At Viraatkhai (www.himalayanecolodges.com/viraatkhai.php), the red brick deluxe cottages help you snuggle up in comfort in the chilly evenings, as the lights of Mussoorie and Dehradun come up. The views from here are spectacular. It’s the private sit-out where most guests like to spend time, catching up on stories from the day or listening to ours. All cottages are extremely well furnished and have ensuite washrooms. There is also an option of using Swiss styled alpine tents with ensuite washrooms, for those who like a camp style stay. Both, the tents and the cottages are comfortable for families.
The Himalayan Eco Lodge in Sursingdhar (www.himalayanecolodges.com/sursingdhar.php) has a marvellous view of the Himalayas, as you step out into the balcony of your cottage. Cloud filled valleys and the white peaks piercing through them greet you, first thing in the morning. The rooms are spacious and well-furnished and photographs of the Himalayan region. The sunny private sit out is a favourite with guests.
The food served in all the lodges/camps is home-cooked and tinged with local produce. Find plenty of greens in the menu along with a host of Indian vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes with a Continental/Chinese dish for variety.
Air/Rail: Use Dehradun as your base if you are landing by air or arriving by train into the city. We will arrange for comfortable vehicles to accompany you on the rest of the trip.
Self-Driven Holiday: For the all the hill driving junkies, if you plan to drive through the trip in your own vehicle, we would recommend a driver to assist you as for some of the activities you will need to be dropped in a different spot and picked up from a different spot. With early notice, we could arrange for a driver for your vehicle if required. You will be given detailed directions to get to all the required spots on your trip.
Reach the Viraatkhai camp by lunch and get set to enter a world of adventure. Post check in, you meet your trip leader and instructors for the trip. We waste no time and get straight into the nuances of rock and rope climbing. The topography is perfect for beginners and with our team of experts, you know you are in safe hands. This may seem slightly difficult, but once you get the hang of it (and we will make sure that you do), this is something you might find yourself doing often on other holidays. Enjoy the day, before settling around the bonfire towards the night. From starting a good fire for the camp, to getting the barbeque working, this is all about your ‘active’ vacation! The evening ends in stories of the many hits and misses while rock climbing, but all of them end in an ‘experience of a lifetime.’
Activities for the day: Ropes, Knots, Valley Crossing, Rock climbing, Rappelling, setting up a Bonfire, getting a Barbeque going, etc.
This trip is all about connecting with the outdoors! Hiking, orienteering and a cookout in the wilderness is the order of the day. We take you through a short-pine filled forested trail to hone your navigational instincts – a skill you will cherish for life. Next up you are introduced to camping techniques, a run up to your own selection of the campsite, pitching tents, getting a bonfire started and how to keep sentinel. An important aspect of this session is the eco practices of making temporary shelters and making a fire. Of course, the lodge is close by, so you can choose to go back to the rooms. The night ends in live acoustic music and conversations around the fire, but only after a guided games session for the kids.
Activities for the day: Orienteering, hiking, cooking in the wilderness, nature walk and camping techniques.
Today we drive to Chakrata town (25 kms) and hike down to see the famous Tiger Falls. The hike is mostly downhill and fairly easy and you will be surprised how much the kids will enjoy it. Enroute, your guide tells you all about local life in the hills, the tribals of the region and help explore the fauna on the way. This region is home to the Jaunsar-Bawar tribes. Time dependent, we eat a meal in a traditional house, go to a local school and visit the local temple. If someone does not want to hike, the falls are also accessible by a car with only a short walk of 30 mins. A picnic by the waterfall is a perfect plan for the afternoon, before we take a short walk to the roadhead and drive back to the camp. The day can end in two ways: a Karaoke night or a quick dinner and the bed, depends on how energetic you feel after the hike.
Activities for the day: Walk to Tiger Falls, Nature Walk, meeting local tribal families and karaoke.
We leave the Viraatkhai camp for Sursingdhar, but before that, there is an important stop to make – the Yamuna Adventure Park. This is the bridge where we get into a number of instructor led activities like rafting, stream walk, swimming, river crossing and duckie rides with our water activities team. The activities end in a riverside picnic. After an adventure-filled afternoon, we drive further for about 3 hours before hitting our mountain lodge in Sursingdhar.
