Beyond Gangotri: Trekking and Yoga in the Himalayas2019-11-19T11:44:22-05:00

Beyond Gangotri: Trekking and Yoga in the Himalayas

October 4–17, 2020

Register Now

This trekking and yoga excursion is designed to challenge your mind and body and awaken your spirit while you immerse yourself in one of the most spiritually charged and majestic places on earth- Gangotri National Park.

Excursion Overview

Excursion Overview

Trek along the pristine waters of the Ganges, traverse Gaumukh Glacier, and ascend to high alpine meadows of Tapovan to camp beneath iconic peaks over 20,000 feet tall. Along the way, partake in time-tested yoga and meditation practices to maximize your opportunity to receive the grace and nurturance this extraordinary place has to offer. Rooted in the desire for inner growth and fulfillment, your experience will be enhanced by the company of a small group of like-minded travelers.

Key Highlights of this 14-day Excursion:

  • 7 days/6 nights of trekking and camping in Gangotri National Park
  • Cross the Gaumukh Glacier, the most revered source of the Ganges river
  • Camp for two nights in Tapovan, an alpine meadow at 15,000 feet
  • Bask in the presence of famous Himalayan peaks like Bhagirathi, Meru, and Shivaling
  • Visit Pandav Cave in Gangotri, where yogis have lived for thousands of years
  • Practice systematic and supportive yoga and meditation practices
  • Enjoy a community of like-minded people
  • and much more...

Come and See for Yourself...

"Thousands of years of the spiritually charged vibrations that these mountains emit differentiates them from all the other peaks in the world. Regardless what attitude or intention you bring to these mountains, you come back with an experience of yourself and a relationship with higher reality that you have never imagined before. What that experience is and how it’s received is totally different from person to person and probably cannot be put into words even by those who experience it. Simply put, come and see for yourself."

—Pandit Rajmani Tigunait

"Of all the places I have visited in my life, I have found none more fascinating than Gangotri."

—Swami Rama of the Himalayas, Living With Himalayan Masters

Key Highlights

Trek

Trek

Trek through Gangotri National Park and follow in the footsteps of Himalayan Sages who have trod these paths for thousands of years. In these mountains, the modern world is left behind and different reality exists. Hiking to the melody of the Ganges river just below, dramatic Himalayan peaks reveal themselves around each corner, propelling us forward through one of the most extraordinary landscapes on earth. Our trekking days are designed to satisfy experienced hikers while allowing plenty of time to reach the next destination for those desiring a slower pace. (Trek rated moderate to difficult).

Practice Yoga

Practice Yoga

The yoga portion of this excursion will include breath-aligned asana sequences to prepare us in the mornings for our treks, gentle asana and self-massage to help our muscles recover, and guided meditations to facilitate a deeper experience and allow us to rest in the abundance of grace that pervades this Himalayan region.

Camp

Camp

Moonlight shines on the snow-capped peaks and stars that seem within reach blanket the sky above. The beauty at night in the Himalayas may even eclipse what can be seen during the day. The stillness that pervades the nights offers and extraordinary time to rest, reflect, and be held in the lap of these mountains.

And it’s not just camping, its glamping! Enjoy the luxury of arriving to fully set-up campsites and being greeted with hot tea and a snack. Meals are always freshly prepared and delicious. The only downside is you might never want to go camping by yourself again!

Experiene Culture

Like-minded Community

With a maximum group size of 25 participants, take advantage of the opportunity to have meaningful experiences with others before, during, and after the excursion ends. Whether you are a seasoned yoga practitioner or simply looking to connect with something more, you’ll find support in this group of like-minded individuals.

Itinerary

October 4–17, 2020

  • Day 1, October 4

    Dehradun Airport – Sursingdhar (6500 ft) (3 hr drive)
    Arrive to Dehradun airport by noon and drive to Sursingdhar for afternoon orientation and dinner.

  • Day 2, October 5

    Sursingdhar (6500 ft) (2-3 hour hike)
    Morning yoga before breakfast, followed by a half-day hike to Surkanda Devi or through the woods to New Tehri. Enjoy a relaxing afternoon, with a guided meditation practice between chai and dinner.

