Wild Himalaya, North India

Travel with a sound recordist to the heart of Himalayas, experiencing pristine nature and traditional mountain life on an adventure suitable for all fitness levels.

From:

2000€

*Not including flights & visa

Private Group
1 - 3
Date
On request
Duration
14 days+/-
Difficulty
Moderate
Transport
Private

A journey for nature lovers, mindful adventurers, researchers, and those seeking authentic experiences. Join me in exploring pristine wilderness, distant cultures, and the profound silence of mountain solitude."

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 of sound recording. Feeling inspired to share such profound and special experiences with others, I am now offering a limited spots for those who seek to take part in a remarkable adventure.

Description:

Inspired by the principles of mindfulness and deep listening, this trip encourages and enables you to have moments of silence and immersion in the midst of wild and serene natural habitats that we reach. Such approach offers a chance to truly disconnect from the noise of our everyday busy life and find greater inner peace. As we enter the pristine wilderness, there will be an opportunity to develop deeper connections with the natural world and oneself by having space for silent reflection and moments of solitude. Everything is planned to ensure you can relax, drink chai (tea), and let go of any travel planning worries. Despite the main structure is set, it 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. Kind local mountain guides from the mountain villages can accompany us. By choosing so, we not only support the local economy but also enrich our 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 observing and deep listening to nature."

Jan Brelih – Expedition Leader

Jan is a field recordist with 9+ years of experience traveling into some of the world’s most remote and endangered natural environments, documenting their unique soundscapes. Through his many activities in the field, he has gained extensive first-hand knowledge about how to plan and carry out successful expeditions in isolated regions. He possesses the necessary training and experience to endure weeks in demanding field conditions. Jan has successfully led expeditions to very remote 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. His expeditions are thoughtfully designed to be accessible to participants of various fitness levels, offering a unique blend of adventure and mindfulness.

More about

Self pay as you go: All costs are precisely calculated based on the 2023 expedition to ensure transparency. The idea is keeping things simple and flexible. Therefore, the payment approach is structured in a way that only a fee payment of €900 is required to be paid for the expedition guiding and coordinating itself. The remaining expenses, will be managed by each participant individually.

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

60€

Expedition Coordinating & Leading Fee900€
Total Travel Costs2660€+
Deposit Amount900€

*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 Plan

This is a suggested itinerary of places to go, things to do yet there is space for flexibility and customization to fit your needs.

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. Upon reaching Rishikesh, we will stay here overnight in a comfortable hotel. The same day or next one, you can take a professional Ayurvedic Massage.

Day 2 - Rishikesh and Ganga River

Rishikesh is a world-renowned yoga location along the Ganga River, near the edge of mountain valleys. This will be your first touch and view of the Himalayas, which will begin here. After an overnight stay in a hotel, you can freely explore the town and experience the Ganga River. In the afternoon, we will take the transport to the Chamoli region, deeper into the mountains. After about six hours of driving on the main asphalt road with beautiful grand views, we will reach the Chamoli region. The drive will be in one piece, with some lunch breaks and a stop at the spiritual site of Devprayag, where two rivers join and create the Ganga River. This night we will reach the remote mountain village and sleep in the village or alternative is we can spend the night in the valley nearby the river.

Day 3/4 Local Mountain Village (Chamoli)

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 once we gather the team to see what is the preference.

*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."

FAQ & More

For whom is this expedition most suitable?

A wide yet specific range of participants, including:

  • Nature Enthusiasts: Those who yearn to experience pristine wilderness and diverse ecosystems of the Himalayas.
  • Researchers and Students: Independent or university-affiliated researchers in fields such as wildlife biology, geology, ecology,  anthropology, or any natural or social sciences. This expedition offers unique opportunities for field observations and data collection.
  • Cultural Explorers: Travelers interested in authentic interactions with local communities and traditional mountain life.
  • Adventure Seekers: Individuals who enjoy moderate outdoor experiences in remote locations.
  • Mindfulness Practitioners: Those looking to deepen their connection with nature through meditation and mindful observation.
  • Photographers & Visual Artists: Individuals seeking to capture the breathtaking beauty of the Himalayan landscapes.
  • Lifelong Learners: Curious minds eager to gain new perspectives and insights from a unique travel experience.
  • Eco-conscious Travelers: Those who appreciate sustainable and responsible travel practices.

The travel is thoughtfully designed to also accommodate:

  • Mature Travelers: Carefully planned itinerary is suitable for older adults who wish to experience the Himalayas at a comfortable pace.
  • Various Fitness Levels: Thanks to specific approach to route planning, the trip can be adjusted to different fitness levels. You don't need to be an athlete to do and enjoy this journey.
  • First-time Trekkers: While set in the Himalayas, this isn't an extreme climbing and intense trekking expedition. I've chosen routes that provide stunning experiences without demanding technical skills.

Suitable for adults of all ages with an open mind and a passion for immersive, off-the-beaten-path experiences. My flexible itinerary and small group size allow me to cater to individual needs, ensuring everyone can enjoy the magic of the Himalayas at their own pace.

