"Mountain views that continue as far as the eye can see, to the start to the world famous river Ganges"
Discover the snow-capped peaks, lush meadows, tumbling waterfalls and icy glaciers of the Garhwal region, following in the foot-steps of pilgrims on this 19-day adventure. This classic trekking itinerary is designed to show off the best of the region’s breath-taking natural beauty, as well as give you the opportunity to interact closely with local people to learn more about their rich culture and traditions. This fantastic part of the Indian Himalayas has some of the world’s most magnificent scenery, from holy rivers rushing through verdant valleys to thick forests and barren rock faces.
Your trek begins with an ascent through an emerald-green valley to the pilgrimage centre of Kedarnath, and continues through rice fields to the Triyugi Narayan. Legend has it that this is where Lord Shiva married the goddess Parvati! The trail leads you through picturesque bugyals (alpine meadows), with spectacular snow-capped mountains providing the backdrop. Admire the majestic Nanda Devi peak (7,817m) from the exquisitely beautiful Panwali Pass, before commencing the second phase of your trek. Reach Gaumukh, where the holy Ganges bursts out from a glacier, before reaching the tour's highest point at Tapovan (4,450m). As your adventure concludes, make your way back to Delhi via Rishikesh and Haridwar, where you’ll watch Hindu pilgrims bathing in the sacred river Ganges.
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: Receive a traditional welcome upon your arrival at Delhi’s international airport before transferring to your hotel. The rest of the day is free.
Delhi – Rishikesh: Rishikesh is reputed to be the ‘birthplace of yoga’, and is known as the gateway to the four main pilgrimage sites for Hindus – Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri. This morning you will drive to Rishikesh and check in to your hotel. Rishikesh is situated on the banks of the Ganges and, flanked by the Shivalik range of the Himalayas, is known for its picturesque beauty and spiritual ambience. In the evening, visit the Ghats of the river Ganges to observe the sights and the sounds of chanting at the Aari ceremony.
Rishikesh – Gaurikund: Today’s drive takes you along the serpentine road that runs along the right side of the Ganges, winding uphill to Devprayag. Continuing via Srinagar to Rudraprayag, you’ll turn left on the side of the Mandakini River and journey on until you arrive in Gaurikund. Here, you’ll check in to your lodge.
Gaurikund – Kedarnath: Your trekking adventure begins with a gentle climb to Kedarnath. During the pilgrimage season, you can mingle with pilgrims who journey here from all over India. The trek passes through beautiful verdant valleys, and past cascading waterfalls and barren mountains. Kedarnath Temple, dedicated to lord Shiva, faces the Mandakini Valley against a backdrop of majestic mountain peaks.
Trek back to Gaurikund: Pay an early morning visit to the holy stone shrine of Kedarnath (3,500m), and feel the spiritual atmosphere in and around the temple. Watch as devotees offer incense and flowers to Lord Shiva, and chase the priests so that they will offer prayers for their families! Later, make your descent back to Gaurikund.
Gaurikund – Triyugi Narayan – Maggu: Transfer to the trek’s starting point in the morning, and begin your walk through rice fields up to the Triyugi Narayan Temple. According to legend, Lord Shiva married the goddess Parvati here! Continue your trek with gradual ascents, passing through dense forest, lush meadows and a quaint village. Enjoy spectacular views of snow-capped mountain ranges as you walk.
Maggu – Dhuphanda – Panwali Kantha: Today is one of the most exciting days the trek has to offer, providing magnificent views of the surrounding landscapes and mountains. Climb for around two hours to reach Maggu Top, from where you can admire the panoramas of the high peaks of Kedarnath and Sumeru Parvat, among others. Walk along the ridge overlooking the valley of rhododendrons and bamboos, and keep a look out for wildlife such as deer and black-faced langoors. Continue through the small but beautiful village of Panwali before arriving at camp.
Panwali Kantha – Ghuttu: Ascend to Panwali Pass and marvel at the massive Nanda Devi (7,817m) to one side and forests, green fields and pastures to the other. The trail then descends through dense forests for around six hours. Cross a large stream and pass through the rice fields of Ghuttu village.
