Hills and valleys of Binsar
Spend five days in the wonderful Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary, walking from village to village and experiencing at first hand the rhythm of village life in the sanctuary. Each day brings fresh surprises and delights. You walk on ancient paths through valleys clad in pine forest and terraced fields, passing women carrying head loads of grass or tending to their flocks of goats, with glimpses of the magnificant Himalayas as you walk.
Wonderful wildlife and abundant birds
Binsar is a wonderful place to discover wildlife. The valleys are alive with birdsong and as you walk you hear the tinkle of goat bells or the cry of the barking deer, alerting to a leopard. Your guide helps you to spot deer, langur monkeys and a variety of birdlife, as well as looking for signs of wild boar, porcupine, pine martens and the elusive leopard.
The high hills
From Binsar you are transferred north to spend seven days in the charming villages of the Saryu and Pindar Valleys, closer still to the Himalayas, with sensational views stretching beyond wide meadows and forested hills. The walks between the villages of Saryu and Pindar are quite extraordinary. The forests abound with birds, including soaring serpent eagles and you may even see wild boar, foxes and bear. You also have time to relax and enjoy the bustle of village life, get to know the communities and admire the awesome mountain views.
A night under the stars
A night under the stars at the tented camp at Jaikuni is a real highlight of our trips to the Himalaya. Perched on the ridge separating the Saryu and Pindar valleys, Jaikuni provides a stunning balcony view on to the range of the Indian Himalayas. Waking up to the sunrise over the mountains - which feel so close you want to touch them - is a really special experience.
Stretch your legs
You are privately guided throughout your stay in the hills. In Binsar, the walking is along small, well-used paths through forest and across terraced fields, with steep sections at times but manageable. In Saryu and Pindar the walks are more leg-stretching, with some long and steep gradients but incredibly rewarding open views across the alpine meadows to the great Himalayan peaks.
Day 1 Welcome at Delhi airport, transfer to Delhi centre to freshen up at a pleasant guesthouse before a transfer to Old Delhi station to catch the overnight Ranikhet Express to Kathgodam.
Day 2 A road transfer takes you from Kathgodam to Khali Estate, for a relaxing stay in, a double room garden bungalow.
Walking the Binsar Hills
Day 3 - Day 7 From Khali, head through the pine forest to spend the next five nights visiting the Binsar villages, walking from village to village and experiencing at first hand the rhythm of village life in the Sanctuary. You will pass through dense oak and rhododendron forests, with temptong glimpses of valleys below. Another day you may descend gently through broad terraced farmland, to the movement and sounds of the villagers at work. You stay in four of the Binsar villages, with two nights spent in one village.
Exploring the Saryu & Pindar Valleys
Day 8 After breakfast continue your journey to the first village in the Saryu or Pindar Valley - by road 5hrs, lunch en route. Walk from the road-head to the village (1.5 hrs). Relax and dinner, meet your guide to discuss the days ahead. Overnight in village guesthouse.
Day 9 - Day 14 Spend the next six days walking between and staying in the Pindar villages of Kati and Dhurr and the Saryu villages of Jhuni, Khal Jhuni and Supi. You will spend two nights in two of the villages and enjoy a night under the stars at the tented camp of Jakuni Bhugiyal.
Your walks will take you through alpine pastures and rhododendron forest, with stunning open views of the high Himalayan peaks. The walking here is slightly more demanding than in Binsar, but on good terrain with spectacular scenery. Discover the wonderful Path of a Thousand Steps and marvel as you cross from Saryu to Pindar and feel that you are up close to the high peaks; the views from Dhurr are particularly special.
Day 15 Return by road to Khali Estate for another night's stay.
Day 16 Transfer to Kathgodam in time to catch the day train to Delhi. Meet at Old Delhi station and transfer to guesthouse for an overnight stay.
Day 17 Transfer to Delhi airport for homeward flight.
We ask our guests to make their own arrangements for international travel to India. For Village Ways holidays in the foothills, the nearest airport is Delhi. Travel information for India can be found here.
We look after you from the moment of your arrival at Delhi airport. Your holiday includes transfers and rail journeys to the hills, accommodation in the village guesthouses and at Khali Estate with all meals provided 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.
The suggested itinerary can be extended if you wish to spend more time exploring the Himalayan foothills, or shortened if your time in India is limited. Our knowledgeable staff will be delighted to help fashion the holiday to suit you.
Stay in Delhi
Delhi is a fascinating and vibrant city. It epitomises the huge leaps forward that India is currently undergowing 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. Why not add a night's stay in the city to your holiday?
Guest-house accommodation We work with some very comfortable and hospitable guest-houses in the heart of Delhi. We can arrange overnight stays for you, or a day-room to freshen up after a night flight. We can arrange an upgrade from a guest-house to a hotel if you prefer.
Driver & car for the day One of the best ways to get around and across Delhi is by car. We offer carefully selected drivers to look after you for the day. On call for you, they will be able to take from shops to India Gate to the Red Fort and out to dinner - or wherever you choose.
From Delhi to the hills
Included in your holiday to and from the hills is a journey on the overnight Ranikhet Express from Delhi to Kathgodam from where your onward journey continues by road. Included accommodation is in 2nd class, air-conditioned carriages - 2 tier, open plan with curtains around groups of berths. Trains open for reservation 3 months before departure. As soon as reservations open we will be able to confirm your rail journey to you.
Upgrade to 1st class on the train You can upgrade to 1st class where the berths are in air-conditioned compartments of four or two. There is only one 1st class carriage which can be get booked very early on.
From Delhi to the hills by car An alternative option is to travel up from Delhi (or return at the end of you holiday) by private car. Carefully chosen, courteous drivers will look after you in your 10 hr journey.
Extra nights during your holiday
Extra nights at Khali Estate
All holidays to Binsar 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. There is so much to learn and appreciate about village life and the host communities would love to keep you for a day longer.
For many guests, a visit to India would not be complete without a visit to the Taj Mahal, regarded by many as one of the wonders of the world. Whether you wish to make a day trip by train, enjoy an overnight stay with time to explore more of Agra, or whether you wish to be transferred by car, we can arrange a visit to suit you.
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. Add a visit here to complete the Golden Triangle of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur.