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The Himalayas have always been the "true north" of the spirit life in India. Of all the holy sites, none are more important that the "Char Dham", literally the 4 special places. All Indians dream of visiting these and it is said of you visit all 4 you will find samadhi or nirvana. These special places are Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath. We'll sleep at simple but comfortable inns or in tents at base camps high in the mountain valleys. The stars will blow your mind, spread like brilliant diamonds across the sky; bright enough to read by. Truly this trip is one you will never forget and which will fill your dreams for years to come. Once seen, the Himalayas will call you back!
Depart US in evening
Arrive in Delhi, India
Delhi sightseeing / shopping
Travel to Rishikesh
Drive to Hanuman Chaati
Trek to Yanumotri and back (13 kilometres)
Drive to Gangotri
Trek to Gau Mukh Glacier
Drive to Rishikesh
Travel to Delhi
Old Delhi sightseeing or Free Time. Depart to US in the evening
Arrive in US
Trekking is involved in visiting 3 of the 4 sites as we walk 6 to 20 km from the nearest road to reach the site. All of the trekking is above 10,000 feet which requires a very good level of physical and aerobic fitness, but does not require technical climbing skills. This is a physically challenging trip. We will follow the ancient trails surrounded by towering, snow-covered mountains, rivers, waterfalls, and wild animals (none that will eat us).
The vast majority of the food we will eat in India is vegetarian. Meat is relatively more difficult to get and we cannot always be sure of the quality of the meat. Rishikesh is entirely vegetarian, and there are no restaurants serving meat in the entire town. The vegetarian cuisine we will get is delicious, varied, and interesting. We will make sure that what you are presented with is clean, well prepared and safe for you to eat. So far no one who has traveled with us has gotten: travelers belly.
"India is an amazing place. It shows you both the good and the bad of an emerging country.The bad hits you right away, with the poverty, dirt, lack of hygiene and crowds, not to mention the worst drivers in the world. Then come the good. The people are incredible, they all seem to want to please you. The beauty is beyond beautiful in the mountains and countryside.Speaking of the mountains, I went on the trekking part of the trip.Had I actually known what it was really like to hike up mountain switchbacks and across streams and over boulders I may have thought twice. But having done it I would have never wanted to miss it.The trip and the people that were with me were fantastic. It ranks as one of my all-time favorite adventures. "
September 2015. Yoga Travel Alliance website, edited
"Its hard to call it a vacation.Thanks to the organizer, from Old Delhi to Rishikesh, our experience in this complicated land of a multitude of cultures, was a seamless adventure; an experience in immersion, both memorable and life changing.Riding in a bicycle rickshaw, we penetrated the streets of Old Delhi dusty, dirty, noisy, crowded, colorful, aromatic, bustling, and full of energy. We visited a Sikh temple and later, a Jain temple. We had tea with and bought spices from a world-renowned spice vendor. We watched, over lunch, as cooks formed naan from balls of dough and flattened them on the inside of a tandoori oven. And later, we passed brilliant displays of bridal clothing, and countless storefronts loaded with carpets, shawls, shoes, jewelry, and so much more.Rishikesh presented another quieter and more peaceful side to life in India. It is regarded as both spiritual and holy, the home of yoga and well-known ashrams such as Parmarth Niketon. From the personal kindness and excellent service of the family that owns the hotel we stayed at to the haunting grandeur of the Ganga Aarti held every evening on the ghats of the Ganges, we felt welcome, safe, at home. Here Panchakarma was our focus and we werent disappointed, though we also managed to visit the foothills of the Himalayas and the headwaters of the Ganges, take a river-rafting trip, visit neighboring towns for shopping and even hike to the old Beatles ashram, today taken over by the jungle.My husband and I have traveled with well-known travel agencies to Europe, South America, Australia, even Antarctica, but never before have had we left for home after only 2 weeks feeling as though we were leaving friends behind. Well go again. "
August 2015. Yoga Travel Alliance website, edited