Guest Reviews
3. Mindful Village Walks in the Himalayas
Duration: 9 Days / 8 Nights

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Place: Kumaon, Himalayas

A uniquely authentic Himalayan experience, our all inclusive Mindful Village Walks in the Himalayas provides you with an opportunity to reflect upon your inner and outer self. Walk amidst the beautiful Himalayan foothills, interact with the local villagers and tribes of the region and discover your lost self in the tranquil surrounds.

The walks are located in the heart of Kumaon region in the Himalayas. Kumaon has been a confluence of cultures, architectural and archeological wonders and prehistoric rock art. The charming local villages set amongst lush green terraces, along with the local tribes and villagers and their lifestyle are the best kept secrets here, waiting to be discovered!

Introduction of Our Accompanying Professional Expert

Our accompanying Yoga & Meditation Expert, Mala Barua of Mystic-Asia, is a teacher of Inner Silence Meditation. She also teaches Dhyan (Mindful Yoga) and Tai Chi which she learnt during her years in Singapore and Hong Kong.

Dedicated to bringing the rich spiritual heritage of her beloved country, India, to the modern world Mala combines luxury travel with wellness and holistic teachings to enhance the travellers outer journey with inner wisdom.

Her own journey is under the guidance of Swami Anubhavananda, a teacher of Vedanta. She is also a freelance travel writer for Vogue India, Travel+Leisure, Asiaspa and Condenast Traveller.

Day 1

Delhi to Kumaon, Himalayas

This evening, our representative will meet you at your Delhi hotel and transfer you to the train station. Board your overnight train to Kathgodam. Meet your accompanying wellness expert, Mala Barua, and other group members.

Day 2

Arrive Kumaon, Himalayas

Early this morning, the train arrives Kathgodam, from where you will drive to our selected hill resort (approx 2.5hrs). Upon arrival, check in at the resort and spend the day at leisure familiarizing yourself with the area. Your resort is a bird watchers paradise with more than 150 varieties of birds in the vicinity. The resort also offers a library of interesting books and music, a variety of games, and a dedicated area for reflexology and massages.

Today, Mala will welcome you and introduce you to the Mindful Walking programme. Mindfulness is a Buddhist Meditation technique and is the 7th of Buddha’s recommended Eightfold Path.

Mindfulness is a very simple technique which involves paying attention in a particular way i.e. on purpose, in the present moment, non judgmentally. Today a short experience of meditation will be guided, as your introductory session.

Day 3

Binsar Sanctuary Walk

Before breakfast, Mala will provide you with a short explanation of the days teaching and practice. Mindfulness is explained in the Buddhist texts (Satipatthana Sutta) and categorized into four parts called ‘Establishments’. The 1st establishment of Mindfulness i.e. being totally and mindfully aware of your body will be explained. A short practice of mindful walking will be demonstrated and an inner exercise will introduced to be carried out throughout the day.

After breakfast, drive to Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary, from where you start hiking to Jhandhidar (Zero point - 2410m) which commands one of the best Himalayan views in Kumaon. Then follow the ridge down to Shiva temple and head towards Gangarchina village. On way enjoy packed lunch. Enjoy the beautiful ridge walk partially through dense oak and rhododendron forests, and old trees hung with lichen and covered with sweet smelling moss. The trail slopes gently downwards and offers lovely views into the Bhasoli valley on one side and Himalayan ranges on the other. Upon reaching Gangarchina drive back to your resort for overnight stay. (Walking time: 5 – 6 hrs)

Before dinner a short mindfulness meditation on the body will be introduced on the days inner practice.

Day 4

Chittai Bell Temple

Before breakfast, the 2nd establishment dealing with one feelings will be explained and the day will be spent being aware of an inner exercise that will be introduced by Mala during the walk.

Today take an easy walk to Chittai. The Chittai bell temple is dedicated to Golu Devta (god of justice and peculiar to Kumaon region). The temple is hung with petitions and bells of all shapes and sizes brought by grateful devotees. The walking path starts from the resort through Chir (pine) forests with refreshing views of the valley and Himalayan ranges. After temple visit, drive back to your resort. Enroute you may stop at Almora Zoo to see some Leopards. (Walking time: 4 - 5 hrs)

There will be an evening of guided meditation on your inner exercise.

Day 5

Waterfalls and Villages

Before breakfast, the 3rd establishment dealing with one mind will be explained and the day will be spent being aware of an inner exercise that will be introduced by Mala during the walk.

Today, we start our walk from south gate of the estate initially passing through a cedar forest, and carry on further down to the ravines, gorges and waterfalls, below the area of Matena village. Stroll around and enjoy a packed lunch at the waterfall. On the way back we take a different route through Mat village.

Walking through old village trails you see village houses with wonderfully carved doors and windows. See the Kumaoni villagers working in their terrace fields and meet them at their beautiful homes with slated roofs and courtyards. Kumaon people are friendly, curious in a childlike manner and more than happy to answer questions and be photographed! (Walking time: 4 - 6hrs)

There will be an evening of guided meditation on your inner exercise.

Day 6

Jageshwar Temple

Before breakfast, the 4th establishment dealing with objects of the mind will be explained and the day will be spent being aware of an inner exercise that will be introduced by Mala during your walk. This is the most complicated part of Mindfulness and the most difficult.

Today we drive to Vridh Jageshwar (1.5 hr). From Vridh Jageshwar, walk through terraced fields, villages and forests to Sokhya Tal Village House. Enjoy a tea break here, then continue walk to the ancient temple complexes of Dandeshwar Temples and Jageshwar Temples. After visiting temples return by vehicle to resort (1 hr). (Walking time: 4 - 6hrs)

There will be an evening of guided meditation on your inner exercise.

Day 7

Village Palliu, Temples & Cave Paintings

Before breakfast we will do an exercise on the introversion of our senses and Mala will guide you to go deeper inside yourself.

Today we drive to Village Palliu (1.5 hr). Here, visit the village house at Palliu. From there walk down the valley following a stream through terraced fields past local villages. Visit Shakteshwar Madmaheshwar Temple en route, and reach the road head at Lakhudiar, where you can see ancient cave paintings. Then drive back to the resort (1 hr). (Walking time: 4 – 5 hrs)

Before dinner there will be a sharing and any questions will be answered by your wellness expert, Mala Barua.

Day 8

Return Train to Delhi

Relax and unwind at your resort this morning. Later in the afternoon, drive to Kathgodam station (approx 2.5hrs) to catch your overnight train to Delhi.

Day 9

Arrive back at Delhi

Early this morning arrive at Delhi Railway station and transfer to your hotel.

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