Valley of Flowers, Badrinath, Kuari Pass2019-11-17T11:12:13-05:00

2020 Signature Excursion - Valley of Flowers, Badrinath, Kuari Pass

Join us for this extraordinary pilgrimage to the heart of the Himalayas, and walk in the footsteps of the sages.

September 20–October 3, 2020

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This pilgrimage is a purpose-driven journey to discover the hidden essence of these living shrines of the Himalayan Tradition.

Our focus will be on experiencing the vibrant sacred space of the Himalayas as a catalyst for our practice. We’ll re-trace the footsteps of legendary sages of the Tradition, including Gudari Baba, Swami Rama, and his master, Bengali Baba, and bask in their grace as we are embraced by the transformational power of the Himalayas. Anchored by significant time in spiritually-awakened locations of profound natural beauty, our journey will also be enriched by practice, satsang and community with like-minded fellow seekers in the Tradition.

Excursion Overview

Excursion Overview

Key Highlights:

  • Visit ancient shrines that have been treasured by yogis for thousands of years
  • Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the Himalayas while enjoying the comforts of luxury camping
  • Deepen your practice with group meditation, mantra recitation, and guided practice
  • Satsangs to explore the spiritual legacy of these shrines and the sages associated with them
  • Trek through a diverse range of extraordinary Himalayan terrains including temperate forests, alpine meadows, and mountain paths
  • Enjoy the presence of legendary sacred mountains including Nanda Devi, Neelkanth, and more.
  • Experience the unique culture of Himalayas villages

Key Destinations:

  • Valley of Flowers with an optional visit to Hemkund and helicopter ride from the trailhead to the Valley of Flowers basecamp
  • Badrinath town, main shrine, and other points of interest including Panukeshwar, Charan Paduka, Vyasa Gufa, Ganesha Gufa, and Tripura Sundari Shrine
  • Vasudhara Falls for overnight camping and optional trek to the source of the Alaknanda Ganges
  • Auli and the Gurson high alpine meadows via cable car ride
  • Joshimath main temple and surrounding shrines
  • Kuari Pass with a visit to the Nanda Devi Shrine, Lata Village, and camping in Gulling

Key Highlights

Trek

Kuari Pass

This is one of the most accessible and scenic hikes in the entire Himalayas. Enjoy the day walking through beautiful forests and sweeping alpine meadows, and soak in some of the grandest views these mountains have to offer when you bask in the presence of peaks like : Nanda Devi, Dronagiri, Neelkanth, Chaukamba, Hati Ghoda, and more!

Practice Yoga

Badrinath

Nestled deep in the Himalayas, along the Alaknanda Ganges and near the base of Neelkanth mountain, Badrinath is one of the most sacred shrines in India. Revered for thousands of years, Badrinath is associated with the primordial sage Narayana and many other adepts of the Himalayan Tradition.

Valley of Flowers

Valley of Flowers

The Valley of Flowers has been a favorite of adepts of the Himalayan Tradition for countless generations. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, this high-altitude valley is world renown for its extraordinary natural beauty, bio-diversity, and spiritual vibrancy. Here, we’ll walk in the footsteps of Swami Rama and Gudari baba as described in Living with Himalayan Masters and At The Eleventh Hour.

Vasudhara Falls

Vasudhara Falls

Hike through the stunning valley above Mana village to one of the most picturesque waterfalls in the Himalayas. From here, you’ll have an optional hike to Satopanth Glacier, the source of the Alaknanda Ganges.

Optional Helicopter Ride

Optional Helicopter Ride

Bypass a grueling 5-7 hour hike between Govind Ghat and Gangaria on the way to the Valley of Flowers, and capitalize on the rare opportunity to helicopter through the Himalayas. While this isn’t required, it’s highly recommended!

Experiene Culture

Camping

For three nights, between beautiful forests and by a rushing river, we’ll camp under a blanket of Himalayan stars.

Caves of Masters

Caves of Masters

Visit and meditate in caves masters such as Guru Goraknath, Vyasa, Adi Shankaracharya, and Ganesh.

Shrines

Shrines

Pandukeshwar (Birth place of the Pandavas), Tripura Sundari, Charan Paduka (Footprint of Vishnu), Nanda Devi, and many more!

Camp

Joshimath

The winter seat of the Badrinath shrine and where Adi Shankaracharya did his sadhana.

