples, including Kashi Vishwanath, the “Golden Temple,” dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva.

Varanasi

All action is prayer. All trees are desire-fulfilling. All water is the Ganga. All land is Varanasi. Love everything – Neem Karoli Baba

It is not easy to understand Varanasi, but you can feel and experience it… it does not work with logic and reasoning, but with faith and devotion. It is a world apart from any other place you have even known. This is the place where the sea of humanity finds salvation.

Many people think they cannot have knowledge or understanding of God without reading books. But hearing is better than reading, and seeing is better than hearing. Hearing about Benares is different from reading about it; but seeing Benares is different from either hearing or reading From the book The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna.

Varanasi

It is believed that this holy city is one of the oldest living cities in the world. In fact, it is believed that this place was once the home of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. This connection of this city with eternity doesn’t end here; for it is believed that the person who inhales his final breath here, actually attains salvation. A a number of famous literary geniuses such as Munshi Prem Chand and Tulsi Das hail from this city. Ravi Shankar and the shehnai maestro, Ustad Bismillah Khan, the leading legends of the industry also have their roots in this place.

Varanasi is also a leading trading center as a great amount of trade is done here. The intricate silver and gold brocades and the famous Banarasi silk are the major items that this city is known for. A very uncanny and astonishing custom is practiced in this city – frog marriage, which is particularly done in the rainy season at the Ashwamedh Ghat. The priest performs the ceremony of wedding a couple of frogs and then they are then left into the river.

Below are some of the pics taken by our clients during a recent Varanasi Photography Tour..

Experience the magic of Varanasi with custom made guided Photography Tour of Varanasi with Indus Trips. Let us know your travel plans and we will plan things just the way you want.

Teelewali Masjid and Makbra of Shah Peer Mohammed Lucknow

Teele Wali Masjid

Teelewali Masjid

On the bank of river Gomti near the Hardinge Bridge, most popularly known as Pakka Pul or the Laal Pul, stands a beautiful mosque known as the Jami Masjid or Teele Wali Masjid. The exquisite monument is surrounded by the Bada Imambara, Rumi Darwaaza.

This beautiful mosque was constructed by the Mughal governor during the reign of Emperor Aurangzeb (1658-1707). The mosque stands on a mound or a Teela and that is why it is called as Teele Waali Masjid which means the Mosque on the mound. The mosque has three domes and tall minarets.

Makbra of Shah Peer Mohammed

In the campus of the mosque, Tomb of Shaikh Pir Muhammad hardly twenty meters to the east of the mosque stands the Tomb of Shaikh Pir Muhammad, who died in the year 1674. Shaikh Pir Muhammad was a very prominent Islamic scholar and inspired a large number of people from around the world.

Discover the amazing cultural heritage of Lucknow with Indus Trips. Get custom made private guided tour of Lucknow with us and experience a hasslefree and memorable holiday experience.

Bhutan

Origin of the name Bhutan may be derived from the Sanskrit Bhotanta which means “the end of Tibet,” or the Sanskrit Bhu-attan, meaning “highlands.” Bhutanese call their home “Druk Yul,” which means “the Land of the Thunder Dragons,” because of the extremely powerful storms which constantly roar in from the Himalayas. Until the 1960’s it had no roads, automobiles, telephone, postal system or electricity. Bhutanese had no access to TV or Internet until limited access was permitted in 1999. The first foreign tourists were allowed into Bhutan in 1974.

Bhutan

Bhutan is the world’s only carbon sink, that is; it absorbs more CO2 than it gives out. It sells hydro-electrical power, making it the only country whose largest export is renewable energy. 72% of the country is forested. In fact, it’s in the country’s constitution to keep 60% of its land forested. Respect for the environment, the eco system and all species is a serious matter in Bhutan. Anyone caught killing an endangered species, faces the harsh sentence of life in prison.

Bhutanese have a long tradition of painting phalluses on their houses to serve as a symbol of fertility and good luck and all citizens officially become one year older on New Year’s Day. This way, no one forgets anyone’s birthday! Rather than using the GDP as an economic index, Bhutan measures its overall “health” through the four pillars: sustainable development, environmental protection, cultural preservation, and good governance, which together form the Gross National Happiness or GNH.

Below are some pics clicked by our clients during a recent trip to Bhutan..

If you wish to go to Bhutan and want a private guided tour that is custom made to your requirements, then please get in touch with Indus Trips. We will be glad to be of service.

Chota Imambara Lucknow

Chota Imambara Lucknow

Chota Imambara Lucknow

Chota Imambara, also known as Imambara Hussainabad Mubarak is an imposing monument located in the city of Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India. It was built in the year 1838 by Mohammad Ali Shah, the third Nawab of Awadh.Fondly called the palace of lights because of the stunning chandeliers and decorations that light up the building on special occasions, Chota Imambara is located adjacent to the Bada Imambara in the heart of Lucknow. Several minarets, turrets, domes and large courtyards make this historical monument a popular pit-stop for anyone visiting Lucknow. The stunning marble work, striking interiors decorated with grand and colourful chandeliers and sprawling gardens add to the majestic charm of the Imambara. Built by the third nawab of Awadh, Muhammad Ali Shah in the 19th century, the imposing monument also houses two replicas of Agra’s Taj Mahal, which are the tombs of Mohammed Ali Shah’s daughter and her husband.

Below are some pics clicked by our clients at the famous Chota Imambara at Lucknow..

The Capital city of Uttar Pradesh and often described as the ‘City of Nawabs’, Lucknow is one of the most pristine and multicultural tourist destinations of India. Come, discover the magic of Lucknow with Indus Trips. We will be happy to plan and manage your private tour of Lucknow City.

Bara Imambara Lucknow

Bara Imambara Lucknow

Bara Imambara, also known as Asafi Imambara. Imambara is a shrine built by Shia Muslims for the purpose of Azadari. The fourth Nawab, Asaf-Ud-Dowhala, commissioned the building during the drought year of 1784 AD to help the poor make a living. However, from the time it was finished, it became a symbol of pride and grandeur of Lucknow.

Bara Imambara Lucknow

The Bara Imambara is among the grandest buildings of Lucknow. A labyrinth of about a thousand passageways leading to its roof has intrigued traveler as well as architects for the last two hundred years. The monument also includes the large Asfi Mosque, the Bhul Bhulaiya (the labyrinth), and Bowli, a step well with running water. According to legends It has secret tunnels which lead to a location near Gomti river,Faizabad, Allahabad and Delhi. The main Imambara consists of a large central chamber which is said to be the largest arched hall in the world.The hall which measures 50 meters long and goes upto a height of 15 meters,stands without any beams support. Shahi Baoli, constructed as the source of water, also has a interesting fact about it. One can see the reflection of the visitors standing at the gate,in the water of the well.

Below are some pics clicked by our clients at the famous Bara Imambara at Lucknow..

The Capital city of Uttar Pradesh and often described as the ‘City of Nawabs’, Lucknow is one of the most pristine and multicultural tourist destinations of India. Come, discover the magic of Lucknow with Indus Trips. We will be happy to plan and manage your private tour of Lucknow City.

Neelkanth Mahadev Temple Rishikesh

On a recent trip to Rishikesh, we visited the famous Neelkanth Mahadev Temple, which is a Hindu temple dedicated to Nilkanth, an aspect of Shiva. The temple is situated at a height of 1330 meters and is located about 32 km from Rishikesh in the Pauri Garhwal district of Uttarakhand, India.

Neelkanth Mahadev Temple Rishikesh

Mythology states that Neelkanth Mahadev Temple has been built on that sacred point where Lord Shiva had consumed poison at that time of Samudra Manthan, which was churning of the ocean by Devtas (Gods) and Asuras (Demons). The poison was placed in his throat that turned blue to its effect, and thus Lord is also known as Neelkanth. The world Neel means blue and the word Kanth means throat. Devotees of Lord Shiva throng the temple in huge numbers, every year.

If you are planning to go to Neelkanth from Rishikesh by shared taxi then go to Neelkanth Taxi Stand, which is about 500 Mts after you cross Ram Jhula. From here you can bllok seats in taxis – going and coming back trip per person at just Rs.150/-. You will get about 1 hour to explore the temple complex, buy prasad, offer your prayers and come back to where your taxi is parked.

Below are some pics we clicked at the Neelkanth Mahadev Temple..

If you are wish to visit Neelkanth Mahadev Temple, Ashrams and Retreats in Rishikesh and the sacred ghats of Haridwar, then let us know your requirements. We will be glad to plan and manage your holiday plan.

Nun Kun Peak Climbing Expedition

Nun Kun Peak Climbing Expedition

Nun Kun Peak Climbing Expedition

Nun Kun Peak Climbing Expedition: The Suru & the Zanskar valleys in Ladakh are adorned with a number of majestic mountain peaks but it is the Nun Kun Massif which dominates the skyline and remains the focus of mountaineering in this region. The twin peaks of Nun (7135m) and Kun (7077m) are the highest in the Zanskar range. The two peaks are separated by a snowy plateau of about 4km in length. Pinnacle Peak (6930m) is the third highest mountain in this group. We aim to climb Kun which was first climbed by Italian mountaineer Mario Piacenza in 1913. It was only 58 years later that the mountain was successfully climbed again by an Indian Army Expedition. A 7000-er / 23,000 footer, Kun is a magnificent mountain & a formidable undertaking. The six day trek going over Kanji La is the best way to acclimatize for this high altitude climb. The climbing route includes a complex glacier approach, high angled snow slopes and a sharp ridge to the summit. At just over 7000m, the effect of high altitude is a significant factor, as is the remote location and possibility of extreme weather.

Trip Duration: 26 days

Grading: Demanding

Places Visited: Delhi, Leh, Kargil, Srinagar

Highlights: One of the highest mountain in the Zanskar Range in Ladakh. A perfect mountain to make a transition from 6000m to 7000m. Acclimatization trek through Kanji Valley.  A night in a houseboat at Dal Lake in Srinagar at the end of the Tour.

Quick Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Delhi, expedition briefing at IMF (Indian Mountaineering Foundation)
Day 2: Fly Delhi-Leh (3500m)
Day 3-4: Acclimatization & Sightseeing in Leh (3500m)
Day 5: Drive Leh to Kanji Village (3850m)
Day 6: Trek to base of Kanji La (4400m)
Day 7: Cross Kanji La (5,250m) and camp (4200m)
Day 8: End trek at Rangdum (4040m) and drive to Shafat / Gulmatongas (3650m)
Day 9: Sort out equipment and trek to Chasme (3995m)
Day 10: Trek Chasme to Base Camp (4300m)
Day 11-22: Climbing Period, Set up 3 camps above Base Camp (C1- 5300m, C2-6000m, C3-6300m)
Day 23: Trek Base Camp to Shafat (3650m)
Day 24: Drive Shafat to Kargil
Day 25: Drive Kargil to Srinagar
Day 26: Fly Srinagar to Delhi

Contact us for Detailed Itinerary.

Cost Per Person (min 4-6 people on a private trip) Quote – On Request

What to expect: Low temperatures & high altitudes are going to be our main concerns on this trip and we must be adequately prepared to deal with them.

Temperatures: High mountains usually generate and attract their own weather making it impossible to predict. Ladakh in general lies in the rain shadow of the Himalayas and is completely dry & arid region but in the last couple of years due to inexplicable weather changes it has witnessed
Intermittent rainfall too. We should be prepared for the worst of the weather conditions.

The best part about climbing in the summers is that we have a lot of daylight, right from 5am to about 7pm. Be prepared for a wide range of weather conditions from -20 deg C in the nights, to hurricane force winds, to bright sunshine intensified by high altitude. This wide fluctuation in temperatures makes it especially important to bring everything on the equipment list.

