India - Himalayas Binsar

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Desert and Mountains

* Flexible walking for all abilities  * Desert life, camel safari  * Mountain villages, wildlife sanctuary

From the undulating dunes of the Thar desert to the wooded valleys of the Himalayan foothills, discover a hidden India in this wonderfully contrasting holiday. Stay in thatched 'jhumpas' in the charming desert village of Hacra and enjoy a camel trek into the dunes. Head further north via the dazzling city of Jaipur to the verdant hillside villages of the Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary for the journey of a lifetime.

Jhumpas and Dunes

An overnight train journey takes you to Jodhpur, the gateway to the Thar Desert. From here you are transferred by road to the captivating village of Hacra, your home for five nights. Uncover the secrets of life in the semi-desert, learn the traditions of the shoemakers, farmers and musicians who abide here and marvel at the wildlife as you relax in the evening sunshine. Visit the astonishing Jain temples at the nearby town of Osiyan.

 

Camel trek across the sands

A highlight of your stay in Hacra is a camel trek into the dunes to spend a night under the stars. The camel safari provides a gentle excursion through the scattered villages towards the main sand dunes, stopping for a leisurely picnic lunch.   Witnessing the sunset at the tented camp among the dunes is an unforgettable experience.

 

Dazzling Jaipur

From Hacra, you return to Jodhpur to catch a train to Rajasthan's capital, Jaipur. Two nights here allow you to immerse yourself in the bustling markets and explore the dazzling palaces and the Amber Fort, before an overnight train journey takes you up into the foothills.

 

 

Hillside retreat

The wooded hills of the Binsar Sanctuary, overlooked by the magnificent Himalayan peaks, are a wonderful landscape for discovering an abundance of wildlife. Get to know the enchanting communities and revel in the beauty of your surroundings, where picturesque hillside villages nestle amid pine trees and terraced fields.

 

 

Wonderful walks

Your stay starts at the charming Khali Estate, from where you walk approximately 5 hours a day, with your own knowledgeable guide, to visit four distinctive, hospitable villages. Allowing plenty of time for exploration, the walking is moderately paced, including a day for relaxation with a second night in one of the villages. The experience is unforgettable, as you encounter friendly communities which welcome you with humbling warmth and leave you longing to return.

 

 

We look after you from the moment of your arrival at Delhi airport. Your holiday includes transfers and overnight rail journeys to the desert and hills, accommodation in the village guesthouses, at Khali Estate and in cities, with all meals provided during your stay with the communities and your own guide through the hills. We have devised each of our holidays to provide a good balance between activity and relaxation; please feel free to tailor your holiday to your exact requirements.

Outward Journey

Day 1 Welcome at Delhi airport, transfer to Delhi centre and onwards to Old Delhi station for the overnight Mandore Express to Jodhpur.

Day 2 Spend a full day in the dazzling 'Blue City' of Jodhpur. Explore old palaces, the magnificent hill fort and the bustling bazaars. Spend a night in a comfortable, small hotel converted from an ancient Haveli. 

 

With the Community of Hacra

Day 3 After breakfast, a 2 hour road transfer will transport you from the busy city to the great Thar desert and the hamlet of Hacra.

Day 4 - Day 7 During your stay in Hacra you will get to know the community, have guided village walks, see the traditional crafts of shoe-making and rug-making and enjoy local folk music. Take a day trip to the nearby town of Osiyan to see the remarkable cluster of Jain temples.

Enjoy a camel safari and walk (10-12 km) to the sand dunes, taking a picnic lunch, and spend a night in the tented camp among the dunes. 

North via Jaipur

Day 8 Returning by car to Jodhpur, you will catch a day train to Jaipur, Rajasthan's capital. Overnight Jaipur.

Day 9 You will have time to explore dazzling Jaipur, perhaps visiting the Hawa Mahal 'Palace of the Winds', the intriguing observatory and the famous Amber Fort before spending a second night in the city.

Day 10 An overnight train journey will take you from Rajasthan up into the Himalayan foothills to Kathgodam.

 

In the Binsar Sanctuary

Day 11 You will be met at Kathgodam station and a road transfer (4 hrs) takes you to Khali Estate for lunch. Relax and spend a night in a double room garden bungalow.

Day 12 - Day 16 Over the next 5 days you will walk between and stay in 4 of the Binsar villages, visiting the fifth for lunch. We include a day for relaxation, spending a second night in the same village. With your own private guide you will explore the ancient footpaths and wooded valleys, spot the varied wildlife and marvel as you catch glimpses of the magnificent Himalayan peaks as you journey between the charming villages. Get to know the communities, discover the farming traditions and perhaps play a game of cricket.

Homeward Journey

Day 17 Return to Khali Estate for another night's stay.

Day 18 A road transfer takes you to Kathgodam to catch the day train to Delhi.

You will be met at Old Delhi station and transferred to the city centre. Overnight in Delhi guesthouse.

Day 19 Transfer to Delhi airport for homeward flight.

Flights

We ask our guests to make their own arrangements for international travel to India. For Village Ways holidays in the foothills and Rajasthan, the nearest airport is Delhi. Travel information for India can be found here.

Tailor-made

The suggested itinerary can be extended if you wish to spend more time exploring the Thar Desert, the Himalayan foothills and the cities, or shortened if your time in India is limited. Choose to upgrade to 1st class on the trains or add extra nights with the communities. Our knowledgeable staff will be delighted to help fashion the holiday to suit you.

Stay in the cities

Your holiday includes a stay in three of India’s finest cities- Jaipur, Jodhpur and Delhi. Each of these cities is unique, with so much to see and do. Add extra nights in any of the cities, or let us arrange a carefully selected driver to look after you for the day.

Jodhpur

This is one of the major cities of northern Rajasthan, formerly the centre of a Princely State. The city has much to offer in terms of old palaces, the magnificent hill fort and shopping, especially in the bustling bazaar in the old town.

Jaipur

Jaipur is the capital of Rajasthan, hosting some incredible architecture and seeped in history. Not to be missed are the Jantar Mantar observatory and the renowned Amber Fort.

Delhi

Delhi is a fascinating and vibrant city. It epitomises the huge leaps forward that India is currently undergoing whilst reflecting the country's great history. A new metro is being built but much is still moved around on overladen cycles and bullock carts. The shopping opportunities are excellent, particularly for textiles.

Extra nights with the communities

You are most welcome to extend your stay in the village guesthouses in the Binsar hills, at Khali Estate or in the Thar desert.

Extra nights at Khali Estate

All holidays to Binsar or Saryu include at least one night at Khali Estate, a marvelous place to relax and unwind. Many guests have added an extra night here at the beginning or end of their stay in the hills. If your journey here has been by night flight followed by overnight train it could be good idea to catch you breath with a quiet day here.

Extra nights in the Village Guest-houses

You may wish to prolong your exploration of the wonderful hill villages in Binsar or the delightful desert community of Hacra. There is so much to learn and appreciate about village life and the host communities would love to keep you for a day longer.