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Discover Vegan India

22nd Mar 2025 - 4th Apr 2025

14 days/India /Moderate to Challenging

Overview

Join us on our first ever adventure designed especially with vegans in mind!

This activity-filled journey through India will see you take on a four-day trek through the Indian Himalayas. You will hone your kitchen skills by taking part in a vegan cookery class and take in the peace of your surroundings with yoga session and guided meditation with Buddhist Monks. There is also a chance to give back to the community you are visiting as we spend a day engaging with the locals and assisting with a community project.

You start your challenge in Delhi where you have time to enjoy the city before boarding the overnight train to Pathankot. After a night on the train you transfer to the stunning hill station of Dharamshala. Surrounded by dense forest and in the shadow of the Dhauladhar mountain range the area is home to the Tibetan Government in exile, and where you will find the biggest concentration of Tibetan culture. From here you will commence your journey into the Lesser Himalayan range of Northern India where, during four days of trekking, you will be awed by lush green forests, views of snow-capped peaks, deep valleys, gushing rivers and small villages with friendly and welcoming local people. You will reach a maximum altitude of 2842m (at Triund) and will walk approximately 14km per day, taking around 6-8 hours.

After your trek ends you will return to Delhi and travel on to Agra to visit the legendary Taj Mahal.

You don’t have to fundraise to join an open challenge but you can support a charity of your choice if you wish. See the costs tab for more details.

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The trek is graded moderate to challenging as you will trek over varying terrain for up to 8 hours a day, carrying a small daypack which may weigh up to 6kg, and camping in basic campsites along the way. You will also be exposed to altitudes up to a maximum of 2843m (9327ft).

No – While this trip has been designed specifically with vegans in mind you are more than welcome to join if you are not vegan. Please note all meals on this trip will be catering for vegan requirements.

Meals on this trip will be exclusively vegan. As a lot of food in this region tends to be vegan in nature, India is the perfect destination for those choosing to refrain from animal products. A lot of your meals will also follow the farm-to-table philosophy with fresh ingredients and produce sourced locally and lovingly cooked to create healthy, nutritious meals.

During the trek, meals will be cooked by your trek chef and will be eaten in a mess tent where a table, chairs, plates, mugs and cutlery are provided. Meals are delicious and plentiful and mainly Indian style (although there may be some Western-style meals).

Special dietary requirements can be accommodated if we are advised in advance but please note that we cannot guarantee that food preparation will have taken place in a contamination-free environment.

The trek is accompanied by professional English-speaking local guides who have an excellent knowledge of the local culture and hiking in the region. You will also be supported by a team of cooks and porters, and a UK Different Travel Company tour manager. At the project you will be supported by a local project co-ordinator and staff.

The terrain will vary throughout the trek but in general, will be undulating (uphill and downhill). There are very few flat sections so you should ensure your training includes plenty of hills. Underfoot, there will be stony pathways, grass, rocks and perhaps a few small streams to cross too. Each day you will cover approximately 12-15km (7-9 miles) which, because of the variable terrain, can take up to 8 hours to cover.

In Delhi and Agra, temperatures can reach 33°C during the day, dropping to 17°C at night. The temperature in Dharamshala and during the trek is cooler with temperatures of approx. 20-28°C during the day, dropping down to approx. 0°C at night.

Temperatures will depend on the weather which varies and can be bright and sunny, rainy, cloudy or humid. Please note that conditions in mountainous regions are unpredictable so you should be prepared for all climatic eventualities.

Although the conditions mentioned are historically accurate, climate change can impact the seasons so you may experience uncharacteristic weather during the trip which is out of our control. The guides will assess the situation and make decisions to ensure the best enjoyment and ultimately safety of the group as a whole.

During the trek, you will stay in 3-man tents (two people to a tent). You will be provided with sleeping mats but you are welcome to bring your own if you prefer.

In McLeodganj, we will stay at the Junglaat Ecorganic Lodge, nestled in the foothills of the Dhuladhar mountains with panoramic views over the town and neighbouring Bhagsu Nag, Triund and Dharamshala. It prides itself on the amalgamation of Himachali and Tibetan culture alongside a calming atmosphere that helps you still your mind and recentres your spirit.

We will also travel to and from Pathankot on a sleeper train.

While in Delhi and Agra, you will stay in hotels on a twin or triple-share basis.