For whom is this journey not suitable?
  • People uncomfortable with moments of solitude or self-reflection: Our journey includes periods of quiet contemplation in nature. Those who prefer constant social interaction and constant "outside noise" may find these moments challenging.
  • Travelers who require constant entertainment or structured activities: While I plan a general itinerary and do all the travel coordination, there's flexibility for self-directed exploration and unstructured time to absorb the natural surroundings.
  • Those unwilling to accept and adapt to local customs and environments: We'll be immersing ourselves in different cultures and ecosystems. An open mind, respect and some adaptability are crucial.
  • Those seeking constant luxury travel or comfort: While it's possible to arrange more luxurious accommodation options before and after the core journey, the essence of this trip involves basic accommodations in remote areas and occasional camping. The focus is on immersive experiences rather than luxury amenities.
  •  
  • Individuals looking for a party atmosphere or nightlife: Our focus is on natural wonders, cultural immersion, and personal growth. This journey doesn't cater to nightlife or party scenes.
  • People who struggle with basic outdoor activities: While the trip is designed to accommodate various fitness levels, minimal comfort with basic hiking and outdoor living is important.
  • Those expecting urban amenities in remote locations: We'll be visiting remote areas where modern conveniences may be limited. Participants should be prepared for basic living conditions at times of this journey.
  • Travelers who prefer large group tours: This Himalayan journey is intentionally organized for smaller groups (typically 1-3 people) to ensure a more personal, intimate experience.

The small group approach allows for greater flexibility, deeper connections with the environment and local communities, and a less chaotic, more mindful journey. It's designed for independent, respectful travelers who can appreciate the beauty of nature and local cultures without constant guidance or entertainment. While I'm here to ensure your safety, coordination and overall rich experience, participants should be prepared also for self-directed exploration, independence and personal growth opportunities.

What are my responsibilities?
  • Keeping you safe with attention and experience: Your safety is a top priority. I leverage my expertise, attention to details and local knowledge to ensure a secure expedition.
  • Your Budget, Your Choice: I provide guidance on managing expenses but encourage you to control your personal spending. I'm here to offer advice on local costs and best practices.
  • 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. This includes contingency plans for unexpected situations.
  • Providing a safe and comfortable interaction: Positive Atmosphere. We can recognize that human interaction can sometimes be tense or uneasy. I maintain a mindful and down-to-earth approach to communication, fostering a positive-oriented, friendly and light-hearted atmosphere while respecting cultural sensitivities.
  • 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, including help with local currency and best practices for spending in remote areas.
  • Organizing the transport: Taking care of arranging trustworthy transportation to ensure comfortable and safe travel, including contingencies for local conditions.
  • Planning the route: Strategically planning the specific route, considering the best paths and sights along the way, while allowing flexibility for unexpected discoveries or your personal interests.
  • Organizing the accommodation: Handling accommodations, ensuring comfortable stays with a local experience throughout the expedition. I balance authenticity with comfort to suit the group's needs. Personally, I would recommend a mix of luxury accommodations, where we can reacquaint ourselves with high levels of comfort combined with authentic and traditional local experiences, as well as staying in a family guesthouse or camping high in the mountains.
  • Securing trekking permits and handling all necessary paperwork: Managing all paperwork and permits required for the expedition, ensuring a hassle-free experience, including any special permissions needed for our activities.
  • Flexible Coordination: Adapting our plans as needed to accommodate group dynamics, weather conditions, and unexpected opportunities that may enhance your 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, be prepared to handle some aspects of the expedition independently, such as managing personal expenses and adhering to the itinerary.
  • Trusting the expedition leader: Trust in the expertise and leadership provided 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: Be mindful of and respectful towards the local customs, traditions, and cultural practices while exploring new destinations.
  • Environmental conservation: As stewards of the natural world, strive to minimize your environmental impact by following Leave No Trace principles, such as proper waste disposal and minimizing noise pollution.
  • Staying hydrated and nourished: Maintain your personal health and well-being by ensuring you stay hydrated, eat nutritious meals, and get adequate rest to optimize your experience.
  • Emergency preparedness: Familiarize yourself with emergency procedures, carry essential items such as a first aid kit and emergency contact information, and stay informed about local conditions.
  • Open communication: Feel comfortable expressing any concerns, asking questions, and providing feedback throughout the journey.
  • Having sufficient funds: Ensure you have adequate financial resources to cover personal expenses and any unforeseen costs that may arise during the self-funded portions of the expedition.
  • Flexibility and patience: Be prepared to adapt to changes in plans due to weather, local conditions, or unforeseen circumstances. A flexible mindset enhances the overall experience.
What should I bring on the expedition?
  • Essential Gear: I recommend bringing sturdy hiking boots (well broken-in), weather-appropriate clothing (layers are key), a comfortable daypack, sunscreen, a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, a refillable water bottle, and any personal items you may need.
  • Clothing: Pack quick-drying, breathable clothes suitable for variable mountain weather. Include warm layers, rain gear, and comfortable sleepwear.
  • Personal Care: Bring biodegradable toiletries, a small towel, and any necessary medications. Don't forget insect repellent and a basic first-aid kit.
  • Electronics: A camera or smartphone for photos, portable charger/power bank, and headlamp or flashlight with extra batteries are useful. Consider bringing a lightweight journal for reflections.
  • Optional Items: Trekking poles can be helpful for balance and reducing strain on knees. Binoculars for wildlife viewing and a reusable shopping bag for local markets are nice to have.
  • Documents: Bring your passport, visa, travel insurance documents, and some cash in local currency for small purchases.
  • Camping Gear: Basic camping gear can be supplied on the spot if needed, but if you have favorite items (like a sleeping bag), feel free to bring them.
  • Mindfulness Tools: If you practice meditation or yoga, consider bringing a small cushion or travel yoga mat.

A detailed, customized packing list will be provided upon booking to ensure you're fully prepared for your specific journey and the season of travel.

Don't worry if you're missing something: I can coordinate, suggest, or even organize any necessities that you might not have yourself. Just let me know what you need, and I'll assist in ensuring you have all the required gear for a comfortable and safe expedition.

Remember, while it's important to be prepared, it's equally important not to overpack. We'll be traveling light and efficiently through varied terrain. If you're unsure about any items or have specific needs, don't hesitate to ask for advice or assistance.

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.

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

If you have any further questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to reach out. You can contact me via email, phone, or by filling out the contact form on our website.

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