Altitude: Once we get up to heights above 3000m, altitude star ts to become a concern a nd one must deal with it carefully. Our bodies slowly g et used to the lower levels of oxygen in the air and the individuals who have acclimatized properly are able to climb to altitudes as high as Everest without a ny aided oxygen. This process of adaptation or acclimatization does take time and the most important rule is to gain height slowly. The trip itinerary has been very well thought over and gives everyone plenty of time to get acclimatized for the summit bid.

Our trip leader s are widely experienced in these matters related to acclimatization & altitude sicknesses and will be able to give you good advice to help minimize any temporary discomfort that you might experience. If you have suffered serious problems at altitude before, y ou should seek the advice of y our doc tor or a specialist. We are always ready to give adv ice on this subject.

What to carry : Right from the start of the trek we would expect everyone to carry atleast 10-12 kgs so one doesn’t get weighed down at the higher altitudes. Apart from carrying rain proof gear, a light fleece, water, packed lunch, cameras etc. its recommended that everyone carry their sleeping bag, mattress and their thick jackets too. The idea is to get used to carrying a slightly heavier backpack which everyone needs to ca rry above Base Camp . So all you need is a 70-75L back pack and a duffel bag to go with the porters. A day pack would come in handy for your road tr avel. In y our main bag , pack similar things such a s clothes, washing thing s, camping equipment, climbing equipment etc. in separate stuff sacks or polythene bags so they are easier to pull out and add to the waterproofing in y our bag. Your main bag should be a tough one with a lock, it would be carried by a porter. Once we leave the ABC we will have no porter support and one would be carrying one’s own clothes/sleeping bags/toiletries etc. Since every gram of what you are carrying matters on a climb like this its important to use your discretion while picking up equipment for this trip. For instance – one could have a super heavy duty sleeping bag meant for -25 deg C but it could easily weigh a kg more than a good -10 deg C bag. Pack your things needed for the climb in y our back pac k and see how much it weighs. It would feel thrice as heavy on the mountain. At the time of booking, we would be sending you a detailed checklist of things to bring.

Route : The expedition commences from Delhi. From there we fl y North to Leh , the capital of Ladakh in the state of Jammu & Kashmir. We spend the first three day s at Leh to do our first stage of acclimatization. A three days trek over Kanji -La brings us to the upper Suru valley where we have the Nun Kun massif. After crossing the Suru river it is 2 easy day’s walk to the Base Camp. Above Base Camp we would be setting up three more camps on the mountain. On the summit day we start the climb on the South East Ridge and finally get on to the East ridg e to get to the summit. We would be fixing 1000-1200m of ropes on our route between Camp1- II & between Camp III & summit. A small team of sherpas would accompany the expedition t o haul up the gear on the mountain and offer camping support a t the hig h camps.

Level of Climbing Skills needed : A fierce determination and a burning desire to climb the mountain are the essential pre -requisites for joining this expedition. One must have done a few high altitude treks and must have climbed some glaciated peaks above 6000m. One needs to be familiar with walking in snow and ice and must have a good standard of fitness. You should be familiar with Ice Axe arrest and crampon skills, the use of ascenders (jumar ) and descenders, and how to use your particular harness.

Pre-trip Conditioning: We suggest that you begin your training program at least 2 months prior to departure. Being physically ready is more important than years of climbing experience. Any form of aerobic training, such a s running, cycling, swimming, along with some strength training will help you a lot on the climb. Strength training with a pack is the most valuable thing you can do to prepare yourself. The best method is to g o on long hikes or climbs with a heav y pack a couple of times in a week. S inc e mountains are not eas ily accessible to most of us, climbing stair s with heavy backpack is recommended. Begin with a light pack and wor k your way up to approx. 50% of your body weight. At the time of booking, we would be sending you a training schedule to help you reac h high fitness levels for the climb. If you are not prepared, you may not be allowed to continue the climb.

Mental Preparation: Besides being physically fit and having climbing skills, you need to have the proper attitude and mental discipline. You will need to b e willing to work hard day after day, with few comforts. You may need to dig deep into y our reserves after a long day of climbing in bad weather to help set up camp, help a team member, or help with cooking at high camps. We would be melting snow to make water at high camps (7-9 days) and will have basic food to survive on. For every tent we would have butane gas with a burner each and people would be expected to make their own water and food (noodles / soup etc) in bad weather conditions. This climb is a s much about mental ability as it is about physical ability. 7 -9 days on the mountain would be very demanding but high motivation ca n overcome most of the difficulties. Waiting out storms and bad weather is quite difficult, especially at high altitude. Everyone must learn patience and relax!

Food: We will have a full serviced camp with camp cooks till Base Camp. On high camps each tent pair is expected to melt snow to make its own water and do some basic cooking. We will have a team of sherpas assist us with cooking at high camps. You could bring things which you enjoy eating – chocolates, power bars, dry fruits, candies, other snacks etc.

Equipment List : At the time of booking you would be sent a detailed list of clothing and equipment required for the climb.

Documentation & Photograph : Each climbing member would be required to fill a Bio -Data form and provide us 4PP size photographs along with a copy of Passport for various permits. Each climber would also be required to sign an indemnity .

Medical Examination : Expedition members would be required to get a thorough medical examination from a doctor. The information would be treated with full confidentiality and would assist the Expedition Leader in decision making on the mountain.

Stok Kangri Trek

Stok Kangri Trek

Stok Kangri Trek

Stok Kangri Trek: A classic trek offering a climb to a spectacular 6000m peak. Stok range lies on the southern skyline of Leh, the capital of Ladakh and Stok Kangri is the highest mountain on it. During the first three days set aside for acclimatization we visit the colorful monasteries of Shey & Thiksey and drive up to Khardung La, one of the world’s highest motor able passes. Having acclimatized we set off on our 3 day trek to Base Camp through the Rumbak village and over the Stok La. The climb up to the summit is technically straightforward and safe of any objective dangers. On the summit bid, we cross the glacier and then climb sleepily on to the south ridge, from where it is an exposed walk right up to the summit. It’s a challenging climb even for the fittest of climbers and is a great introduction to Himalayan mountaineering.

Trip Duration: 11 days

Grading: Demanding trek /Easy climb

Places Visited: Leh, Stok valley, Khardung La

Highlights: Perfect introduction to himalayan climbing. No previous climbing experience required. Buddhist monasteries and Leh. Khardung la (5570m), highest motorable Road on Earth.

Quick Itinerary:
Day 1 Fly Delhi – Leh (3500m)
Day 2 Sightseeing around Leh
Day 3 Leh – Khardung La (5570m)- Leh. 5hrs
Day 4 Drive Leh to Zingchen (3385m). Trek to Rumbak (3880m). 4hrs
Day 5 Trek Rumbak to Chorten Chang (4250m). 6 – 7 hrs
Day 6 Trek Chorten Chang to Stok Kangri Base Camp (4975m). 3 – 4 hrs.
Day 7 Rest at the base camp
Day 8 Climb Stok Kangri (6153m) and return to Base camp. 12 – 15 hrs
Day 9 Spare day – Stok Kangri climb
Day 10 Trek to Stok village and drive to Leh. 6 – 7 hrs trek, 1 hr drive.
Day 11 Fly back to Delhi from Leh

Contact us for Detailed Itinerary.

Cost Per Person (min 4-6 people on a private trip) Quote – On Request

What to expect on Stok Kangri Climb: Low temperatures & high altitudes are going to be our main concern on this trip and we must be adequately prepared
to deal with them.

Equipment: For this trip you will need the following: Plastic double mountaineering boots or well insulated, 4-season mountaineering boots, crampons with front points, trekking poles, climbing harness, a couple of carabineers’, 4-season sleeping bag (at least 0 deg C), walking boots, waterproof jacket and trousers, fleece jacket or similar, down jacket, warm hat and gloves, sunglasses, daypack, head-lamp, water bottles, sun cream. A more detailed packing check list will be provided with your confirmation of booking. There are many equipment rental shops in Leh and we will assist you to pick any mountaineering gear you may need. Budget on spending atleast ` 3000 as rental for all mountaineering gear needed for the trip. Leh also has a lot of shops selling outdoor/camping gear. Things like trekking poles, headlamps, trekking trousers, fleece jackets etc can always be bought cheaply in Leh.

Temperatures: Ladakh lies north of the Great Himalayan Range and is hence unaffected by the monsoon clouds which shed all the rain
on hitting the Himalayas from the south. On the high plateau of Ladakh, the maximum daytime temperature low down in the valleys would be around 25°C, with night-time lows being around 15°C. At our highest camps, the night-time temperature could fall as low as minus 5°C. At high altitude, the sun has a very strong effect and it will feel hotter than the indicated temperatures. Ladakh usually has very stable weather from June to September. However mountains do generate their own weather systems and some rain or snowfall cannot be ruled out.

Altitude Consideration: Once we get up to heights above 3000m, altitude starts to become a concern and one must deal with it carefully. Our bodies slowly get used to the lower levels of oxygen in the air and the individuals who have acclimatised properly are able to climb to altitudes as high as Everest without any aided oxygen. This process of adaptation or acclimatization does take time and the most important rule is to gain height slowly. The trip itinerary has been very well thought over and gives everyone plenty of time to get acclimatized for the summit bid.

Our trip leaders are widely experienced in these matters and will be able to give you good advice to help minimise any temporary discomfort that you might experience. If you have suffered serious problems at altitude before, you should seek the advice of your doctor or a specialist. We are always ready to give advice on this subject.

Baggage allowance: You would need to have two bags for the trip – the main baggage & the day pack. Your main baggage on trek will be carried by pack animals and it should not weigh more than 15 kgs. You would be walking with your day pack which should be large enough to carry your rain proof gear, a light fleece, water, packed lunch, cameras etc. Day packs which give you an easy access to your water bottles, and some loops to keep your trekking poles etc are far better than plain day packs. Its a good idea to have slightly larger daypack than a smaller one as you might need to stuff in a lot of extra layers in the bag on the summit afternoon. It is possible to leave clothes or other items not required on trek at the group hotel.

Level of climbing skill needed: You do not need any climbing skills for this trip, good physical & mental fitness is the only pre-requsite. Stok Kangri is classified as a trekking peak and is a straightforward climb. Having experience of trekking in the Himalayas or to altitudes of 3500m would help. Climbs in the month of July sometimes encounter deep snow and some ice which is normally easier to climb on than climbing boulders & scree. Snow & Ice on the mountain would mean that climbing shoes, climbing harness, crampons & gaiters would come into play. The entire climbing kit can be hired in Leh.

Pre-trip conditioning: Good physical conditioning is one of the keys and can make the difference between enjoying an outing and merely enduring it. Being physically ready is more important than years of experience. We suggest that you begin your training program at least a month before the departure. Any form of aerobic training, such as running, cycling, swimming, along with some strength training will help you a lot on the climb. Strength training with a pack is the most valuable thing you can do to prepare yourself. The best method is to go on long hikes or climbs with a heavy pack a couple of times in a week. But since mountains are not easily accessible to most of us, climbing stairs with heavy backpack is recommended At the time of booking, we would be sending you a training schedule to help you reach high fitness levels for the climb.

Food: We will have a full serviced camp with camp cooks. On the trek, the food is a mixture of local and European, all purchased in Nepal and cooked for us by highly trained trek cooks. Menus vary from Indian fare to Chinese, pasta, cold cuts, sandwiches, eggs etc. The emphasis is on a high carbohydrate and largely vegetarian diet, which we have found to be easily digestible especially at high altitude. This is a fully inclusive package and all meals are included in the trip price. You might want to carry your favourite snack or some power bars with you for the long trekking days. We will provide you safe drinking water throughout the trek – it will be boiled with a dash of iodine. You could bring things which you enjoy eating -chocolates, power bars, dry fruits, candies, other snacks etc.

