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Through Himalayan Foothills

Traditional villages & forested hills
 
Highlights include a stay at the historic Khali Estate, privately guided walks (with luggage transported) in the Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary, the astounding temples at Jageshwar, the warm hospitality at the village guesthouses, and insights into local traditions and crafts.
Through Himalayan Foothills. 10 nights
Through Himalayan Foothills. 10 nights
 

Holiday information

 

A guided walking holiday in Binsar

In the foothills of the towering, snow-capped Himalayas, not far from the borders with Nepal and Tibet, lies a hidden India of small traditional villages, deep wooded valleys and high, wide ridges affording spectacular views of Nanda Devi and other majestic mountain peaks. This unique Village Ways’ holiday allows you to explore the Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary in the remote Kumaon Hills while staying in authentic village houses. This is a region where local people work the land in harmony with nature, and where you will encounter a rich diversity of flora and fauna. Above all, you are able to relax into a simpler and slower-paced rhythm of life – a feeling you will find hard to relinquish at the end of your stay.
Walking in the Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary is some of the best we have enjoyed anywhere in the world. Enticing footpaths, many made of stone, link pretty villages and wind around the forests of pine and oak. Views change continually as you stroll – sweeping panoramas of the great peaks of the Indian Himalayas, dreamy vistas over misty valleys south towards Almora, glimpses of little farms that thrive on the steeply terraced land around the villages. Bird and animal life is rich and diverse. We have seen eagles and vultures coasting close by as we enjoyed a picnic, and watched woodpeckers flit about the huge pine trees. It is magical that leopards thrive here, so keep your eyes peeled at dusk for a rare glimpse.
 
Gallery
 

Itinerary

We provide you with your own local guide who accompanies you on the walks and acts as interpreter. Because it's privately guided walking, you get to set the pace, and can pause as often as you like to take photos, look at the wildlife and admire the views. 
  • Arrival in Delhi
    You are met at the airport and taken to your accommodation.

    Night 1: at Colonel’s Retreat (where you spend one night). 
    As your first night's accommodation is on the day of travel, Day 1 is your first day of exploration.
  • Travel to the Khali Estate
    After a short transfer to New Delhi Railway Station, you take the early morning train to Kathgodam, a 6-hour journey in a first-class, air-conditioned carriage (breakfast is included with your ticket). At Kathgodam, you are met by a driver who will take you to the historic Khali Estate (4 hours). You are warmly welcomed and introduced to your own, friendly guide before having time to acclimatise, relax and enjoy the splendid views of the mountains.
    View of the Himalayas from Khali
  • Village-to-village walking in the Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary
    You enjoy five days of privately guided village-to-village walking in the Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary, perched on top of the Jhandi Dhar Hills, at 1,800 metres above sea level. Walking beneath mighty oak, cedar and pine trees, and through groves of colourful wild rhododendron, your guide will point out the diverse flora of the reserve and lead you to places where you may get to see wild boar, deer, monkey, black bear, porcupine, mountain goat, red fox, jackal, pine marten and even leopard. This may be a protected area, but it is also home to many forest people, and you will come across them engaged in age-old practices as you walk through the broad cultivated terraces that surround each village. Each night, you stay in a community-run village guesthouse – the villages include Risal, Satri, Gonap, Kathdhara and Dalar – where you are looked after by the villagers who will ensure you are welcomed, well fed on such vegetarian dishes as aloo ka gutka, bhatt ki churdkani or gulgula, and made comfortable for the night.
    Within the Binsar Sanctuary
  • Travel to Matkanya
    After a short walk, you take a road transfer to the village of Matkanya, which sits on a high ridge overlooking the historic Jageshwar temple complex.
  • Walk, then travel to the Khali Estate
    Your guide leads you on a beautiful walk down through the deodar (cedar) forests of the Jataganga river valley to explore the temple site which comprises over 120 temples of varying size and importance, dating from the 8th century. After your visit, you return to the Khali Estate by car.
  • Travel to Delhi
    It is now time to transfer back to Kathgodam (4 hours) for the day train to Delhi, reflecting on your discovery of the village ways of Northern India. (As on the outward journey, you travel in a first-class, air-conditioned carriage.) On arrival you will be transferred to Colonel’s Retreat for a final overnight stay. 
    Humayan's Tomb in Delhi
  • Flight home
    You are transferred to the airport for your return flight to the UK.
 

