Wild Himalaya, North India

Travel with a sound recordist to the heart of Himalayas, experiencing pristine nature and traditional mountain life

From:

2,000

*Not including flights & visa

Private Group
1 - 4
Date
August 2024
Location
Uttarakhand
Difficulty
Moderate
Transport
Private

EXPEDITION OVERVIEW

A note from Jan Brelih, founder of Earth Experience:
In the spring of 2023, I spent three months in the Indian Himalayas documenting their sounds while also being part of an authentic local life. This year, I am returning to continue the work on sound documentation on disappearing glaciers. Wanting to share these profound experiences with others, I am now offering a limited number of spots for individuals to join along.

Description:
Inspired by principles of mindfulness, this journey encourages moments of silence and observation. This is an incredible opportunity to immerse oneself in the raw beauty and serenity of nature. The expedition offers participants a chance to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and reconnect with themselves and the natural world. As we enter into pristine wilderness, every individual will have the chance to develop deeper connections with themselves and the natural world around them. There will be space for quiet reflection and moments of solitude. Everything is planned to ensure you can relax, drink chai (tea) and let go of any worries. Despite the main structure planned, is possible to adapt and adjust. For example, when based in a village, you can choose between a harder trek or an easier hiking trip. Without too much physical effort, we can reach very remote and well-preserved natural areas. We will be accompanied by local mountain guides from the nearby villages. By doing so, we not only support the local economy but also enrich authentic cultural exchanges.

"A journey to the timeless mountains of the mystical Uttarakhand region of North India. Embracing (re)connection to the natural world through the practice of observing and listening."

Jan Brelih – Expedition Leader

Jan is a sound recordist with 9+ years of experience traveling into some of the world’s most remote and endangered natural environments, documenting. Through his many activities in the field, he has gained extensive first-hand knowledge about how to plan and carry out all the technical parts of a successful expedition doing fieldwork in isolated regions. He possesses the necessary training and experience to endure weeks in demanding and challenging field conditions. He successfully performed expeditions to very remote and unknown places such as the Amazon Rainforest, Colombian Pacific (Choco), Borneo, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Himalayas and more. While adrenaline-fueled activities are part of his deeper nature, he also values slowing down, practicing mindfulness and listening to the natural world.

More about

Self pay as you go: All costs are precisely calculated based on the 2023 expedition to ensure transparency and ease for you. We believe in keeping things simple and flexible. Therefore, we've structured the payment approach in a way that only a fee payment of €800 is required to be paid for the expedition itself. The remaining expenses, will be managed by each participant individually.

This approach allows you the freedom to cover their own expenses as we travel. Rest assured, we'll guide you every step of the way to ensure a seamless and unforgettable experience in the heart of the Himalayas.

Expense ItemCost (EUR)
Transportation, Accommodation, Permits800€
Food150€+
Local Guides150€
Plane Ticket (two-way from Europe)600€
Visa Fee

60€

Expedition Coordinating & Leading Fee900€
Total Travel Costs2100€
Deposit Amount800€

*Notice: These are estimated costs for the average approach to travel in this place. It is a middle-ground balance, not a low-budget or luxury one. If you feel like it, you can always raise your budget for the sake of more luxury. For example, on our way, you can still choose to stay (we can recommend) in a higher-budget hotel and have a more expensive meal.

After Jan's successful sound documenting expedition to the Indian Himalayas, he has created the first extensive public audio collection of recordings captured in the wild.

 

Travel itinerary

Day 1 - New Delhi to Rishikesh

Landing in New Delhi (preferably morning time), you are kindly awaited by our team member Jan at the airport and escorted to the private transport which will take us to Rishikesh, a town about 4 hours drive (240km) away. On the way we can stop for a lunch, you can take a nap in the car.

Day 2 - Rishikesh and Ganga River

Rishikesh is a world-renowned yoga location located along the Ganga River, near the edge of the mountain valleys. This will be your first touch and view of the Himalayas, which will begin here. We will stay here overnight in a comfortable hotel.