First Aid: Accompanies each trip. All trip leaders have appropriate wilderness first-aid training and are experienced
in dealing with a range of medical problems associated with adventure travel. We recommend that you bring your own personal medications and inform us of any medical condition, if you have.

Equipment List: At the time of booking you would be sent a detailed list of clothing and equipment required for the climb.

Documentation & Photograph: Each climbing member would be required to fill a Bio-Data form and provide us a scan of the PP size photograph along with a copy of Passport for various permits. Each climber would also be required to sign an indemnity form.

General Information

Language: Ladakhi is the local language in the region. English is taught in all secondary schools and institutions of higher education. You will find that a lot of people speak English, so you will not have any problems buying souvenirs or ordering in restaurants etc.

Joining arrangements and transfers: Leh airport is connected by direct flights from Delhi. In winters there are 2/3 flights every morning and it flight duration
is about 75mins. Since the flights are all early morning you might want to arrive in Delhi a day earlier. Do let us know if you would need help with finding accommodation in Delhi. You MUST provide our office full details of your flights, so that we can arrange your Leh Airport transfers.

Reference Books and Maps

Books:
• Leh and Trekking in Ladakh. Charlie Loram.
• Trekking in the Indian Himalaya. Weare. (L.Planet). • The Trekkers Handbook. Tom Gilchrist.
• Ladakh, Crossroads of High Asia. Janet Rizvi.
Maps
• India – 150K Ladakh and Zanskar Tekking Maps. Editions Olizane. Scale: 1:150,000

Responsible Travel: We believe that along with the privilege of traveling in the wilderness comes a serious responsibility, the responsibility to protect and contribute to its ecology, cultures and its tremendous beauty. Indus Trips completely believes in the “take only memories, leave only footprints” philosophy and is very particular about leaving campsites and trails cleaner than we found them

Panpatia Col Trek

Panpatia Col Trek

Panpatia Col Trek

Panpatia Col Trek: Between two of the most haloed pilgrimage sites in the Himalayas lies a land that nurtures a legend worthy of difficult discovery and extreme exploration. A tale that has drawn feted explorers of the like of Meade, Shipton and Tilman, Martin Moran, Harish Kapadia, and countless other intrepid souls. They were all drawn by the lore that a priest from Badrinath would trek to Kedarnath in a day. The explorations, which began as early as 1934, have mostly come a cropper, with weather, terrain and nerves beating each party back. The prize of the exploration is the crossing of the Panpatia col, a pass that hides its approach within drifts of moraines, crevasses and massive icefalls. But a route across it exists, and we know that from the many reports submitted by the mountaineers, and the final successful crossing by a duo from West Bengal, in 2007. After extensive research and reading, and fresh from the successful crossing of this legendary route, we at Indus Trips are ready to open a once-hidden expanse of the Himalaya to the inquisitive of mind and sturdy of heart. Join us as we unravel the mythical Panpatia col bit by alluring bit.

Trip Duration: 15 days

Grading: Demanding

Highlights: A stunning high altitude crossing between Badrinath and Kedarnath. Exploratory Trekking at its best. Walk the 7km long Panpatia Plateau. Trek at the foot of Neelkanth, Parvati & Chaukhamba peaks.

Quick Itinerary
Day 00: Board the overnight train to Haridwar
Day 01: Reach Haridwar. Drive to Joshimath (1875m)
Day 02: Drive to Badrinath (3,133m) and drive back to Khirao
Day 03: Trek to Shepherd camp
Day 04: Trek to Snout camp
Day 05: Trek to Moraine Camp (4300m)
Day 06: Rest & acclimatize
Day 07: Trek to the base of Parvati Col.
Day 08: Trek to Panpatia Snowfield – Camp 1
Day 09: Trek to Panpatia Snowfield – Camp 11
Day 10: Across Panpatia Col (5260m), camp at Sujal Sarovar (4750m)
Day 11: Trek to Kachni.
Day 12: Trek to Nanu chatti
Day 13: Trek to Ransi & drive to Chopta
Day 14: Contingency day
Day 15: Drive to Haridwar to board the evening Shatabdi, arrive Delhi by 2245hrs.

Contact us for detailed itinerary.

Cost Per Person (min 4-6 people on a private trip) Quote – On Request

Is this a trip for you? People wishing to undertake this trip should have a high level of physical fitness, and previous experience of trekking to altitudes of at least 3500m. It is not necessary to have previous experience of technical climbing on snow and ice but you should be aware that during the crossing of the col, fixed rope may be used to safeguard the group while ascending or descending steep slopes and you must be comfortable with a certain degree of exposure to harsh weather conditions. Our trekking pace at altitude is dictated to a great extent by the need to acclimatize which imposes height gain limits on any day. With one or two notable exceptions the trekking day will be around four to six hours. Walking speed is further restricted by the sometimes difficult terrain, especially out of consideration for the porters.

What to expect : Low temperatures & high altitudes are going to be our main concerns on this trip and we must be adequately prepared to deal with them

Temperatures: Temperatures on the trek will vary from 15-20 degrees to minimum of -10 degrees Celsius. Night time temperatures would drop below freezing from Day 4-10 and at high camps close to Panpatia Col it could easily go down as low as -10 deg C. The two nights we camp on Panpatia Ice field and the night at Nilkanth base camp could be excessively cold. It is best to be fully prepared for lower temperatures due to wind chill or the weather turning bad. This trek runs before the monsoon season and the weather at this time is most stable and suited to trekking. However mountains do produce their own weather and some bad weather including rain and snowfall cannot be ruled out.

Altitude: Once we get up to heights above 3000m, altitude starts to become a concern and one must deal with it carefully. Our bodies slowly get used to the lower levels of oxygen in the air and the individuals who have acclimatized properly are able to climb to altitudes as high as Everest without the aid of additional oxygen. This process of adaptation or acclimatization does take time and the most important rule is to gain height slowly. The trip itinerary has been very well thought through and gives everyone plenty of time to get acclimatized for the crossing of the col.

Our trip leaders are widely experienced in these matters and will be able to give you good advice to help minimize any temporary discomfort that you might experience. If you have suffered serious problems at altitude before, you should seek the advice of your doctor or a specialist. We are always ready to give advice on this subject.

Baggage allowance: You will need two bags for the trip – a main bag and a day pack. Your main bag on the trek will be carried by porters
and it should not weigh more than 15 kgs. Your personal climbing gear like climbing boots, harness etc would go in a communal bag and would not form part of this baggage limit. You need to be walking with your day pack which should be large enough to carry your rain proof gear, a light fleece, water, packed lunch, cameras etc. Day packs which give you easy access to your water bottles, and some loops to keep your trekking poles etc are far better than simpler day packs. It’s a good idea to have a slightly larger daypack than a smaller one as you might need to stuff in a lot of extra layers in the bag on the day we cross the col. We start that day quite early and cross the col in the afternoon and hence would be dealing with extremes of temperatures.
It is possible to leave a set of clean clothes in the vehicle which drops us at Khirao to be received at the end of the trek
at Ransi/Chopta.

Level of Skills needed : You do not need any technical climbing skills for this trip; good physical & mental fitness is the only pre-requisite. Experience of trekking in the Himalayas or to altitudes of 3500m and above would help.

Pre-trip Conditioning: Good physical conditioning is one of the keys and can make the difference between enjoying an outing and merely enduring it. Being physically ready is more important than years of experience. We suggest that you begin your training program at least two months before the departure. Any form of aerobic training, such as running, cycling, swimming, along with some strength training will help you a lot on the climb. Strength training with a pack is the most valuable thing you can do to prepare yourself. The best method is to go on long hikes or climbs with a heavy pack a couple of times in a week. But since mountains are not easily accessible to most of us, climbing stairs with a heavy backpack is recommended.

Food : We will have fully serviced camps with camp cooks. On the trek, the food is a mixture of local and European, all purchased in Garhwal and cooked for us by highly trained trek cooks. Menus vary from Indian fare to Chinese, pasta, cold cuts, sandwiches, eggs etc. The emphasis is on a high carbohydrate and largely vegetarian diet, which we have found to be more easily digestible especially at high altitude. This is a fully inclusive package and all meals are included in the trip price. You might want to carry your favorite snack or power bars with you for the long trekking days. We will provide you safe drinking water throughout the trek – it will be boiled with a dash of iodine. You could bring things which you enjoy eating -chocolates, power bars, dry fruits, candies, other snacks etc. Alcohol is not permitted till we finish the trek at Ransi.

First Aid : A comprehensive first aid kit accompanies each trip. All trip leaders have appropriate wilderness first-aid training and are experienced in dealing with a range of medical problems associated with adventure travel. We recommend that you bring your own personal medications and inform us of any medical condition, if you have.

Equipment List : The checklist above covers all essential items needed for the trek. Each one of us will need climbing boots, climbing harness, crampons & gaiters for this trek which will be hired from IMF Delhi. If you have any personal climbing gear you should bring it along.

Documentation & Photograph : Each member will be required to send us personal details along with the scan of passport / photo ID proof (Indians only) and a scan of passport size photographs for various permits.

Markha Valley Trek

Markha Valley Trek

Markha Valley Trek

Markha Valley Trek: Ladakh really is a “Little Tibet”. Although Tibet is politically part of China today, Ladakh, like parts of Nepal, is situated on the Tibetan plateau. Ladakh has many Tibetan refugees who fled Tibet with the invasion from China. The daunting height of the Himalaya adds to its isolation, even today the main road routes to Ladakh remain closed for more than six months of each year. Until 1979, there were no regular civilian flights into Ladakh so from October to June the region was completely cut off. Today, it is full of amazing sights – strange gompas perched on soaring hilltops, dwarfed by snow capped mountains, the barren shattered looking landscapes splashed with small, brilliant patches of green and ancient palaces clinging to sheer rock walls. But most of all it is notable for its delightful people – friendly as only Tibetans can be and immensely colorful. One of the most popular trek in Ladakh – it is a perfect combination of beautiful transhimalayan landscape with ladakhi villages. There are good chances to spot some high altitude wildlife.

Trip Duration: 09 days

Grading: Moderate trek

Places Visited: Leh

Highlights: Trek along the Markha river. Confluence point of Zanskar & Indus rivers. Buddhist monasteries & the Leh.  Spectacular views from kongmaru la

Quick Itinerary

Day 01: Fly Delhi – Leh (3500m)
Day 02: Monastery visits in Leh (3500m)
Day 03: Drive Leh to Chilling and trek to Skiu (3400m) 4-5hrs
Day 04: Trek Skiu to Markha (3700m) 5-6hrs
Day 05: Trek Markha to Thachungtse (4150m) 5-6hrs
Day 06: Trek Thachungtse to Nimaling (4720m) 3-4hrs
Day 07: Trek Nimaling to Shang Sumdo(3660m) over the Kongmaru La (5130m) 6-7hrs
Day 08: Drive Shang Sumdo to Leh. 2-3 hrs
Day 09: Fly Leh to Delhi

Please contact us for Detailed Itinerary.

Cost Per Person (min 4-6 people on a private trip) Quote – On Request

What to Expect: Low temperatures & high altitudes are going to be our main concerns on this trip and we must be adequately prepared to deal with them

Temperatures and Climate: Ladakh lies north of the Great Himalayan Range and is hence unaffected by the monsoon clouds which shed all the rain on hitting the Himalayas from the south. On the high plateau of Ladakh, the maximum daytime temperature low down in the valleys would be around 25°C, with night-time lows being around 15°C. At our highest camps, the night-time temperature could fall as low as minus 5°C. At high altitude, the sun has a very strong effect and it will feel hotter than the indicated temperatures. Ladakh usually has very stable weather from June to September. However mountains do generate their own weather systems and some rain or snowfall cannot be ruled out.

