This incredible 15-day nature and cultural adventure mainly takes place in the breathtaking Himalayas.

On this amazing journey commencing 23rd October 2018, we interact with locals, learn ‘Himalayan style’ Indian cooking, go on village walks, experience every day Himalayan life, visit ancient temples and monuments and discover stunning mainly untouched parts of the Himalayas. While taking this journey we will be supporting an NGO empowerment project for underprivileged women and untouchable tribes plus environmental and educational projects.

The journey takes us through lush forests, stunning mountain trails, charming villages, sparkling waterfalls & peaceful meadows with towering peaks. Relish organic local cuisine, view the stars while listening to flowing streams, try your hand at the local handicrafts, dance and sing around the fire with villagers, dine in local homes, view glorious sunsets and much more. This experience cannot be adequately explained in words, it is something to be felt and captured in the heart.

Itinerary

Day One

On arrival in Delhi, you will be transferred to our hotel. In the early evening we have a group meeting to commence our wonderful journey. Overnight Delhi.

Day Two

This morning we have a short flight to Rishikesh, the yoga capital of India. In the afternoon we embark on a guided walking tour. In the early evening we witness the sunset prayer ceremony performed on the banks of the River Ganges. Overnight Rishikesh. 

Day Three

In the early morning we head to Gopeshwar, stopping en route to breakfast on the holy river Ganges. Our home for the next few days is with a Himalayan family in an eco-friendly B&B a few kilometres from Gopeshwar, where organic homemade food, mainly from the family’s garden is served with a smile. On arrival we receive a traditional welcome to the Himalayas. In the late afternoon we walk to a neighbouring village and also enjoy the stunning sunset and spectacular views of the area. Overnight Gopeshwar

Day Four

After breakfast, we walk around the homestay and gardens to learn about the eco-friendly practices and organic farming. Feel free to help yourself to the fruits, vegies and herbs in the gardens. There is some free time in the afternoon before we visit Gopinath temple, constructed around 10th century AD, as well as a typical colourful mountain village market. This evening we dine under the stars. Overnight Gopeshwar

Day Five

Today we visit the village to discover beautiful old architecture and see village life where underprivileged villagers are employed and an income is generated for them via the community program. We have the opportunity to speak to some villagers and exchange stories (they are also curious). Visit the local school to see the simple education system followed by lunch at a local home supported by the project. Later we go to the ‘hidden’ waterfalls and swimming hole. This is a beautiful nature discovery trek where our guide will talk about fauna and flora of the area. In the evening, dine under the stars around the fire. Overnight Gopeshwar

Day Six

Today we walk to Tibetan and local handicraft villages to meet the artisans where you will be able to participate in making some craft as well as having the opportunity to purchase products directly from them. We lunch at a local home – in the middle of green farms – supported by the empowerment project. We also visit a project run by retired Army men to save the ecology of the area by planting new plants and trees. This evening we have a bon fire with our host family to hear about local legends while enjoying our meal. Overnight Gopeshwar

Day Seven

After breakfast we go for a trek to Atri muni caves and temple as well as a beautiful waterfall. We walk through charming villages, forests, fields, river paths, temples, meadows etc. After enjoying our packed lunch, we return for a relaxing evening around the fire and a home cooked hot organic meal. Overnight Gopeshwar

Day Eight

After breakfast we head to the local market to buy the ingredients for our cooking class as well as collecting the fresh veggies and herbs from the home garden. After participating in the cooking, we share our delicious meal together. There is some free time followed by the option of a trek to the river area and a visit to a nearby centuries old temple. Overnight Gopeshwar

Day Nine

Today, we head off to our next destination, Chopta, driving through beautiful green villages as well as the fabulous Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary. There is an abundance of birds and wild life to be spotted on our way. At Chopta, arguably the most picturesque spot in Uttarakhand and still quite untouched, we stay in a fairy-tale spot next to a beautiful stream. There is a choice between tents and rooms, but staying in the tent in this area is magical. Later in the afternoon we walk to the Gujar huts through the forest, Gujar is a gypsy shepherd tribe who move with their cattle in search of green grass. Here we see their way of life and have the opportunity to interact with them. We then return to enjoy a lovely organic dinner under the stars. Overnight Chopta

