Village Walks Kumaon

VILLAGE WALKS KUMAON

8 DAYS 

MARCH / APRIL / MAY

Kumaon – land of the gods and destination of the heart.

Village Walks Kumaon

Kumaon is the slow travel destination for travellers who appreciate discovering people as well as places. Spectacular Himalaya mountain views unsurpassed by any other in India during winter months, great forests of rhododendron throwing out a red carpet welcome during early spring and the absolute romance of a monsoon retreat or a butterfly tour in the autumn.

But it’s the people who will touch your heart and remain in your memory for long after your visit to Kumaon. The best way to meet the locals of Kumaon is to take a village walk into the land of the gods, another name for Kumaon.

Kumaon Village Walks

Charmingly, you also get to stay in some of these traditional village houses which are stunningly located and have been touched up (and added on with attached bathrooms) to provide very comfortable lodging without compromising on the authenticity.

Our walks are accompanied by a walk guide, who will share the local knowledge with you and will assist in mingling with the communities – you may share a cup of chai with the local elders, pay obeisance at a temple or just soak in the stunning scenery while traversing the hills and valleys.

Village Walks Kumaon

As interests and capabilities vary, the walks are customised according to your needs. The luggage is carried by porters and the food is prepared using fresh local ingredients on site.

Village Walks Kumaon

 

 

Day 1: Kathgodam – Itmenaan Estate

You will be met at Kathgodam Railway Station by the driver and then you will be driven (3.5 hours) to Itmenaan Estate.

Set in a peaceful rural setting in the Kumaon Himalayas, the 10-acre estate includes virgin pine, oak and rhododendron trees; terraced fields laden with seasonal fruits and vegetables; and to top it all, a small private perennial natural spring. The estate offers panoramic views of the Himalayas including the majestic Nanda Devi.

The 100-year-old traditional Kumaoni style stone house on the estate has been painstakingly restored and offers 3 tastefully designed en suite bedrooms. There is also the newly built Deodar Cottage. In and around the house are abundant places for you to unwind and relax – the courtyard overlooking the mountains and verdant valleys, the semi open-air dining area, numerous nooks and corners perfect for reading or for fulfilling your spiritual quest.

At Itmenaan Estate you may choose to just ‘do nothing’ – laze around or read a book, admire mesmerising valleys and snow clad peaks, enjoy the warmth of bonfire, gaze at the countless stars in night time. Those who are looking for some more walking within and around the estate you may trek to the highest point for enchanting views or roam the beautiful oak and rhododendron forests.

 

Day 2: Itmenaan Estate – Almora – Thikalna Village

This morning after a leisurely breakfast, you will walk to the road head (20 minutes). On the road you will be met by our car and driven 1.5 hour to Almora town.

En route to Almora, stop over briefly at the charming Chitai Temple, which is located just outside Almora town. The Chitai Temple is dedicated to Golu Devta, who is considered to be the God of Justice. As one approaches the temple, the first thing that strikes you is hundreds of bells hanging at the entrance.

People come to the temple to make a wish to Golu Devta; those who are not able to personally visit the temple, write letters to Him seeking justice. Once a wish is fulfilled people come and hang a brass bell on any of the temple walls, and hence the sea of bells all over the temple.

After visiting Chitai temple continue to Almora town. This picturesque hill station is situated in the Kumaon region of Uttarachal state. Situated at an altitude of 1650 metres, it is among the few hill stations of India, not created by the British. In fact, it is an ancient town, and some 400 years ago, it was the capital of the Chand Rajas of Kumaon. It has an interesting bazaar and good views of the mountains.

Walk Duration: 1- 2 Hour

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 village walks women travel mother india

Day 3: Thikalna

After breakfast, you will walk downhill through a small trail full of Rhododendron trees and then continue walking on the trail to Dhaulchina. From Dhaulchina you will walk downhill through pine forest to ‘Kachula’ and then continue on the trail to the small village town of ‘Barechina’. Sights on the trail include villages buzzing with little children, people farming their fields, elderly men enjoying their hookah over tea, cattle grazing, and the elegant Magpie and much more.

From Barechina you will walk back to the village house for a late lunch. Rest of the day may be spent at leisure or you may explore the neighbouring countryside.

Walking duration: 4-5 hours

Accommodation: Thikalna Village House

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 itmenaan-estate

Day 4: Thikalna to Ganghet

After a leisurely breakfast, walk along the ridge towards Bridh Jageshwar temple complex (2229mts) with beautiful views of the Nanda Devi range on your left. Spend some time at the temple, lesser known than the Jageshwar temples, but equally stunning. The next stretch of walk will take an hour where you walk through a mix of rhododendron and pine forests, occasional uphill and downhill stretches before you finally climb down to the ridge of Naini.

