(10 nights 11 days)
This trip covers the best parts of Kumaon Himalayas in Uttarakhand. The activities range from wild life safaris to bird watching to hiking and to staying in a local house in high Himalayas.
- Day 1: Ramnagar - Corbett - 45 minutes Reach Ramnagar in the morning or mid- morning by train. Drive to a Jungle Retreat in the peripheral forests of Corbett. Check into a Cottage. Freshen up and later go for an afternoon safari or the early evening Elephant ride.
- Day 2: Corbett Another safari in the Jungle today. In the afternoon, you could for a walk in the jungle or go bird watching. Evening at leisure in the retreat. Night stay in retreat.
- Day 3: Corbett - Binsar - 5-6 hrs Leave after breakfast to reach Binsar by afternoon. Check into the cottage located within the Sanctuary. Night stay in cottage.
- Day 4: Binsar Drive towards zero point. Leave very early in the morning so that you can reach the point just before sunrise. Walk the last 2 kms to zero point. Drive back to estate for breakfast. Freshen up and walk to Dalad. It is a short 4 kms easy walk to the village. Lunch in a local house. Hike back to the estate. Rest a while, freshen up and around 1700 hrs you could go on another hike to the ridge for spectacular views at sundown.
- Day 5: Binsar - Munsiyari (2298M) - 9 hrs Today, we leave early in the morning for Munsiyari. This is a long day on road through some back of beyond roads. We are now on extreme eastern end of Uttarakhand almost bordering Nepal. A good day on the road though. Reach Munsiyari in the evening and settle in to your home stay. Early dinner and early to bed.
Munsiyari means place with snow. Situated on the banks of Goriganga, this town used to be on the ancient Tibet- salt route. The region is known as Johar valley and the inhabited by Shaukya people. Shaukya people used to lead semi- Nomadic life and were engaged in trade with Tibet. Physiologically, the region is extremely beautiful. Great for bird watching and hiking. The region is home to some exotic birds like Monal, Snow cock, snow partridge, himalayan vultures, serpent and golden eagles. It is also an important transit for treks to Ralam, Milam glaciers. Munsiyari offers a grand view of Panchchuli range, Hansling, Rajarambha and Chiplakot; all peaks over 19000 ft.
- Day 6: Munsiyari - Sarmoli village walk After breakfast, at the home stay, set off at for a guided tour of the village. You get to observe the human geography of changing architectural styles and the human-nature interaction, of managing the forest commons and its inter-relationship with livestock, agriculture. Visit the village temple, forest and water sources. If interested in the local wool craft, visit families that have a working loom in their homes. Lunch at the picturesque Mesar Kund, a sacred pool nestled in the Forest commons. Enjoy the rest of the day in the picturesque surroundings of the village. We could also visit a Tribal heritage museum. Evening at leisure. Night stay in Munsiyari.
- Day 7: Munsiyari - Jhaltola - 5 Hrs Leave after breakfast and drive to Jhaltola. Reach Jhaltola for a late lunch. Freshen up. Evening at leisure to savour the pristine natural beauty & amazing views of the Himalayas. Evening would be spent beside a roaring campfire, listening to jungle sounds & enjoying the lively company of the charming couple who are also your hosts here.
- Day 8: Jhaltola - Short hike to Lamkeshwar After breakfast, leave with a guide on this soft trek of about 2½ hrs to Lamkeshwar - an old temple dedicated to Lord Shiva sits atop a mountain which is a 3 km uphill climb from the retreat. It also offers fabulous 360 degree views and on clear days, one could spend an entire day tirelessly taking pictures and still not be satiated. Have a picnic lunch in the forest and walk back to reach the retreat by late afternoon/ early evening.
- Day 9: Jhaltola - Sonapani - 4-5 hrs hrs Drive to Sonapani after breakfast. Check into your rooms on arrival and freshen up. Full day at leisure at the retreat. Evening around a bonfire. Night stay in retreat.
Sonapani is a tiny Hamlet close to Mukteshwar. It has an interesting history. There used to be an old natural spring perceived to have medicinal properties and hence the village was named, Sonapani. Some British officers happened to drink water from here and took to it immediately. Thereafter, water from the spring was supplied to the officers of nearest army garrison on ponies and horses. One of these officers was the decorated Captain Kushal Singh Burathoki. On his retirement, he was given a piece of land of his choice. He chose this land and named it Sonapani Estate. He built a stone structure here and spent his days farming and hunting. Today, the stone structure serves as office and staff quarters of the retreat you would be staying in. The retreat itself is flanked by Pine, Oak and Rhododendrons forest. And of course not to miss is the fantastic view of the Himalayan peaks. There are also orchards of apricot, apple, plum and peach.
- Day 10: Sonapani - Mukteshwar - Sonapani Breakfast at leisure after which we drive to Mukteshwar. Mukteshwar is a quaint little town. We start our hike back to Sonapani from here. This is a lovely hike through pine forest. Sonapani is also a good area for bird watching. Enjoy a packed lunch in the forest. Back to the retreat early evening. Enjoy the evening around a bonfire. Night stay in retreat.
- Day 11: Drop at Kathgodam railway station - 3 hrs Leave after an early breakfast for Kathgodam railway station to take afternoon/ night train back to Delhi.