In the Footsteps of Anwals

Last Shepherds of the Himalayas

10 nights, 5-6 days walking

  • Excellent walking to a mountain backdrop
  • Encounter transhumance shepherds in the high alpine pastures
  • Comfortable village guesthouses, 2 nights camping

Discover one of the most extraordinary aspects of traditional village life in the high valleys of the Indian Himalayas, as you enjoy a unique opportunity to witness the inspirational life of the ‘’Anwals.’’ These are the last remaining transhumance shepherds, who, in April each year, move from the lower altitude villages to the lush, green, higher alpine pastures with their flock, returning with the onset of autumn. Anwals have been making these journeys for many generations, and it is a tough life up on the mountains, but one that carries much prestige. Sadly, as farming practices change, the transhumance traditions, as elsewhere in the world, are slowly dying out. Our partner communities are delighted to arrange for our guests to travel to meet the shepherds, in the company of our local guides.

Spend two days with the Anwals as they begin their transhumance journey from the Saryu and Pindar Valleys. Enjoy wonderful walking in beautiful surroundings and get to know the local stories of the shepherds.

Find out more about the amazing life of the Anwals - read the full story told by Tara S Takuli, the local Village Ways field co-ordinator, in Supi.

Himalayan foothlls

Wonderful Himalayan walks, spectacular scenery

Visit the hospitable mountain villages of the Saryu and Pindar Valleys, walking from village to village across wide meadows and through forested paths, with spectacular Himalayan views. Stay in village-owned guesthouses and explore this dramatic landscape with your own guide.

 

 

With the Anwals

Spend two nights camping beneath the stars and meet the Anwals as they prepare for their epic journey. Walk with them between the bhugiyals (meadows) at Patalkhod and Jaikuni and listen to their local tales. Choose to add an extra walk up to Pakhwa Top for wonderful views of the peaks of Nanda Devi and the Pindari glacier.

 

  

Spring in Himalayas

Mountain villages in Spring

This holiday runs for a limited period between April and May, when the Anwals are stationed in the meadows around Patalkhod and Jaikuni before moving even higher towards the highest mountains. This is a wonderful time to visit the Himalayas, as the hillsides are covered in bright rhododendron and villages are buzzing with activity at harvest time. Early morning is the ideal time for glimpsing the high Himalayan peaks towering above the meadows and forests, and days are warm and pleasant - ideal for walking.

 Click here to read more about the life of the Anwals.

Khali Estate

Outward Journey

Day 1 Welcome at Delhi airport, transfer to guesthouse for overnight stay.

Day 2 Early morning transfer to Delhi station for a day train into the hills. Arrive at Kathgodam station and road transfer (4hrs) to Khali Estate, a family-run hotel. Overnight stay at Khali Estate, double room garden bungalow.

In the Valleys

Day 3 After breakfast continue your journey to your starting point in the Saryu Valley - by road 5hrs, lunch en route. Walk from the road-head to Supit village. Relax and dinner, meet your guide to discuss the days ahead. Overnight in the guesthouse.

Day 4 Spend a full day in Supi, with local village walk if you wish. Get to know the local traditions and relax in the comfortable guesthouse.

Day 5 Walk with your guide to your next village homestay. Walking in Saryu and Pinder can involve some long and steep gradients, and remember you are at altitude, but the terrain is good and the views are incredibly rewarding. You walk on averge 4-5 hours per day.

Day 6 Today you walk to Patlakhod, where you join the Anwals as they prepare their flocks for the months ahead. Stay in standard dome tents, set up by local porters. Get to know the shepherds and learn about their journey through the hills.

Day 7 From Patalkhod, many Anwals move to the open meadows near Jaikuni, where the local communities have set up a splendid tented camp with walk-in tents. Choose to walk with the Anwals, or for good walks, take a detour via Pakhwa Top, where you will have extensive mountain views on a clear day, re-joining the Anwals at Jaikuni. Overnight at Jaikuni camp, with panoramic mountain views.

(For guests who wish to spend more time with the shepherds, we recommend adding a second night at Jaikuni in order to enjoy the views and take a walk to the nearby Chilta Temple.)

Day 8 It is worth waking early at Jaikuni to see the sun rise over the hills. From Jaikuni, you leave the Anwals and walk with your guide into the Pindar Valley, to the village of Dhurr. Overnight village guesthouse.

Day 9 Your final day's walk takes from Dhurr to the village of Karmi. Overnight village guesthouse.

 

Homeward Journey

Day 10 After breakfast walk to the road-head and return to Khali Estate for another night's stay.

Day 11 Transfer to Kathgodam to catch the day train to Delhi. Meet at New Delhi station, transfer to Delhi guesthouse for overnight stay.

Day 12 Transfer to Delhi airport for homeward flight.

 

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 tented accommodation (managed by porters) with all meals provided and your own guide and through the hills. 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. 

Flights

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.

Stay in 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. 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 also arrange an upgrade from guest-house to 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

By car

Your journey includes a day train into the foothills. A more expensive option is to travel up from Delhi (or return at the end of you holiday) by private car. Guests have enjoyed the opportunity to get to know a little of the plains north of Delhi where the road crosses the Ganga before heading into the hills Carefully chosen, courteous drivers will look after you in your 10 hr journey.

By air

There is also an internal flight available from Delhi to Pantnagar in Uttarakhand; please contact our team for more information if you are interested in this option.

Extra nights during your holiday

Extra nights at Khali Estate

All holidays to the Saryuand Pindar valleys 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 and tented camp

You may wish to prolong your exploration of the wonderful hill villages Saryu and Pindar. There is so much to learn and appreciate about village life and the host communities would love to keep you for a day longer in their village homestays and at the camps.

 

Agra

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

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.

Contact our bookings team

Our experienced reservations team will be happy to talk you through your options for the Into the Pindar Valley holiday.

From UK or other countries:
+44 (0)1223 750049

From France:
+33 (0)5335 20774

From India:
+ 91 9920882409 or +91 9869005642

Email us at:
info@villageways.com

Booking enquiries: 01223 750049