  • Day 3, October 6

    Sursingdhar – Uttarkashi (3800 ft) (6 hr drive)
    After breakfast, drive to Uttarkashi. Arrive by mid-afternoon and enjoy a guided yoga practice along the Ganges followed by chai. Then, either rest, or visit the local shrines and return for dinner.

  • Day 4, October 7

    Uttarkashi – Gangotri (10,050 ft) (3-4 hr drive)
    After breakfast, drive to Gangotri. Get settled into hotel and then walk through the forest to visit Pandav Cave. On the way back, have a guided yoga practice in a forest clearing by the Ganges, and return for dinner.

  • Day 5, October 8

    Gangotri (10,050 ft)
    After breakfast, explore the town of Gangotri and take leisurely strolls through the surrounding area. Rest after lunch, with guided yoga practice later in the afternoon, followed by dinner.

  • Day 6, October 9

    Gangotri to Chirbasa (11,800 ft) (5-6 hours)
    After an early breakfast, depart for the hike to Chirbasa. Get settled at camp and enjoy the afternoon. Guided meditation before dinner.

  • Day 7, October 10

    Chirbasa to Bhojwasa (12,500 ft) (2.5-3 hours)
    Relaxed morning with guided yoga practice. After breakfast, depart for Bhojwasa mid-morning. Get settled at camp with a hot lunch and have satsang and guided meditatoin with chai in the afternoon.

  • Day 8, October 11

    Bhojwasa – Gaumukh – Bhojwasa (13,000 ft) (1.5-2 hours each way)
    Use this day to further acclimated. A guided yoga practice in the morning followed by breakfast and the short trek to Gaumukh. Enjoy spending late morning and early afternoon in this space with a packed lunch, and return to Bhojwasa at your leisure.

  • Day 9, October 12

    Bhojwasa – Tapovan (14,500 ft) (6-8 hours)
    After an early breakfast, begin the hike to Tapovan and arrive with plenty of time to get settled and enjoy most of the afternoon in this space.

  • Day 10, October 13

    Tapovan (14,500 ft)
    Spend this day soaking in the energy of the space. Use time to read, write, reflect, or join an optional hike. In the afternoon, there will be guided meditation practice.

  • Day 11, October 14

    Tapovan – Chirbasa (10, 050 ft) (6-7 hours)
    Depart for Chirbasa with a packed lunch after an early breakfast.

  • Day 12, October 15

    Chirbasa - Gangotri – Uttarkashi (3800 ft) (3.5-4.5 hr hike) (3-4 hr drive)
    After an early breakfast, hike back to Gangotri for a hot lunch, and then drive to Uttarkashi for the evening.

  • Day 13, October 16

    Uttarkashi – Sursingdhar (6500 ft) (6 hr drive)
    Morning yoga class by the Ganga. After breakfast, drive to Sursingdhar for hot lunch. Relax in the afternoon and have a closing session with tea and a farewell dinner that evening.

  • Day 14, October 17

    Sursingdhar – Dehradun Airport (2000 ft) (3 hr drive)
    After breakfast, depart for the Dehradun Airport.

    *Subject to change

Photo Gallery

View More Photos

About Group Leader

Ransom Hare

Ransom Hare

Ransom has been actively involved in the Himalayan Institute’s Humanitarian and Excursion activities in India, Mexico, and Cameroon for over seven years. Since 2012, he has been part of the Excursion team leading groups to Allahabad, Khajuraho, and various sacred sites in the Himalayas including Dharamshala, Manali, Har Ki Doon, Gangotri, and Tungnath, in India and to Cameroon, West Africa. He has a passion for exploring sacred spaces and the outdoors and learning how they can be a catalyst for deep transformation.

Ransom has been developing his yoga practice and studying with the Himalayan Institute since 2008. He completed his 500-hour teacher training certification in 2018 and serves as a faculty member at the Himalayan Institute. He is currently working towards his Wilderness First Responder Certificate (December 2019).

Registration

Registration

Rates:
  • Regular Registration: Closes April 15, 2020
  • Late Registration: Closes July 1, 2020
Shared
  • Regular Registration: $3,295
  • Late Registration: $3,500
Single
  • Regular Registration: $4,095
  • Late Registration: $4,300

For more information or to make a balance payment:
Call: (800) 822-4547 x6
Email: excursions@himalayaninstitute.org

Two Ways to Register:
Online

Register online by completing the registration form below and make your payment (deposit or full) in order to save your space.

