Source of the Sacred Ganges Trek Trip Notes

Ways to Travel:
Guided Group
Destinations:
India
Programmes:
Walking & Trekking
Trip Code:
TGS
Activity Rating - Moderate/Challenging
Moderate / Challenging

You are moderately fit and have an interest in remote or challenging environments. Some previous experience is required for activity based trips.

16 Days Flight Inclusive
15 Days Land only
Min age: 16

Trip Overview

This trip visits a remote and highly spectacular part of the Indian Himalaya. Garhwal, celebrated in Hindu mythology and religion is locally known as the ‘Abode of the Gods’. In this massif, beyond the Hindu shrine at Gangotri, the mighty Ganges River has its source. Emerging from a glacier, this great river rushes down to the plains in a torrential flurry.  Our itinerary includes two short treks. The first trek is a warm up and takes us off the beaten track from the small village of Barsu to Dayara Bugyal and Bakaria Top for great panoramic views of the Garhwal Himalaya. We then move on to Gangotri and trek to Tapovan, where Shivaling and other mightly peaks are almost close enough to touch. We also visit the holy town of Rishikesh on the banks of the Ganges and the 'Queen of hill stations'  Mussoorie.

At a Glance

  • 3 nights hotels, all en-suite, 4 nights guesthouses, 7 nights full-service camp
  • 9 days point-to-point walking with full porterage
  • Group normally 4 to 16, plus leader and staff. Min age 16 yrs.
  • Altitude maximum 4,500, average 3,300m
  • Travel by bus, mini bus and on foot
  • Departure Ex London on 19th October 2019 led by Valerie Parkinson
  • Golden Triangle Extension available at the end of the trek
  • Countries visited: India

Trip Highlights

  • Fantastic views of Shivling, the Matterhorn of India
  • Trek to the source of the Sacred Ganges
  • Pilgrimage town of Rishikesh and Mussoorie the ‘Queen of hill stations’

Is This Trip for You?

This is a Moderate/Challenging (Activity Level 4) trek with 9 days fully supported point-to-point walking (warm up trek is 4 days and the Source of the Ganges trek is 5 days), with an average of 4-7 hours walking per day. The trek is on a full-service camping basis. Some previous experience of hill walking is beneficial although walks should be within the capabilities of those who lead a normal active life. The maximum sleeping altitude will be 4,500m, with an average of 3,300m.
You may find our Fitness Training Guide a useful reference: http://www.exodus.co.uk/assets/pdf/Exodus_WT_Fitness_Training_Guide.pdf

Walking hours stated within the itinerary are given as approximates only and will vary depending on the pace of your group. Driving times given are approximations of actual driving times and do not include stops for photos, lunch, toilets etc.

Why Trek with Exodus?
• Over 30 years’ experience of organising treks in the Himalaya
• 'Ask an expert' - talk to Exodus staff who have done the trek themselves.
• Experienced English-speaking local leaders who are qualified in first aid
• All staff (leaders, guides and porters) are fully insured and paid a fair wage.
• Carefully planned ascent rates and itineraries with built-in acclimatisation and contingency days.
• Staff carry a full first aid kit.

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveller on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Group

The trip is led by a qualified, English speaking, local leader. On trek there will be a cook, assistants and mules to carry the baggage. Our Indian team has proved very popular with clients with their incredible knowledge, passion and hospitality adding greatly to the experience. There is no better way to experience Indian culture than letting an Indian leader show you around their country.

The departure Ex London 19th October 2019 will be led by Valerie Parkinson. Valerie is our Himalayan expert and has been leading treks in this part of the world for over 30 years.

Adult min age:
16
Min group size:
4
Max group size:
16

Itinerary

Land Only

Start City:
Rishikesh
End City:
Delhi

Flight Inclusive

Start City:
London
End City:
Delhi

Land Only Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start Dehra Dun; drive to Rishikesh; evening Ganga aarti

    The group flight will arrive into Delhi in the morning and we will transfer to the domestic terminal, from where we fly to Dehra Dun. On arrival at Dehra Dun, we join our vehicles and drive to Rishikesh. The road soon leaves the plains behind and starts to wind its way into the hills. It should take about 1.5hr (25km) to reach Rishikesh. Every evening as dusk descends the Ganga Aarti is performed on the banks of the River Ganges. An aarti is a devotional ritual that uses fire as an offering. Candles and flowers are sent floating down this most holy of Indian rivers as offerings to the Goddess Ganga. For Hindus the ceremony is a powerful and uplifting ritual. Those who have made their own flight arrangements (Land only) will join us either at the airport in Dehra Dun or at the hotel in Rishikesh. Your leader will do a trip briefing this evening.

