Although the Kuari Pass (3640m) is not high by Himalayan standards, the views from the Pass rival some of the finest in the entire Himalayan range. To the north the peaks stretch to the Tibetan Plateau while to the east Nanda Devi (7816m) Ð the highest mountain in India is ringed by a host of 7000m peaks. This is one of the many highlights of this exceptional trek that follows trails through luxuriant forest of bamboo, conifer and oak and many traditional Hindu villages. At higher elevations the meadows are carpeted with wildflowers while the serene lakes and the shepherd encampments beneath the sacred peaks add to the beauty of the area. Combine this with no shortage of magnificent campsites, an incomparable trekking service and many opportunities to wander to the high ridges and you have the essence of this fulfilling trek.
Stunning mountain scenery including views of Nanda Devi, Dunagiri and Changabang
Fully supported camping based trek including 3 hearty meals per day prepared by our cooks
Trek through traditional Hindu villages and untouched forests
Cross the Kauri Pass
Upon arrival you will be transferred to the group hotel. The remainder of the day is free for personal exploration of this exciting city. Note: If you are arriving in Delhi on a late night flight, you may like to arrive the day before the trip commences. Please talk to your World Expeditions reservations consultant or travel agent for pre-tour accommodation options.
The train to Haridwar takes around five hours. It is one of India's most modern trains and you will be served breakfast and snacks during your journey. On arrival at Haridwar we drive alongside the course of the Ganges as we slowly ascend through the Himalayan foothills. It will take around six hours to reach our comfortable hotel in the Garhwal region.
It is a further 5 hours drive to the famous pilgrim centre at Joshimath. After our staff have purchased last minute supplies we will continue our drive to the ski resort of Auli. At 2600 metres you will begin to appreciate the alpine air after the temperatures of the Indian Plains. We commence our trek for two hours, following a trail to the highest ski lift - with impressive views of Nanda Devi at the head of the Rishi Gorge - before entering a holy oak forest to our camp at Gurson meadow.
Beyond Gurson Bugyal the trail crosses a series of beautiful meadows to a ridgeline that affords a birds eye views up the Rishi Ganga. We then follow a trail through pine and oak forest for two to three km to the meadow at Chitraganta (3300 metres). From camp we appreciate the impressive snow capped ridgeline including Chaukhamba 1 (7138 metres), Chaukhamba 2 (7068 metres), Chaukhamba 3 (6974 metres) and Chaukhamba 4 (6854 metres) on the far side of Joshimath. The shepherds living in the vicinity, mostly from Rishikesh or Haridwar, graze their flocks of sheep and goats throughout the summer months.
A short stage to assist acclimatisation. We head along a ridge for an hour gaining views of the Kuari pass as well as the numerous peaks that stretch as far as the horizon. From our camp in the vicinity of the pass we gain spectacular views of the Himalayan and Zanskar ranges. Our guides will help you identify them. North of Joshimath is the Chaukhamba Range, Nilkanth (6596 metres) and Narayan Parbat (5965 metres), while the peaks of the Zanskar Range, including Mana Peak (7272 metres), Kamet (7756 metres) and Abl Gamin (7355 metres), extend to the Tibet border. In the middle foreground, the main Himalayan chain in the vicinity of the Bhyundar Valley and Hem Kund includes Nilgiri Parbat (6474 metres), Rataban (6166 metres), Ghori Parbat (6708 metres) and Hathi Parbat (6727 metres). Dunagiri (7066 metres) dominates the peaks to the north of the Nanda Devi Sanctuary, which also include Changabang (6864 metres) and Kalanka (6931 metres).
The Kuari Pass (3530 metres) is just a small col in a grassy ridge. From the pass our guides can point out Sutoli meadow and the route we follow in what is a challenging stage. From the pass there is a steep descent to a small shepherd encampment at Dakwani (3300 metres). The meadow marks the upper limit of the mixed oak and pine forest and time for a short break before we descend to a side river (2515 metres). There follows another ascent and descent (steep again in places ) to an impressive waterfall before a gradual climb through the forest to Sutoli meadow (2850 metres). From camp you savour views back towards the Kuari pass and the pristine forests that characterise the upper section of the valley.
After the vigour's of the previous stage we follow a series of well-defined trails leading through a series of traditional hill villages. We appreciate the almost Arcadian scene with the hills dotted with two-storied slate roofed dwelling set amid fields of maize and corn. After several hours we descend through bamboo and tropical undergrowth to the Brithi Ganga. There is a large suspension bridge over the river before a 200-metre ascent to Jhangi (2000 metres), a small pleasant village situated in the upper Brithi Ganga Valley.
The trail ascends through oak and rhododendron forest and across a series of meadows from where we gain panoramic views of the Brithi Ganga Valley and the snow capped peaks looming above the forested ridges at the head of the valley. There is no shortage of campsites with plenty of time that afternoon to explore the forests and meadows in the vicinity.