Register Online
By Mail

Download the Tour Participant Agreement (“TPA”). Print, read, complete, sign. Mail your signed TPA with deposit or full payment.

Download TPA

If mailing an application, send to:
Himalayan Institute Spiritual Excursions
Attn: Alat Shanti Tigunait
952 Bethany Turnpike
Honesdale, PA 18431 USA

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the nature of this excursion?

A: This is a trekking and yoga excursion designed to challenge your mind and body and awaken your spirit in one of the most spiritually charged and majestic places on earth- Gangotri National Park.

Q: How difficult are the treks?

A: The treks are rated as moderate to difficult with some days being more challenging than others. A high degree of physical fitness or thorough preparation is required to have an enjoyable experience on this excursion.

Q: How many days are we trekking?

A: 7 days will involve trekking with an additional 2-3 days of light hikes/walks.

Q: How long are most of the treks?

A: The treks vary in length, with an approximate average of 5-6 miles (10km) per day. Our longest trek will be approximately 13km. Altitude will make this distance feel significantly longer.

Q: What are the hiking trails like?

A: Most of the hiking trails are variations of packed rock in dirt. The trails generally offer stable footing, but some places offer flatter rocks for your feet to land than others. Plan to bring shoes with good foot and ankle support.

Q: How many nights are we camping?

A: We will be in alpine tents for 6 nights.

Q: What will the weather be like? Should we expect rain?

A: October in Gangotri National Park is the best time to visit. The skies are mostly clear, with afternoon clouds, the day times are pleasant reaching temperatures between 60-75 degrees with sunshine, and the nights are still bearable with temperatures between 20-40 degrees. However, weather can change rapidly in the mountains so it’s always good to be prepared with waterproof jackets and pants for potential rain or snow.

Q: What is the highest altitude on the trek?

A: Our trekking in Gangotri National Park is between 10,000-15,000 feet.

Q: Should I worry about altitude illness?

A: The trip is designed to allow us to gradually acclimate as we ascend, and we will discuss ways to maintain your body, mind, and breath to support the ascension. None-the-less, we recommend consulting with your doctor regarding this.

Q: How can I prepare for this pilgrimage?

A: Physical fitness and overall good health are important elements for a spiritual excursion like this. If you haven’t already, we suggest that you begin a regular practice for conditioning your body. Aerobic exercise is especially helpful to prepare for trekking and high altitudes. One method is fast walking, building up to a steady pace on inclines, hilly terrain, or stairs, and increasing distance* We highly recommend walking regularly with your day pack (filled) and trekking poles and pushing yourself on some longer hikes whenever possible. Also, the yogic breathing techniques (pranayama) of kapalabhati, bhastrika, and nadi shodhanam (alternate nostril breathing) are also good preparation, as is the practice of agni sara to energize the solar plexus and help sustain vitality. These practices are best done regularly, starting with a few repetitions and progressing gradually according to your capacity. If you don’t know these techniques, we recommend that you take a pranayama or hatha yoga class with a qualified instructor. Himalayaninstitute.org’s wisdom library and Yoga International.com both provide instructional articles and videos on some of these techniques, including contraindications, as do the books Path of Fire and Light, Vol. 1, by Swami Rama, and Science of Breath, by Swami Rama, Rudolph Ballentine, MD, and Alan Hymes, MD. These can be ordered through Himalayan Institute Press at 800-822-4547, press 4, or online.

Q: How do I get to India?

A: From the United States: Many U.S. and international airlines offer flights to New Delhi, India. On the East Coast, a good number of flights depart from or connect at New York (JFK or EWR in Newark, NJ). Other major airports throughout the U.S. also offer flights to
India. A number of flights stop in Europe where passengers change planes to a new flight number. From other countries: Numerous flight options to/from Delhi from other countries around the globe are available. Depending on the departure city, many flights from Europe are non-stop to Delhi.

Q: Where can I stay for my overnight in Delhi?

A: There are a range of accommodations available in Delhi including airport lounges, airport hotels, and hotels in the city.

Q: How do I get from New Delhi to Dehradun (Jolly Grant Airport)?