Day 3/4 Local Mountain Village (Chamoli)

After about 6 hours of driving on the main asphalt road with beautiful grand views, we will reach the region of Chamoli. The drive will be in one piece, with some lunch break and stop at the spiritual site of Devprayag, where two rivers join and create the Ganga River. Once we arrive at Chamoli town, we will ascend the narrow mountain road for approximately an hour, arriving at an authentic mountain village. You will start seeing the majestic mountain views and realise that you have actually made it to the Himalayas! The locals will greet us and settle us into basic rural accommodation. You are invited to have a chai (tea) and engage in the interaction with the joyful and hospitable villagers. We will eat authentic local food that women prepare on fire and drink fresh mountain water. You can interact with people, wander around the picturesque mountain village, or take a hike on the trails leading up the forest slope.

Day 5 - Joshimath and Tungasi

We will say goodbye to the villagers and thank them for their welcoming spirit. From Chamoli we will now drive about 1,5h deeper into the Himalayas to the town called Joshimath. The mountain scenery will be getting more and more dramatic. When reaching the town we will make a stop there to explore it a bit, have some meal and to do some shopping as it is the last "civilisation" before the final destination. From Joshimath we will proceed (30min) to the remote mountain village of Tungasi. There we will stay in the hostel like accommodation (or you can choose between other local family house rooms) which will also act as our main base of the future adventures.

Day 6/7 - Kuari Pass Trekking

Kuari Pass is a legendary trek in Uttarakhand that offers beautiful meadows and stunning mountain views, including the second-highest mountain in India, Mt. Nanda Devi, and other prominent peaks. We will trek from the nearby village starting in the morning. The way will take us through beautiful primaeval forests of ancient oak and pine trees. Additionally, we'll pass and see unique high-altitude lakes, shimmering like jewels amidst the rugged terrain. Such preserved forests are pretty rare, even in these vast, remote mountains. It is also where the threatened species, Arenaria thangoensis, was rediscovered after a lapse of 130 years. We will be camping in the midst of this ancient forest near a fresh water source at 3400m. These will be higher alltitudes and proper mountains but the main trail is suitable even for the beginners. If you are unsure or not enough fit, we can always hire a local village porters.

Day 8 - Mountain Temple

The day after the Kuari Pass trek, you can decide to relax and rest for one day in the mountain village. Other than that, we can visit a remote temple about an hour away, hidden in the mountains. There is a new road leading to the temple, which was previously only reachable by a full day of trekking. You can visit the temple and admire the nearby forest and freshwater creeks. From there, you can take a hike into the forest or just spend time relaxing at the temple. There is a small local madeshift cafe nearby and a village.

Day 9/10 Baghini Glacier

Description upcoming.

Day 11/12 Mandal Valley & Chopta

On the way back to Rishikesh, we will take a slightly different route, passing a very unique lower mountain valley at 1500 m, where you can find another highly preserved forest with a high bird species and monkey population. Such preserved and larger forests are very rare at this altitude because of the higher human population. Because of this lower altitude, the weather is warmer, and with that, there are different kinds of wildlife habitats to be found here. It is a great destination for bird watching.

Day 13 - Mandal to Rishikesh

After spending the night in a nice local family hotel surrounded by forests and a clear river (you can swim), we will slowly drive back to Rishikesh. On the way, there will be other points of interest where it is possible to make a stop. There are good restaurants along the way to take a lunch break. You will get a good look and feel of the mountains, peaks, and huge valleys.

Day 14 - Rishikesh to New Delhi

Depending on your flight back, we will organize you a safe way back to New Delhi airport.

*Notice: This itinerary might still be subject of slight change.

*Notice: In India some things can change or come up unexpectedly. The best skills and abilities will be used to ensure a smooth and on-schedule experience, but please count on leaving some room for flexibility.

*All photos are from Himalaya 2023 expedition

"A sight of towering peaks and the enchanting landscape views of snow-capped high peaks, huge valleys and forests below. The whole experience was pretty surreal; it was like gazing into a beautiful painting."

