Plumbers for Nature Research


Peaks and glaciers
Temples and religious sites
Nature and natural history tours
Sample Itinerary for an Eight Day Trek in the Western Himalaya
Sample Itinerary for a Seven Day Tour of Kumaon


Introduction

Discover the unspoilt Kumaon and Garhwal Himalaya in the company of Peter Smetacek, naturalist
More than a holiday, an unforgettable learning experience
Everything from tropical forests to the eternal Himalayan snows
Complete package includes overnight (air-conditioned) train fare from and to Delhi; pick up and transfer from railway station; transport; comfortable accommodation; all meals; porterage of up to 20 kg of personal luggage per person while trekking.

Peaks and glaciers

If you wish to experience the rarified atmosphere at high elevation, whether as a mountaineer, rock climber or high elevation trekker, the Western Himalaya offers the unique possibility of spending the whole day on rocks, scree and ice and returning in the evening to a comfortable camp on a level, flower studded meadow. The high ranges are relatively easily accessible, often within a few days’ walk of the nearest road head. Hundreds of snow capped peaks, from the majestic Nanda Devi (7816 m) to myriad unnamed massifs provide spectacular views. Visits to glaciers, mountain base camps, tarns and high elevation villages are organized from end June through October. The minimum group size is three and maximum twelve. Equipment can be rented.

Crags and meadows in the high range
Spring in the Himalaya
Crags and meadows in the high range
Spring in the Himalaya

Temples and religious sites

The state of Uttaranchal is also known as Devbhumi, the Land of Gods. Ancient temples are scattered through the countryside, many dating from the 8th to the 16th centuries. Some of these, such as those at Badrinath, one of the four holiest Hindu temples and Gangotri, the source of the Ganga River, are among the holiest sites of Hinduism. Such temples can be visited en route to other destinations or special itineraries linking the different temples can be worked out, such as the Four Dham Yatra linking Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri. June to October is best for high elevation temples such as the four Dhams, while any time of the year is fine for temples at lower elevation. No limitation on group size.

Jageshwat Town and Temples,
Entrance to Adibadri Temples,
Jageshwat Town and Temples,
Kumaon
Entrance to Adibadri Temples,
Garhwal

Nature and natural history tours

In terms of bio-diversity, the Himalaya is among the richest areas on Earth. A cross section of the Himalayan range supports a tremendous variety of life forms. Low elevation tropical forests at the base of the foothills are home to elephants and tigers, brilliant tropical butterflies and typically tropical birds, while high elevations are home to brown bear, snow leopards, Apollo butterflies and snow cocks. Peter Smetacek is a well known naturalist who is an authority on butterflies and moths. He guides our tours in the Himalaya and is available for trips to other parts of India as well, especially those concerned with research and films. If you want to locate a particular life form (except the yeti) but do not know how, contact him at [email protected]. No limitation on group size. These tours are especially interesting for senior school and University level student groups. Timing depends on what you want to see, but April through October is best in the Himalaya and September through March in Southern India.

The Himalayan Blue Poppy
Rocks and Scree
The Himalayan Blue Poppy
Rocks and Scree
in the Garhwal Himalaya

Sample Itinerary for an Eight Day Trek in the Western Himalaya

Day 1: Arrival at Kathgodam (400 m) railway station 6.30 a.m. Transfer to hotel in the Nainital area (1200m or 2400 m). Spend day sorting luggage, nature walk in sub-tropical forest, slide show before dinner. (Travel time 1 to 3 hours).
Day 2: Hotel to Joshimath (1750 m) (distance 290 km, driving time 11 hours).
Day 3: Joshimath to Khiron campsite (40 km driving, ca 5 -6 km walking).
Day 4: Khiron campsite to the southern base camp (4200 m) of Neelkanth peak (6300 m). (12 km walking, often uphill).
Day 5: Visit Urvashi Lake, Panpattia Glacier.
Day 6: Return to Joshimath.
Day 7: Return to Nainital area.
Day 8: Rest. Take night train to Delhi.

Minimum group size: 4 persons. Cost varies according to quality of services required, from US$ 600/-* to US$ 1600/-* per person all inclusive. We take no responsibility for the effects of altitude and trekking on our guests. Kindly ensure that you are in proper physical condition at the beginning of the trek. There are no star hotels along this route except in the Nainital area. It is possible to be carried or obtain ponies for those who do not wish to walk. The charges include porterage of up to 20 kgs of personal luggage per person.

Sample Itinerary for a Seven Day Tour of Kumaon

Day 1: Arrival at Kathgodam railway station 6.30 a.m. Transfer to hotel/resort/camp in the Nainital area by vehicle. Nature walk, slide show or attracting moths and other insects in the evening. (Travel time 1 to 3 hours).
Day 2: Travel to Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary by vehicle. (Driving time 4 hours). Nature walks in the afternoon through dense subtropical forest. Guitar session in the evening. Perhaps obtain view of snowy range at sunset. Visit Kainchi temple en route. Pass through Almora, ancient capital of the kingdom of Kumaon.
Day 3: View the snowy range at dawn. Walk from Binsar to 12 century temple town of Jageshwar via Vriddh Jageshwar (Walking time 2 to 4 hours). Examine temples in the daytime, moths at night. Those who do not want to walk may travel by vehicle.
Day 4: Proceed from Jageshwar to Pithoragarh by vehicle, visiting Patal Bhuvaneswar cave en route (Driving time 6 hours).
Day 5: Pithoragarh to Munsiari via Jauljibi by vehicle (Driving time 8 hours). Close view of snowy range. Shop for carpets, local tribal jewellery, woolens, etc. Munsiari was a staging post for traders traveling to Tibetan marts and affords a fine view of the Panchachuli massif and smaller peaks.
Day 6: Munsiari to Nainital (Driving time 12 hours). Arrive in the evening. Pass through the temple towns of Bageshwar and Baijnath (both ca.11 century).
Day 7: Rest in Nainital area. Take evening train to Delhi.
Minimum group size: 2 persons. Cost varies according to quality of services required, from US$ 500/-* to US$ 1200/-* per person. There are no star hotels along this route.


* Rupee rates available on request for Indian residents. These rates vary according to group size and services required. Generally the fees is Rs. 3000 a day + all expenses.

 

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Peter Smetacek, Himagni.