This Outdoor Learning Camp is an idea to fulfill our dual goals of providing experiential learning to the children and rural development of the hills where migration is a big issue. It is an itinerary hand-crafted to introduce the physical and cultural landscape of Uttarakhand Himalayas to the children in an exciting format. The Kumaon Himalayas of Uttarakhand, with their colourful traditions and customs, have been a largely unexplored jewel of India. Its lush green terraced fields, temple clusters, a singsong local dialect and delectable cuisine render it a place worth cherishing. The itinerary combines the beautiful landscape of the Kumaon region to history, art, traditions and study of nature. With eclectic mix of activities ranging from nature walks to star gazing with a telescope, this tour promises to be a fun-filled event with loads of learning opportunities.
Kathgodam/Haldwani (Arrangements for Delhi to Delhi trip can be done)
We will drive from Kathgodam/Pantnagar to Almora. On the way to Almora we stop at Kainchi Dham which has been visited by Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg. At Almora we will have introduction session followed by short hike to nearby view point. Enroute there is 6th century Brahmi script stone inscription.
The culture of Himalayas is a unique blend of ancient tribal traditions and many subsequent waves of Hinduism from Shankaracharya to Swami Vivekananda. Today the team would visit famous Jageshwar temple of Manaskhand (name of Kumaon region in Purans). The cluster of Temples at Jageshwar dates back to 8 -14 century CE. Afterwards we head for Nyoli which is a village homestay 7km from Berinag and is less than 1km downhill walk through pine jungle from nearest road head.
Day will start with light exercises and yoga session followed by warm breakfast. This is a day of exploring the village life in the Kumaon hills and introduction to the methods of farming, irrigation, and animal husbandry employed in the hills. It will be a leisure walk around the village to understand village life and interact with villagers. It will help students understand the practical challenges rural folks face. We also visit nearby Naula which is traditional water harvesting system in the hills that has been used for centuries in this region. During the visit one would be educated about how Naulas were constructed and importance of this dying traditional practice which is very important for self-sustained lifestyle of Pahadi villages cut off from outside world. Post lunch there will be session on mountaineering, trekking and other adventure activities in India. This session will give an idea about how to get initiated to these activities and various institutes across India which conduct such activities.
Post dinner team will have an interesting stargazing session which will involve theory and practical on astronomy, type of telescopes etc. Students will be taught about navigational methods of pre GPS era. Camping location offer very good low light pollution conditions for star gazing. On clear sky night one can see milkyway with naked eyes from this location.
Day will start with light exercises and yoga session followed by warm breakfast. Today we will visit a huge limestone cave of Patal Bhuvaneshwar known for rock formations that have created beautiful stalactite and stalagmite figures of various hues and forms. The mythology and folklore associated with the cave adds to its natural splendour. One needs to descend 90ft underground before the cave opens up. Enroute we will visit an NGO which is involved in helping local communities and learn about natural dye making, working of handlooms, power generation from pine needles etc. In the evening we will have another session on star gazing.
Day will start with light exercises and yoga session followed by warm breakfast. Today is the day to go out for jungle hike and learn outdoor survival techniques. Students will be divided in groups and asked to plan for hiking. They will also be taught about tent pitching in the wild, lighting fire and cooking a meal in the wilderness. It is an easy day hike in the Himalayas to feel the pulse of the hills and connect to the glorious history of these mountains and thousands of adventurers who have roamed the highest mountain range in the world. There will be games/activities in the evening followed by folktale session.
Day will start with light exercises and yoga session followed by warm breakfast. Today morning session will be divided to do some interesting activities like story writing, pine cone decoration, aipan (local design pattern) making, drawing etc. Post lunch we will have cultural event where a team of artists join us to perform traditional Kumaoni Choliya dance.
Leave Berinag in the morning after breakfast and drive back to Kathgodam. En route visit the Folk and Culture Museum at Bhimtal. If lucky, team can meet archaeologist, painter and curator of the museum Padma Shri Dr Yashodhar Mathpal. Adventure activities like kayaking, rappelling, zorbing, paragliding etc can be done near Bhimtal. These activities are optional and need time. So if a group is interested in these activities then please plan for overnight journey from Kathgodam. Catch bus/train/flight from Kathgodam/Pantnagar.