A: Non-stop flights between Delhi and Dehradun are available. The flight is approximately 1 ½ hours. The group pick-up on October 4, 2020 will be from the Dehradun Airport on flights arriving by noon. Note that transfers outside the main group pick-up from the Dehradun Airport at the designated time on October 4, 2020 are not included in the cost of the trip.

Q: Do I need a passport or visa?

A: Passports and visas are required for travel to India. Passports must be valid for at least six (6) months after your return date from India. It is also recommended that you have at least 3 blank pages in the back of your passport. A valid passport must be submitted with the visa application and your passport must be signed where indicated.

Q: Where do I apply for my visa?

A: You may apply for an e-visa directly on the Governement of India website. For a regular tourist visa, Cox & Kings Global Services Pvt. Limited is the only authorized service provider for the Embassy of India and its Consulates across the USA for visa support services. Note: According to the Consulate of India website, the Embassy of India and its Consulates in the USA do not recognize any other agency to provide visa services. Information on the process for obtaining an India visa can be found at the Cox & Kings website. Non-U.S. passport holders: check with your local India consulate for details and requirements for obtaining a visa.

Q: What immunizations do I need?

A: No immunizations are required for the areas we’re traveling to in India. You may check the Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization websites for their list of recommended vaccines. These vaccines are optional and the decision to get them is strictly a personal choice. We encourage you to discuss immunization with your doctor.

Q: Are there natural ways to enhance my health before going to India?

A: Himalayan Institute Chyawanprash is highly recommended in preparation for your journey to India, and anytime. Described in ancient Ayurvedic texts, Chyawanprash is a synergy of specifically selected herbs and fruits in a nutritive tonic. The principle herb Amla (Amalaki) is one of the world’s most concentrated naturally occurring sources of antioxidant Vitamin C. A spoonful a day of this 2,000 year old formula is a tasty way for people of all ages and constitutions to nourish mind and body, while supporting healthy immune function.

*Take it regularly for several months before your departure to strengthen and build your immune system.

Chyawanprash

se-faqs-health-chyawanprash

Purchase Here

*The statements made here have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. If taking any medication, consult with a healthcare practitioner before using this product. Do not use during pregnancy or lactation unless recommended by a healthcare practitioner. As with any herbal preparation, consider size, age, weight, constitution, and lifestyle as guidelines for use.

Q: Is the water safe to drink?

A: Bottled (mineral) water is recommended when staying in hotels in India and it can be purchased directly from the hotel or other local sources. Bottled or boiled and filtered water will be provided for the duration of the trip.

Q: What medicines should I bring with me?

A: If you are taking prescription medication, bring an adequate amount with you. Although some medicines are available in India, their supply and quality are not reliable. Bring homeopathic or herbal remedies or your choice. Consult in advance with your health practitioner regarding other medications and recommendations for known allergies, possible altitude sickness, diarrhea, or general stomach upsets.

Q: Where will we be staying?

A: Accommodations will vary from hotels and guest houses to alpine tents while camping. See itinerary for day to day details. Accommodations are based on single or double occupancy shared rooms/tents depending on your reservation.

Q: What type of meals can I expect?

A: Freshly prepared vegetarian meals will be served throughout the trek. Inquire about special dietary needs including gluten-free and vegan options.

Q: Will I be able to do laundry?

A: It may be possible to do hand laundry on portions of the pilgrimage when there are stays of more than one night, and weather conditions are favorable for drying. Laundry service may also be available in Uttarkashi for an additional charge.

Q: What is the expected group size?

A: We expect a group of 20-25 participants.

Q: What do I need to bring?

A: For this trekking pilgrimage it is very important to be properly equipped with appropriate mountain gear.