Activities for the day: River hydrology, Navigating a raft, Swimming through a small rapid, Rafting, River crossing, Duckie rides, Kayaking, Bridge Slithering, Riverside picnic, Body surfing, Stream walks, etc.
Waking up in Sursingdhar is a whole new experience. Craggy peaks of some of the highest Himalayan Mountains can be seen lighting up to the first rays of the run. Sometimes, cottony clouds fill up the valley, giving the illusion of ‘heaven on earth’. The day begins with a lazy hot cup of tea, but soon evolves into an action packed day of cycling, hiking and exploring the natural flora around the area. While the biking makes you feel that strong crisp mountain air, the nature hike is all about learning about your environment: identifying the flora is a great high, once you get the hang of it. In the evening, we make a quick detour to the Tehri Dam and Lake. You can also add some rope activities for the children if there is time and also take a walk into the local village. Here, we show you traditional homes, even have a cup of tea at some and see local life at close quarters. The night ends in live acoustic music and conversations around the fire, but only after a guided games session for the kids.
Activities for the day: Cycling, hiking, nature walk, visit to Tehri dam and lake and outdoor games.
The last morning is reserved for bird watching with an expert. This region is replete with different species and once you’ve mastered the birdcalls, their nesting habits and their habitat, it just gets better. The trip ends after breakfast with a drive to Haridwar/Dehradun.
Your transport (if arranged by us) would be in a comfortable vehicle of your choice and can be arranged from Delhi or Haridwar/Dehradun. Your transport costs (that are mentioned above) are inclusive of all fuel charges, driver charges, state taxes, tolls and permits and are planned as per the itinerary of the trip. In case of any additional usage other than the itinerary there will be additional charges.
As mentioned, you also have the choice of bringing your own vehicle on the trip. It is advised that you have a driver come along as this would let you also enjoy the trip fully rather than worrying about driving from place to place. Also having a driver makes it comfortable to go and return from activity spots as in some cases the drop and pick up points tend to be different. In the lodges/camps, your driver would be provided with stay in a separate tent and can use the staff facilities and they would be provided with the same meals as you at an extra expense of Rs. 1000 per night.
Rishikesh – The cathartic city of ashrams and yoga, Rishikesh is just round the corner on this trail. In fact, it is the gateway into Garhwal – it works as a brilliant starting point for the Char Dham yatra and an adventure trail in the lower Himalayas. Plan ahead to add a day or more here. Feeding flour dough balls to the fish from Lakshman and Ram Jhoola bridges, eating at the famous Chotiwala restaurant or watching the evening aarti at the Parmarth Niketan Ashram, this detour is worth your while. If you are not on a spirituality quest, then just hang out at the riverside cafes with a relaxed bohemian vibe. It won’t be long before you are drawn to one with the sound of a didgeridoo.
Haridwar – Another mystical spiritual city on this trail, is Haridwar. The many temples by the river, a dip at the holy ghats and the evening aarti are the highlights of the city. Try the Udan Khatola (cable car ride) to Mansa Devi and Chandi Devi temples, apart from the hundreds that are strewn in the periphery. There are a number of ashrams if spiritual travel is on your list. Of the many, the most popular ones are Shanti Kunj, Prem Nagar, Maa Anandmayi Ashram and Saptarishi. Haridwar serves as the closest rail head into Garhwal.
Mussoorie – A hill station that is synonymous to well-known author, Ruskin Bond, Mussoorie is perfect for a short detour. Roam on the Mall road, watch the evening lights of Dehradun come on and if you are lucky, see the famous orange winter line that segregates the blue evening sky and the deep dark valley in the evening. Mussoorie is rife with hill station favourites like horse riding, scenic viewpoints and shopping for colourful woollens on the Mall Road. Our favourite thing to do here is to drop into Cambridge Bookstore on Mall Road, on Saturday evenings, when Ruskin Bond comes down to sign books for an hour. Also, do drop in at Lovely Omelette Centre and Chick Chocolate for some mouth-watering goodies.