Accommodation

Please bear in mind that your accommodation is much simpler than on other Inntravel holidays, and although the facilities are not what you might expect to find in Europe, this is more than made up for by the uniquely welcoming atmosphere.

In whichever of the six villages of the Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary you stay in (you stay in four of the five listed below, plus Matkanya), you will be welcomed as honoured guests. Your accommodation is in village-run guesthouses where you will sample the tasty local vegetarian cuisine and experience the rhythm of village life as few see it. The guesthouses are typically of two floors, with a kitchen, storeroom, guest rooms and guides’ room, on the ground floor; plus a Western-style WC and a shared shower room with sink. The upper floor houses a large and comfortable sitting and dining area, where there is stove and open fire, which is lit on cool evenings. There are further twin bedrooms here, too. The lighting and hot water are powered by solar panels.

Occasionally, due to availability, we may offer an alternative hotel in Delhi. You will be informed of any change to the usual hotel (along with any price implication) prior to us confirming your holiday to you. We also offer an upgrade option in Delhi. Please indicate your preference at the time of booking. Whichever hotel you stay in, we thoroughly recommend extra nights in Delhi to further explore this lively, and often startling, city.
 

Extend your stay

For a longer adventure, you may wish to combine your exploration of the Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary with walks in the mountainous Saryu and Pindar Valleys, or with visits to India's 'Golden Triangle' cities...
 

Prices

All prices are in £ sterling (GBP). Prices vary according to number of people in your party.

 
Prices (£ per person)
15 September 2019 - 10 May 2020, 15 September - 25 December 2020

Party of 4+
• 15 Sep - 30 Nov 2019: £1045
• 1 Dec 2019 - 29 Feb 2020: £960
• 1 Mar - 30 Apr 2020: £1065
• 15 Sep - 15 Dec 2020: £1135

Party of 2 or 3

• 15 Sep - 30 Nov 2019: £1295
• 1 Dec 2019 - 29 Feb 2020: £1195
• 1 Mar - 30 Apr 2020: £1335
• 15 Sep - 15 Dec 2020: £1395

Party of 1

• 15 Sep - 30 Nov 2019: £1795
• 1 Dec 2019 - 29 Feb 2020: £1720
• 1 Mar - 30 Apr 2020: £1875
• 15 Sep - 15 Dec 2020: £1890
 
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  • RECOMMENDED AIRPORT(S):
    Delhi

    Travelling from the UK

    Travelling from outside the UK

    If you are flying from outside Europe,  we recommend Delhi. To discuss onward connecting travel to the start of your holiday, please contact us.

    Outward route Airline
    Edinburgh - Delhi (via Dubai) Various carriers (contact us) 
    Edinburgh - Delhi (via Heathrow) British Airways 
    Outward route Airline
    Leeds Bradford - Delhi (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    Outward route Airline
    Gatwick - Delhi (via Doha) Various carriers (contact us) 
    Gatwick - Delhi (via Dubai) Various carriers (contact us) 
    Outward route Airline
    Heathrow - Delhi British Airways,  Virgin Atlantic 
    Heathrow - Delhi (via Abu Dhabi) Various carriers (contact us) 
    Heathrow - Delhi (via Doha) Various carriers (contact us) 
    Heathrow - Delhi (via Dubai) Various carriers (contact us) 
    Heathrow - Delhi (via Muscat) Various carriers (contact us) 
    Outward route Airline
    Stansted - Delhi (via Dubai) Various carriers (contact us) 
    Outward route Airline
    Manchester - Delhi (via Abu Dhabi) Various carriers (contact us) 
    Manchester - Delhi (via Dubai) Various carriers (contact us) 
    Manchester - Delhi (via Heathrow) British Airways 
    Manchester - Delhi (via Muscat) Various carriers (contact us) 
    Outward route Airline
    Newcastle - Delhi (via Heathrow) British Airways 
    Travelling from outside the UK