Itinerary

September 20–October 3, 2020

  • Day 1

    Dehradun Airport – Sri Nagar (2,000 ft) (5-6 hr drive)
    Arrive at Dehradun airport on morning flights. Transfer to Sri Nagar hotel by coach, check into hotel. Enjoy chai, orientation, time to rest, then dinner. Overnight in hotel.

  • Day 2

    Sri Nagar – Auli (8,200 ft) (7-8 hr drive)
    After an early breakfast depart from Sri Nagar for Auli. Arrive at guest houses, settle in with chai, and dinner. Overnight at guest houses.

  • Day 3

    Auli / Joshimath (8,200 ft)
    After breakfast, drive to Joshimath and take a cable car to Auli Gurson Meadows (10,000 ft). Enjoy short walks and a packed lunch. Afternoon, explore shrines in Joshimath. Return to Auli guest houses for chai and dinner. Overnight in guest houses.

  • Day 4

    Auli – Lata Village (7,600ft)– Gulling Campsite (9186 ft)
    After an early breakfast, leave for Lata village (1.5-2 hour drive) and hike to Nanda Devi Shrine (1 hour hike each way from Lata Village – Nanda Devi Shrine). Return to Lata village and drive to the trail head for the Gulling campsite (1 hour drive). Hike 1.5 – 2 hours to reach our forested campsite. Overnight camping.

  • Day 5

    Hike to Kuari Pass (11,975)
    After an early breakfast begin the 9km hike (each way) to the Kuari passs, an iconic trail hiked for hundreds of years. Continue getting acclimated as you enjoy great views of the Himalayas as you hike through forests and meadows. Return to camp for chai and dinner. Overnight camping.

  • Day 6

    Gulling Campsite – Badrinath (10,827ft) (4.5-5.5 hr drive)
    Depart camp after breakfast. After a leisurely walk, reach the buses and drive to Badrinath. Check into hotel followed by chai, satasang, and dinner. Overnight at hotel.

  • Day 7

    Badrinath (10,827ft)
    After a relaxed breakfast, hike to Charan Paduka (2.5-3 hours round trip). Return to hotel for lunch. Visit shrines and explore the town of Badrinath in the afternoon. Overnight in hotel.

  • Day 8

    Badrinath – Vasudhara Falls Campsite (12,000 ft)
    After breakfast, drive to Mana village and start a moderate hike (2.5-4 hours) to Vasudhara Falls and our campsite. In the afternoon, enjoy the campsite or explore the area and hike 1.5km further to the source of the Alaknana river. Overnight at campsite.

  • Day 9

    Campsite – Mana Village – Badrinath
    After a leisurely morning and early hot lunch begin the 2-3 hour hike back to Mana Village. Visit Vyas Gufa and Ganesh Gufa on the way back to our hotel in Badrinath. Overnight at hotel.

  • Day 10

    Badrinath – Govind Ghat (1 – 1.5 hr drive) – Gangaria (10, 000 ft)
    Early breakfast and departure for Govind Ghat, our starting point to reach Gangaria. From Govind Ghat you can hike (12 km), take mule, or helicopter (3 minutes) to reach Gangaria. *Optional visit to Hemkund is possible on this day but requires you to take the earlier helicopter to Gangaria from Govind Ghat. A mule from Gangaria to Hemkund is recommended as the climb is a steep 6km with 3000 ft elevation gain. Afternoon in Gangaria to explore and prepare for the hike into Valley of Flowers the following day. Overnight at guest house.

  • Day 11

    Gangaria - Valley of Flowers – Gangaria
    After an early breakfast, get your packed lunch and begin the 6km hike to Valley of Flowers (2-2.5 hour walk). Once there, spend the rest of the morning and early afternoon exploring the Valley of Flowers before beginning the return hike to Gangaria. Overnight at guest house.

  • Day 12

    Gangaria – Govind Ghat – Auli
    On this morning you will have the option to hike from Gangaria to Govind Ghat after an early breakfast or have a leisurely morning and take a helicopter ride back to Govind Ghat. Once the entire group has returned to Govind Ghat we will travel by bus back to Auli. Overnight in guest houses.

  • Day 13

    Auli – Sri Nagar
    Depart Auli after an early breakfast for Sri Nagar. Packed lunch along the way. Reach Jayalgarh by mid-late afternoon. Relaxed evening and farewell dinner. Overnight at hotel.

  • Day 14

    Sri Nagar – Dehradun Airport
    Relaxed morning before departure by bus for late afternoon flights from the Dehradun Airport.

