Tailor-Made Holiday

India - Walking in the Himalayas

Trek through the authentic villages of Kumaon

12 days

from £5,645pp (excluding flights)

The Village Walks was conceptualised to facilitate an authentic ‘underfoot’ experience and provide a ‘snapshot’ of rural life in the Himalaya. Shakti Kumaon offers a rare opportunity to discover the compelling beauty of this region, combining an honest and sustainable approach with sophisticated simplicity and style.

  • Explore the fascinating sites of Delhi
  • Stay at the iconic Imperial Hotel
  • Trek through the authentic villages of Kumaon region
  • Spend three nights at a luxury mountain retreat reached only by foot
  • Walk through rhododendron, pine and oak forests
  • Indulge in enticing lunch and picnic stops surrounded by nature

The Kumaon contains some of the most stunning mountain scenery that we know of anywhere, from the perennially snow capped peaks of the Great Himalaya range in the north to the pretty hill stations of Almora and Nainital in the foothills and the stunning wilderness of Corbett National Park where the hills meet the Indo-gangetic plain in the south.

The walks traverse the terraced foothills with overnight ‘homestays’ in various villages.  As an honoured guest, the locals are keen to share their way of life with you so you can encounter life as it is.  Accommodation is basic, although clean and comfortable, but does not detract from the authenticity of the experience. 

The finale of the walk is arriving by a dramatic trail at 360º Leti. Situated on a stunning mountain spur close to where Nepal, Tibet and India meet and with mind blowing views of the Great Himalayan Range. On arrival at Leti , enjoy and rest the legs with a good book. Alternatively outdoors there are mountain walks (with private guides), delicious picnics, fabulous views, just chilling out in planter’s chairs – and, if you wish, yoga and meditation sessions by arrangement.

Steppes Travel can offer alternative accommodation when organising guided walking holidays in this region. Please enquire for rates with the Itmenaan Lodges. Starting from £3250 for a 12 day holiday.

For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

Price Excluding Flights £Flight cost from 
£ 5645 £ 650
  Click here to see what is included/excluded

what is included

  • All accommodation
  • Internal flights
  • International flights as detailed
  • Sightseeing with private guide as per the itinerary
  • Transfers as detailed

what is excluded

  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Visas

PLEASE NOTE THE COST SHOWN INCLUDES INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS DEPARTING FROM THE UK, BASED ON AN APPROXIMATE AIR FARE. PLEASE ASK YOUR TRAVEL EXPERT FOR AN ACCURATE INTERNATIONAL FLIGHT QUOTE. INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS DEPARTING FROM THE UK ARE ATOL PROTECTED.

Itinerary at a glance

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Day 1

Fly London to Delhi


Delhi may be one of the world's largest metropolises, but architectural wonders - new and old - fill the city, hidden beneath Delhi's urban sprawl. Mughal treasures, including the Red Fort and Jama Masjid, are complemented by more recent additions to Delhi's architectural heritage, such as the stunning Lotus and Akshardham Temples. Meanwhile, contemporary Delhi thrives in Connaught Place, which - with its colonially-designed buildings, - is the most westernised part of the centre. Globalisation is in evidence, with brand names splashed across every storefront.

Day 2

Half a Day Exploring New Delhi
Today discover Sir Edwin Lutyen's beautiful garden city of New Delhi. Now packed with political buildings, the city was designed by British architects during the early 20th century. Visit the Raj Path, India Gate, Rastrapathi Bhawan and other landmarks.

Afterwards, head south to the Lal Kot, the ancient Tomara capital of the region. Explore some of the city's earliest monuments, including the medieval sites of Qutb Minar, Quwwat-ul-Islam and Alai Darwa.

Constructed in the 12th century, Qutb Minar is an impressive brick-built tower of victory that celebrates Islam's march eastwards. One of Delhi's foremost sites, it is the tallest minar in India.

Finish at Humayun's Tomb, one of Delhi's Mughal wonders and the architectural inspiration for the construction of the Taj Mahal. A stunning mix of red stonework and while tiled domes, the emphasis on symmetry makes it particularly spectacular.

Please ensure you carry your passport with you today in case it is required to enter any monuments or buildings.


You will be staying at The Imperial, Bed & Breakfast

Day 3

Half a Day to Explore Old Delhi
A lifetime experience in the streets of Delhi is waiting for you on this memorable rickshaw ride through the streets of Old Delhi.Pass through the vibrant bazaars that sit at the foot of the Jama Masjid, arguably the most famous place of Muslim worship in India.

Watch vendors cook up delicious street-side delicacies, admire as bicycle mechanics service Delhi's innumerable two-wheeled cycles and stand aside as children race through the crowds. Leave the rickshaw at Khari Baoli and walk through the spice markets. Learn about the history, traditions and cultures behind these street specialities ranging from two hundred year old sweet shops to the Paratha Wallah - the street that specialises in flat breads.


You will be staying at The Imperial, Bed & Breakfast

Day 4

Train Delhi - Kathgodam


Board the ??? train to Kathgodam (dep. ??, arr. ??) travelling in an a/c executive class carriage.


Shakti Walk from Kathgodam to Deora
On arrival in Kathgodam you will be met and driven to the Almora region (three hours away) from where the Village Walks will begin.

Setting off from the road head onto the Kasar Devi ridge (1862m), where on a clear day you will see the Himalayan ranges, you will begin by walking down through the pretty village of Maath which is scenically positioned on a ridge. The walk continue downhill through terraced fields and into a Chir (pine) forest, where you will stop for a drink.

Continuing on from the forest, the path turns a little dry and rocky before you pass the village of Bimtola and climbs for twenty minutes to your lunch point. Lunch will be served in the grounds of a temple, around two hours after you set off from the Kasar Devi ridge.