    If you are flying from outside Europe,  we recommend Delhi. To discuss onward connecting travel to the start of your holiday, please contact us.

    This list of flight options should be used as a guide only, and you should check each airline’s website for current routes, frequency and schedules. Not all flights operate daily, and may not run for the entire season. You should also heed the latest flight arrival time and earliest flight departure time stated in the connecting travel section, as it may not be possible to arrange connecting travel outside these times. Please do not book your flights until we have confirmed your accommodation to you. Alternatively, our expert reservations team will be happy to offer advice and to make flight bookings for you. We charge £30 per person for our flight booking service (£50 for India and Nepal). Your flights are then covered by our package-booking conditions, which give you greater protection in the event of delay or cancellation, as well as providing ATOL cover.

What is included
  • 10 nights
  • 8 dinners
    7 lunches/picnics
    10 breakfasts
  • own local guide
  • all transfers
  • return rail ticket Delhi to Kathgodam
 
Reviews

If you've experienced this holiday first hand, why not write a review?

We are keen for as many customers as possible to review their holiday. To make it easier to do so, we include a specific review section on our post-holiday questionnaire, and this is what we publish here, unedited. Read our full review policy >

 

FAQs

If you have any questions relating to this or any other Inntravel holiday, our friendly travel experts will be happy to help. You might also find our General FAQs section helpful.
  • In some ways, walking with your own guide is no different to walking independently – it is you who sets the pace and decides when to pause. Of course, you don’t have to worry about route-finding, leaving you free to focus on the views and the fascinating insights into the local flora and fauna, customs and language offered by your guide as you walk. The guide is there to ensure you get the most from your holiday and arrive back safely at your base, and they act as your friendly interpreter throughout your stay. If you would prefer more or less walking, then don’t be afraid to let them know.
  • After a quick chat with your guide about the day’s route, you set off along an inviting trail carrying only a few essentials for the day. A prompt start means you have plenty of time to pause to take in the views and admire the wildlife that your guide points out to you. When you’re ready for some refreshments, your guide finds the perfect spot to sit down, and you might swap notes about life there and back home, or what lies ahead on the second part of the walk. Suitably rested, you continue on your way, perhaps passing farm workers tending the crops or transporting produce.
  • We provide you with very detailed, up-to-date documentation before you go away so that you will know what to do and where to go throughout your holiday. As well as giving you insights as to what to expect in terms of customs, climate, cuisine and conditions, we also offer advice on visas, currency and language.
  • All British citizens require a tourist visa to enter India.
    An E-visa system operates for tourists requiring a visa for stays of up to 60 days. You must apply for the E-visa no earlier than 120 days prior to arriving, but also a minimum of 4 days prior to your arrival in India. The visa will be valid for 60 days from your date of arrival. Your passport must be valid for a minimum of six months from your date of arrival in India and have two blank pages. You can apply for the visa here:
    https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/tvoa.html
    If you are travelling to India for more than 60 days then visa applications are submitted and processed by post; we advise that you allow up to 3 weeks to obtain your visa by this method. You can find full details and obtain an on-line Visa Application Form by visiting http://in.vfsglobal.co.uk. If you or any member of your party is not a British citizen or holds a non-British passport, you should check passport and visa requirements at https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/tvoa.html.
  • The NHS website www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk gives a general outline of the immunisations you are likely to need, though you should seek advice from your doctor or practice nurse in good time before your holiday for more tailored information. There are no reciprocal health agreements between the UK and India. It is therefore all the more important that you have comprehensive travel insurance to cover you in the case of illness or an accident. You will need to take sensible health precautions while travelling in India, and we will send you full details with your holiday documentation.