Altitude: Once we get up to heights above 3000 m, altitude starts to become a concern and one must deal with it carefully. Our bodies slowly get used to the lower levels of oxygen in the air and the individuals who have acclimatized properly are able to climb to altitudes as high as Everest without any aided oxygen. This process of adaptation or acclimatization does take time and the most important rule is to gain height slowly. The trip itinerary has been very well thought over and gives everyone plenty of time to get acclimatized.

Our trip leaders are widely experienced in these matters and will be able to give you good advice to help minimize any temporary discomfort that you might experience. If you have suffered serious problems at altitude before, you should seek the advice of your doctor or a specialist. We are always ready to give advice on this subject.

Baggage Allowance: You would need to have two bags for the trip – the main baggage and the day pack. Your main baggage on trek will be carried by pack animals and it should not weigh more than 15 kg. You would be walking with your day pack which should be large enough to carry your rain proof gear, a light fleece, water, packed lunch, cameras etc. Day packs which give you an easy access to your water bottles, and some loops to keep your trekking poles etc are far better than plain day packs. It’s a good idea to have slightly larger daypack than a smaller one as you might need to stuff in a lot of extra layers in the bag on the summit afternoon. It is possible to leave clothes or other items not required on trek at the group hotel.

Pre-Trip Conditioning: Good physical conditioning is one of the keys and can make the difference between enjoying an outing and merely enduring it. Being physically ready is more important than years of experience. We suggest that you begin your training program at least a month before the departure. Any form of aerobic training, such as running, cycling, swimming, along with some strength training will help you a lot on the climb. Strength training with a pack is the most valuable thing you can do to prepare yourself. The best method is to go on long hikes or climbs with a heavy pack a couple of times in a week. But since mountains are not easily accessible to most of us, climbing stairs with heavy backpack is recommended.

Food: We will have a full serviced camp with camp cooks. On the trek, the food is a mixture of local and European, all purchased in Nepal and cooked for us by highly trained trek cooks. Menus vary from Indian fare to Chinese, pasta, cold cuts, sandwiches, eggs etc. The emphasis is on a high carbohydrate and largely vegetarian diet, which we have found to be easily digestible especially at high altitude. This is a fully inclusive package and all meals are included in the trip price. You might want to carry your favorite snack or some power bars with you for the long trekking days. We will provide you safe drinking water throughout the trek – it will be boiled with a dash of iodine. You could bring things which you enjoy eating -chocolates, power bars, dry fruits, candies, other snacks etc.

First Aid: First aid accompanies each trip. All trip leaders have appropriate wilderness first-aid training and are experienced in dealing with a range of medical problems associated with adventure travel. We recommend that you bring your own personal medications and inform us of any medical condition, if you have.

Equipment List: At the time of booking you would be sent a detailed list of clothing and other checklist required for the trek.

Kuari Pass Trek

Kuari Pass Trek

Kuari Pass Trek

Kuari Pass is probably the best window to view the high Himalayan peaks. The views are simply breathtaking. Facing North, the vision sweeps from the gorges of Trishul in the east to the peaks of Kedarnath in the west – the Kedarnath, Chaukhamba, Nilkantha, Kamet, Gauri Parbat, Hathi Parbat, Nandadevi, Bethartoli, Dunagiri – (all high 6000 m or 7000 m peaks) are lined one after the other in a magnificent arc. Southwards the foothills stretch wave upon wave to the dim haze of the distant plains. The area is dotted with few remote villages where one also gets good insights into the local life.

Trip Duration: 8 days

Grading: Moderate

Highlights: Amazing view of peaks of Garhwal and Kamaun Himalaya – in the Nandadevi Biosphere Reserve

Places Visited: Haridwar, Pipalkoti Trek through verdant forests.

Quick Itinerary
Day 0: Board the overnight train from Delhi to arrive at Haridwar early in the morning.
Day 1: Drive Haridwar – Ghat
Day 2: Trek Ghat – Ghunni
Day 3: Trek Ghunni – Sem Kharak
Day 4: Trek Sem Kharak – Pana
Day 5: Trek Pana – Dhakwani
Day 6: Trek Dhakwani – Tali 4-5 hr
Day 7: Trek Tali – Auli, Drive to Pipalkoti (1400m)
Day 8: Drive Pipalkoti – Haridwar and board the evening Shatabdi to Delhi

Contact us for detailed Itinerary.

Cost Per Person (min 4-6 people on a private trip) Quote – On Request

What to Expect

Temperatures & climate:  Temperatures on the trip will vary from 20-30 degrees or to minimum 0-5 degrees Celsius. It’s best to be prepared for lower temperatures due to wind chill or the weather turning bad. The days are hot and the nights refreshingly cool. You should be ready for inclement weather in any case as storms build up rather quickly at altitude.

What to carry: Keep it light – although what you carry with you is a very personal decision. Some of our guests love to travel as light as possible while others are only happy when they have countless bits of equipment for every possible occurrence, most of which will never be used. The list we sent out covers all essentials that you must carry. What you are expected to carry during the day on the trail is a day pack – to carry things that you will need throughout the day, such as your camera, extra film rolls, water bottle, packed lunch, sweets, rehydration powders, waterproofs, toilet paper, a fleece or a jumper. It may be also advisable to carry a small flashlight in your daypack, just in case. Good footwear is very important – most trails in the Indian Himalayas are pretty rough and steep so a good pair of shoes is important. Socks, both for walking and a pair of warm ones for keeping feet warm inside the tent at night, is a good bet. It’s important to bring a broken in shoe than a brand new one which could cause severe blisters.

Clothes: A good base layer which could be a thermal top (polypropylene), with a T-shirt on top will keep you warm and dry. Mid layers provide insulation so anything that is warm will do e.g. a medium thickness woollen jumper or a mid- weight fleece top, along with another lightweight fleece top will suffice. If you really feel the cold, substitute the thinner layer with a down jacket. The outer layer is the final layer between you and the elements and must be capable of keeping out the wind, rain and snow. Any good waterproof, windproof jacket would do the job. Leg wear in the form of thermal long johns are invaluable. Cotton trousers or long skirts (long skirts for ladies also double as a `port-a-loo’) worn over this layer can keep you very comfortable. A good sun hat is very essential. Sunglasses which offer 100% UV protection are necessary to combat strong daylight. A good quality sleeping bag ensures a good night’s sleep after a long day outdoors. Do not compromise on your sleeping bag – err on the side of carrying a warmer bag, than carrying a light one which may give you many sleepless nights. Carry any and all personal medication that you may need, and it’s an absolute must to let us know well in advance should you be suffering from any particular ailment.

How to carry: It’s best to carry your belongings in a large, tough duffel bag or a big rucksack. Pack similar things such as clothes, washing things, camping equipment etc. in separate stuff sacks or polythene bags so they are easier to pull out and add to the waterproofing in your bag. Your main bag should be a tough one as it will be on mule back, not the best place to be for a fragile backpack. While trekking you will need to carry a small daypack big enough to carry your camera, water bottle, packed lunch, a warm layer and wind/rain jacket.

Baggage allowance: Your baggage on trek will be carried by pack animals. The packed weight of your baggage whilst trekking should be no more than 12 kg. It is possible to leave clothes or other items not required on trek at the hotel in Auli. You will get them at the end of the trek.

Daily Schedule: A day on a trek normally begins with tea soon after the first light after which you are expected to get ready and start packing your bag. After a hot breakfast at the lodge dining room, we start the day’s walk. Normally after walking 3-4 hrs we arrive at our lunch spot where we have lunch in one of the tea-houses. Lunch break is normally about an hour, or a little more. We continue walking after lunch and aim to reach our overnight stop by 3 or 4 p.m. This leaves plenty of time for exploring the place and for catching up on your diary or for reading. Dinner is served in the lodge dining room and is a three course meal. This is a great time of day for relaxing, meeting fellow trekkers and discussing the events of the trek etc.

Group Leader and Support Staff: The group will be accompanied by a trained and experienced mountain guide throughout the trek. The support crew will consist of cooking staff (along with mules and mule drivers), which would prepare the days meals for the days that we are camping out.

Food: Menus vary from Indian fare to Chinese, pasta, cold cuts, sandwiches, eggs etc. The emphasis is on providing a high-carbohydrate and largely vegetarian diet, which we have found to be easily digestible at high altitude. For the first couple of nights we could have fresh chicken with us and for the nights out in the wilderness we will have canned sausages, tuna etc & soya to supplement our protein requirements. You might want to carry your favorite snack or some power bars with you on the long trekking days. We will provide you safe drinking water throughout the trek – it will be boiled water with a dash of iodine.

Altitude Effect: Travel to any part of the Indian Himalayas deserves a little more respect than many other high altitude destinations because the most of the regions lie over 2600 meters (8500 ft). People in good health should not get alarmed by this but if you have a medical condition such as high blood pressure, heart or lung disease, you must take the advice of a doctor who has experience with the effects of altitude. We do not take heart or lung patients or pregnant mothers on such trips.

Medication & First Aid: Carry any and all personal medication that you may need and it’s an absolute must to let us know well in advance should you be suffering from any particular ailment. First Aid accompanies each trip. All trip leaders have appropriate wilderness first-aid training and are Experienced in dealing with a range of medical problems associated with adventure travel. It is advisable to have your own personal first aid kit consisting of a broad spectrum antibiotic, antiseptic cream, throat lozenges, diarrhea treatment (Imodium), altitude, painkillers, plasters and blister treatment, Insect repellent (DEET), and re-hydration salts (Electral, Dioralite etc). Glucose tablets and multi-vitamin tablets are also a good idea. It’s also a good idea to have a roll of toilet paper accessible should you need to go.

Preparing for your trip: Try and get into shape before you come on a trekking trip. The fitter you are, the more enjoyable you will find the experience. For this trip you need to be aerobically fit and should be comfortable walking up to 6 hours on some days. We would suggest that you adopt a weekly exercise regime leading up to your trip. Jogging, squash, swimming, cycling, skipping etc are good for developing cardio vascular fitness and stamina.

Responsible Travel: We believe that along with the privilege of adventure in the Himalaya comes a serious responsibility, the responsibility to protect and contribute to its ecology, cultures and its tremendous beauty. The “Leave No Trace” philosophy is followed to the letter and we work to minimize the environmental impact of our trips. We are scrupulous in our camping, cooking and sanitation practices; we limit the number of trekkers we allow to join us on our trips and the number of trips we lead in a given area.

Auden’s Col Trek

Audens Col Trek

Audens Col Trek

Auden’s Col Trek – Bordering Nepal and Tibet, the regions of Garhwal and Kumaon which together form Uttarakhand, are most famous for their holy sites including the source of India’s most sacred River Ganges which each year receives thousands of pilgrims. Located at the very center of the great Himalayan chain, Garhwal and Kumaon contain a host of 7,000 metre peaks such as Nanda Devi, Kamet and Trishul, and sub 7,000 metre expedition peaks such as the stunning Shivling, as well as over 250 peaks above 5500 metres, and this makes the region a mecca for mountaineers and trekkers. The Garhwal Himalayas are characterized by unsurpassed mountain scenery with soaring ridges, deep valleys and huge glaciers and this trek takes us right into the heart of the area. The word ‘Col’ is a geographical term for a saddle-like depression in a ridge between two peaks. Auden’s Col lies between Gangotri III (6537m) & Jogin I (6465m) and the crossing is one of the finest high altitude treks in the Indian Himalayas. Even in today’s day and age very little is known about this area and every year only a handful of people successfully cross the col.