You continue walking to the Temple of Jageshwar (1780mts) for another one hour. Nearing Jageshwar in a valley you will notice the pine forest now change to thick Deodar (Cedar). The temples at Jageshwar are believed to have been constructed between the 8th century and the 18th century. The architecture belongs to the Nagara style of North India, characterized by a tall curved spire surmounted by an amalaka (capstone) and a kalasha crown.

After visiting the temple complex, you will be served a picnic lunch nearby. Then your uphill walk to the village of Gurdabaj will begin. This walk will take around an hour and take you through some of the oldest Deodar forests in the entire region. The end of the walk will bring you to the village of Ganghet where you will spend your night. The evening may be spent at leisure by a bonfire.

Walk duration: 4-5 hours

Accommodation: Ganghet Village House

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

village walk women travel mother india

Day 5: Ganghet to Itmenaan Estate

After breakfast, you will walk downhill to the temple of Jhankarsem. The temple is one of the most famous temples of the region dedicated to deity Siam. Many families consider Siam to be their reigning deity and hence the popularity of the temple.

From the temple you will walk downhill towards the valley of Dudum. This two hour walk will take you through multiple villages in the area and will provide an excellent opportunity to interact with the locals. The scenery along the walk consists of terraced fields, old Kumaoni houses and small village temples.

You will be served a picnic lunch when you reach the bottom of the valley. From here a two hour uphill trek will bring you to Itmenaan Estate.

Walking duration: 4-5 hours

Accommodation: Itmenaan Estate

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

kumaon village walks

Day 6: Itmenaan Estate – Fredy’s Bungalow.

After a leisurely breakfast, walk to the nearest road head and drive to Bhimtal by noon (4 hrs drive). A short uphill drive, along two-kilometers of Kuccha road from Bhimtal Lake, leads you to Fredy’s Bungalow.

The imposing colonial-style homestead nestles among cypress and deodar trees, on a peaceful wooded hillside, overlooking the Bhimtal valley and the mountain slopes beyond. Located in the midst of acres of dense oak forest, this is a peaceful haven where only the sounds of nature break the silence: the wake-up song of the resident

Whistling Thrush, the sharp call of a Barking Deer in the distance; the hoot of a Spotted Owl signaling dusk.

This part of the Kumaon Lake Region, home to a large variety of flora, fauna and aquatic life, has always attracted bird-watchers, butterfly-collectors and nature lovers as well as writers in search of solitude and city-dwellers seeking to renew their spirits.

A steep 10-minute mountain trail, adjacent to the bungalow, leads to ‘the Ridge’ with its breath-taking view of the Sattal Lakes below and Nainital in the distance. A level walking track from the bungalow offers an easy 30-minute walk to these lakes, which are otherwise more than 10 km, and 45 minutes, by motor road.

Accommodation: Fredy’s Bungalow

Meals: Lunch, Dinner.

village walks India

Day 7: Fredy’s Bungalow:

Full-day at leisure or explore the nearby area, go for short treks to Sattal lake or Bhimtal lake and also do boating there or we can arrange a picnic lunch around the property also and the neighbouring countryside in a walking tour.

Accommodation: Fredy’s Bungalow

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.

Day 8: Fredy’s Bungalow – Kathgodam Rail Station – Delhi

After a leisurely breakfast you will be taken to Kathgodam Rail Station for train to Delhi.

Accommodation:  Delhi

Meals: Breakfast

kumaon Village Walk

 

2 Pax in 01 Double room: USD $1660.00

Drinks Supplement: USD$30.00 per person per day (Indian drinks)

Supplement for car at disposal per day during walks or ariival and departure transfer – USD $55.00 per day (Innova)

Inclusions

  • Accommodation in village houses and at Itmenaan Estate(Oak room) & Fredy’s Bungalow(Butterfly room)
  • All meals, snacks, tea, coffee
  • English speaking guide during the walks
  • Picnic lunches at beautiful locations
  • All taxes
  • Exclusions
  • Any emergency evacuation due to unforeseen circumstances
  • Any insurance cover
  • Any road transportation or car at disposal
  • Train tickets to and from Kathgodam
  • Drinks

USEFUL INFORMATION

Intensity Level of Walks: High levels of fitness are not required to do this program. You can set your own pace making the walk ‘easy’ or ‘moderate’. However, you need to be in general good health and used to walking.

Shoes: The path will be rough at some stretches and hence we advise sturdy shoes/boots with excellent soles.

Essentials in your bag: Strong sunscreen, sunglasses, lip-balm, insect repellent, personal medication and a hat to ward off the high daytime UV. If you suffer from mountain driving sickness, please carry appropriate medication.

Best Time of Travel: Barring peak rainy seasons of June, July, August you can undertake this walking tour anytime of the year. Each month of travel has its own charm:

  • Oct/Nov: Cool weather and the mountains views are good
  • Dec/Jan/Feb/Mar: Cold but the mountain views at their best
  • Apr/May: Cool weather, mountains views to get hazy but rhododendrons in bloom
  • June/July/Aug/Sept: Pleasant weather but mountains views are hazy