Frequently asked questions

What are our responsibilities?
  • Keeping you safe with our attention and experience: Your safety is a priority, and we leverage our expertise and experience to ensure a secure expedition.
  • Providing guidance and support while allowing participants to have control over their personal expenses: Offering assistance while enabling participants to manage their expenses independently.
  • Planning and organization from main things all the way to the smallest detail: Meticulously planning every aspect of the expedition, ensuring nothing is overlooked for a smooth travel experience.
  • Providing a safe and comfortable interaction: We recognize that human interaction can sometimes be tense or uneasy. We maintain a mindful  and down-to-earth approach to communication, fostering a positive-oriented, friendly and light-hearted atmosphere.
  • Providing guidance and support to participants in managing their expenses, offering tips, recommendations, and assistance as needed: Assisting you in navigating your expenses, providing advice and support throughout the journey.
  • Organizing the transport: Takibng care of arranging trustworthy transportation to ensure comfortable and safe travel.
  • Planning the route: Strategically planning the specific route, considering the best paths and sights along the way.
  • Organizing the accommodation: Handling accommodations, ensuring comfortable stays with a local experience throughout the expedition.
  • Securing trekking permits and handling all necessary paperwork: Managing all paperwork and permits required for the expedition, ensuring a hassle-free experience.
What are your responsibilities?
  • Keeping yourself safe with your attention and mindfulness: Your safety is paramount, so it's important to stay aware of your surroundings and follow safety guidelines provided by the expedition leader.
  • Being semi-independent: While guidance and support are provided, participants should be prepared to handle some aspects of the expedition independently, such as managing personal expenses and adhering to the itinerary.
  • Trusting the guide and expedition leader: Trust in the expertise and leadership of the guide and expedition leader to navigate the journey safely and provide assistance as needed.
  • Having suitable and sufficient travel insurance: It's essential to have appropriate travel insurance coverage to ensure financial protection in case of unforeseen events or emergencies during the expedition.
  • Respecting local customs and cultures: While exploring new destinations, it's important to be mindful of and respectful towards the local customs, traditions, and cultural practices.
  • Environmental conservation: As stewards of the natural world, participants should strive to minimize their environmental impact by following Leave No Trace principles, such as proper waste disposal and minimizing noise pollution.
  • Staying hydrated and nourished: Maintaining personal health and well-being is essential during expeditions. Participants should ensure they stay hydrated, eat nutritious meals, and get adequate rest to optimize their experience.
  • Participation and cooperation: Active participation and cooperation within the group contribute to a positive expedition experience for everyone. This includes following instructions from the expedition leader, contributing to group discussions, and assisting fellow participants when needed.
  • Emergency preparedness: While our team takes every precaution to ensure your safety, participants should also be prepared for unexpected situations. This includes familiarizing themselves with emergency procedures, carrying essential items such as a first aid kit and emergency contact information, and staying informed about local conditions.
  • Open communication: Effective communication is key to a successful expedition. Participants should feel comfortable expressing any concerns, asking questions, and providing feedback to the team.
  • Having sufficient funds: As the approach is self-funded during the expedition, participants should ensure they have adequate financial resources to cover personal expenses and any unforeseen costs that may arise during the journey.
What about visa?

For traveling to India, participants will need to apply for an eVisa before the expedition. The eVisa process is relatively straightforward and can be completed online. It's essential to apply for the appropriate visa type based on the purpose of your visit, ensuring you select "Tourist eVisa" for this expedition. The validity and duration of the eVisa will depend on your chosen option, ranging from 30 days to 10 years with multiple entries allowed. We recommend applying for the eVisa well in advance of your travel dates to avoid any last-minute complications. Upon approval, you'll receive an electronic visa document via email, which you'll need to present upon arrival in India.

What about plane ticket?

Flight tickets are your responsibility to book, pay for, and secure. Be mindful of your checked baggage option, although you might not even need it, as we can provide some of the gear needed (camping equipment, walking sticks, etc.). That being said, we are ready to suggest to you which flight routes and companies to look for.

What are the participant requirements for joining the expedition?
  • We recommend a moderate level of physical fitness and agility to fully enjoy the expedition experience. While there are no strict age restrictions, participants should be comfortable with hiking and outdoor activities.
  • No prior experience or special skills are necessary, but a passion for adventure and an appreciation for nature are highly encouraged.
What should I bring on the expedition?
  • We recommend bringing sturdy hiking boots, weather-appropriate clothing, a daypack, sunscreen, a refillable water bottle, and any personal items you may need.
  • A detailed packing list will be provided upon booking to ensure you're fully prepared before your departure.
What is your cancellation policy?

We understand that plans can change, so we offer a flexible cancellation policy. Please refer to our terms and conditions for specific details regarding cancellations, refunds, and any applicable fees or deadlines.

How can I get in touch if I have additional questions?

We're here to help and to provide clear information! If you have any further questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to reach out to our team. You can contact us via email, phone, or by filling out the contact form on our website. We're happy to assist you in any way we can.

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