Day Ten

This morning, we wake up to breath-taking views of the forest. According to local beliefs, forest fairies abound in this area! After breakfast we trek to Tungnath, meaning “Lord of the peaks”; it’s a stunning trek of 3.5 km, which takes us to snow clad peaks and the Tungnath temple. Tungnath is magnificent in its architectural and artistic structure and is believed to be more than 1000 years old. Located at an altitude of 3,680m in the midst of forests, this amazing place is mostly unknown to travellers. The area is famous for its rich flora and fauna and serene beauty; there is a feeling of having stepped into a different time. We have lunch here and enthusiastic trekkers have the option of climbing another 1.5km to the Chandrashila summit (4000 m) to have majestic views of Himalayan peaks including Trishula, Nanda Devi (7816 mts – the highest peak in India) and Chaukhamba. Overnight Chopta

Day Eleven

Early risers are able to enjoy a bird and animal watching trip before breakfast. The wildlife is fabulous here. After breakfast we head to our next destination Rudraprayag. Our river resort is situated on the banks of the Alaknanda River in the middle of rice fields, a beautiful place to rejuvenate and reflect after our Himalayan experience. The afternoon is free to enjoy a swim in the pool or river or just relax in nature with a book. Overnight Rudraprayag

Day Twelve

After breakfast, we return to Rishikesh. This is a stunning scenic drive with a stop on the way to visit Devprayag, where 2 rivers, the Bhagirathi and the Alaknanda meet to form the Ganges. We also see a few other sights along the way. Overnight Rishikesh

Day Thirteen

Enjoy a free day in Rishikesh with many options available. We will meet in the late afternoon to attend the sunset aarti ceremony at Triveni Ghat. Overnight Rishikesh

Day Fourteen

Today we have a short flight back to Delhi with some free time in Delhi to do some last minute shopping. In the evening we will have a final group dinner. Overnight Delhi

Day Fifteen

Depart any time today.

Additional Information

This wonderful 15-day experience includes all land travel, all accommodation, all excursions and entrance fees, internal flights, all meals on the 10-day Himalaya program, all breakfasts, guides.

Price $3390 per person twin share

Single supplement $720

Dates – 23rd October to 6th November 2018

Your facilitator: Jay Weinstein

Jay Weinstein is a Mumbai-based, Hindi and English-speaking photographer of mainly Australian-American heritage. At the age of 3, he moved to India with his schoolteacher parents and spent the next 12 years living in Vrindavan, a historic town filled with temples and monkeys. At 15, his family moved back to Australia to facilitate his secondary education. Though Jay thought he was done with India, he ended up returning year after year, drawn by her overpowering, vibrant, chaotic cadence. His passion for photography was ignited on these trips. Later, his profession had him traveling from the lush, palm-dotted southern states to the breathtaking Himalayan mountains of Nepal; the ancient majestic forts of Rajasthan to the unending paddy fields of West Bengal. These gradually transformed into the photography travel trips he is now addicted to!

Jay brings to his work a unique charm and an eye for hidden beauty. Through the easy rapport he builds with his subjects, he creates unforgettable images that transport one to the heart of India and its people. See more of Jay’s work on this website – www.jaywphotography.com

Jay has been working on a wonderful photography project over the last couple of years called ‘So I asked them to smile’. To view photos, click this link – https://www.facebook.com/soIaskedthemtosmile/

Photography Classes

Short theory sessions and focused practice time cover portraiture, basic composition, point of view and other topics. There will be regular ‘photo’ walks where participants focus on a specific photography element for a limited time and can then go freestyle. Participants are always encouraged to make the most of any magic moments. Our meditative approach to photography also leaves plenty of room for participants to wander ahead and explore their photography independently.

Other Topics covered include –

Respectful and culture-sensitive interactions

Breathe then see – meditative approach to photography

What makes an image interesting?

Portraits – etiquette, approach and composition etc

Point of View – finding the unique

Light

Beauty in the big picture

Beauty in the detail

ISO and shutter speed

Aperture and lenses

For bookings and enquires call 1300 722 932 or email info@touchofspirittours.com.au

Please Note

The itinerary may be subject to change depending on altered circumstances.

Note: If you have a HOTMAIL or GMAIL account, the filters are high and our reply will probably go to your junk folder. You will need to check this folder. It is best to provide your phone number as well.

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