“Gentle 4-day (or longer) hikes through stunning Himalayan foothills, immersing yourself in village life with authentic homestays”
Accommodation is provided in homestays in traditional slate-roofed village houses. Rooms are on the first floor of two-storey brightly-coloured homes, often with a courtyard, balcony or terraced area, and consist of basic but comfortable accommodation. The cottages are made of stone and concrete, with carved wooden features, and have been simply refurbished.
Wooden shuttered windows and doors protect you from the elements as you relax on single beds with comfortable sprung mattresses, clean white cotton sheets and blankets. Candles provide gentle light, traditional swept-mud floors covered with dhurries are underfoot, and low wooden tables and shelving continue the rustic feel.
Bathroom facilities are basic - an outdoor wash-house contains flushing Western toilets and hot ‘bucket baths’ are provided morning and night. Water is heated on the household fire, transported to the shower room in brass buckets and mixed with cold tapwater. We found this to be surprisingly refreshing!
The villages are all tiny: Deora and Alai overlook terraced fields and the Himalayan foothills; Jwalabanj has a distant view of Nanda Devi, the second highest mountain in India. Do remember that the local people are hosting you as their guest and you should respect this in your behaviour and comments.
The local Kumaoni cuisine is cooked over the household fire and served by your village host according to tradition. All meals are prepared to a high standard of hygiene using purified water, and combine fresh ingredients grown by the villagers - including the spices and herbs.
Dinner is served under the stars. It varies from village to village, but typically consists of red rice, dhal, pumpkin or mutton curry, saag (hill spinach), spiced okra or ‘ladyfingers’, pahari aloos (potatoes), paneer and chapattis. Fresh yoghurt comes from the villagers’ buffalos and might be accompanied by 'cannabis chutney' - a delicious local condiment made from hemp seeds, pomegranate and mint. Beer, wine and spirits are available and for dessert there’s sweet pua (cakes made of banana and semolina) or lapashi (wheat pudding).
In the morning, fresh ginger tea is brought to you in bed and is followed by an outdoor breakfast of fruit, muesli, or omelettes cooked with a little onion, garlic and chilli.
Packed lunches are simple affairs comprising sandwiches, parathas (bread) with potato and cauliflower mix, and maybe some samosas, fruit and chocolate, all served in picturesque spots along the route. Sweet, red rhododendron juice is a regional speciality that will keep you on your feet throughout the day. The guides also carry plenty of water to keep you hydrated.
If you have any specific allergies or food preferences be sure to mention this when you book.
Children above the age of 5 are accepted on the hikes, though we think they're more suitable for over 8s with a strong sense of adventure. Children under 12 sharing their parents' room receive a 50% discount. There are no babysitting facilities along the route, but extra bedding and special dishes can be arranged with advance notice.
Teens (over 12)
Extra Beds Available