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.