In 2008, after two months of being in India, I was looking a place to which to retreat. I read about a home stay called Orchard Hut, http://www.himalayanlap.com/, located up a valley beyond a small city called Chamba; “beyond where most tourist go.” Sounded like just what the doctor ordered. As it turned out, it was that and more. I went intending to stay a week or so and stayed a month. The location was beautiful, the food was delicious and nutritious, the water sprang pure straight out of the mountain and most of all the family were so loving and caring I just melted. It was difficult to leave and I have been feeling the tug to return ever since.
Then, this year, I learned of a group of Buddhists here in Australia, http://yatra.org.au/yatra-bushwalking-club/, who organise a couple treks a year that include meditation practice. I was inspired. I contacted the Dhami family at Orchard Hut. In addition to running a home stay for over twenty years, they also organise treks. Several members of the family are experienced licensed mountain guides. I am happy to announce that we have put together the Himalayan Mountain Yatra. A journey in which the beauty and joy of experiencing the inner and outer heighten the whole. It will be a nine day trek with time at Orchard Hut before and after the trek. Arrival at Orchard Hut is on 15 Sept with departure after completion of the trek on 28 Sept. The full itinerary is below. I have also begun a blog, http://himalayanmountainyatra.wordpress.com/, and a Facebook page.
The trek days will begin with time for some exercise of your choice before breakfast. Before the walking there will be a 45 minute laughing/silence meditation. After the day’s walk there will be 45 minutes of sitting in wonder. Before bedtime, there will be a circle of spontaneous voicing where we will leave behind all known languages and allow sound to flow through us until we reach silence. Each voice is correct whatever volume, rhythm, pitch, tone or harmony occurs. Walking will be in silence with meal times available for quiet conversation.
There will be porters and ponies to carry the rucksacks and supplies. You will only need to carry a day pack with a few essentials during the walking. The times quoted in the itinerary are walking at an easy pace with breaks. The difficulty will be easy to moderate. The temperatures should be very pleasant. Lowest in the night time 10- 15 degrees Celsius (that’s 50- 60 degrees Filistine ;-). Noon time around 22- 28 degrees C ( 71- 82 F).
The full cost of the entire adventure including time at Orchard Hut and the trek is Rps 32285 for a maximum of 25 people. Transport to and from Orchard Hut is additional. Any enquiries, reservations or payments should be made to firstname.lastname@example.org. Mani Mahesh Travels is the Dhami family’s business and can arrange transport from and to Delhi airport or other travel in India.
Please pass on this post to anyone who may be interested.
Day 1 (15 Sept)- Arrive at Orchard Hut.
Sleep in tents or rooms at Orchard Hut.
Day 2 &3 – Stay at Orchard Hut. Short walks or treks available.
Sleep at Orchard Hut.
Day 4 – After breakfast Mountain Yatra starts to Rulpuli (Ht.2225M) (Ridge Moor Cottage) around 4-5 hrs hike through forest of Devdar (cedar) and oak trees terrace fields and tribal shepherd villages. Reach Rulpuli by the tea time. From where one can see 360 degree view of Himalayas ( Dhauladhar and Pir panjal ranges) Dinner and Camp Fire. Night stay in tent at Ridge moor cottage.
This trekking hut away from the village is at about 2225m. and has a spectacular 360 degree view of the Dhauladar ranges and snow capped mountains of the Pir-Panjal Himalayan range. The house, built in traditional form, is at the peak of a mountain on a pasture surrounded by spruce, cedar and rhododendron trees. The place is 9 to 10 km from Orchard Hut and a 4 to 5 hour trek.
Day 5 — Excursion to Kunbag –Kassa (holy mountain ridge) and back.
Night stay just like previous night.
Day 6 –Mountain Yatra ( trekking) continue towards no men land Khabbi gaining more height .
Night stay in tents.
Day 7 – Today Yatra touch’s the height of about 3000mtrs. named TOPI, and we reach other side of the highest point named SUNDERANI – DHAR. N /S in tents on grassy pasture.
Day 8 — To day trekking up on the ridge of mountain known as DIHBARI – DHAR and back. Views both sides of the ridge are spectacular. N/S just like previous night.
Day 9 – Yatra continues descending to a place TALLI, spending night in tents.
Day 10—Early morning Yatra starts to a beautiful place CHAKHUND – LAKE. Hike can take 6-7 hrs. Chakhund is the place where a small lake on the pasture surrounded by cedar trees looks like jewel on the earth. Again we enjoy 360 degree views of Himalayas. N / S in tents.
Days 11 is spent at Chakhund providing time to enjoy the lake or a short trek.
N / S in tents.
Day 12 – Descending to road head takes 5-6hrs. from where up to road head of Orchard by jeep.
N / S in tent or room at orchard hut.
Day 13 – Relax at Orchard Hut-
Night in tent.
Day 14 (28 Sept) – Leave Orchard Hut or stay on for some more R&R.