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The remote hills of Kumaon in north west India are not the easiest to get to, but herein lies their attraction. Far removed from the hustle and bustle of the modern world, the clear air, wide open spaces and absolute peace will put a spring in your step and an eagerness to explore. Gentle hikes in Kumaon afford outstanding views of magnificent snow-capped peaks and staying in local houses you get to experience village life in the foothills of the Indian Himalaya.
With a charming private guide to take the lead and porters to carry your bags on your luxury trek you dictate the pace but with so much to see and enjoy along the way a steady pace allows you to soak up the scenery and immerse yourself in rural life. You don’t have to be super fit. Each day you will walk for four to five hours between each village, across terraced fields, pass through oak, pine and rhododendron forests. There's time to stop for a picnic, visit local temples and play an impromtu game of cricket with children, or cool your feet in streams and rock pools.
Accommodation is in traditional simple village houses where you’ll be treated as an honoured guest by hosts with genuine warmth and hospitality. There are no tvs’ or hairdryers and your bathroom is in an outdoor wash house but you’ll be served delicious Kumaoni cuisine, snuggle up to a hot water bottle in a spotlessly clean and stylishly refurbished room and wake in the morning to glorious views. It's the epitomy of sophisticated yet understated, rustic, homely luxury and it is unparalleled in terms of comfort, service, exploration and luxury trekking.
You can also combine these village walks with a stay in a remote luxury lodge from which you can make further forays in to the mountain wilderness on day walks, or just stare at the sublime views from a planter’s chair, relax around the camp fire and dine on gourmet cuisine.
Andrea Hulme’s travel experiences could fill a small novel; from a bit-part in a Tamil movie, to leading expeditions in Kyrgyzstan and negotiating landslides along the Karakoram highway.