Kumaon Trip Fall 2018
October 5-16, 2018
OVERVIEWImmerse yourself in rural Himalayan culture in this 12 day voyage into the remote Kumaon region. We’ll begin by flying into Delhi, the bustling nation’s capital, and experiencing its breathtaking diversity, from its ancient markets to its modern art scene. Next we’ll take an overnight train into the foothills and head to Avani, a non-profit pioneering rural livelihood creation through tea, textiles, and renewable energy. After we’ll go to the heart of Kumaon tea production and study tea with the Birkbeck family, who runs a family homestead at the top of an enchanting 30 hectare tea garden. Finally, we’ll come back to Delhi and wrap the trip up with a day trip to the Taj Mahal.
ITINERARYDay 1: Arrival into Delhi – Phew, you made it. Check into the hotel and sleep well.
Day 2: Good morning Delhi! Step onto the bustling streets alive with street vendors, tuk tuks, cows, spices and saris galore. Be dazzled by the color, markets and energy of the streets and begin to sample the delectable array of Indian cuisine. We’ll be arriving into peak mango season, so sharpen up your bargaining skills and enjoy the world’s most juicy, sticky sweet fruit. At night we’ll head to the train station and take the overnight train to Kumaon.
Day 3: Wake up in the foothills of the Himalayas and meet our friend and driver as we weave through the mountains to Avani’s campus (8 hours). We’ll be staying within the community so get to know your neighbors or catch a game of cricket with some kids. Enjoy a hearty dinner with village residents, often with drum and dancing to follow…
Day 4: Tour of Avani’s campus. Visit includes the weaving workshops, natural plant dying studio, community gardens, and pine needle gasification and solar project. Visit the village school and inspire English games and songs. Enjoy chai with the organization’s co-founders, and catch a sunset from the ridge-line trail above campus.
Day 5: Day trip to Avani’s field centers. We’ll hike between villages and be welcomed with chai and food in traditional rural homes. Step deep into rural Himalayan communities and ways of life.
Day 6: Morning yoga in the forest with Avani’s founder and accomplished yoga instructor. Flex day – could include more hiking, village visits, cooking lessons or visits to tea gardens in the area.
Day 7: 6 hour drive to Champawat. We’ll reach the Birkbeck family homestead and take an evening hike through the rhododendron forest teeming with monkeys. Visit the animals and terraced gardens of this tranquil mountainside perch. An epic home cooked feast will follow…
Day 8: Hike from the homestead down to tea nursery through enchanting tea gardens planted in 1850. Learn how tea cuttings are propagated and how the nursery is maintained. That afternoon we’ll head to the the Champawat tea factory, learn about tea processing while getting a tour of the facility with a tea tasting to follow.
Day 9: Visit the vibrant tea gardens of Kumaon. Meet the farmers and tea pluckers and enjoy the humor and delight that comes with establishing connections despite language barriers. Return for last evening with Birkbeck’s, and one more satiating dinner…
Day 10: Travel day. Morning drive to train station (5 hours), train ride back to Delhi (6 hours)
Day 11: Day trip to Taj Mahal — early departure to beat the heat, and our favorite biriyani restaurant to boot.
Day 12: Last day to soak it all in. Eat, drink and see all that you can. Last minute shopping and spice buying. Jet-set back home that night.
Please note that while traveling in India, we’re almost guaranteed to experience unforeseen event that will change our itinerary. We thank you in advance for your flexibility and patience.
There will be time to check emails, recuperate and do laundry throughout the trip. If you have any special needs or considerations please contact us in advance.
Meet Your Guides
Raj has been traveling throughout rural India for the last decade and organizing trips for the last two years. He's thrilled to offer others the chance to experience rural Indian life. In particular, road-side samosas with scorching hot, sickly sweet, deliciously gingery chai.
Ingrid joined Young Mountain Tea fresh off of several seasons of farming where she wanted to bridge the gap between grower and consumer. Taking that opportunity to tea, Ingrid loves bringing people to origin to experience firsthand the realities of agriculture. In addition, she revels in throwing herself into new cultures. Her specialties include snacks, sing-a-longs, and morning runs.
"This trip allowed me to get to know India on a different level. We became intimately connected with the local people by staying with families in their homes, dancing to traditional music, and by putting our hands together again and again saying 'Namaste.' It was an amazing trip."
"I originally planned to take a trip with Young Mountain to see where our tea was coming from. I own a local day spa in Eugene, and we try to ensure we are partnering with ethical companies that match up with our own values as much as possible. Little did I know, I would end up getting so much more from my trip. I feel like I have opened a door to experiences and relationships that will affect me for the rest of my life. India has her hook in my heart, and I absolutely can't wait to go back."
If you are interested in traveling with us, send us a quick message and we will respond as soon as we can!