Trip Duration: 15 days
Grading: Strenuous

Highlights : A stunning high altitude crossing between Gangotri and Kedarnath In the footsteps of explorer, Dr J B Auden. Descent from the Col to the Khatling glacier on fixed rope. Glacier walk on Khatling for two days

Places Visited: Uttarkashi, Gangotri

History: Dr John Bicknel Auden (1903-1991) was an English geologist & explorer and the elder brother of the poet W H Auden. In 1926 he joined the Geological Survey of India, where he remained until he retired in the early 1950s. He travelled extensively in the Karakorams and the Himalayas and did a lot of exploratory work. He completed the survey of the Biafo Glacier in Baltistan and traversed large areas of Nepal to study the effects of the earthquake which caused havoc in Bihar-Nepal in 1934. In 1939, towards the end of a two month long expedition in Garhwal, he tried to save several days of walking by trying to cut across the mountain range at the head of the Rudrugaira valley into the Bhilangana valley to the south, by crossing a pass now known as Auden’s Col. The crossing has not often been repeated after him.

Overview:  We begin by driving up the Bhagirathi valley right till the end of the road at Gangotri. From here we trek south towards the Gangotri range establishing a succession of alpine meadow camps. We spend two days resting at different altitudes to acclimatize before we attempt to cross the col on day 8 of the trip. The descent from the col down to the deeply crevassed Khatling Glacier is almost vertical and is done on fixed ropes. We spend two days and two nights walking down the Khatling glacier and continue along the Bhilangana river flowing out of the glacier. The last three days walk is through dense mixed himalayan forests, grassy meadows, shepherd encampments and some remote villages. There are some dramatic views of the high mountains including Thalaysagar. The trek finishes at Ghuttu where we spend a night at the GMVN Guest House and then drive down to Haridwar past Tehri Dam to board the train back to Delhi.

Quick Itinerary:
Day 00: Board the overnight train to Haridwar
Day 01: Arrive Haridwar and drive to Uttarkashi
Day 02: Drive to Gangotri (3050m)
Day 03: Acclimatisation Day in Gangotri (3050m)
Day 04: Trek from Gangotri to Nalla Camp (3760m)
Day 05: Nalla Camp – Rudrugaira Base Camp (4500m)
Day 06: Acclimatization Day
Day 07: Auden’s Col Base Camp (4800m)
Day 08: Cross Auden’s Col (5400m) & Descend to Khatling Glacier Camp I (5110m)
Day 09: Glacier Walk, Khatling Glacier Camp II (4210m)
Day 10: Exit Khatling Glacier and reach Khatling Cave / Tambakund (3400m)
Day 11/ 08Oct: Contingency day
Day 12/ 09Oct: Khatling Cave – Kharsoli (2880m)
Day 13/ 10Oct: Kharsoli – Gangi (2650m)
Day 14/ 11Oct: Gangi – Ghuttu (1550m)
Day 15/ 12Oct: Ghuttu – Delhi

Please contact us for a detailed itinerary for Audens Col Trek.

Important: This day-to-day schedule should be taken only as a general guide. Although we update our itineraries every year, to take into account such things as: changes to trekking routes and changes in the routing or availability of local transport, it is not possible to guarantee that any of our trips will run exactly according to the proposed itinerary. A variety of factors, including adverse weather conditions and difficulties with transportation, permission hassles for this trek, can lead to enforced changes. The trip leader would make the necessary changes after consultation with guests.

Cost Per Person (min 4-6 people on a private trip) Quote – On Request

Is this a trip for you? People wishing to undertake this trip should have a high level of physical fitness, and previous experience of trekking to altitudes of at least 3500m. It is not necessary to have previous experience of technical climbing on snow and ice but you should be aware that during the crossing of the col, fixed rope may be used to safeguard the group while ascending or descending steep slopes and you must be comfortable with a certain degree of exposure to harsh weather conditions. Our trekking pace at altitude is dictated to a great extent by the need to acclimatise which imposes height gain limits on any day. With one or two notable exceptions the trekking day will be around four to six hours. Walking speed is further restricted by the sometimes difficult terrain, especially out of consideration for the porters.

What to expect : Low temperatures & high altitudes are going to be our main concerns on this trip and we must be Adequately prepared to deal with them

Temperatures: Temperatures on the trek will vary from 15-20 degrees to minimum of -10 degrees Celsius. Night time temperatures
would drop below freezing from Day 4-12 and at high camps close to Auden’s Col it could easily go down as low as -10 deg C. The two nights we camp on Khatling Glacier and the night at Auden’s base camp could be excessively cold. It is best to be fully prepared for lower temperatures due to wind chill or the weather turning bad. This trek runs after the monsoon season and the weather at this time is most stable and suited to trekking. However mountains do produce their own weather and some bad weather including rain and snowfall cannot be ruled out.

Altitude: Once we get up to heights above 3000m, altitude starts to become a concern and one must deal with it carefully. Our bodies slowly get used to the lower levels of oxygen in the air and the individuals who have acclimatized properly are able to climb to altitudes as high as Everest without the aid of additional oxygen. This process of adaptation or acclimatization does take time and the most important rule is to gain height slowly. The trip itinerary has been very well thought through and gives everyone plenty of time to get acclimatized for the crossing of the col.
Our trip leaders are widely experienced in these matters and will be able to give you good advice to help minimize any
temporary discomfort that you might experience. If you have suffered serious problems at altitude before, you should seek the advice of your doctor or a specialist. We are always ready to give advice on this subject.

Baggage allowance: You will need two bags for the trip – a main bag and a day pack. Your main bag on the trek will be carried by porters and it should not weigh more than 15 kgs. Your personal climbing gear like climbing boots, harness etc would go in a communal bag and would not form part of this baggage limit. You need to be walking with your day pack which should be large enough to carry your rain proof gear, a light fleece, water, packed lunch, cameras etc. Day packs which give you easy access to your water bottles, and some loops to keep your trekking poles etc are far better than simpler day packs. It’s a good idea to have a slightly larger daypack than a smaller one as you might need to stuff in a lot of extra layers in the bag on the day we cross the col. We start that day quite early and cross the col in the afternoon and hence would be dealing with extremes of temperatures. It is possible to leave a set of clean clothes in the vehicle which drops us at Gangotri to be received at the end of the trek at Ghuttu.

Level of Skills needed: You do not need any technical climbing skills for this trip; good physical & mental fitness is the only pre-requisite. Experience of trekking in the Himalayas or to altitudes of 3500m and above would help.

Pre-trip Conditioning: Good physical conditioning is one of the keys and can make the difference between enjoying an outing and merely enduring it. Being physically ready is more important than years of experience. We suggest that you begin your training program at least two months before the departure. Any form of aerobic training, such as running, cycling, swimming, along with some strength training will help you a lot on the climb. Strength training with a pack is the most valuable thing you can do to prepare yourself. The best method is to go on long hikes or climbs with a heavy pack a couple of times in a week. But since mountains are not easily accessible to most of us, climbing stairs with a heavy backpack is recommended.

Food : We will have fully serviced camps with camp cooks. On the trek, the food is a mixture of local and European all purchased in Garhwal and cooked for us by highly trained trek cooks. Menus vary from Indian fare to Chinese, pasta, cold cuts, sandwiches, eggs etc. The emphasis is on a high carbohydrate and largely vegetarian diet, which we have found to be more easily digestible especially at high altitude. This is a fully inclusive package and all meals are included in the trip price. You might want to carry your favorite snack or power bars with you for the long trekking days. We will provide you safe drinking water throughout the trek – it will be boiled with a dash of iodine. You could bring things which you enjoy eating -chocolates, power bars, dry fruits, candies, other snacks etc. Alcohol is not permitted till we finish the trek at Ghuttu.

First Aid: A comprehensive first aid kit accompanies each trip. All trip leaders have appropriate wilderness first-aid training and are experienced in dealing with a range of medical problems associated with adventure travel. We recommend that you bring your own personal medications and inform us of any medical condition, if you have.

Equipment List: The checklist above covers all essential items needed for the trek. Each one of us will need climbing boots, climbing harness, crampons & gaiters for this trek which will be hired from NIM Uttarkashi. If you have any personal climbing gear you should bring it along.

Documentation & Photograph: Each member will be required to send us personal details along with the scan of passport / photo ID proof (Indians only) and a scan of passport size photographs for various permits.

Ladakh Festival Tour

Lahakh Festival

Lahakh Festival

The Ladakh Festival – 4 days

Leh, the former Kingdom of Lakakh sits on the rugged Himalayan plain with Buddhist monasteries perched on soaring hilltops, shattered looking landscapes splashed with small but brilliant patches of green and ancient palaces clinging to sheer rock walls. Join us to experience the colour and festivity of the annual Lahakh festival whilst discovering the sights of this magical city.

Date:  25 September – 28 September 2019

Tour Plan:

Day 1: Flight from Dehli to Leh

Friday. Delhi – Leh. Early morning flight from Delhi to Leh. Flight prices do vary and when booked in advance cost less. Flights can be booked with us or independently. Upon arrival to Leh onward transfer to your guesthouse where the remains of the day can be spent at leisure.

leh from aeroplane
leh from aeroplane

Leh is the capital of the former Himalayan kingdom of Ladakh that now sits in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The region is a vast highland desert sitting at 3524 metres above sea level, lying between the Karakoram and the Himalayan ranges characterized by a desolate moonlike landscape and snowy peaks. The town is still dominated by the now ruined Leh Palace, former mansion of the royal family of Ladakh, built in the same style and about the same time as the Potala Palace. The 28 000 residents of the the city are predominantly Buddhists and accordingly, Leh is the very much the heart and soul of Buddhist culture in the region. Overnight – Leh & Ladakh

Day 2: The Ladakh Festival & city sightseeing tour

This morning the monastic festival of Leh comes to life with the rhythm of drumbeats and dance. The streets and alleys are blazing hues of every color and pulsate with life. Gathering at approximately 8am we take our spots to watch the inauguration procession of village people making their way down the mountain passes to the city wearing their finest gold and silver ornaments and exotic turquoise headdress.

Lahakh Festival

In tow with the procession we’ll arrive to the main market area of the city where the celebration continues on a grand scale with various cultural troupes and village contingents participating in full ceremonial costumes or traditional Ladakhi dresses singing songs and performing various dances to the tune of village folk music. As the parade arrives at the Polo ground participants break into a variety of folk and popular dances, presenting the best samples of the region’s performing arts and sporting events including archery and polo. Traditional Mask Dances of the monasteries can also be seen with monastery lamas wearing their ritual regalia in accompaniment to their elaborately decorated masks dance in slow, languorous movements to the rhythm of cymbals, flutes and trumpets. This is a truly amazing sight.

Lahakh Festival

It also may be possible to watch a polo match of the ‘Ladakh Festival Cup’ comprising of various polo teams in the region (subject to festival scheduling). Here in the western Himalayas the game is played in its original form with fewer rules and frenzied crowd involvement.

This afternoon offers a guided sightseeing tour of the town, dominated by Sengge Namgyal’s, nine storey palace. Sengge Namgyal a Buddhist and known as the Lion King was the King of Ladakh from 1616 to his death in 1642. His legacy lives in the many monasteries, palaces and shrines of Ladakh that were built under his reign. This grand nine story stone structure is one of the most captivating architectural ruins of the region. Built in traditional Tibetan style it sits on the foothills of the barren landscape. Constructed in the 17th century as the residential palace for the King to mark the reunifying Upper and Lower Ladakh, it showcases excellent example of the medieval Tibetan architecture with its colossal inclined buttressed walls and protruding wooden balconies.