After lunch you will walk down through the colourful Naini Valley, passing two temples dating from the 10th and 12th centuries. One of these temples is dedicated to Lord Shiva (you can tell by the many 'lingams' visible in the temple) and the other is dedicated to Lord Ram. Your private guide will elaborate further on the history of these temples.

Continue walking through the fields and gently climb uphill to the village of Deora.


You will be staying at Shakti Deora Village House, Full board and house beverages

Day 5

Shakti Walk from Deora to Jwalabanj
Setting off from Deora, you will reach the village of Chirala after approximately thirty minutes of walking, where you can visit the local school. If he is around, you can also visit the house of an interesting ex-army officer.

Continue walking through a pine forest, descending into the Shivalaya valley as the forest peters out. The scenic valley has a stream running down one side and you may see children playing in the stream and adults working the fields.

Walk along the valley before turning left and climbing up towards the village of Alai. From here you will follow a water canal for twenty minutes before stopping for a drink and the opportunity to dip your feet in a natural rock pool.

Continue along the path, passing a 'ghatt' (water powered flour mill) and terraced fields through the village of Palyu, before climbing for twenty minutes to the road head at Ka-Chula pool.

From Ka-Chula pool you have the option of taking a car (which will be waiting for you) to Dhaulchina, around twenty minutes away, before walking gradually uphill for thirty minutes to the lunch spot. For those who are feeling more energetic, the walk from Ka-Chula pool to the lunch spot (without taking the car) takes around an hour and a half with two fairly steep uphill stretches.

After lunch, continue walking gradually uphill through stunning rhododendron forests for around one and a half hours until you reach the village of Jwalabanj.


You will be staying at Shakti Jwalabanj Village House, Full board and house beverages

Day 6

Shakti Walk from Jwalabanj to Kana
Provided the weather is clear, wake up early and walk up to the road head for a very short drive to a mountain viewing point. Watching the sun rise over the Great Himalayan Range is well worth getting out of bed for!

Return to the house for breakfast, before starting your walk with a short ten minute climb. You will walk through ancient oak forest, passing the village of Kandhar, where you will have to clamber down some slightly steep terraced fields. Once you have reached the bottom of the valley, you will follow the stream through the oak forest, getting to see a kingfisher diving into the stream if you are lucky.

An hour or so after you have left the house, you will emerge onto a proper road which leads to the 8th century temple complex at Jageshwar, a Hindu pilgrimage sight. Explore the temple complex before continuing along the road and back through terraced fields.

The final part of the walk takes you through a thick mixed forest to the village of Kana where lunch will be waiting for you at the village house. This last part of the walk is uphill most of the way.

As you will only have walked for around two and a half hours today, we have arranged for you to take an afternoon walk to the village of Jhankarshein which has an interesting temple. The three hour return journey takes you through an interesting mix of pine, oak and rhododendron forests, dotted with berry trees and a peach orchard. The temple is dedicated to a local deity, Golu Devta, and is a popular local pilgrimage site.

If you feel that you have walked enough by the time you reach Kana at lunchtime, your itinerary is completely private and flexible and so if you wanted to, you could spend your afternoon sitting outside reading a book and admiring the scenery.


You will be staying at Shakti Kana Village House, Full board and house beverages

Day 7

Shakti Walk from Kana to Leti
This morning you will walk for ten minutes to the road head where you will be met and driven for five hours to Leti.

On arrival at the road head in Leti you will walk to the resort, which usually takes around an hour along a dramatic mountain trail.

An innovative language of architecture that combines age-old local building techniques with contemporary design and structural technologies, set in a stunning mountain wilderness at 8,000 feet, 360 Leti is a place where you can take time to reflect, and allow the space, peace and astonishingly beautiful landscape to work their magic around you. With only four private guest pavilions and a main lounge-dining area, 360 Leti provides an exclusive mountain experience - the first and only place of its kind in the Himalay. Indoors, there's gourmet cooking and fine wine, as well as beds adorned with pashmina blankets and fluffy duvets. Outdoors there are mountain walks (with private guides), delicious picnics, fabulous views, just chilling out in planter's chairs - and, if you wish, yoga and meditiation sessions by arrangement.


You will be staying at Shakti 360 Leti, Full board and house beverages

Day 8

Time at leisure for local explorations


You will be staying at Shakti 360 Leti, Full board and house beverages

Day 9

Local walks and visits


You will be staying at Shakti 360 Leti, Full board and house beverages

Day 10

Shakti Leti - Shakti Jwalabanj
This morning after breakfast you will be driven 5 hours to the road head nearest to a village house in Jwalabanj. You will walk for about 10 minutes to the house. This evening enjoy drinks and dinner under the stars.


You will be staying at Shakti Jwalabanj Village House, Full board and house beverages

Day 11

Shakti Jwalabanj Village House to Kathgodam
Set off early this morning with a short walk to the road head where you are met and driven to Kathgodam Railway Station in time to catch the train to Delhi.

Travel from Kumaon to Delhi (Rail Journey)


Drive to Kathgodam Railway station to board your train to Delhi - Kathgodam Express (1535/2050hrs)


You will be staying at The Imperial, Bed & Breakfast

Day 12

Fly Delhi to London

Accommodation

Below you can see some of the wonderful places we recommend you stay on your journey.

The Imperial

The Imperial

Reckoned amongst Asia’s finest hotels, The Imperial is a legend that offers a unique experience embracing facets of India’s history....

View Accommodation

Shakti 360 Leti

Shakti 360 Leti

360 Leti is found in a little known and compellingly beautiful corner of India....

View Accommodation

For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

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"We asked for a rather particular kind of Indian holiday. You delivered it in full. Highlights? Honestly, each day was a highlight in itself. "

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For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

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