Ghuttu – Bhairon Chatti: Today’s six to seven hour trek begins a gradual ascent, passing through villages full of friendly local people keen to interact with you; watch as children run about and the women work in the rice fields. Continue on through alpine meadows and thick forests to arrive at Bhairon Chatti. Your campsite is situated in a beautiful location, with excellent views of mountains and forests all around.
Bhairon Chatti – Buda Kedar: Descend gradually through forests, before the trail levels out through rice fields. Pass through the picturesque village of Binak Khal and continue to follow the trail through forests to Agunda via Buda Kedar, located near the River Bal Ganga.
Buda Kedar – Belak Pass: Walk through the village and cross Bal Ganga via a wooden bridge at Jalla. Continue uphill through forests and pastures to Belak, which sits on the borderline of the towns of Chamoli and Uttarkashi, to camp at the top of the forest.
Belak Pass – Malla – Gangotri: Today’s four to five hour long trek begins with a steady descent towards Lata. The route takes you through thick forest all the way to the bottom. Walk over a wooden bridge to cross a stream, then walk to the road-head at Malla, which connects Uttarkashi and Gangotri. Meet your vehicle (bus/jeep) and transfer to Gangotri. Upon your arrival, check in to your lodge.
Gangotri – Chirbasa – Bhojbasa: The second part of your trek begins with an ascent through the forest. From Gangotri, you’ll walk along a beaten track towards Chirbasa, before following the river Bhagirathi which later joins the Alaknanda River to form the Holy Ganga. Enjoy spectacular views of high peaks as you walk through conifer and deodar forests. Later, beyond Chirbasa, the terrain changes, becoming desolate and barren. Arrive in Bhojbasa where you’ll camp alongside the river. Take the afternoon to explore the area, including a small temple, and later enjoy a fantastic sun set.
Bhojbasa – Gaumukh – Tapovan: Admire panoramic views of the Bhagirathi group of peaks as you trek to Tapovan via Gaumukh, where the water of Ganga trickles down from glaciers into the Gangotri Valley and beyond. After stopping in Gaumukh to explore, continue your trek to Tapovan, one of the area’s finest high-altitude alpine meadows. The trek takes you over the glacier, where views of the surrounding peaks become clearer and clearer. Tapovan is renowned for its scenic beauty, with bubbling brooks, wildflowers and green meadows.
Tapovan – Bhojbasa – Chirbasa: Enjoy the early morning light illuminating your surrounding scenery, as golden rays of sunlight touch the high mountain peaks. After breakfast, make a speedy descent to Bhojbasa. Upon your arrival, explore the local area before bedding down for the night at camp.
Chirbasa – Gangotri – Uttarkashi: Walk for a few hours to reach Gangotri. Meet your vehicle and transfer to your lodge at Uttarkashi, a town on the banks of the Bhagirathi River. In the evening, explore the town’s numerous temples and ashrams.
Uttarkashi – Rishikesh: Take an early breakfast before setting out on another scenic drive to Rishikesh via Chamba. In the afternoon, take an optional visit to Lakshman Jhoola or the surrounding temples. If you wish, attend evening prayer at Triveni Ghat.
Rishikesh – Delhi: Leave Rishikesh early in the morning for today’s drive to Delhi. En route, stop at Haridwar, one of the most holy places in India for Hindus. Visit Har-Ki-Pauri, where pilgrims take a holy dip in the Ganges. Continue on to Delhi where you’ll check in to your hotel for your final overnight stay.
Departure: Enjoy your final day relaxing or exploring Old and New Delhi. In the evening, transfer to the airport for your onward flight.
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- 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.
- Breakfasts while staying at hotels
- Full board meals during the camp stay
- English speaking monument sightseeing guides at cities
- All land transport
- Government service tax as applicable
- Travel insurance
- Indian visa fees
- Any monument entrance fees
- Flights (domestic/international)
- Any optional activities or services not mentioned in inclusions
- Services of any professional English speaking tour leader/escort during the tour
- Miscellaneous expenses for tips, laundry, drinks, any medical emergencies and souvenirs etc.