*Baggage allowance – one duffle and one daypack*

The following items are essential:

  • Soft-shell duffel bag or something similar (non-wheeled preferred)
  • Sleeping bag rated to at least 20 degrees or lower
  • Comfortable, waterproof hiking shoes/boots
  • 2–3 active wear T-shirts
  • 2–3 long sleeve trekking/activewear shirts
  • Medium to heavy weight thermal base layers (tops and bottoms)
  • 1 medium or heavyweight fleece jacket
  • Down jacket
  • Wind and waterproof layers (jacket with a hood and pants)
  • 2–3 trekking pants
  • Gloves (consider bringing a lightweight and warm pair)
  • Warm hat
  • Hiking socks (4–5 pairs)
  • Lightweight travel or pack towel
  • Two 1 – liter or one 2 – liter water bottle or hydration bladder*
  • Sun hat
  • Sunglasses with UV protection
  • Walking stick / trekking poles
  • Sunscreen and lip balm
  • Flashlight or headlamp
  • Personal toiletries, including soap and shampoo
  • Wet Wipes or other hand sanitizer
  • Prescription medicine, if required
  • Day pack with rainproof cover
  • Lightweight stuff sack or bag for excess items on camping day**

*If you are only planning to bring a hydration bladder to carry water, you should plan to bring another bottle which can hold hot water. On camping days we will be drinking boiled, filtered water.

**Bag weight is restricted to 22lbs/10 kg on camping days. Excess luggage may be left at a secure location on camping days. It is advisable to bring a lightweight stuff sack, large plastic compressible bag, or small cloth duffel to store items that aren’t required for overnight camping.

Other things to consider:

  • Vest (down or fleece)
  • Balaclava face mask or face wrap
  • Waterproof liner for inside your duffel (or a large garbage bag)
  • Slip-on shoes and/or rubber sandals
  • Rain poncho
  • Extra Zip Lock or plastic bags
  • Camera and accessories
  • Power bank (portable charging device) (kept in carry-on not checked bag)
  • International converter kit for rechargeable items, or bring extra batteries
  • Plug adaptor
  • TSA luggage locks (locks keep zippers closed during handling, and help prevent accidental opening)
  • Pocket knife (packed in checked baggage, not in carry-on)
  • Toilet paper and/or pocket tissues
  • Laundry soap (for hand laundry)
  • Earplugs
  • Electrolyte drink mix
  • Snack bars, trail snacks

Q: What is the culture like and how should I dress?

A: Due to cultural customs in India, the Tour Organizer asks women to refrain from wearing shorts above knee length, tops with spaghetti straps, halter tops, tank tops, plunging necklines or backs; form-fitting clothing; and short skirts. On mountain trek days and when visiting temples, long pants are appropriate for women and men. For women, long loose skirts are an adaptive piece of western clothing. Leggings are recommended for underneath long skirts, particularly if temperatures are cooler.

Q: Where can I change money?

A: Change currency into Indian rupees before exiting the Customs area at the Delhi airport. Traveler’s checks are no longer widely accepted, therefore, plan to bring cash for exchange. State Bank of India, near the baggage claim area (across from carousel 14) and before the Customs exit, is recommended for currency exchange. Count your rupees before leaving the window and be sure you are given an encashment certificate for your transaction. Retain this encashment certificate to use for exchanging any excess rupees at the end of your travel.

Q: Will we have access to a phone or internet?

A: Phone connections and service in the mountainous areas is unreliable and generally poor. Phone connections in the city of Dehradun are stronger and generally more reliable. Several local telephone carriers are located in the international arrivals area of Terminal 3 at Indira Gandhi International Airport. Inquire about options and cost at Airtel or Idea upon arrival in India. Outside of Delhi, these services will likely be unreliable and not work. If you plan to use a local SIM card in your GSM mobile phone, have your local service provider unlock the phone before your departure for India. CDMA phones may require additional attention to avoid roaming charges with a local SIM card. Check details with your service provider.

Q: How do I register?

A: Register online or download and mail the Tour Participant Agreement with your deposit or full payment.

Q: What if I need to cancel?

A: Requests for cancellation must be made in writing to the Tour Organizer. See the Tour Participant Agreement for complete terms and conditions and applicable cancellation charges. As a non-profit we are unable to offer expectations to our cancellation policy – we therefore highly encourage participants to purchase trip cancellation insurance in the event you need to cancel your reservation due to any reason.

3 Night Optional Add-On

3-Night Addon

Yoga, Culture, & Relaxation in Rishikesh

Give your mind and body the opportunity to relax and unwind in the beautiful setting of Aloha on the Ganges in Rishikesh. Our stay will include daily yoga classes at sunrise along the Ganges river, exploring local markets and gullies, and experiencing the spiritual history of Rishikesh at shrines of the Himalayan Tradition that have been nurtured by spiritual practice for thousands of years.

Learn More