  • From October to mid-December, and again from March until May, days are usually dry, clear and warm (usually above 15°C, reaching 25°C in May), although nights can sometimes be chilly. Daytime temperatures are cooler (5-12°C) from mid-December to February, with colder nights and very occasional snow, but the visitor is rewarded with blue skies and the clearest of views which are enhanced by the blanket of snow covering slopes above 2,500 metres. The climate is generally consistent, although the weather can change fairly rapidly, especially on the higher terrain. Heavy rain is unlikely, but you should bring light waterproofs and/or an umbrella as well as warm layers to wrap up in once the sun goes down. Sunscreen and sunglasses are also essential.
  • English is widely spoken in Delhi and Mumbai, but much less so in the rural villages where the local dialects are most prevalent. Most villagers will be delighted to try to communicate with you, while your guide will act as interpreter and even instruct you in the rudiments of the local dialect of Hindi spoken in Madhya Pradesh, Kumaoni (Himalayan foothills), Marwari (Rajasthan), Malayalam (Kerala) or Kannada (Karnataka)!
  • India is five-and-a-half hours ahead of GMT all year round, and is therefore four-and-a-half hours ahead of BST.
  • We can book a wide range of airlines and routes from the UK. As well as being more convenient for you to book all elements of your holiday together, it also means that we’ll accept liability for your travel arrangements, so if things go wrong, such as the airline going bust, we’ll make suitable alternative arrangements for you. For Europe and Morocco, there’s a £30 booking fee per person (£15 for children aged 2-11). For India and Nepal, the booking fee is £50 per person. More information on flights >
  • We can’t book flights that originate outside the UK, but if you wanted book your own flights to London (or elsewhere in the UK), we can make all onward travel arrangements (including flights) from there. Alternatively, if you are booking your own flights to an airport in continental Europe that’s appropriate for your holiday, we can book onward rail travel and/or taxis. More information about how we can tailor holidays for customers outside the UK >
  • Once you’ve decided on your exact itinerary (our travel experts will be happy to offer advice), you need to provide us with your party’s details, either by phone or via our booking form. At this point we also ask you to pay a deposit so that we can secure a room for you immediately on confirming availability with the hotel(s). If it turns out that we can’t secure the accommodation for the holiday you’ve requested, or offer an acceptable alternative, we’ll refund your deposit promptly and in full. After booking your accommodation and other key elements, we'll then book your travel (or you can do so if you’re making your own arrangements) and send you a Booking Confirmation and Invoice.
  • Yes, it’s something we insist on, even for holidays in the UK. The vast majority of holidays go smoothly, but when things go wrong, it can be expensive to put them right. Buying a new pair of walking boots after your suitcase is stolen mightn’t seem so bad, but the bill for being airlifted down from a mountain with a broken leg or flown home while still recovering from an illness or accident can cost tens of thousands of pounds.

    You don’t have to buy our policy (if you live outside Europe you’ll definitely need to make your own arrangements, as the policy is only for UK and EU residents), but you do need to make sure that you’re covered for medical emergencies and repatriation. We also recommend that you are covered for other eventualities, such as cancellation and loss of luggage and passports.
  • The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) provides up-to-date, country-by-country travel advice, as well as information on security, local laws, passports and visas for UK citizens.
    If you live outside the UK, see our essential travel information page for a list of relevant websites.
  • You are the best judge of your child’s/children’s capabilities. We are happy to take bookings for families of older children/teenagers if they walk regularly, love the outdoors and are comfortable with the distances and ascent/descent involved. Please note that the bedrooms at most of the accommodation we use will normally only sleep a maximum of 3 people, and sometimes only 2.
Last fetch time is : 10/22/2019 6:46:03 AM