    Standard hotel

  • Day 2

    Drive to Uttarkashi and then on to the small village of Barsu (2,250m)

    We continue heading north into the hills following the Bhagirathi River all the way to Uttarkashi, an important pilgrimage centre on the banks of the Bhagirathi River, famous for its ashrams and temples and the Nehru Institute of Mountaineering. The drive takes us through many small towns and terraced farmland. A short way after Uttarkashi we leave the main road to Gangotri and climb into the hills. Ahead we will start to see the mountains of Garhwal – Srikanta, Gangotri 1,2 and 3. We spend tonight in the small Garhwali village of Barsu.

    Basic hotel

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Dinner
  • Day 3

    Trek from Barsu to Dayara Bugyal

    Today we now start the first of our two treks. This short first trek will be great for acclimatisation and also affords wonderful views of the Indian Himalaya. More remote than the Source of the Ganges trek we still get wonderful views from spectacular campsites. On a clear day we are woken by a wonderful sunrise across the valley of Srikanta and Gangotri 1,2 and 3. We set off trekking after breakfast and the trail climbs all morning through mixed forest of oak, rhododendron and pine. We stop for lunch at Barnala, a clearing in the forest, where there is a small temple and great mountain views. It is another couple of hours climbing to our camp at Dayara Bugyal. We are now above the tree line and meadows and ridges stretch out all around us. Our camp is a little further on than the shepherd huts in a quiet bugyal (a high altitude meadow). From camp on a clear day we get views of Srikanta, Gangotri 1,2 and 3, Joanli, Draupadi Ka Danda and Bandarpunch.

    Full-service Camping (sleeping altitude 3,450m)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 8 km / 5 miles
    Activity (hours):
    5.5 - 6
  • Day 4

    Trek to Syari Bugyal

    For the energetic there is an optional walk to a fantastic viewpoint called Bakaria Top at 3,800m (for those who do not want to do the peak they can go with the cook and ponymen direct to camp). Please note if you do the optional walk the distance covered will be 6.8 miles or 11km and it will take 6-7 hours. We will carry a packed lunch and set off up a series of bugyals (meadows) and ridges. We are almost above the treeline now and open meadows and distant mountain views surround us. It will take around three hours to Bakaria Top and the climb is well worth the effort. On a clear day we have magnificent panoramic views of the Garhwal Himalaya - Srikanta, Gangotri 1,2 and 3, Joanli, Draupadi Ka Danda and Bandarpunch are some of the named mountains but there are many more without names. In the far distance we can even spot Uttarkashi. We descend a short way for lunch and then trek down easy ridges to join the main trail, which undulates up and down ridges to our camp tonight at Syari Bugyal, where we spend two nights.

    Full-service camping (sleeping altitude3,400m)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 8 km / 5 miles
    Activity (hours):
    4.5
  • Day 5

    Day walk to Surya Top then on to Uchlaru Top (3,900m)

    We spend two nights at the beautiful Syari Bugyal and for those who want to we can trek to the fantastic viewpoint at Surya Top, the highpoint of this warm up trek. From camp we ascend onto the ridge above us and follow the ridge climbing all the time. As we gain height the views become more and more spectacular. It will take us about 4hrs to Surya Top and further to Uchlaru Top at 3,900m. From here we get amazing views as we are even closer to the great Himalayan peaks. We take a packed lunch so we can enjoy the views and in the afternoon we descend to our camp.

    Full-service camping (sleeping altitude 3,400m)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 10 km / 6.2 miles
    Activity (hours):
    7
  • Day 6

    Descend to Barsu

    Today is the last day of our acclimatisation trek. We descend back to the tree line and enter thick forest. As we descend we can still see the mountains ahead and in spring the rhododendrons, gentians and primulas add an extra dimension of colour.  We finally emerge from the forest at the village of Barsu, where we started our trek.

