"The Indian version of the world famous Annapurna Circuit, The centre to the Indian Himalaya. Rich culture, unique trekking and never ending views sounds very appealing to me!"
Arguably the centrepiece of the Indian Himalaya, the Garhwal Region offers a perfect balance of adventurous trekking and stunning views. Dominated by the awesome Nanda Devi Sanctuary, this beautiful region is the setting for your classic Garhwal trek, as you follow the famous Curzon Trail. Named for the former Viceroy of British India who walked this route, the trail provides sublime Himalayan views as well as plenty of opportunities to visit traditional villages and holy pilgrimage sites along the upper Ganges. Your tour begins with a journey north from Delhi into the town of Srinagar. After a short drive into the mountains you’ll reach Lohajung village, where the trail begins.
As you begin your trek, you’ll follow part of the route used by Shipton and Tilman during their 1936 expedition, journeying through the secluded villages, alpine pastures and forests that fringe the edge of the Nanda Devi Sanctuary. Trek in the shadow of the imposing Trishul peak, its three prongs representing Shiva’s trident, before reaching the route’s highest point at Kuari Pass (4,268m). From the top you’ll enjoy arguably the best views in the whole Indian Himalaya. Your tour concludes with visits to sacred towns on the Ganges including Rishikesh, a popular pilgrimage destination and the supposed ‘birthplace of yoga’.
Active India Holidays are local operators and, as such, have seen first-hand the benefits that tourism can bring to some of India’s most remote regions. They understand that tourism often helps to alleviate poverty and develop communities and, as part of the global tourism industry, acknowledge that they too have a crucial role to play in providing commercial benefits and financial impetus in local communities. The company is conscious of both the negative and positive impacts its operations potentially have within sensitive environments and communities, particularly in the Himalayas where most of Active India’s trekking and adventure operations are conducted.
To ensure that they operate in as responsible a way as possible, Active India trains all of its tour leaders and support staff on sustainability practices. One example is their ‘Leave no Trace’ policy, which ensures that campsites and trails are left free from any waste. The company even extends this policy to include the waste left by travellers who have come before them, collecting and disposing of any extra rubbish in a safe manner. Active India hopes to contribute towards building a tourism industry that brings pleasure to travellers whilst also constructing a future for the local people and places that the industry depends on.
Arrival in Delhi: Upon your arrival at Delhi’s international airport you’ll receive a traditional welcome before transferring to your hotel.
Delhi – Haridwar – Srinagar: Take an early breakfast before boarding a train to Haridwar, a town situated on the edge of the Shivalik foothills. The town is the site of the Kumbh Mela festival (celebrated every 12th year), and is one of the seven holy towns under Hinduism. At Haridwar, the Ganges leaves its last rocky gorge and makes its way across the plains for 2000 km to the Bay of Bengal. Transferring to your vehicle, you’ll follow the River Ganges for the next part of your journey. Time dependent, you may be able to visit a ghat at Deoprayag, another holy place for Hindus. You’ll stop for the night at the small town of Srinagar.
Srinagar – Lohajung: Continue through the heart of Garhwal, following the gradually ascending road through the Alaknanda Valley. Pass through Rudraprayag where, in the 1920s, a leopard reputed to have eaten around 125 people was shot by Jim Corbett. Further along the valley, at the junction of the Pindar River and the Alaknanda, is Karnaprayag -‘prayags’ are sacred confluences of the many rivers that eventually merge with the Ganges. You’ll drive off the main road to Debel, driving up to the road head at Lohajung where you’ll enjoy stunning views of Trisul and Nanda Ghunti.
Lohajung – Didana: Today your trek begins with an easy walk. You’ll visit traditional settlements, where life has remained relatively unchanged over hundreds of years, before descending through rhododendron and fir forests into the Gyana Ganga Valley. Reach the river and follow it for some time before crossing the water to make the ascent to the shepherd camp at Didana.
Didana – Bedni Bugyal: This morning’s trek begins with a steep climb through the forest. Passing through Ali Bugyal, you’ll emerge above the tree line and enjoy wonderful views of the Chaukamba and Nilkanth peaks as a reward for your hard work. Continuing along the grassy ridge, you’ll reach the high grazing meadow of Bedni Bugyal, said to be one of the most spectacular alpine viewpoints in the Himalayas. The mountains you previously just glimpsed through the trees now appear as a vast wall, their peaks capped with snow. Most significant are Trishul (7,120m), its three prongs representing Shiva’s trident, Nilkanth, Chakamba and Nanda Ghunti.
Bedni Bugyal – Vaan: Spend some time taking in the views at Bedni Bugyal on this relatively easy half-day. Your walk begins with a long and steep descent through fir and rhododendron forest down to the river. You’ll then climb up to the typical Garhwali Village of Vaan, where you’ll camp on a wide tree-fringed terrace. The sacred grove of Latu (a local spirit) is situated just above the camp.