Toilet facilities at camp will be a hole dug into the ground with a small privacy tent surrounding it. Toilet paper is not provided so you will need to bring your own; please consider biodegradable toilet paper. To use the toilet during the trek you will find a private area off the main trail; any toilet paper you use along the trail must be placed into a nappy sack and disposed of properly at camp. You must NEVER leave toilet paper or other litter (including fruit peel, seeds, food wrappers etc.) on the trail. At the hotels, there will be flushing Western-style sit-down toilets.

The trek can be undertaken by anyone with a good level of fitness, who is healthy and determined. Adequate preparation, planning and training is important because the fitter you are the more you will enjoy this experience. An ideal candidate would be a hill walker, an open-minded person with a sense of adventure or someone who would like to take part in a life-changing fundraising experience in the beautiful Indian countryside.

You must be at least 18 years old to participate in this trek. It may be possible for you to participate if you are 16 or 17 years old but you must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. There is no upper age limit.

It is recommended that you are of a good fitness level before departure to ensure fast recovery from each day’s exertions. An ideal candidate would be someone who enjoys being out of their comfort zone and trying something new, with a flexible and open-minded personality. If you do not regularly exercise it is advised that you start training before departure to ensure your best chance of enjoyment on the trip.

Whilst it is difficult to specifically prepare for trekking at higher altitudes, it helps to be physically prepared for the exertions of the trekking day by training in advance. It is advised that you arrive for the trek feeling comfortable trekking for periods of up to 7 or 8 hours for at least two days consecutively. Having a positive and determined attitude is also a key element to your success on the trek.

Itinerary

Discover Vegan India itinerary

Day 1 (Saturday 22 March 2025):

London – Delhi
Depart the UK for Delhi on an overnight flight.

Day 2 (Sunday 23 March 2025):

Delhi
Upon arrival the next day, transfer to a central hotel for lunch before a sightseeing tour of Old Delhi. Explore the labarynthine lanes of Chandni Chowk, see the 17th Centure Red Fort and visit Raj Ghat, the cremation ground of Mahatma Gandhi.
Meals: lunch, dinner
Overnight: Hotel

Day 3 (Monday 24 March 2025):

Delhi – Pathankot
This morning you will have some time at leisure before we explore more of Delhi’s sights including visits to the Qutub Minar, Humayun’s Tomb, India Gate and the Bangla Sahib Sikh Temple.
After dinner we will transfer to the railway station for the overnight sleeper train to Pathankot (2nd class air conditioned).
Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
Overnight: Sleeper train

Day 4 (Tuesday 25 March 2025):

Pathankot – McLeodganj
The train arrives in Pathankot in the morning and from the station you will transfer by road to McLeodganj (approximately 3 hours by road). We will have breakfast enroute before arriving at the hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure; perhaps visit the Dalai Lama Palace and the Tibetan government-in-exile buildings, or simply enjoy the atmosphere and browse for souvenirs in the handicraft stalls before enjoying a Tibetan dinner this evening.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Overnight: Ecolodge

Day 5 (Wednesday 26 March 2025):

McLeodganj
This morning we will set off for a nature walk before joining a guided meditation session with Buddhist monks (subject to operation). We will then visit some local sights including the Tibetan Library, Dalai Lama Temple, St John’s Church, Men Tsee Khang the Tibetan Medical and Astro Institute  and a walk in Naddi Village. This evening we will take part in a vegan cookery class before tucking into our creations.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
Overnight: Ecolodge

Day 6 (Thursday 27 March 2025):

Dharamshala – Satobri – Kareri
After an optional morning yoga session we will depart for the Satobri Hills, from where we start the trek. A slow and gradual climb from there takes us to the top of the hill from where we start our ascent towards the Kareri stream.  Following the stream we then stop for the night near Kareri Village, camping in a beautiful and peaceful spot by the river.
Trekking: Approx. 6km/4 hours
Highest altitude: 1870m
Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
Overnight: Camping

Day 7 (Friday 28 March 2025):

Kareri Village – Bahl
After breakfast we start today’s walk with a relatively steep ascent through several small villages, enjoying fine views of beautiful meadows and dense pine forests along the way. We descend to a mountain stream to stop for lunch before continuing with a sharp ascent to Bahl, and our second campsite.
Approx. 9km trekking / 6-7 hours
Highest altitude: 2400m
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Overnight: Camping

Day 8 (Saturday 29 March 2025):

Bahl – Triund
Today is our toughest day of trekking to Triund, the highest point on the trek at 2843m. The day starts with a steep ascent through a mixed forest of oak, rhododendron and cedar trees, stopping at a local chai shop along the way. After lunch, our ascent continues along a winding path until we finally reach Triund, an alpine meadow situated on top of a ridge from where we have amazing views of the peaks of Dhauladhar on one side and the Kangra valley on the other. This is the perfect spot to enjoy the sunset and our final night in the mountains.
Approx. 8km trekking / 8 hrs
Highest altitude:  2875m
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Overnight: Camping

