Himalayan & Ganges Journey 2020

20th September – 11th October Inclusive

‘India is the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend, and the great grandmother of tradition. So far as I am able to judge, nothing has been left undone, either by man or Nature to make India the most extraordinary country that the Sun visits on his rounds.’ – Mark Twain

Inclusive of

·         Your entire journey from Delhi airport and back

·         Luxury accommodation & vehicles

·         On-board team

·         Healthy, hygienic food and beverages

·         Time to relax and experience extraordinary environments

·         Optional meditation groups in the mornings and evenings

·         Three nights in Delhi (in total) including a last day shopping trip to a famous market housing artefacts from all over India, culminating in a farewell party of traditional entertainment and finest cuisine in a well-known restaurant.

·         Meetings with Hindu Yogis & Buddhist Rinpoche’s 

·         Jungle adventures and optional rafting on the Ganges

·         Safe luggage transfers

·         Personal security

·         Caring for those with physical disabilities

·         Environmentally aware

·        Night-time campfires, tribal musicians and story-telling


·       Famous Arti ceremony by the Ganges


Led by Naresh Jishtu & Mary Kingsley-Joshi

(See biographies on ‘Team’ page)

Welcome to an unparalleled journey designed for you to return home feeling inspired, energized – and with plenty of interesting stories to tell. It’s for those who want a comfortable and safe way of exploring the most mystical Hindu areas and the remotest habitable Buddhist regions of the Indian Himalayas. Journey through extraordinary locations beginning in ‘The Land of the God’s’ in the highest remotest regions followed by 4-days in the lower Himalayan foothills by the banks of legendary Ganges.

Pilgrims bathing in the Ganges and views of Tibet – on-route

From the diversity of snow-clad peaks and ancient tribal regions, culminating with a full-days shop in Delhi’s most popular market; everything has been planned for you to experience Northern India’s spiritual heritage at its best, have plenty of adventure – and quiet time to reflect and explore on your own.

Naresh and Mary have extensive knowledge of these regions and know from decades of experience what it takes to host such an expedition.

The journey is planned to combine time to relax, optional group gatherings and time to rest or explore on your own

First we visit ancient Buddhist monasteries in the remotest habitable glacier regions (see our ‘Buddhist Pilgrimage’ on this site which goes into details of locations), Then we travel down to the lower Himalayan tropical jungles predominately Hindu, staying by the white sandy beaches of the Ganges. Here, there are ancient caves and secluded waterfall pools to bathe in surrounded by wild-life – including tigers, cobras and elephants. In this area we stay in the pilgrimage area of Rishikesh (made famous by ‘The Beatles’) where there are numerous ashrams, Yoga centres and hundreds of curiosity shops, as well as attending a legendary Arti ceremony held by the Ganges.

There is nowhere on Earth that river water or mountains have been so revered

Remotest habitable regions in summertime. In all locations there are nights around open fires listening to private performances of ancient local tribal music.

Local roads and pathways are mostly on-the-flat making walking easy. Throughout the journey, there is a door to door service using our fleet of luxury, air-conditioned vehicles with experienced drivers that we have known for years, and at each location, our team and vehicles stand by for individual excursions.

Outline of Journey

By kind courtesy of professional photographer Fi © All rights reserved.

The journey begins and culminates in a luxury hotel in Delhi, with the last day a shopping trip to a famous market that trades in India’s most sought after goods. Then back to the hotel to rest and refresh followed by a farewell party of traditional entertainment and finest cuisine at a well-known restaurant.

In parts, we follow the old Hindustan-Tibetan Silk Route which cuts through untouched valleys crossed by legendry glacial rivers. On-route there is ample time to relax and have tea (prepared by our team) while absorbing the scenery and taking photo shoots.

We travel close to the borders of Tibet in an area affectionately called ‘Little Tibet.’ These areas are more authentically Tibetan as the way of life has no Chinese influence. For those who enjoy walking, there are numerous opportunities to explore backwaters.

The journey involves a safe ascent into the remotest regions where there is a first stop of two nights in Shimla, the capital of Himachal.

Because this is an exclusive journey, we refrain from disclosing the full itinerary of where there are meetings with Buddhist Lamas and Hindu Yogis as they normally have no contact with the outside world.

Declining from naming places and routes protects ecologically vulnerable areas that can become eroded through tourist exploitation.

Village view from Himalaya Discovery’s personally run hotel. We stay in the most comfortable places on-route – including two of our privately run hotels with the utmost care taken to ensure your safety, happiness and physical well-being. 

Daily Itinerary

Day 1 Arrive in Delhi. Relax in hotel. Early supper followed by a general introduction and group discussion. Good night’s sleep. (Please note; if you are arriving the day before, we can arrange an extra night or two for you.

Day 2 Delhi to our Shimla hotel using our luxury fleet of cars; supper followed by an introduction to your Himalayan team.