    Basic hotel (sleeping altitude 2,250m)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 8 km / 5 miles
    Activity (hours):
    5.5 - 6
  • Day 7

    Drive to Gangotri (3,415m)

    Our warm up trek is now complete and we head further north and closer to the mountains, to the start of the Source of the Ganges trek at Gangotri. The road follows the valley as it winds its way into the hills, still following the Bhagirathi River. The higher it gets the narrower it becomes and we start to see impressive rock spires and snow capped peaks rising above the valley. We will arrive in Gangotri by lunchtime and have the afternoon to explore the temples. Gangotri (3,415m) is the seat of the Goddess Ganga. It is an important Hindu pilgrim town and origin of the River Ganges. It was here that the Goddess Ganga descended when Shiva released the river from the locks of his hair. The river here is called the Bhagirathi and it only becomes the Ganges after it’s confluence with the Alaknanda at Devprayag.

    Basic hotel (sleeping altitude 3,415m)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
  • Day 8

    Trek to Bhojwassa (3,790m)

    We now begin the second trek to the source of the Ganges called Gaumukh. It is 19km from Gangotri, which will take us one and a half days. The trek starts with an easy climb surrounded by magnificent scenery. We pass the checkpost for the Gangotri Conservation Project, and continue following the river with impressive cliffs on our left. We get wonderful views of Mount Manda (6,510m), the Bhagirathi Massif and other surrounding peaks. We continue ascending through forests of pine and birch to Bhojwassa (which means home of birch trees). Ahead we can see the glaciated boulders and Bhagirathi peaks towering over the Gaumukh springs. A short distance above camp we will get our first views of Shivling (6,543m), the spectacularly shaped Matterhorn of India.

    Full-service camping (sleeping altitude 3,790m)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 14 km / 8.7 miles
    Activity (hours):
    6 - 7
  • Day 9

    Trek to Gaumukh and on to Tapovan

    From Bhojwassa we trek gradually uphill for 5km to Gaumukh. This is the actual source of the Ganges and is where the many pilgrims will trek to. The river starts at the snout of the Gaumukh glacier and is one of the holiest places for Hindus to visit. We leave the pilgrims behind as we cross the Gangotri glacier. Ascending the lateral moraine we follow a steep cairned trail that leads to the east side of the glacier. We continue on to Tapovan (4,500m), probably the most spectacular camp of the trip with stunning views of Shivling, Meru, Kharchkund and the Bhagirathi peaks. The peaks are so close we can almost touch them and here is some of the most stunning Himalayan scenery. We spend 2 nights here to enjoy the spectacular setting.

    Full-service camping (sleeping altitude 4,500m)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 9 km / 5.6 miles
    Activity (hours):
    4 - 5
  • Day 10

    Optional day walk to Meru base camp

    Spend a day in Tapovan, with time to enjoy the stunning scenery and views or take an optional walk to Meru base camp. The trail follows the right side of the valley and ascends the rocky moraine towards Meru base camp. The views are even more stunning as Shivling rises dramatically above us. Called the Matterhorn of India it is an impressive sight and from camp we can see the face called the Shark Fin, which to date has only been climbed once. We may spot Blue Sheep here up on the grassy plateau of our camp. We return to camp for lunch and the afternoon is free to enjoy the views and we can visit an ashram that is close by.

    Full-service camping (sleeping altitude 4,500m)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 6 km / 3.7 miles
    Activity (hours):
    4 - 5
  • Day 11

    Trek from Tapovan to Chirwassa

    Hopefully we will get a ast stunning sunrise over the great peaks around us before we leave this mountain arena and retrace our steps down the valley past Gaumukh and Bhojwassa to Chirwassa.

    Full-service camping (sleeping altitude 3,800m)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 16 km / 10 miles
    Activity (hours):
    6 - 7
  • Day 12

    Trek back to Gangotri; drive to Uttarkashi

    We finish our trekking today with a short walk back to Gangotri, where we meet our transport for the drive down the valley to Uttarkashi for the night. The drive is approximately 100km and will take about 4 hours.