Day 9 (Sunday 30 March 2025):

Triund – McLeodgunj
After rising early to witness the sun rising over the mighty Dhauladhar mountain range we set off four our final day of trekking. Initially we have a gradual descent over a grassy ridge for a few kilometers, then a steep descent taking us down to Bhagsu waterfall where we stop to enjoy lunch. A further short walk brings us to Bhagsu village where we end our trek.
Approx. 6km trekking / 4 hours
Highest altitude: 2875m
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Overnight: Ecolodge

Day 10 (Monday 31 March 2025):

McLeodganj
We get started on the next part of the adventure assisting at a local project this afternoon. We have links with several projects in the area including Waste Warriors – who work to combat litter and waste issues across the country with clean-ups and through education. The work we will carry out will be based on the needs of the community at the time.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Overnight: Ecolodge

Day 11 (Tuesday 1 April 2025):

McLeodganj – Delhi
There will be a little free time this morning before we travel back to Delhi by train.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
Overnight: Hotel

Day 12 (Wednesday 2 April 2025):

Delhi – Agra
After breakfast we hit the road and head down to Agra. After checking into the hotel we will pay a visit to the Agra Fort.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
Overnight: Hotel

Day 13 (Thursday 3 April 2025):

Agra – Delhi
It’s an early start today as we visit the spectacular Taj Mahal at sunrise. We will spend some time at the UNESCO World Heritage site before driving back to Delhi.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
Overnight: Hotel

Day 14 (Friday 4 April 2025):

Delhi – London
Transfer to the airport for your return flight to London. Your flight may arrive into London the next morning depending on schedules.
Meals: Breakfast

N.B. This itinerary may change due to unusual weather, the ability of the group and so on. We will do our best to keep to the itinerary but we cannot be held responsible for changes that occur outside of our control. In all circumstances your guide and tour leader will have the final say in the interest of the group’s health and safety.

Costs & How to pay

Registration fee: £395
and then either…

Self-funded: £2200

or

Sponsorship: £4400

or

Flexi: £2200 trip costs and £2200 for a charity* of your choice

SELF-FUNDED

This option is for those who choose to pay the trip costs (flights, accommodation, food, guides etc.) themselves. There is no sponsorship required although if you wish to raise sponsorship for a charity you are welcome to do so.

  • A registration fee is payable at the time of booking.
  • The trip cost balance is payable to Different Travel 10 weeks before departure.
  • You are welcome to fundraise separately for any charity* of your choice but this is not mandatory. Any fundraising undertaken cannot be used for your trip costs.

SPONSORSHIP

This option is for those who wish to raise sponsorship to cover both the costs of the trip (accommodation, food, guides etc.) and a donation to their chosen charity*. There is a minimum sponsorship amount for each trip that you are required to raise in order to participate.

  • A registration fee is payable at the time of booking.
  • The minimum sponsorship must be paid to the charity 12 weeks prior to departure.
  • The amount the charity receives is at least 50% of the minimum sponsorship total.

FLEXI

This option is for those who choose to pay the trip costs (accommodation, food, guides etc.) themselves while still raising some funds for the charity*.

  • A registration fee is payable at the time of booking.
  • Trip cost balance is payable to Different Travel and your fundraising is payable to the charity 10 weeks prior to departure.
  • Any fundraising undertaken cannot be used for your trip costs.

*If your chosen charity is not on this list, please seek permission to fundraise for them by taking part in this challenge before making your booking.

 

What's included

  • Return flights from London (inc taxes and charges)
  • Local transfers and transport
  • Accommodation in hotels in Delhi, McLeodganj and Agra, overnight sleeper trains and camping on trek
  • All meals as specified
  • Trek permits
  • English-speaking local guides and trek support crew
  • Different Travel UK tour manager

What's not included

  • Any necessary vaccinations
  • Indian e-tourist visa (currently US$27.50)
  • Drinks (incl bottled water), laundry and personal expenses
  • Spending money (tips and gratuities, souvenirs)
  • Personal trek kit
  • Travel insurance

Got a Question?

If you’ve a question about this challenge that you can’t find the answer to within the given information then complete this quick form and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Book onto any of our trips between 1st - 30th June 2024 and receive a FREE Different Travel neck buff!*

*Your buff will be given to you either at your pre-departure meeting or the start of your trip.