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Kumaon Himalayas II

Duration: 14 nights & 15 days

Best time to visit: mid-May and end June and from mid-September to end-October



You will be met at the airport and transferred to Kuchesar Mud Fort.

The heritage hotel of Kuchesar, Mud fort Kuchesar will offer you the 18th century lifestyle with a modern touch. This Heritage hotel of Kuchesar has been known for its hospitality since decades. All the visitors and guests were treated equally and with great care as they followed “Atithi Devo Bhava” means “Guests are God”.

Being located amidst the picturesque surrounding and having the holy river of Ganges just 24 kms away, Mud Fort Kuchesar gives you the taste of exotic India.


After breakfast you will drive to PANGOT. Pangot is 15 from Nainital, it is an island of tranquility where you can either just lie soaking in the sun or do some vigorous walking in the dense oak forests. Pangot is a small village with the customary post office, a chai-shop-cum-general merchant, a tailor and a temple and little else.

The area has some remarkable foot trails through thick oak, pine, bamboo, cedar, rhododendron and other conifers, making the walks delightfully refreshing.

You will have the afternoon free to relax in the pristine surroundings of the lodge. Our bird guide will help you identify bird species in and around the lodge. This area offers an avid birder a choice of more than 250 bird species.
Overnight at Jungle Lore Birding Lodge.


One of the popular treks is from Pangot to Naina Peak via Kilbury Forest Rest House. We shall be trekking along this long trail leading up to the Naina Peak, at 2,610 metres, which offers views of the Garhwal Himalayas, including Nanda Devi. The duration of the trek is 4-5 hours and is moderate in nature. One goes through Himalayan temperate forest to the grasslands.

The trail is full of woodpeckers, pheasants, thrushes, warblers etc. You can also look for the hill barbet, the slaty-grey woodpecker, the black-chinned babbler and the black-headed and maroon orioles. The population in the nearby mountains includes Himalayan griffon vultures, lammergeyers and chakor, khalij pheasants, crimson sunbirds and the fire-capped tit.

One can often spy wildlife around the streams. A host of bird life inhabits this world – an absolute dream for the birdwatcher. The area has some remarkable foot trails through thick conifers, making the walks delightfully refreshing.

We will descend from Naina peak on the horses and the vehicles will pick us up from Snow View Point to return to the lodge. You will be taken for a village visit in the afternoon to show the lifestyle of people where you will have a chance to interact with them.

Overnight at Jungle Lore Birding Lodge.


Today we will visit Nainital in the morning. Nestled in the Kumaon hills, Nainital area is dotted with lakes giving it the epithet of “Lake District”. The finest lake ringed by hills is the Naini Lake, around which lies the hill town of Nainital, with pretty cottages, and villas reflected in its calm waters.

This pleasant hill station owes its origin to the British who were probably reminded of the Cumbrian Lake District. The first recorded discovery of this now popular hill station of Nainital, was in 1841 when a British, Mr. Barron, chanced upon the lake. Moved by the scenic beauty of the lake and thickly forested hills, he constructed a house named Pilgrim's Cottage. It was the first of many residences, which were to transform Nainital into a popular resort. By 1858, Nainital became a well-known hill station, and within a few years the summer seat of the provincial government.

According to local belief the origin of Nainital harks back to mythological times. Sati, Lord Shiva's consort, committed suicide at the yajna of Daksha Prajapati. When Lord Shiva roamed across the universe carrying her dead body, Sati's eye fell near the lake, where the Naina Devi temple now stands. The waters of the lake are therefore considered sacred and the Naina Devi temple is the venue of an autumnal fair. In ancient times, the lake was know as the Tri-rishi Sarovar, the lake of three rishis-Atri, Pulastya and Pulaha.

Prior to 1839, the valley was covered by thick forests and inhabited by hill tribesmen. A major landslide in 1880 led to the formation of the flats, the level ground by the lake. Nainital's attractions range from quiet walks in meadows and forests of pine and deciduous trees, adventure sports as well as popular entertainment.

As we proceed towards Nainital, we will make a brief stop at Snow View point to photograph the snow clad Himalayan ranges showing, Nanda Devi, Panchachuli, Trishul etc.

The lake is at the centre of all activity. We will spend time boating in the lake to see the views of the valley. The north end of the lake is known as Malitaal while the southern end is Talitaal which has a bridge and a post office on its sides - the only post office on a lake bridge in the world. The busy bus station and taxi stand is where visitors alight. As you walk around the eastern shore on the Mall you see some lovely homes and shops, some of which have been there for many years. The Pastry shop makes the best raisin bread, croissants and cakes which taste even more delicious to a hungry walker. Most visitors can be found on the Mall taking a walk, shopping or just watching the world go by.