    Basic hotel

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch
    Distance covered: 9 km / 5.6 miles
    Activity (hours):
    2 - 2.5
  • Day 13

    Drive to Mussoorie

    Today we descend into the foothills and drive from Uttarkashi to Mussoorie. The scenery is no less spectacular as we descend the valley. The drive takes us through forested areas, small busy towns and farmlands.  After around a 5 hour drive we will reach the busy hill station of Mussoorie where we spend the night. (altitude 1,880m)

    Standard hotel

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 14

    Morning free in Mussoorie; afternoon train to Delhi

    We have time this morning to explore Mussoorie. Called the ‘Queen of Hill Stations’, it lies in the foothills of the Garhwal Himalaya. Now a bustling Indian town it was founded by the British, who were trying to escape the heat of the plains. It became the centre of the Great Trigonometric Survey of India and Sir George Everest lived here. The ruins of his home can still be seen with views of the Doon Valley and the peaks of the Himalaya. In 1850 the first beer brewery in India was built here. Even though the shops are all now modernised, a stroll down the Mall Road still evokes that sense of the British Raj. In the afternoon we take the train back to Delhi, arriving late evening.

    Standard hotel

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 15

    End Delhi

    Those on the flight inclusive package will depart for London this morning for the daytime flight back to London; Land Only arrangements will finish after check-out from the hotel.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
Altitude charts

All ascents, descents and distances listed above have been measured by our local partners or tour leaders. Please note that different GPS measuring devices can give differing results dependent on the barometric pressures at the time. Measurements stated throughout these trips notes are given to help you understand the types of terrain and distances you will encounter.

Please note: it is possible that the order of the itinerary listed above will be changed to ensure the best possible conditions for each activity during the trip. All listed activities and services will be included. Your leader will inform you of any changes locally after assessing conditions.

Extend Your Trip

Golden Triangle extension

A visit to the incredible Taj Mahal and other great Moghul cities close to Delhi is an excellent way to begin or end a visit to Northern India. The five-day Golden Triangle extension can be booked before or after your main itinerary. The Taj Mahal in Agra was built by the Moghul Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died in 1631, and is one of the most beautiful sights on earth. Close by is the imposing Red Fort of Akbar with its beautiful courtyards and palaces and let's not forget the deserted royal city of Fatehpur Sikri. The extension also visits the Pink City of Jaipur, capital of Rajasthan, which is one of the most attractive and colourful cities in India. The detailed itinerary can be found here

Accommodation

Hotels, camping and guest houses

3 nights hotels, all en suite, 4 nights guest houses/lodges, all en suite, 7 nights full-service camping,

We stay in standard hotels in Delhi, Rishikesh and Mussoorie, all rooms have en suite facilities. In Uttarkashi, Barsu we stay in basic guesthouses/lodges, all rooms have en suite facilties. In Gangotri the accommodation is very basic and is the same used by Pilgrims which may allow for some interesting socialising.  There are no showers so washing is done with buckets of hot water. Please note this is the best option in Gangotri.  To get the most from this trip it is a good idea to suspend your expectations as some of the remoteness of this trip is one of its real drawcards however it does mean the choice of accommodation is limited and much more basic in some of the places we visit. 

The trek itself is on a full-service camping basis, meaning that our camp staff will erect and dismantle the tents for you, cook, and do all of the camp chores for you. You need only carry your daypack. We stay in two-person tents which have enough room inside for your kitbags. Sleeping mats and bags are not provided – please see the packing section. We also have a dining tent complete with table and folding chairs, and at least one toilet tent (usually two) for use during the evenings. No running water is available whilst camping. You will be camping close to a water source and the camp staff will provide bowls of warm water (to wash with) whilst trekking.
Should you wish to extend your stay, we can book additional nights for you either before or after the tour in Rishikesh or Delhi - please enquire at the time of booking.

Single rooms and tents are available for a supplement: the price may depend on the season you are travelling. Please advise the sales team if you wish to add this to your booking and they will confirm the price for you.

Where a single supplement is available, paying for a single only guarantees a room for single use. It does not always mean a twin or double room will be provided for sole occupancy.

Single supplement from £350.00

Food & Transport

Eating & Drinking

Breakfast is included throughout plus 10 lunches and 10 dinners.
When camping we have a cook and assistants who will prepare simple but plentiful nutritious food. Breakfasts will be porridge, cereals, eggs and toast with plenty of tea, coffee or hot chocolate. Lunches will usually be a picnic lunch with soup, various kinds of local breads, cheese, eggs, tinned fish and meat and fruit where available. There will be afternoon tea and biscuits on arrival at camp followed later by dinner which is usually soup, a pasta, rice or potato based main course with fresh vegetables, followed by dessert, tea, coffee or hot chocolate. You will be provided with safe boiled drinking water during the trek.