Leh Palace leh ladakh

Above Leh Palace, on Namgyal Tsemo (Victory Peak) overlooking the town, are the ruins of the earliest royal residence at Leh a fortress type structure built by King Tashi Namgyal in the 16th century. In the bazaar the main sites to visit are the Jokhang, the new main Buddhist temple built in the 1980s by the Ladakh Buddhist association and an imposing mosque reflecting a mixture of Islamic and Tibetan architecture that accommodating more than 500 worshippers dating from the late 17th century situated opposite each other.

jokhang temple

Visits will also be made to Sankar Gompa to view the image of Avalokitesvara, inset with turquoise and shown with 1000 heads, arms and feet and 100000 eyes, Shanti Stupa – built to commemorate 2500 years of Buddhism and inaugurated by his holiness the Dalai Lama in 1985 and Stok Palace – a museum where in the Sengge Namgyal family heirlooms and relics are displayed. Overnight – Leh & Ladakh

Day 3: Shey and Thiksey Monestories, Hemis Gompa

Today offers guided tours of Shey, Thiksey and Hemis monasteries.

Shey Monastery

Shey monastery situated on a hilltop, 15km from Leh, was the summer palace of the royal family of the region. The monastery houses a two storey high-seated image of Buddha cast from copper and covered with gold leaf. It is also believed that Kings of Leh were born here in the monastery.

Thiksey Monastery
Thiksey Monastery

Thiksey monastery is situated on a hilltop and the views of the green Indus valley from its rooftop are splendid. This monastery has a number of chambers full of statues and stupas. Courtyard murals are bright and this imposing structure is in many respects a replica of Potala Palace in Lhasa.

Hemis-monastery-ladakh

Hemis Gompa is the biggest and wealthiest monastery in Ladakh which contains a large number of gold statues, stupas and thangkas, one of which is reputed to be the largest in existence and is exhibited once every 12 years. Overnight – Leh & Ladakh

Day 4: Leh to Delhi by flight

Leh – Delhi. Early this morning (dictated by flight times) we transfer to the airport for our flight to Delhi (booked independently in addition to our tour cost) arriving at approximately 8:30am you will be transferred to the international airport for your connecting international flight.

Opt to extend your stay and explore the sites of Delhi. Additional tour accommodation is available in Delhi should you require. You may another of our tours that starts today, upon arrival to Delhi from Leh you will be transferred to your start hotel for the commencing of your new tour.

Pushkar Camel Fair Tour

Pushkar Camel Fair

Pushkar Camel Fair

Pushkar Camel Fair – 5 days Tour of Delhi, Pushkar and Ajmer

Discover the fascinating spectacle of cattle trading, religious pilgrimage, celebration and festivity at Pushkar Camel Fair. Aside from the serious business of livestock trading, there’s the longest mustache competition, a camel beauty pageant, a cricket match, musicians, dancers, magicians and snake charmers hundreds of authentic stalls to explore.

Dates: 4 Nov, 2019 – 12 Nov, 2019

Tour Plan:

Day 1: Welcome to Delhi

Jama Masjid Delhi
Jama Masjid Delhi

Welcome to India and the start of your holiday! Today offers free time for you to explore the colourful sights of Delhi. Opt to visit the imposing Red Fort, Jama Masjid – India’s oldest and largest mosque, Raj Ghat – the site of Mahatma Gandhi’s cremation, Humayan’s Tomb and Qutab Minar. An airport to hotel arrival transfer can be arranged should you require. Overnight – Delhi

Day 2: Pushkar Camel Fair

This morning is an early start as we board the Ajmer Shatabadi express bound for Ajmer. Seated in the air conditioned chair class carriage and leaving the city behind we look out upon a landscape of golden desert studded with green fields of agriculture and peaceful villages. Upon arrival to Ajmer a short drive leads us to our accommodation, a kilometre from the uproarious gathering of the Pushkar Camel Fair.

For the next few nights we bed down in our comfortable Swiss style permanent tented camp. Each high roofed tent with solid flooring, proper beds and linen offers the facilities of air conditioning, en suite with a bath and hot and cold running water.

Pushkar Camel Fair

After lunch and time to freshen up we head over to the frenzy of activity and riot of colour that is associated Pushkar – possibly the world’s largest camel fair. Attracting some 300 000 visitors, 40 000 camel, cattle and horses the fair draws sightseers, pilgrims, nomads, breeders, herdsmen, farmers and traders with their accompanying family, livestock and wares from all over the state of Rajasthan. Pushkar is an authentic cultural spectacle that’s totally unique and promises to be good fun. Overnight – Pushkar

Day 3: Camel judging, cricket, music & magicians

Pushkar Camel Fair

Today offers a glimpse at the serious business of livestock trading and the judging of the best bovine and camelids in each category. There are also more light hearted activities on offer such as the camel running races, tug of war, awards for the best dressed camel and a beauty pageant. Take a look in at the longest moustache competition or keep score at the cricket match between the local Pushkar club and a random assortment of tourists. There are also vibrant folk music and dances, magic shows and various other traditional entertainment and competitions as well as hundreds of authentic stalls to explore, packed with jewelry and textiles from the surrounding areas.

Pushkar Camel Fair

This evening can be spent watching the various entertainments offered at our camp, outdoors and under a blanket of stars. Overnight – Pushkar

Day 4: Pushkar – bathing at the ghats

Today marks the start of the Kartik Poornima, a Hindu holy day celebrated on the full moon or the fifteenth lunar day in the month of Kartik. According to the Hindu scriptures the lake relates to Brahma, the god of all creation and is one of the five most holy Hindu pilgrimage sites in India. The Brahma temple here is the most important temple in Pushkar, and is in fact the only Brahma temple in the whole of the country.

Pushkar Lake
Pushkar Lake

On this day of celebration countless pilgrims swathed in colourful fabric converge for a holy dip in the sacred lake before the morning sun has cast its first rays on the earth. Surrounded by 52 bathing ghats (a series of steps leading to the lake), throngs of devotees line the water’s edge praying to the deities before washing away the sins of a lifetime.

brahma temple pushkar
brahma temple pushkar

After all sin has been absolved, the atmosphere is electric and the carnival, music, dancers, magicians, acrobats, snake charming, horse and camel racing continues. If all the excitement becomes to much and you’re in need a breath of fresh air remember you can always take stroll and explore any one of the 500 Hindu temples surrounding the lake and the local area.

This fascinating spectacle of cattle trading, religious worship, celebration and festivity at Pushkar during this time of year is globally famous. Your baggage allowance may not allow you to take home a camel, but you’re sure to find something truly unique and authentic here at the annual fair. Overnight – Pushkar

Day 5: Ajmer Sherif and onward to Delhi

Ajmer Sharif

Pushkar – Delhi. This morning offers free time before visiting the town of Ajmer Sherif. The most notable site is the resting place of the Sufi seer, Khwaja Muin-ud-din Chisti who died here in 1236 after six days of fasting and praying. Possibly the most important Muslim shrine in India fervent pilgrims patronize the shrine as did many of the Mughal rulers including that of Emperor Akbar.

Leading off the Dargah Bazaar we enter the shrine via a gateway of immensely beautifully intricately carved silver doors. In the courtyard stands two huge cauldrons with capacity of 2240 kg and 4480 litres! That’s a lot of chicken soup!

Onward to the station we board our train to Delhi arriving at 22:45 in the evening and transfer to the airport for your onward international flight.

Jaisalmer Desert Festival Tour

Jaisalmer Desert Festival

Jaisalmer Desert Festival

Jaisalmer Desert Festival – 15 days Tour of Delhi Agra Jaipur and Rajasthan

Join us on a Rajput Extravaganza – the ultimate trip through the Land of the Rajput Kings with the unique opportunity to experience the exciting spectacle of the Jaisalmer Desert Festival. As the drums of Rajasthan beat out aloud brightly adorned elephants with their mahouts and tassel laden camels and riders, colourful floats, singers, dancers and marching bands will waltz on by in the city’s annual street parade.

Dates: 7 Feb 2020 – 9 Feb 2020

Tour Plan:

Day 1: Delhi

Welcome to India and the start of your holiday! Arrive Delhi, included transfer to hotel. Overnight – Delhi

Day 2: Sightseeing in Old & New Delhi

Jama Masjid Delhi
Jama Masjid Delhi

This morning, our Welcome Meeting takes place. We’ll then enjoy a full day sightseeing tour of Delhi, taking in the impressive Red Fort, Jama Masjid – India’s oldest and largest mosque, Raj Ghat – the site of Gandhi’s cremation and more. Tonight, we enjoy a group Namaste Dinner at a restaurant specializing in classic Indian cuisine. Overnight – Delhi

Day 3: The Taj Mahal

 

taj mahal
taj mahal

Departing Delhi, we journey to Agra, once India’s Mughal capital. Here we explore the legendary Taj Mahal. Built entirely of white marble, the Taj Mahal has no peers. Continuing, we visit Agra fort, which boasts some of India’s finest Mughal buildings behind it’s fortified walls. We also visit a marble craftshop. Overnight – Agra

Day 4: Jaipur

fatehpur sikri
fatehpur sikri

Agra – Jaipur. En route to Jaipur we visit the stunning former Mughal city of Fatehpur Sikri – Emperor Akbar’s vision in red sandstone. We enjoy lunch at Udai Vilas Palace in Bharatpur, before taking a walk in the traditional rural village of Peharsar. Later, in Jaipur, we visit a cotton trading/tailor shop where you can get clothing tailored for delivery to your hotel before we leave Jaipur! Overnight – Jaipur

Day 5: Jaipur

amber fort jaipur
amber fort jaipur

This morning, we travel beyond Jaipur to the 16th century Amber Fort. An exotic elephant ride transports us to the lofty fort, where we’ll enjoy a tour of this Rajput extravaganza. Why not bolt on an early morning amazing hot air balloon ride? Later in the afternoon we tour the City Palace, which boasts an interesting museum of regal attire and Jantar Mantar, an ancient astronomical observatory. Overnight – Jaipur

Day 6: Surajgarh – rural India

beautiful-Havelis-of-the-Shekhawati-region

Jaipur – Surajgarh/ Shekhawati region. Today, we drive to the semi-desert Shekhawati region. The small towns in this region became important trading posts, a lasting legacy of which are the beautiful painted havelis (mansions) constructed by wealthy merchants in the 18th and 19th centuries. Enjoy an afternoon village walk. Overnight – Surajgarh

Day 7: Bikaner

junagarh fort
junagarh fort

Surajgarh – Bikaner. Travelling west, our next stop is the 14th century desert town of Bikaner. Once an important staging post on the great caravan routes, much of the atmospheric old town which we will explore is still encircled by massive fortified walls. Within these walls are havelis, artisan shops and people going about their daily lives. We also visit the spectacular Junagarh Fort & museum, built between 1587 and 1593 during the rule of Rai Singh. Overnight – Bikaner (B)

Day 8: Jaisalmer

patwon ki haveli jaisalmer
patwon ki haveli jaisalmer

Bikaner – Jaisalmer. Driving through the Rajasthani Thar desert we arrive at the medieval caravan outpost of Jaisalmer, one of the jewels in India’s crown. Exquisite wood and yellow sandstone buildings dot the town and within Jaisalmer Fort are homes, hotels and shops hidden in ancient lane ways. Late afternoon and evening at lesiure. Overnight – Jaisalmer

Day 9: Jaisalmer Desert Festival

Jaisalmer Fort
Jaisalmer Fort

Today we have a wonderful opportunity to experience the exciting spectacle of the golden city’s grand parade. As the drums of Rajasthan beat out aloud brightly adorned elephants with their mahouts and tassel laden camels and riders, colourful floats, singers, dancers and marching bands will waltz on by in the city’s annual street parade. Bright and early this morning we take a guided tour of the Jaisalmer Fort. Afterward we’ll wait in readiness at the First Gate of mammoth stone fort. Here, with the honey colored fortress as a backdrop there will be plenty of photo opportunities as the procession marches by. Then, together we can walk alongside the festival and street parade as it weaves its way through the city streets of the Rajputs to gates of the town stadium.