We commence with a short ascend to the wooded ridge (marking the watershed between the Brithi Ganga and the Nandakini Valley). There follows a gradual descent through the pastures and forests where the villagers from large village of Ramni graze their animals before descending to a beautiful camp just above the village of Gorli (2345metres). That afternoon we may decide to walk to the nearby Ramni village and visit the small bazaar.
A well-defined trail leads high above the Nandakini River and through several substantial villages. On this stage we can appreciate the intricate wooden carving of Ganesh (the elephant-headed god) in many of the houses as well as the simple Hindu temples that line the trail. In between the villages we enter oak and rhododendron forest as we make our way to our camp at Pehri (1940 metres).
From Pehri (2500 metres) we continue along a village trail through a number of settlements before a descent to a major tributary. There follows a trek through rhododendron and blue pine forest to Sutol (2200 metres), one of the most substantial villages in the upper Nandakani valley. Just beyond the village there is an excellent campsite alongside the Nandakini River.
Views of Trisul (7120 metres) loom above Sutol as we ascend through spruce and oak forest to the village of Kunol (2600 metres). Barking deer have been seen in the forest clearing, while the heavy spiked collars worn by the shepherd dogs reflects their need for protection from the forest leopards. The village at Kunol (2600 metres) is set in an idyllic location with views of the summits of the high peaks north of Joshimath. A small ridge separates Kunol and Wan where views of the main Himalaya are complemented with impressive views south down the Bedni Ganga towards the Indian plains. We camp above the village of Wan (2450 metres) in the delightful grounds of the Forest Rest House.
From Wan the trail ascends to a meadow complete with a small temple with views of Trisul at the head of the valley.There follows a short descent to a small tributary, before we commence the ascent to Badni Bugyal. The trail through the forest is steep in places. The oaks continue to around 3000 metres, while the pines and rhododendrons thin out at 3200 metres. This marks the upper limit of the forest, as there are no silver birch trees in this region of the Garhwal. The 800 metre climb through the forest takes around three hours. It is a further three km across the meadows to the camp at Badni Bugyal.The alpine camp at Badni Bugyal (3350 metres) would rival the best in the Himalaya. To the west, the views of the Himalaya stretch as far as the peaks in the vicinity of Gangotri, while the Chaukhamba Range and the peaks beyond Joshimath are also visible. To the north, the peaks of Trisul (7120 metres) and Nanda Ghunti (6309 metres) rise above the alpine ridges.
From camp there is a gradual climb up and along the north-east ridge towards Trisul. Here on the trail continues around the contours before ascending steeply in places to a small shrine on the ridgeline, which marks the catchment divide between the Badni Ganga and the Nandakini River. The camp at Bhoga Basa (4100 metres) is a couple of km beyond the temple.
The 500 metre climb to the sacred lake of Rup Kund takes around two to three hours. En route there are some steep rocky sections just before Rup Kund, which may require a bit of scrambling to reach the lake.Rup Kund (4550 metres) has no outflow and is covered in snow for 10 months of the year. If the waters arte not under snow you may glimpse human bones that legend has it are dated to a time when a party of pilgrims were trapped by bad weather in the 14th century. There is a possible optional climb to Jyuri Gali (4620 metres) that marks the divide between the headwaters of Rup Kund and Hom Kund, the main sources of the Nandakini River. From Rup Kund it takes about two hours to return to Bhoga Basa and a further three hours back to Badni Bugyal.
The trail leads south across the alpine grazing meadows to Ali Bugyal. The views are again magnificent, both across to Joshimath and south to the Indian plains. The trail then descends steeply through the forest to the village of Didana (2450 metres).
After crossing the substantial bridge over Bedni Ganga the trail then gradually ascend through pine, fir, oak and bamboo forest and past cascading side streams to the jeep trail coming from Lohrajang. It is a further six km along the jeep trail to the prosperous village of Loharjang.
Our bus will take a full day to Naini Tal. At first the road descends to the Pindar valley before crossing the ridges of the Himalayan foothills to Naini Tal
We spend two days exploring the bustling hill resort of Naini Tal. There is plenty to do including wandering around the lake and visiting the main bazaar at Malli Tal or taking out a boat on the lake. Other options include undertaking a day walk to one of the many vantage points above the town where you may enjoy one last panorama of the snow capped Himalayan peaks.
From Naini Tal we drive down to the plains and the station at Kathgodam to board our early morning train to Delhi. We arrive in Delhi by mid afternoon ad transfer to our hotel that is centrally located in New Delhi.
We have most of the day free to complete last minute shopping and sightseeing. Rest rooms will be provided if you are scheduled to fly out that evening.