    *Subject to change

Photo Gallery

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Excursion Leaders & Faculty

Ishan Tigunait

Ishan Tigunait

Growing up at the Himalayan Institute, Ishan Tigunait received his first spiritual lessons from Swami Rama of the Himalayas, and has continued his spiritual education for the past 30 years under the guidance of his father, Pandit Rajmani Tigunait. Pilgrimage has been a major part of his spiritual journey for over 20 years, leading him to experience sacred spaces throughout India, Tibet, Nepal and Southeast Asia. The desire to share these experiences inspires Ishan to lead annual pilgrimages to India and Himalayas.

Ishan’s passion is sharing modern reflections on the ancient wisdom of the yogic and tantric traditions. As a Himalayan Institute faculty member, he teaches around the world and leads the Institute’s Yogi Living program.

Ishan serves as Executive Director of the Himalayan Institute and has been a driving force for the Institute’s humanitarian projects in Africa and India over the past 15 years. He also serves as Managing Director of Himalayan Institute India, and spearheaded the establishment of the Institute’s newest campus in Khajuraho, India. An avid social entrepreneur, Ishan also is co-founder of Moka Origins, a social-impact driven craft chocolate maker and specialty coffee roaster.

Ransom Hare Himalayan Institute

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 learning how they 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 currently serves as a faculty member contributing to the Himalayan Institute.

Registration

Registration

Registration Information:
  • Dates: September 20–October 3, 2020
  • Deposit: $850
Regular Registration
  • $3,250
  • closes April 15, 2020
Late Registration
  • $3,450
  • closes July 1, 2020

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 excursion is a spiritual pilgrimage, a purpose-driven journey to discover the hidden essence of these living shrines of the Himalayan Tradition. Our focus will be on experiencing the vibrant sacred space of the Himalayas as a catalyst for our practice.

Q: How difficult are the treks?

A: Overall the treks are rated as moderate. A few sections will provide a challenge for less experienced trekkers.

Q: How many days are we trekking?

A: There will be trekking a minimum of seven days, with two more days of optional trekking.

Q: How long are most of the treks?

A: The treks range in length from 3km-12km (with options to hike beyond 12km in two locations.In general, the hikes have been strategically planned to allow less experienced trekkers plenty of time to reach the destinations.

Q: What are the hiking trails like?

A: Most of the hiking trails are a variation of packed rock in dirt. The trails 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 3 nights.

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

A: The temperatures will change slightly as our destination changes and in the Himalayas, the weather can be unpredictable, so it’s always best to be prepared for a variety of situations. During the day, if the sun is out, it may be in the low 70’s and warm, but in a minute, clouds can come and wind picks up, and it might shift to the low 40’s. The evenings will vary between upper 30’s and low 50’s, depending on where we are staying. Its best to pack layers. Traditionally, the rainy season ends between late August and early September, but with global warming, weather patterns have become less predictable, and daily showers are a distinct possibility, so good rain gear and waterproof boots are highly recommended.

Q: What is the highest altitude on the trek?

A: Most of the trekking will be between 10,000-12,000 feet. For those who choose the optional mule ride to Hemkund the altitude will be approximately 14,000ft.

Q: Should I worry about altitude illness?

A: It’s likely that you will feel the effects of the altitude at some level as you acclimate, but unlikely you will experience any significant illness. We have plans to gradually acclimatize, and if you experience any significant discomfort then you can always return to basecamp.

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 and hotels, and hotels in the city. Registered participants will receive a list of hotel options.

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 September 20, 2020 will be from the Dehradun Airport on flights arriving by 8:30am. Alternatively, overnight trains between Delhi and Dehradun 18 miles from the airport) are available. From Dehradun railway station you can take a taxi to reach Jolly Grant airport. Note that transfers outside the main group pick-up from the Dehradun Airport at the designated time on September 20, 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 are traveling to in India. You’re welcome to 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 health professional in order to make an informed decision based on your own personal preferences and health history.

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 double occupancy shared rooms/tents. Single accommodations may be available at an additional cost.

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 Badrinath for an additional charge.

Q: What is the expected group size?

A: We expect a group of 40-45 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.

3 Night Optional Add-On

September 17–20, 2020

Yoga, Culture, & Relaxation in Rishikesh

Yoga, Culture, & Relaxation in Rishikesh

Get over jetlag and settle into India with three nights in the yoga capital of the world, Rishikesh. Our days will consist of morning yoga with guided breath awareness along the Ganges river, exploring local markets and visiting shrines of the Himalayan Tradition, and enjoying the luxurious amenities at our hotel, Aloha on the Ganges...

Learn More