Jaisalmer Desert Festival

We too will enter the stadium (scheduled to arrive at 12 noon) and watch the festival events for an hour or so before continue with our city sightseeing tour (time permitting). Later in the afternoon after time to freshen up and have some lunch we enjoy a camel ride across the vast, rolling sand dunes of the desert. Overnight – Jaisalmer

Day 10: Jodhpur & the Mighty Thar Desert

Blue City Jodhpur

Jaisalmer – Jodhpur. An interesting drive through increasingly varied scenery takes us to Jodhpur, a town at the edge of the mighty Thar Desert. Dominated by Meherangarh Fort which sits majestically atop a hill, Jodhpur is known as the Blue City. This is because of the coloured houses in the old town, painted indigo. We’ll enjoy some touring in this colourful Rajasthani city, taking in the mighty fort and bazaars of the old city which are gathered around the city’s tall clock tower. Overnight – Jodhpur

Day 11: Ranakpur

ranakpur-jain-temple
ranakpur jain temple

Jodhpur – Ranakpur. Leaving Jodhpur, we drive to Ranakpur, a small town tucked away in a remote valley and famed for its beautiful 14th century Jain temples. We’ll enjoy some exploration here and time to relax at our hotel. Overnight – Ranakpur (B)

Days 12 – 13: Udaipur – picturesque Lake Pichola

pichola lake udaipur
pichola lake udaipur
city palace udaipur
city palace udaipur

Ranakpur – Udaipur. Continuing south, we arrive at Udaipur. An oasis of cool, with its massive lake and Venetian-like appearance, Udaipur is one of the most romantic towns in Rajasthan. A favorite amongst travelers, Udaipur is crammed full of palaces and temples. During our stay we’ll enjoy a cruise on Lake Pichola, plus touring of the imposing City Palace, not to mention free time to explore and perhaps shop for colourful Rajasthani souvenirs and Indian spices. Overnight – Udaipur

Day 14: Fly back to Delhi

Udaipur – Delhi. Departure transfer to the airport to board a morning flight to Delhi / Mumbai, see note below. The afternoon is free for you to relax at the hotel or to head out and further explore Delhi. Overnight – Delhi

Day 15: Delhi

Saying goodbye to our new found friends, our tour ends, hotel check-out and included onward transfer to airport.

Holi and Elephant Festival Tour

Elephant Parade jaipur

Elephant Parade jaipur

Holi Festival and Elephant Parade Tour covers Delhi Agra and Jaipur – 8 Days

Combine a tour of the famous Golden Triangle with the exuberant festivities of Holi – India’s most dazzling celebration, and the Elephant Festival of Jaipur, when exquisitely decorated elephants from the Amber Fort parade through the showground and play the regal game of polo.

Dates: 9th and 10th March 2020

Tour Details:

Day 1: Delhi

Saturday 23 March 2013. Welcome to India and the start of your holiday! Arrive Delhi, included transfer to hotel. Free afternoon and evening. Overnight – Delhi

Day 2: Old & New Delhi

Jama Masjid Delhi
Jama Masjid Delhi

This morning, our welcome meeting takes place. We’ll then enjoy a full day sightseeing tour of Delhi. Tonight, we enjoy a Namaste Dinner at an Indian restaurant. Overnight – Delhi

Day 3: Jaipur

City Palace jaipur
City Palace jaipur

Delhi – Jaipur. Today, we drive to Jaipur. Affectionately known as the Pink City as Maharaja Ram Singh had all of the Old City painted a welcoming pink in 1876 to herald a visit by the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII), it is also the bustling capital of the state of Rajasthan. We enjoy a tour of the City Palace and Jantar Mantar – an old yet cleverly designed space observatory. Overnight – Jaipur

Day 4: The Elephant Festival of Jaipur

Early today, we travel beyond Jaipur to the stunning 16th century Amber Fort – a sprawling Rajput concoction which hugs the hill on which it was built and overlooks the hot plains below. We enjoy a stately elephant ride (Subject to Government regulations & availability) to the fort proper and tour the fort’s well-preserved interior and grounds.

Elephant ride to the fort
Elephant ride to the fort

This afternoon its festival time for the elephants of Jaipur and we will not be missing the parade! As we arrive to the showground at approx 4pm we’ll see camels and horses and lively folk dancers and musicians lead the carnival into Jaipur’s open air Rambagh Polo Ground. Groomed to perfection, glittering in gold, laden with silk tassels and intricately decorated with brightly coloured motifs, row upon row of elephants parade past the crowds.

Elephant Parade jaipur

Hoping to be ringside, we’ll witness the colourful celebrations which include the crowning of the Best Decorated Elephant, a regal match of polo played from elephant back and the comical bout of man verses elephant in a game of tug of war. For some wonderful pic’s of our groups and guides at the Elephant Parade in 2012, head over to our Facebook page. The days activities come to a close at approx 7pm. Overnight – Jaipur (B)

Day 5: India celebrates Holi

Holi
Holi

Jaipur – Bharatpur via Peharsar. It’s an early start today as the Holi festivities bring thousands of devotees out onto the streets in dazzling colour and good cheer.

Celebrated all over India since ancient times, Holi is an annual festival which takes place on the day after the full moon in the Hindu month of Phalguna. Originally Holi was an agricultural festival celebrating the arrival of spring. In keeping with this tradition people now choose to celebrate the occasion by throwing brightly coloured spices or herbal powders into the air, symbolically they are ridding the gloom of winter and rejoicing in the colours and liveliness of spring.

Holi

Today the central ritual of Holi incorporates the applying and throwing of coloured water and powders on friends and family which gives the holiday its modern name ‘the Festival of Colour’. This ritual also believed to be based on events in Hindu mythology relating to Prahlad worshipping the god Vishnu and being set ablaze with his wicked aunt Holika. As the fire was lit Holika asked for forgiveness and Prahlad decreed that she would be remembered every year at Holi. Holi is also associated with Krishna’s playful splashing of the maids with water, but most of all it celebrates the coming of spring and the vibrancy of colour that the season brings.

Arriving at the small rural village of Perharsar, we tour a charming, rustic haveli (mansion house) with small courtyard and lawned gardens which has been carefully restored to its former glory. From here its a short drive to our hotel in Bharatpur.

Keoladeo Ghana National Park

After hotel check and time for lunch, you can pull up a chair and watch the Holi celebrations taking place out on the lawn. Later we will go to Keoladeo Ghana National Park for a late afternoon bicycle rickshaw ride and birdwatching. Overnight – Bharatpur

Day 6: The Taj Mahal – built for love

taj mahal
taj mahal

Bharatpur – Agra. En route to Agra, we visit Fatehpur Sikri, former imperial capital of the great Mughal emperor Akbar. Built between 1569 and 1585, it has been deserted for more than four centuries, by all accounts abandoned in 1600 due to a meagre supply of water. In Agra, we visit the impressive Agra Fort before touring the legendary Taj Mahal and witnessing a glorious golden sunset. Built by Emperor Shah Jahan in loving memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz, who tragically died in childbirth in 1631, the Taj Mahal in Agra is described as the most extravagant monument ever built for love and remains one of India’s most enduring symbols. Overnight – Agra

Day 7: Onward to Delhi

Agra – Delhi. After breakfast we return to Delhi, the latter part of the afternoon is free for you to relax or independently explore more of Delhi. Overnight – Delhi

Day 8: Delhi

Our tour concludes after breakfast. Goodbye India! We transfer you to the airport for your onward international flight.

Hola Mohalla Sikh Festival Tour

Hola Mohalla

Hola Mohalla

Hola Mohalla Sikh Festival – 5 days Tour Anandpur Sahib Punjab

Head north to the Punjab and attend the amazing Hola Mohalla Sikh Festival in Anandpur Sahib! Experience magnificent displays of horsemanship and exciting mock fighting (Gatka), witness the tremendous colors of the Sikh faith, including the stunning blue and orange blend of the Nehang Sikh Army.

Dates – 10 – 12 March 2020

Hola Mohalla Tour Details

Day 1: Delhi

Welcome to India! Arrive into New Delhi and be transferred to our hotel. The remainder of the day can be spent at leisure exploring India’s capital. Overnight – Delhi

Days 2 – 3: Holla Mohalla at Anandpur Sahib

Delhi – Kangar Village. After breakfast on day 2 we climb aboard the Shatabdi Express train north to Chandigarh, passing through the picturesque state of Haryana which is blessed with lush green scenery and beautiful lakes and rivers. Upon arrival in Chandighar we are driven to the tranquil Kikar Lodge in Kangar Village. This is our base for the next 3 nights, while we attend the prestigious Hola Mohalla festival in the nearby holy city of Anandpur Sahib. Hola Mohalla is an annual 3 day festival which occurs during the first lunar month of Chet.

Hola Mohalla

We spend the remains of day 2 and day 3 at the Holla Mohalla Festival, where we’ll witness all the colorful festivities which include dramatic mock martial arts battles (known as Gatka), impressive displays of weaponry, archery and wrestling. There’s also music, poetry and prayers, singing and chanting, while food is served to pilgrims from all castes and creeds by women from the neighboring villages, who set up langars (community kitchens). This is impressive and humbling to watch as regardless of caste, all Sikh’s sit together.

hola mohalla

There are also exciting horse riding displays from the Nahib Sikh Army where the riders gallop bareback, performing tricks like riding astride two horses. One of the main attractions at the festival are the Nehangs – a prestigious armed Sikh order who wear a striking blend of blue and orange, with twisted moustaches and staggeringly giant embellished turbans. Any keen photographers will have a whale of a time here with all the amazing sights and vibrant colors on show. Overnight – Kangar Village

Day 4: Kikar

Today is yours to spend at leisure. Anyone who wants to return to the Hola Mohalla Festival can do so, or there are plenty of other forms of entertainment. The lodge is surrounded by nature trails for any keen walkers and wildlife is here in abundance. Sporting activities include volleyball and badminton and there’s the opportunity to take a leisurely buffalo cart or tractor ride. Overnight – Kangar Village

Day 5: Delhi

Kangar – Chandigarh – Delhi. Today we travel back to Chandigarh and explore its wonderful Rock Garden. This unique attraction displays numerous sculptures made entirely from industrial and urban waste. Look out for sculptures made out of mudguards and marbles, broken bangles and brake pads or even handle bars and hubcaps! Next we head over to Sukhna Lake. This picturesque manmade lake is 3 km in length and is very popular with water sports fans and is a great place to relax and unwind. Early this evening we travel by train back down to Delhi.

rock-garden-chandigarh

Once back in Delhi we are transferred back to the airport for onward journeys. Tour end.

If you are coming to India for the first time, have a few more days available then you may consider adding a Golden Triangle Tour of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur to the above tour plan for a rich experience. This is the best option because the 3 cities have unique past, forts, palaces and museums which offer a unique insight into the past.