The Flats at the northern side of the lake have a fountain and a bandstand. This is where the cultural activities take place. The Bhotia or Tibetan market is a great place for browsing and the rink for roller skating. The old wooden Nainital Boat Club, reminiscent of the British Raj is close by.

We will proceed to Abbott Mount, arriving in the evening. Overnight stay in Abbott Mount Cottage.

This historic hamlet of Abbott Mount is situated at an altitude of about 7,000 ft above sea level in the eastern part of the Kumaon Hills near the small town of Lohaghat in Champavat District. Abbott Mount was founded by and named after Mr. John Harold Abbott of Jhansi. An English businessman who wanted to start a hill station for the European community at the turn of the 20th century. Unlike many Indian hill stations Abbott Mount has changed little since its inception. There are only thirteen secluded cottages spread over this private hill. There is a picturesque church set amidst the forest and a ancient cricket pitch with an unsurpassed view of the mountains.


Drive to Munsyari via Pithoragarh. A steep ascent to the quaint little township of Munsyari perched on a mountain face. Munsyari commands fantastic views of the Panchchuli peaks and the Milam and Ralam valleys. Overnight stay cottages at Wayfarer Mountain Resort.

Surrounded by the mighty Panch-Chulli range, this Kumaon outpost is the closest you can get to the real Himalayas. Munsyari is the gateway to the well-known Milam and Ralam glaciers and the Nanda Devi range.

The journey past Pithoragarh and Thal to Munsyari is almost unique. At Thal we cross the swiftly flowing Ramganga River. The road now heads north all along the river. On the way are small towns like Nachni and Tejam, both well known amongst locals for fishing. Soon the character of the hillside changes and the road now winds itself steeply through a string of gorges. Several waterfalls dot the wayside with the most famous being the one at Birthi-you can almost spot this fall from a good 15kms away. This is the place we will stop for a breath of fresh air and to enable the drivers to prepare for what lies ahead. A steep and serpentine road with more than twenty two bends takes you to the top of KALA MUNI (2800MTS) PASS. Amidst deep greenery the road now descends into the magnificent valley of Munsyari. This remote Indian border town is situated on the lap of the massive Panch Chulli range and is a store house of many of nature's wonders.

Today full day is spent in slow journey to Munsyari. Wayfarer Mountain Resort.



Day 05: Drive from Munsyari to Sobla (130 kms./5 hrs.) : The Jeep track from Munsyari, initially, descends to Madkot Village which is on the banks of the rapidly flowing Gori Ganga river. From this point, the two hour drive to Jauljibi is particularly scenic. On the way are small villages called Chori Bagar, and Banga Pani. At Jauljibi there is the confluence of river Gori with Kali that crosses into India from Nepal at Dharchula. The route now travels northwards past Dharchula and Tawa Ghat and divests westward into a gorge following the Dhauli Ganga river up to Sobla. Sobla (1670m) is the entry point to the Darma Valley and is the starting point of our trek. Our destination is Dar Village (2134m) which is 5 kms. from Sobla. We pitch up here for the night.

Day 06: Dar to Sela (2438 mts./12 km; 5 to 6 hrs.). Today’s walk is long but easy. The mule track from Dar to Sela goes through hill sides of green pastoral land. The campsite is on the outskirts of Sela.

Day 07: Sela to Baaling (2743 mts./11 km; 5 to 6 hrs.) : It is another relatively trouble free day. The trail to Baaling goes up and down hill sides but the altitude gained is moderate. The views of the distant glaciers is exciting and the temptation to push ahead is high. Nevertheless we camp here for the night, because we have a long march ahead of us the next day.

Day 08: Baaling to Panch Chulli via Duktu (10 km / 5 hrs.). Duktu and Dantu are two adjacent villages which are the last centres of human habitation in this part of Darma valley. The view of the Panch Chulli peaks from here is just magnificent. On the outskirts of Duktu is a huge meadow that provides a perfect setting for viewing the Panch Chulli glacier with the backdrop of the Panch Chulli peaks. This particular spot is almost picture perfect. We set out to explore the Panch Chulli glacier from our base camp at Duktu. The glacier projects outwards from the East face of Panch Chulli and a 4 kms. trek from the campsite along the Yuli river leads to the massive glacier itself. The place itself provides an incredible scenery of a sprawling meadow bordered by tall oak and birch trees with the Panch Chulli (6904 mts./22652 ft.) looming in the background. We pitch tents for the night here.

Day 09: Panch Chulli to Nagling (2743 mts./15 km) : We start on return trek today. The trail a gradual descent and the days’ walk takes around 5 hours.

Day 10: Nagling to Bungling (12 kms.) : This is the last day of our walking. We arrive at Bungling by noon. From here after a brief rest we get on to a waiting jeep that drives us back to Munsyari.