Day 3 Relaxing day to get used to the height (7, 250 feet) and time to explore this famous British Hill Station, either on your own or in a guided tour. Shimla has many up-market shops plus a large India and Tibetan Bazaar.

Day 4 Shimla to a remote Himalayan village historically linked with Shangri La where we stay in our own hotel, stopping for lunch to take in views and photo-shoots on-route.

5-minute walk from Himalaya Discovery’s personally run hotel on-route

Day 5 Relaxing day. There are numerous walks or short treks, plus a truly authentic Kinnauri village to explore. Supper and a performance of tribal musicians.

Day 6 Rest and/or trip to ‘the last village in India’ for lunch.

Day 7 Journey to another remote village 4 hours away where we stay in our own hotel (see photo on opening section). Supper overlooking the spectacular Kailash Mountain Range.

Day 8 Explore the village. Optional tea party at the girl’s orphanage where they perform local dances. (Mary has supported this orphanage for 15 years).

Day 9 Full day excursion to a monastery set high in a rock-face with various caves and stupors, plus lunch with the Lamas. (Mary was the first westerner to visit and stay in this unusual monastery.) 

Day 10 Stunning walk (on the flat) to a small village with a lunch picnic on the way. In the evening, local apricot wine is freely on offer (at your own risk) around a open fire sharing stories/experiences. The head of the village and another interesting character will be joining us, along with traditional musicians.

Day 11 Set off into the highest habitable regions on Earth. Arrive in a stunning village for a picnic around a small lake. This route and village has dramatic views of the mountains in Tibet only 5km away. Visit 1,350 year old temple with a private viewing of rare Buddhist texts.

Travel on to another historical village where we stay for two nights. Supper prepared by local friends in a garden setting for a panoramic view of the night sky.

Day 13 Special early morning prayers performed for us by the lamas, monks and geshe in the ancient shrine room dating back 1,320 years. Walks around the village and/or short treks to caves which yogis once used for lengthy retreats. 

Day 14 Travel 40km to a tiny monastic village. On the way lunch in another monastic setting where you can meet the lamas. Evening fire-circle under an unparalleled view of Himalayan stars. You are welcome to join the lamas for Puja and chanting in the main shrine.

Day 12 Return back to our personally run hotel. Supper and free time.

Day 13  Rest/explore with drivers available.

Day 14 Journey back to our hotel in Shimla. One-night stop over.

Day 15 Journey down to the river Ganges, evening rest in our luxury ashram   accommodation by its banks.

Note; because this area is fascinating, beautiful and historical, we spend four full days and 6 nights in one place to allow exploration with optional picnic trips into the nearby jungles. Time to experience its waterfalls and the presence of creatures such as tigers and elephants, along with an assortment of rare tropical birds. All rooms have a balcony view of the Ganges and surrounding mountainous jungle. Massage available in your room and also a private consultation with an Ayurvedic doctor (this area produces many Ayurvedic medicines sold all over the world,

Sight-seeing, rafting on the Ganges on offer and hundreds of shops in car-free zones.

Where the mountains and Ganges reach the plains with two pedestrian bridges connecting ‘The Yoga capital of the World.’

Day16 Time to explore numerous artefacts, jewellery, books and clothes shops, Hindu temples and ‘The Beatles ashram’ nearby. Famous evening Arti ceremony by the banks of the Ganges followed by supper at a well-known rooftop restaurant.

Day 17 Free time or individual sight-seeing tours to places like Kunja-pauri mountain-top temple, or the cave that Christ was said to have researched Hinduism for a year – using our cars.

Day 18 Optional morning meditation in the jungle with a Yogi friend.  Time to bathe and picnic by the Ganges, explore the surrounding jungle, historic caves, waterfalls  and wild-life. Supper in a jungle camp with private sitar/tabla concert followed by a Puja flower/candle ceremony by the river. 

Day 19 Early morning 8-hour drive to Delhi via Jim Corbett’s National Wildlife Park stopping in Hardwar (where the hold the Kumbha Mela for brunch. Evening free time.

Day 20 Sight-seeing or shopping at famous old market housings goods from all over India. Cultural music evening at a famous restaurant for our fare-well supper party.
Day 21 Fly home. (Please bear in mind that your room has to be vacated by 12pm or extra costs will be incurred.)
Tree shrines on Delhi streets

Note; for those who have more time, we can arrange a visit, by either first-class train (a must experience!) or car, to Rajasthan; a four-hour journey from Delhi. Let us know after booking the entire journey.

Please see our Booking & Practicalities section for further information

Available for 24 participants

Cost inclusive from and back to Delhi

1, 000, 30,000 Rupees – 2,500 Dollars – 2,000 UK Sterling – 2, 600 Swiss Francs

Note; if you are travelling on your own and would prefer a single room, please inform us when booking. There is a small surcharge for the price of the room only, as all rooms are double and the cost of the journey is priced for two people sharing one room. Alternatively, if you would prefer to share but are not travelling with anyone, please let us know and we will connect you with a like-minded participant.

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