Day 6: Old Delhi

Jama Masjid Delhi
Jama Masjid Delhi

This morning meet you guide and the any members of the group who are starting their tour in Delhi at the Welcome Meeting. We’ll then enjoy a full day sightseeing tour of Delhi, taking in the impressive Red Fort, Jama Masjid – India’s oldest and largest mosque, Raj Ghat – the site of Gandhi’s cremation and more. Tonight, we enjoy a group Namaste Dinner at a restaurant specialising in classic Indian cuisine. Overnight – Delhi

Day 7: Taj Mahal

taj mahal
taj mahal

Delhi – Agra. Departing Delhi, we journey to Agra, once India’s Mughal capital. Here, we take a motorised buggy to the legendary Taj Mahal. Built entirely of white marble, the Taj Mahal has no peers. Continuing, we visit Agra fort, which boasts some of India’s finest Mughal buildings behind it’s fortified walls. Overnight – Agra

Day 8: Agra

fatehpur sikri
fatehpur sikri

Agra – Jaipur. En route to Jaipur, we visit the ghostly former Mughal city of Fatehpur Sikri, abandoned due to lack of water. We enjoy lunch at Udai Vilas Palace in Bharatpur, before taking a walk through the nearby rural village Peharsar. In Jaipur, we visit a cotton trading/tailor shop where you can get clothing tailored for delivery to your hotel before we leave! Overnight – Jaipur

Day 9: Jaipur

amber fort jaipur
amber fort jaipur

Maybe opt for an early morning balloon flight over the pink city of Jaipur. Look out for the snake charmers that dot our route, as we travel to the 16th century Amber Fort. An exotic elephant ride transports us to the lofty fort, where we’ll enjoy a tour of this Rajput extravaganza. Later in the afternoon we tour the City Palace, which boasts an interesting museum of regal attire and Jantar Mantar, an ancient astronomical observatory. Overnight – Jaipur

Day 10: Village life, rural India

beautiful-Havelis-of-the-Shekhawati-region

Jaipur – Surajgarh/ Shekhawati region. Today, we drive to the semi-desert Shekhawati region. The small towns in this region became important trading posts, a lasting legacy of which are the beautiful painted havelis (mansions) constructed by wealthy merchants in the 18th and 19th centuries. Afternoon village walk and time to relax. Overnight – Surajgarh

Day 11: Surajgarh to Delhi

Shekhawati region – Delhi. Returning to Delhi, the latter part of the afternoon is free for you to relax or independently explore more of Delhi. Overnight – Delhi

Day 12: Delhi

Saturday. Hotel check out and included onward departure transfer to airport.

Hemis Festival Tour

hemis festival

hemis festival

Hemis Festival – 5 days Tour of Leh Ladakh India

Dressed in colorful, vibrant brocades with brightly decorated and richly adorned paper-mache masks the monastery lamas perform to a cacophony of drums, cymbals and long horns at the birthday celebrations of Guru Padamasambhava. Join us in Leh, the capital of the former Kingdom of Lakakh to discover, Buddhist gompas and monasteries perched on soaring hilltops, ruinous ancient palaces, snow peaked Himalayan landscapes and the local culture and ancient traditions of the annual Hemis festival.

Dates : 8 July – 15 July 2019

Hemis Festival Tour Plan:

Day 1: Flight from Dehli to Leh

leh from aeroplane
leh from aeroplane

Monday. Delhi – Leh. Early morning flight from Delhi to Leh. Flights can be booked with us or independently. Upon arrival to Leh onward transfer to your guesthouse where the remains of the day can be spent at leisure.

Leh-Bazaar
Leh Bazaar

Leh is the capital of former Himalayan kingdom of Ladakh that now sits in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The region is a vast highland desert sitting at 3524 metres above sea level, lying between the Karakoram and the Himalayan ranges characterised by a desolate moonlike landscape and snowy peaks. The town is still dominated by the now ruined Leh Palace, former mansion of the royal family of Ladakh, built in the same style and about the same time as the Potala Palace. The 28 000 residents of the the city are predominantly Buddhists and accordingly, Leh is the very much the heart and soul of Buddhist culture in the region. Overnight – Leh & Ladakh

Day 2: The Hemis Festival & city sightseeing tour

Hemis-monastery-ladakh

Hemis Gompa, is the biggest monastery in Ladakh and the site of the annual festival commemorating the birth of Guru Padamasambhava, who is said to have brought Vajrayana Buddhism to Bhutan and Tibet. Revered throughout the Himalayan ranges and considered the second Buddha, Guru Padmasambhava, the Lotus-born (popularly known as Guru Rinpoche, the Precious Master) was invited from India in the 8th century to conquer the dark and hostile forces transforming them into guardians and protectors of the pure dharma. In the process the guru brought Vajrayana Buddhism – a revelation of the complete and perfect path to awakening.

Followers believe that their path is the purest form of Buddhism with the goal of liberation from suffering and attainment of enlightenment. It is believed to be the path actually practiced by Buddha with the teaching indelible, even still today within the entire Himalayan region.

hemis festival ladakh

This morning we make our way to the Hemis monastery (1.5 hrs drive), the largest and richest monastery in all of Ladakh. In the courtyard filled to capacity with local Ladakhis and pilgrims (at 9am) Guru Padamasambhava birthday celebrations will commence.

A raised dais with a richly cushioned seat with a finely painted small Tibetan table is placed with the ceremonial items – cups full of holy water, uncooked rice, tormas made of dough and butter and incense sticks. A number of musicians play the traditional music with four pairs of cymbals, large-pan drums, small trumpets and large size wind instruments. Next to them a small space is assigned for the lamas to sit.

The festival highlight is the gathering of the lamas around the central flagpole performing the mystic mask dances (Chams) and sacred plays. Chams are essentially a part of Tantric tradition, performed only in the gompas that follow the Tantric Vajrayana teachings and where the monks perform tantric worship.

hemis festival

hemis festival

Dressed in colourful bright brocades with vibrantly decorated and richly adorned paper-mache masks (some extending over 1 metre in height) the masked dancers simulate combat between good spirits and evil demons to the cacophony of drums, cymbals and long horns. The crowd unites in uproarious song and dance when the dough idol of evil is destroyed by the leader of black hat dancers signifying that good has prevailed.

This afternoon offers a guided sightseeing tour of the town, dominated by Sengge Namgyal’s, nine storey palace. The colossal stone structure is one of the most captivating architectural ruins of the region. Built in traditional Tibetan style it sits on the foothills of the barren landscape. Constructed in the 17th century as the residential palace for the King to mark the reunifying Upper and Lower Ladakh.

Leh Palace leh ladakh

Above Leh Palace, on Namgyal Tsemo (Victory Peak) overlooking the town, are the ruins of the earliest royal residence at Leh a fortress type structure built by King Tashi Namgyal in the 16th century.

Visits will also be made to Sankar Gompa to view the image of Avalokitesvara, inset with turquoise and shown with 1000 heads, arms and feet and 100,000 eyes, Shanti Stupa – built to commemorate 2500 years of Buddhism and inaugurated by his holiness the Dalai Lama in 1985. Overnight – Leh & Ladakh

Day 3: Time to Explore

Today offers free time for you to independently explore the area. You may wish to return to the Hemis Grompa today as the festival continues (on a smaller scale) with a program of music, song, dance and drama. Transportation to the monastery can be arranged locally should you require.

jokhang temple

If staying in town for the day considering visiting the Leh bazaar. The main sites to visit are the Jokhang, the new main Buddhist temple built in the 1980s by the Ladakh Buddhist association and an imposing mosque reflecting a mixture of Islamic and Tibetan architecture that accommodating more than 500 worshippers dating from the late 17th century situated opposite each other. Overnight – Leh & Ladakh

Day 4: Shey and Thiksey Monestories, Stok Palace

Today offers guided tours of Shey and Thiksey monasteries and Stok Palace.

Shey Monastery

Shey monastery situated on a hilltop, 15km from Leh, was the summer palace of the royal family of the region. The monastery houses a two storey high-seated image of Buddha cast from copper and covered with gold leaf. It is also beleived that Kings of Leh were born here, in the monastery.

Thiksey Monastery
Thiksey Monastery

Thiksey monastery is situated on a hilltop and the views of the green Indus valley from its rooftop are splendid. This monastery has a number of chambers full of statues and stupas. Courtyard murals are bright and this imposing structure is in many respects a replica of Potala Palace in Lhasa.

Stok Palace now operates as a museum where in the Sengge Namgyal family heirlooms and relics are displayed. Overnight – Leh & Ladakh

Day 5: Leh to Delhi by flight

Friday. Leh – Delhi. Early this morning (dictated by flight times) we transfer to the airport for our flight (booked independently and in addition to our tour cost) to Delhi arriving at approximately 8:30am. Later today you will be transferred to the airport for your onward international flight.

Great Himalayan National Park Trek

Great Himalayan National Park Trekking Tour

Great Himalayan National Park Trekking TourGreat Himalayan National Park Trek

Dates: 2-9 November, 2018 (ex-Delhi).

Duration: 6 Days

What you get: Camping Experience, Wilderness Survival Lessons, Guided Trip on Flora and Fauna, Culture and History.

Great Himalayan National Park Trekking Tour

Detailed Itinerary

(02/11/18) Day 1:- Leave Delhi for overnight journey to Aut.

(03/11/18) Day 2:- Arrive at Aut. Drive from Aut to Shangarh village by jeep (70 km). Stay at Shangarh village (6,500 ft)…

(04/11/18) Day 3:- Trek (15 km) from Shangarh to Lapaa village (7,500 ft). Stay in tents.

(05/11/18) Day 4:- Steep trek (15 km) from Lapaa village to Dhela Thatch (12,500 ft).

(06/11/18) Day 5:- Explore Dhela Thatch, climb up to 14,500 ft or just soak in the view.

(07/11/18) Day 6:- Dhela Thatch to Shaktimaror (15 km downhill trek through a beautiful Himalayan forest of oak, rhododendron, cedar and pine beside a turquoise Sainj river.

(08/11/18) Day 7:- Shaktimaror to Niharni (7 km trek). Drive from Niharni to Aut for onward journey to Delhi.

(09/11/18) Day 8:- Reach Delhi in morning.

Cost : Rs 28,000 per person ex-Delhi, inclusive of all equipment, cook, meals and porter charges.

Booking amount: Rs 10,500/- (10,000 + 5% GST) NON-REFUNDABLE.

Last Date for Booking: 17 September 2018.

Balance to be paid by 17 October 2018. No refund after 17 October 2018.

Great Himalayan National Park Trekking Tour

We will provide the participants with a decent homestay at Shangarh and tent accommodation during the trek on a two-person/three-person sharing basis. The tents will be three-men or two-men tents.

Participants have to bring their own rucksacks.

Individual porters will be extra.

GST will be 5% extra.

Festivals of India

Holi

India is a land of festivals – these are bright, colourful and joyous celebrations that can go on for Days. If you are planning to visit India, it will be a great idea to combine your trip with one of the big festivals of India. Currently we are providing customized holiday packages for Durga Puja, Deepawali and Holi.

Durga Puja:

Durga Puja
Durga Puja

Durga Puja is the celebration of the annual homecoming of Maa Durga to her parents’ house. While the festival is celebrated by all Hindus, it is the major festival in the state of West Bengal.

The festival is spread across five days, with over 1000 Durga Puja pandals set up in the city of Kolkata alone. On the fifth and final day, the idols are taken through the city in a huge procession culminating with the immersion in the Hooghly.

Schedule: 16th to 19th October 2018

Deepawali:

Deepawali
Deepawali

Deepawali is the celebration of lights – and an invocation to Goddess Lakshmi to shower wealth and prosperity on all.

Deepawali 2018: 6th November 2018

Holi:

Holi
Holi

Holi is the festival of colours. Anywhere you go across India, you can see a most amazing riot of colours, and an absolutely beautiful day to be in India. The next Holi celebration is scheduled for 2nd March 2018.

How to Customize your Festivals Package:

Select a tour from this website or let us know your expectations using the contact form and we will get working on your trip.