Rajaji National Park – To be ushered into a world of more than 500 elephants, 12 tigers, 250 panthers and other jungle occupants like spotted deer, sambhar, wild boar, barking deer, goral, bears and a large species of birds, do not miss a chance to visit the Rajaji National Park. Safaris are available at specific timings that can be booked ahead. Even if you do not want to stay here for a night, the safaris are time well spent.
Corbett National Park – As one leaves the plains and heads towards the meandering hills of Kumaon, an assuming and inconspicuous little village welcomes you to one of the most significant wildlife destinations of India. The Jim Corbett National Park spreads majestically for over 500 kilometres from the village of Chota Haldwani, home to the hunter turned conversationalist for decades. His erstwhile house, which was later turned into a museum, is a charming reminder of the achievements of Jim Corbett, as he abated the village from the threat of man eating tigers, a species, far from endangerment at that time. Legendary tales emanate from the pictures and books in this simplistic but charming reminder of that marvellous era. The national park is one of the most widely visited destinations by nature enthusiast and educationalists. Safaris, trekking trails, bird watching and wildlife appreciation are the most significant offerings made by the park authorities.
Mountain/adventure travel requires one to be adequately equipped with the right kind of personal gear. Since one is travelling in the wilderness there will be hardly any opportunity to buy anything once you start the trip so we urge you to carefully pack everything into your bags.
Shirts / T-shirts
Jeans / Trekking Pants
Comfortable Trekking/Hiking shoes (shoes with a thick sole are recommended)
Raincoat / Poncho
Small light weight towel
Water bottle (sturdy ones, no empty Bisleri bottles!!)
Cap / Hat to keep the strong sun away from your face
Torch / Flashlight (with extra batteries)
Medicines, if requiring any specific medication
Book, if you like reading
Day pack/small bag which you will carry on your back every day and keep your essentials in it
Camera if you like (with fully charged batteries)
LOADS OF ENTHUSIASM!! AND A PLEDGE TO LEAVE NO TRACE
Carry your stuff in a duffel bag, soft shoulder bag or a rucksack. Avoid suitcases, trolleys or any other hard luggage. As you will be walking long distances carrying a rucksack, avoid bringing unnecessary items on the trip. Please avoid carrying expensive watches, jewellery and electronic items on the trip.
Great Indian Outdoors (P) Ltd. takes utmost care to ensure safety of its clients. However in the case of any unforeseen mishaps, Great Indian Outdoors (P) Ltd. will not be liable for any injuries caused or for loss of life. All disputes rising due to the above are subject to the jurisdiction of the courts in New Delhi/Delhi only. All participants would be required to sign an Indemnity Form before the start of the program, without which they would not be allowed to take part in the trip/program/activities.
6Days | Jan-Jun, Sep-Dec | Sursingdhar + Viraatkhai | 5 Families
DAY 1: Viraatkhai [Ropes, Knots, Valley Crossing, Rock climbing, Rappelling, setting up a Bonfire, getting a Barbeque going]
DAY 2: Around Viraatkhai [Orienteering, hiking, cooking in the wilderness, nature walk and camping techniques]
DAY 3: Viraatkhai [Walk to Tiger Falls, Nature Walk, meeting local tribal families and karaoke]
DAY 4: Sursingdhar [River hydrology, Navigating a raft, Swimming through a small rapid, Rafting, River crossing, Duckie rides, Kayaking, Bridge Slithering, Riverside picnic, Body surfing, Stream walks]
DAY 5: Sursingdhar [Cycling, hiking, nature walk, visit to Tehri dam and lake and outdoor games]
DAY 6: Departure
The lower Himalayan ranges are a perfect way to start a relationship with the mountains. While you may be in the company of stalwarts like Nanda Devi, Neelkanth, Kamet, Trishul, Chaukhamba, Kedarnath and Banderpoonch in Sursingdhar, the interaction is not intimidating. The lower mountain ranges provide stunning views but are also easily accessible from major North Indian cities. This trip also gives you a chance to meet the Jaunsar-Bawar tribes in Viraatkhai. Apart from getting up-close with nature, this family active vacation promises a bundle of memories and experiences that you will take back learning rope and rock climbing, getting to know your compass really well and hiking. Our favourite pick, though, is teaching travellers how to set up a perfect campsite!.
|Region||Uttarakhand - Garhwal,Uttarakhand|