Drinking Water
Staying hydrated is important when undertaking any physical activity. We strongly encourage you not to buy bottled water as this contributes to the growing problem of plastic pollution in India.
During the trek the cooks will collect and boil drinking water from the mountain streams and fill up your water bottles for you, but you may need to collect water during the day and may wish to use your own water purification treatment as well.

We also suggest that you may like to bring a reusable bottle with a wide opening (Nalgene or similar) with you and use a SteriPEN to treat any non-boiled water. A SteriPEN is a handheld UV water purifier – small, lightweight and battery powered so easy to pack for a trek. It’s quick to use, far more effective than purification tablets, and the water is ready immediately. It’s fine to use a SteriPEN on non-boiled water so long as it isn’t cloudy or full of sediment (which is uncommon in these regions). SteriPENs are widely stocked on Amazon, outdoor shops and other online retailers; look for the latest models but avoid USB charging ones. Using a SteriPEN means you won’t leave behind a single plastic bottle – and you can keep it for future trips.

Transportation

In Delhi transfers will be by bus, minibus or cars depending on the size of the group. For the other journeys transport will be in minibuses.

The train journey from Mussoorie to Delhi will be booked in air conditioned chair class. All seats are pre-allocated at the time the tickets are issued, meaning that we are not able to guarantee the whole group are together on the train, your leader will manage this as best as possible and will always check on you during the journey.

Indian trains are safe to travel on however we would recommend that you keep any valuables with you at all times. Dinner is included on the train. Some trains have western-style facilities but the majority of services are equipped with squat toilets. Please note trains sometimes get delayed for numerous reasons, which is obviously beyond our control, however, we endeavour to minimise the impact of these delays on the overall itinerary.

Weather & Seasonality

Weather Information

Our departures are carefully timed to take advantage of the likely best weather conditions. Delhi will be hot in the daytime, especially on spring departures, and reasonably warm at night. Rishikesh and Mussoorie will be warm to hot during the day with cooler night time temperatures. Weather on trek will vary with the altitude, but will in general be comfortable for walking during the day (it can be really quite hot when the sun is out, particularly on the spring departure). At night on trek it can get very cold with temperatures down to as low as -5° Celsius or lower at the highest camps. Please note although April is the best time for flowers the weather can be cloudy and there can be rain.

Although the departures are timed to coincide when the weather is normally good, you should remember that in any mountain area the weather is never wholly predictable and you should be prepared and equipped to deal with any differences in weather beyond the conditions described above.

Weather Charts

Joining Instructions

Travelling flight inclusive from London: 16 days
The group flight from London is an overnight flight departing the day before Day 1 of the itinerary.

Flights from London
As flight timings and schedules change regularly we recommend you call one of our specialist sales staff or your agent to confirm up‐to‐date timings. Please note timings may change at a later date and cannot be confirmed until approximately two weeks before departure.
Internal flights during the trip are with a local airline.

Travelling land only: 15 days starting in Dehra Dun and ending in Delhi
Your trip normally starts at the hotel in Rishikesh in the afternoon of Day 1 of the itinerary. Details of how to reach the start point are provided in the Final Joining Instructions ‐ sent approximately two weeks before departure. The group international flight will be arriving in the morning of Day 1 and then join a domestic flight to Dehra Dun. Land Only clients can arrange to meet the group at Dehra Dun airport for the transfer to Rishikesh or make your own way to the joining hotel in Rishikesh. Please advise our sales team which option you will be taking. It is approximately 1.5hrs drive from Dehra Dun airport to Rishikesh. Please note if you want more time to explore Rishikesh you may want to arrive a day before the group.

As advice about luggage allowances for both hand and hold luggage is subject to change, we suggest you check the airline's website for the latest information prior to your departure. 

The Flight Inclusive price is based on a London departure, but we are happy to tailor this to your local or regional airport. Please ask about flights from local or regional airports.
If booking regional flights other than with Exodus, you must allow a minimum connecting time (in addition to the international check-in time) of 1 hour at Gatwick, and 1.5 hours at Heathrow; this is longer than the official minimum, but baggage handling is known to be subject to delays.
Full details including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Transfers Details

For flight inclusive clients our local team will provide assistance to the group with a transfer to the domestic airport for the onward flight to Dehra Dun.  Land only clients with pre-tour or no transfers booked will need to either meet the group in Dehradun airport to join the transfer to the start hotel in Rishikesh or meet at that hotel.  If you require airport transfers, you may (by prior arrangement only) be able to join the group transfer. Transfers are arranged to coincide with the arrival time of the group flight ‐ please check the group flight details 2 weeks before departure. If you do not take this transfer, or miss it, you must make your own way to the joining point at your own expense.

