Shivling and the Source of the Ganges
India, Trek & Walk, 13 days - from £995 (land only) - from €1,395 (land only) - from $1,670 (land only)
Day 1: Rendezvous at our central group hotel in Delhi. Airport transfers are provided for all clients arriving on Day 1. KE Land Only package services begin with lunch. In the afternoon, a city sightseeing tour is provided. Dinner and overnight in Delhi.
Day 2: We have an early morning transfer to the railway station to catch the express train to Haridwar, a journey of approximately 4 hours. From Haridwar, we have a short drive to Rishikesh on the banks of the Ganges, where we check in at our hotel. This afternoon we can visit some of the temples of this holy town and in the evening we will witness the aarti ceremony, with lamps floated on the river.
Day 3: We have a day of spectacular scenery as we drive (6 hours) through the foothills of the Himalaya to Uttarkashi, an important pilgrimage town in the Bhagirathi Valley. Here, we check in at a simple lodge.
Day 4: We complete our road journey this morning, driving deeper into the steep-sided Bhagirathi Valley to reach the pilgrimage site of Gangotri (3050m). After checking in to our lodge we spend the afternoon visiting the various temples which draw pilgrims from across the continent.
Day 5: Our trek begins with a relatively easy ascent through forests of oak and pine to our first camp at Chirbasa (3600m) which we will reach in time for a hot lunch. There are options for walks in the afternoon or we can use the time to rest and catch up on our diaries. 4 hours trekking.
Day 6: We continue trekking through the forest and up above the tree-line into more open alpine meadows. After little more than 2 hours trekking we reach our next campsite at Bhujbasa (3800m). From here, we make a 3 hour round trip up to Gaumukh, the legendary source of the Ganges. Overnight at Bhujbasa. 5 hours trekking.
Day 7: From Bhujbasa we trek a little way towards Gaumukh before turning towards Nandavan on the glacier. We make a steep ascent to Nandavan which is the basecamp for climbing the Bhagirathi peaks. We then continue to Tapovan (4500m) a large meadow surrounded by the icy peaks of the Bhagirathi range and with a truly spectacular view of Shivling. 4 - 5 hours trekking.
Day 8: We have a day for rest or exploration at Tapovan. This is a very atmospheric place if rest and quiet contemplation is required. Alternatively, it is well worth the 2 hour return trek up to the sacred lake of Gandhava (4350m) for views back across the Gangotri Glacier. We spend a second night at Tapovan. Optional 2 hours trekking.
Day 9: We begin our return to civilisation today, trekking down the valley and passing the trailside tea-shops known as 'dhabas' below Gaumukh. Our overnight camping place is at Bhujbasa. 5 hours trekking.
Day 10: From our camp at Bhujbasa we descend through the pine forest to Gangotri where our vehicles will be waiting to drive us down the Bhagirathi Valley to Uttarkashi. Arriving in the late afternoon, we check in at our simple lodge. 2 hours trekking.
Day 11: We have another spectacular drive (7 hours) through the middle hills of the Indian Himalaya, passing several towns and villages to reach Haridwar where we check in at a comfortable hotel.
Day 12: We make an early start, driving to the railway station to catch the morning express train to Delhi. Arriving in Delhi after a journey of 4 to 5 hours, we transfer to a hotel close to the airport. The rest of the day is at leisure, with the chance to enjoy the hotel gardens and pool.
Day 13: KE Land Only package services end after breakfast. Transfers to Delhi Airport are provided.