Vaan – Kunol – Sutol: Hike through beautiful cypress trees to the Kukun Khal Pass (3,069m). The path then descends to the traditional Garhwali village of Kunol, with stone and slate houses and fantastic views of Trishul. Here, fields are still hand-tilled, providing villagers with most of their staple foods as well as a small income earned from selling any surplus. A long descent takes you down to the Nandakini River, where you’ll enjoy lunch and the chance to dip your feet in the refreshing water. This afternoon’s pleasant walk takes you above the river to pine forest and a few more villages. Near Sutol, you’ll cross the Nandakini to reach camp for the night.
Sutol – Dekhandhar: Today’s trek takes you through the heart of Nanda Devi Country. A short climb brings you to Sutol, a quaint village with paved alleys and slate-roofed hutments. The Nandakini is worshipped as the river of the ‘Mountain Goddess’; your walk leads you out of the valley through villages where many rituals and annual events are still linked to worshipping the ‘Mother Goddess’. Descending to the river once again, you’ll then climb up to another col, passing fields and smallholdings. The trail ascends and descends all day, until you finally reach Dekhandar, perched on a ridge at 2,120m. Enjoy amazing views of Trishul.
Dekhandhar – Ramani: After breakfast, climb up from the camp along a steep and winding trail that leads into open grassy meadows. As you walk through the village of Ala, look out for ornate woodcarvings above the doors of the houses. Gradually, snow-capped peaks emerge from above the forest to the north. Climbing through the forest, you’ll camp at Ramani. Enjoy views of the mighty peaks of Trisul and Nanda Ghunti ahead of you, and look back at how far you’ve come!
Ramani – Cross the Ramani Pass – Kalighat: Today begins with a steady climb to the Ramani Pass (3,064m), were you can enjoy splendid views of snow covered peaks above the tall trees. Keep an eye out for the multi-coloured Monal pheasants that live in the forests here. Descend across pastureland and open glades into horse chestnut and walnut forests before the trail steepens as it passes through the vibrant village of Jhin-jhi. Cross the wild Beireh Ganga, then follow a steep zig-zag path up the bare hillside. After lunch, continue through forest and pasture land towards Pana. Shortly before reaching the village you’ll cut up to Kalighat, a small grazing area, where you’ll camp.
Kalighat – Sartoli – Dhakwani: Traverse above Pana Village before making a steep ascent into rhododendron forest. After reaching a col at 3,100m, the path descends to the open meadows at Sartoli where you’ll enjoy views across to the Kuari Pass. Your trail takes you past several streams before it plunges down into a steep and loose section, so tread carefully! You have by now reached a wild and uninhabited country. Continuing to climb, you’ll reach your camp below the Kuari Pass. This large open pasture is used by shepherds for livestock grazing in the summer months.
Dhakwani – Kuari Pass – Talli: Rise early to enjoy arguably the best views in the Indian Himalaya from the top of the pass. To the north is the Chaukhamba Range, while the summits of Mana (7,272m), Kamet (7,756m) and Abl Gamin (7,355m) stretch to the Tibetan border. To the west, the snow-capped ranges extend to Gangotri. Although you cannot see Nanda Devi from the pass, if the weather is clear it is worth walking higher up the ridge to around 4,268m – here, Nanda Devi peak is visible. Descend to your camp at Talli and enjoy breath-taking sunset views of Nanda Devi.
Talli – Auli: Walk cautiously along the narrow trail from Talli, admiring views of Nanda Devi, which dominates all the other peaks, all the way down to the ridge. Enjoy picturesque scenery of the vast meadows and wild flowers at the crossing of Gorson, before spotting the man-made structures that mark the location of Auli Village in the distance.
Auli – Rishikesh: Bid your ponies and porters a fond farewell before re-joining your vehicles for a long but spectacular drive to Rishikesh. Departing after breakfast, you’ll follow the Alaknanda River for most of the way. You’ll arrive in Rishikesh – a popular pilgrim and meditation centre on the banks of the Ganges – in the evening.
Rishikesh – Delhi: Energetic travellers can rise early today to visit some of the Ghats at Rishikesh. After breakfast, you’ll drive to Haridwar to visit some of the Ghats and temples there. You’ll then have a fairly long drive to Delhi, arriving late in the evening.
Departure: Enjoy a free day to relax and reflect on your trip or explore Old and New Delhi. In the evening, transfer to the airport for your onward flight.
- Refunds: 80% refund available until 30 days prior to check-in; 50% refund available 15 days prior to check-in; 25% refund available 6 days prior to check-in; within 5 days of check-in there will be no refund.