 

Location start:
Dehra Dun
Location end:
Delhi

What to Take

Essential Equipment

You will be restricted to 15 kgs of luggage whilst on trek. Any baggage not needed for the first trek can be left in the guest house in Barsu and any baggage not needed for the second trek can be left in the guest house in Gangotri. Please also see the 'internal flights weight limit' section below.

4-season sleeping bag (with a comfort rating of down to at least -5℃)
Sleeping mattress/Thermarest
3-season jacket
Waterproof synthetic or leather walking boots (worn in)
Waterproof jacket and trousers
Sandals/Trainers 
Warm hat
Gloves
Several pairs of walking socks
Trekking pole(s) 
Warm layers or thermals for the evenings
Warm mid-layer (fleece)
Shirts/t-shirts/base layers
Light and mid weight trousers 
Long shorts or skirt for women
Sunhat, sunglasses, sunscreen and lip salve with sun protection
Daypack
Trek towel
Head torch
Water bottle (minimum 2 litres)
Plastic bags (bin liners) to line daypack and for packing clothing in the kitbag
Toilet paper
Small personal first aid kit

We believe in reducing our negative environmental impacts wherever possible, this goes for when you need to spend a penny in the great outdoors! If no facilities are available there may come a time when you need to go to the loo behind a tree/bush/rock. To avoid leaving toilet paper behind we recommend taking biodegradable dog poo/sandwich bags with you. Once you have done your business you can pop the used toilet roll in here and take it off the mountain or trail at the end of the day and dispose of it when there are appropriate facilities available.

Optional Equipment

Gaiters
Hand washing gel
Water purification
Biodegradable soap/shampoo

Equipment Hire

Duvet jackets and sleeping bags are available for hire from Trek Hire UK. Trek Hire UK can also provide a range of trekking essentials and accessories, from rucksacks to trekking poles. Please note that supplies are limited, and it is advisable to reserve any equipment as early as possible. 

Internal Flights Weight Limit

The weight allowance on the domestic flight is 15kg checked luggage plus 7kg hand luggage.

If you book this trip, we provide an Exodus kitbag to pack your luggage in whilst on trek. If you book via an agent, it is at the agent’s discretion and you should speak directly to them to arrange delivery. Please note that if you book less than three weeks before the departure date we cannot guarantee that your kitbag will arrive before your trip starts, so if this is the case please contact us on [email protected] to let us know. For full T&Cs see www.exodus.co.uk/kitbags

If you book this trip, we provide an Exodus kitbag to pack your luggage in whilst on trek (unless on booking you stated a preference not to receive one). If you book via an agent, it is at the agent’s discretion and you should speak directly to them to arrange delivery. Please note that if you book less than three weeks before the departure date we cannot guarantee that your kitbag will arrive before your trip starts, so if this is the case please contact us on [email protected] to let us know. For full T&Cs see www.exodus.co.uk/kitbags.

Practical Information

Passport

India

All nationalities require a full passport that must be valid for 6 months beyond the intended length of stay. It is your responsibility to have the correct personal documents and to obtain your own visa, if one is necessary, in accordance with the regulations of the country you are to visit. The information below is primarily for UK passport holders, and other nationalities should check with their travel agent or the relevant embassies. We are not responsible for the actions of local immigration and customs officials, whether at points of entry or otherwise, and any subsequent effects.

Visa

India

Visas are required if you are British and for most other nationalities. For UK residents full details of the visa process can be found here. Other nationalities should check with their travel agent or the relevant embassies.

If your trip visits Ladakh, in the very north of India, or Sikkim in the northeast, do not mention this on your Indian visa application. This can sometimes slow down or even cause the embassy to reject your visa.

When you reach immigration, you are required to pick up an immigration form. If you have an e-visa, ensure you stand in the correct queue - please follow the signs to the e-visa booth (in Delhi this is at the back of the immigration hall). You will need to fill out an additional form at the booth - please make sure that you have the details of your start hotel ready (these details can be found on your Final Joining Instructions).