Day 05: After breakfast drive for 6kms to Dumar and then the trek begins. Our destination is past Lilam village to Rargari (10 kms) where we camp for the night.

Day 06: Today is a strenous walk along a gorge past the Gori Ganga river. The route is fairly up and down but generally eases off before reaching the camp site at Mapang (3100 mts, 9 kms).

Day 07: You are in high mountain country now and the tree line disappears giving access to vast stretches of Alpine pastures. The day's walk is past Lhaspa to Rilkot.

Day 08: From Rilkot you will continue to Bugdyar (2700 mts, 14 kms). This is a steady walk and mostly downhill past the vllages Lhaspa, Mapang and the narrow gorge at Nahar Devi.

Day 09: Bugdyar to Munsyari (16 kms). We walk downhill all throughout and Munsyari by late afternoon. Wayfarer Mountain Resort.

Day 10: There are other interesting day treks to Balati Farm at a height of 9000 feet, which offers breath taking panoramic views of the snow peaks, or to Thamri Kund, another lake hidden amongst rhododendron forests. A drive through Madkot, Chori Bagar, Bangapani to Jouljibi and back entails a day's travel through absolutely picturesque locations along the banks of the Gori Ganga and you may end up exhausting your entire camera roll. Wayfarer Mountain Resort.


Drive in the morning to Binsar. Enroute, we could stop at Thal for a short swim in Ramganga river. Lunch may be served on the riverside.

We will be stopping at Bageshwar, where we go across a bridge that spans the confluence of two Himalayan rivers - the Saryu and the Gomti. Soon the road curves upwards along a heavily forested landscape. All along the entire Himalayan range is visible to the naked eye, the ancient town where Hindus come to offer prayers for the departed souls.

Binsar is located in the midst of dense forests 30 km from Almora. It derives its name from Binsar Deo or Shiva. The Shiva temple here was built by the Chandravanshi King Kalyan. Once the ancient capital of the Chand Raj kings who ruled in the 7th and 8th centuries Binsar is an epitome of solitude, quietness and natural beauty for today's traveler. Perched on top of Jhandi Dhar hills, Binsar is a notified forest reserve and bird sanctuary. The Binsar wildlife sanctuary home to many high-altitude animal and bird species. Mammals are leopard, Himalayan palm civet, serow, ghoral, yellow-throated Himalayan marten, yellow-bellied weasel, fox, Himalayan black bear etc.

There is no town called Binsar, not even a settlement of huts or anything, it is just the forest reserve that has been named Binsar. The placed affords wonderful views of the snowcapped Himalayan ranges, like the peaks of Nanada Devi, Kedarnath, Chaukhamba, Trishul, Panchchuli and Nanda Kot.

Afternoon visit to the Shiva temple (3 km trek).
Overnight in Swiss tents at Binsar Retreat or Khali Estate.


Morning trek in Binsar Sanctuary for bird watching. After breakfast, drive to Jageshwar. Counted among the 12 Jyotirlingas in the country, Jageshwar lies in a beautiful narrow valley hedged by monarch-sized, ancient deodars. Of the over 100 small and large shrines of this complex, the three outstanding ones in terms of sculpture are dedicated to Jageshwar, Mrityunjaya and Pushtidevi. There is a small museum where statues of artistic value, removed from the various shrines, have been preserved by the archaeological department.

A 3 km trek from Jageshwar leads to Vriddha Jageshwar. This is regarded as the abode of Lord Shiva prior to his manifesting himself as Jageshwar. This site commands a magnificent view of the Himalayas. The lofty-tower type isolated shrine of Dandeshwar is 1 km short of the actual temple complex.

Overnight in Swiss tents at Binsar Retreat or Khali Estate.


Drive in the morning to Ranikhet (2 hr.). We will visit the bazaar, war museum, handicrafts center, Kalika temple and continue driving to Corbett National park.

Ranikhet (1829mt.): A cantonment town of immense charm, it was once the pet excursion ground of Padmini, queen of the Katyuri king, Sudhardev (1180AD). There is much to see in and around Ranikhet starting with Kalika temple known for its forest nursery and the shrine to goddess kali. The plateau of Upat has a 9-hole golf course ringed by tall pines. Tourists visit Chillianaula for its Shiva temple.
Overnight at Tiger Camp.


Early morning game drive for tiger-tracking and bird watching. After lunch, drive to Bijrani tourism zone. Jeep safaris will be through jungle and the wildlife adventure of Corbett begins. A great opportunity for viewing wildlife, especially the tiger in its natural habitat.
Overnight at Tiger Camp.


Morning elephant ride through the open chaurs (grasslands) and dense forests. This is the best mode of transport for wildlife viewing. Return for breakfast. Drive back to Delhi (6 hours). Arrive Delhi in the evening and transfer to the International airport to board your flight for onward journey / home.


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