The remote hills of Uttarakhand 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 the 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 private guide to take the lead and porters to carry your bags you dictate the pace but with so much to see and enjoy along the way a steady amble 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, stop to visit local temples and have time to 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 room and wake in the morning to glorious views. Alternatively you can base yourself in Almora and return to your hotel each night.
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, or just stare at the sublime views from a planter’s chair, relax around the camp fire and dine on gourmet cuisine.
See our itinerary suggestion for an idea of how village walks in the Kumaon might look.
Andrea Hulme joins Natural High with a wealth of knowledge, first-hand experience and love of the Indian Subcontinent gained from more than 15 years living, working, volunteering and travelling in India, Nepal and Bhutan.