 

Visa regulations can change without notice: please check the current regulations in good time to obtain a visa if one is required.

Vaccination

India

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Typhoid, Hepatitis A. The risk of malaria is slight but you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice. Dengue fever is a known risk in places visited. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for Dengue, therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. Some of our India trips spend time at altitude. In regions over approx. 2000m, there is low to no risk of mosquito-borne diseases. For trips going to altitudes of over 3000m there is a risk of being affected by Acute Mountain Sickness. Our itineraries are designed to enable everyone to acclimatise to these altitudes, but you should be aware that it is still possible for you to be affected. Please see the TRIP NOTES for further information.

Travel health can often be something people forget about before going away, but a little preparation and knowledge can go a long way to help you stay fit and healthy while abroad.

The above information can change at short notice; as we are not qualified to answer all your questions about travel health we strongly recommend you contact your Medical Professional or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up-to-date information. Please note: vaccinations that are routinely recommended to residents of the UK, North America or Australasia are not considered to form part of the travel health advice, and you should ensure these are kept up to date where necessary.

For additional information please visit: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries

Altitude warning

This trip includes one or more nights over 3500m above sea level, where there is a genuine risk of being affected by Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). If left untreated AMS can be life-threatening. We expect most clients to experience some mild symptoms of altitude sickness, such as headaches and shortness of breath while walking or sleeplessness. Our leaders are trained to identify symptoms of severe AMS and if a client requires extra care, arrangements such as rapid descent will be made immediately.

On some days this trip climbs faster than commonly published ascent rate recommendations. Based upon an assessment by our external safety and medical advisors and our risk assessment process, we consider the ascent rate is acceptable due to the additional safety measures that are in place for our customers. All our trips operating at high altitude meet our internal altitude safety standards that minimise the risk of serious incidents occurring whilst travelling at altitude.

A number of medical conditions or medications can reduce your body's ability to acclimatise. This may affect your performance and make you more susceptible to AMS. If you are worried about any pre-existing conditions, such as heart conditions, or your overall physical ability, you must seek medical advice prior to booking. The drug Diamox (also known as acetazolamide and normally only available on prescription) has been shown to aid acclimatisation in some individuals, and therefore may reduce the risk of AMS. Clients considering using Diamox should speak to their doctor about the drug, its side-effects and a prescription. Please note that while we endeavour to assist all our clients in achieving their goals, there may be times when your leader decides to delay or stop your ascent based on your overall condition, or the onset of AMS.

If you are not taking out Exodus Travel Insurance, make sure that your policy covers you up to the maximum altitude on this trip (if trekking in the Himalaya your policy should also cover the use of a helicopter for emergency medical evacuation).

Insurance - are you adequately covered?

It is a condition of joining any of our holidays that you must be fully insured against medical and personal accident risks (to include repatriation costs and air ambulance or helicopter rescue services where appropriate). On arrival in destination for your trip, you will be asked to present details to your leader or local representative of your policy.

If you are resident in the UK we strongly recommend the Exodus travel insurance policy, this is specifically designed to cover all activities on your trip. If arranging your own policy please ensure that you are covered for all activities that are part of the trip, optional activities that you intend to take part in and/or on high altitude itineraries, that you are covered up to the maximum altitude of the trip.

Local Time

India's Timezone:
Asia/Kolkata IST (GMT +05:30)

Electricity

India's Electricity:

230/240 volts AC, 50 Hz.

230/240 volts AC, 50 Hz.

There are recharging facilities at all the hotels, the electricity supply is not 100% reliable but it is usually only off for short periods of time. There are various types of plugs used in India so a worldwide adaptor is useful if intending to recharge phones and cameras.

Money

India's Currency

The national currency of India is the Indian Rupee (INR), with an exchange rate at the time of publication (February 2019) of approximately 90 to the UK£ and 70 to the US$.

It is illegal to import or export rupees. Do not accept torn or (very) dirty Indian banknotes from banks or in change as they will almost certainly not be accepted as legal tender in India. Please ask for low denomination notes of 100 and 500 Rupees as the new 2000 Rupee notes can be difficult to use out of Delhi. You can change money back from Rupees into Pounds or Dollars at Delhi airport (before going through security), but you must produce an exchange receipt showing that you changed money in India.

ATM Availability

ATM machines are now available throughout the larger cities in India and are generally reliable (Visa and MasterCard are best); you should not rely on these 100% of the time though so please take some cash with you as well. Please inform your bank before departure that you are travelling to India. You can pay with credit cards in bigger shops all over India. We do not recommend bringing travellers cheques as they are becoming increasingly difficult to change.

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

Money change facilities are available on arrival at Delhi's international airport (you may not get the best rates in the airport) and the hotel in Delhi. It is possible to change US$ and £ in cash in Rishikesh and Mussoorie. You should allow around INR5000 (approx. £55/US$75) for meals and drinks that are not included. Mineral water, soft and alcoholic drinks are not included and are widely available. Soft drinks are generally cheap, but beers can approach Western prices. While we are trekking there is not very much to spend your money on, but in Delhi, Rishikesh and Mussoorie there is a wealth of souvenirs you may be interested in purchasing. India has very good opportunities for shopping, especially for locally made goods, and during your trip it is highly likely that your local guides will take you to emporiums as well as workshops where these goods are made. Many people find this a great opportunity to buy local handicrafts, silk, jewellery and carpets. Leaders will often assume that visitors will want to go shopping, it is very much part of the culture, but if you do not wish to go please make this clear at the time.

Tipping

Tipping is of course entirely at your discretion, but it is customary in India. Tipping can be an awkward affair especially when you are not familiar with the country. Your leader will help with tipping and will provide a list of suggested tips. This will include tips for drivers, hotel porters and other hotel staff, local sightseeing guides, and for the trek will include camp staff such as guide, assistants, cooks and ponymen. Sometimes your leader will collect a kitty during the trip and sometimes they will collect the tips towards the end of the trip. Occasionally for very small groups the leader may need to collect a little more than the suggested amount. We suggest you allow INR5500 (£60/US$80) for this trip.

Tipping of the leader is not included in the above and is at your discretion. However we suggest around INR2300 (approx. £25/US$30) per person for the leader. Any tips should ideally be given in local currency.

Exodus Community

Join the Exodus online community

Don't forget to visit the Community area on our website. You can view the range of Exodus videos and podcasts, read trip write-ups which have featured in the national media and take advantage of some special deals on travel gear and equipment.

In the Community Travel Forum you'll find the Departure Lounge where you can discuss your trip with fellow travellers before you depart. When you get back from your holiday remember to upload your images to the relevant trip page on our website. This helps other people see what our holidays are really like and you'll be entered automatically into our monthly photo competition.

To make full use of the Community you'll need to join My Exodus. It's free, registration is simple and easy, so what are you waiting for?

Important Information

On all guided trips

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely partake in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity.

Although rarely enforced, by booking this trip you agree to section 16 of our Booking Conditions which clearly states that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these circumstances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred.

On all trips

In booking this trip you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability you should call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary.

In an emergency, please contact our 24 hour out of hours service on +44 (0) 844 326 7041.

Every time that you travel abroad you should take the time to read the warnings in the essential information in the brochure.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers, and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately 2 to 3 weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; in order to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, as stated in our brochure, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons - climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

As fuel prices, airport taxes and exchange rates fluctuate, and airlines manage their rates to match demand, it is proving harder than ever to guarantee our Flight Inclusive prices. Although we endeavour to keep our website as accurate as possible, daily fluctuations mean that our Flight Inclusive price may be out of date. For accurate prices we recommend that you contact one of our Travel Experts, or your Travel Agent.

TRAVEL AWARE –STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD

 

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the NHS have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad. For more on security, local laws, plus passport and visa information, see https://travelaware.campaign.gov.uk/

Keep informed of current travel health news by visiting https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/

Advice can change so check regularly for updates.

For all latest travel information about your holiday, please visit our Travel Safety Advice page.

How to Book

1. Check availability

Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.

2. Secure your place

You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.

3. Complete your booking and payment

When you're ready to book, go to www.exodus.co.uk for online booking, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque. Book with confidence: Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582 issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA ‐ The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all monies paid to us for your trip are fully protected.

TRIP NOTE VALIDITY

These Trip Notes are valid from the "Current as" date on page one. They will occasionally be updated post booking and pre-departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary bookers will be written to separately. All customers will also receive a link to the most up-to-date version of the Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions pre-travel.