The apple economy in India has been booming for a very long time now. Whenever we hear of friends or family heading up north to the hills, our very first thought is to ask them to bring back a big sack of those juicy apples that are so famous in most Himalayan states of India. But little did you know, the very origin of apples in India dates back to 1904 when one Samuel Evans Stokes visited India on a leprosy mission. He was advised to relocate to a tiny hamlet of Kotgarh in Himachal Pradesh when the heat started bothering him too much, and here he started experimenting with apple plantations. And what a success it became!
Kotgarh- more specifically Thanedar- is the birthplace of apples in India. It is located in the Shimla district. Thanedar is a quiet village with acres of apple plantations as far as the eye can see. Just a few kilometres away from Narkanda, this small countryside receives ample snowfall, a very important factor for juicy apples. During spring, the trees bear the bright pink apple blossoms and the entire region is a riot of happy colours! Post rains during the months of August and September are the harvest season. It is time for processing of jams and chutneys that are shipped to the entire country! Thanedar is also known as the Fruit Bowl of Dev Bhoomi. It is home to lush green forests and beautiful camping sits that make it for the perfect offbeat destination.
This trip also includes a visit to Hatu Peak (3,200 m). This will be the highest point of this trip. In this trip, you will also spend a night at a farm-stay, located very near to the apple orchards. Narkanda is famous for an awesome view and hospitable people. Join us for apple country road trip as we make our way through some ancient villages of Shimla district known for their apple farmings. With mountains laden with apple orchards as far as the eye can see, this is one trip that will surely take your breath away!
Day 1(5 Sept) – We begin our road journey from Chandigarh to cover 170 kilometers to Kotkhai in the first leg of our journey. En route, we pass through beautiful villages like Fagu and Theog. Kotkhai is a town in the Shimla district for the annual bow and arrow game of Thotha organized here. The village Baghi near Kotkhai is also the largest apple producer of Himachal Pradesh, with 22 lakhs apple boxes being produced every year! Literally meaning palace on a cliff, the town’s biggest attraction is an old rustic pahadi palace perched high up on a mountain cliff, giving astounding views of the valley below. After exploring the beauty of Kotkhai and walking through massive apple orchards, we retire to bed to prepare ourselves for our journey ahead.
Day 2(6 Sept) – We start off early morning from the town and cover 120 kilometers this day to reach Kotgarh, while passing through villages like Jubbal, Hatkoti, Rohru, Sungri, and Baghi. Blessed with crisp air, scenic views, acres and acres of apple orchards and pristine beauty, the old world charm of Kotgarh is to absolutely die for. Home to Mr. Samuel Stokes, Kotgarh is the very place that sowed the seed of the apple economy not just in Kotgarh, but in the rest of Himachal Pradesh including the world famous Kinnauri apples. Apart from its apples, Kotgarh also has some of the best views of the entire Hatu Ridge and the sunrises here are one of the best you will ever see!
Day 3(7 Sept) –After getting a good night’s rest at Kotgarh, we now head on to cover the next 30 kilometers till Narkanda. Surrounded by the Shivalik Range of the Himalayas, Narkanda is a town in the Shimla District which is also one of the few skiing resorts of India. With pleasant weather throughout the year, this is one of the most famous holiday destinations in the region. On our way to the town, we pass through Tani Jubbar and also pay a visit to the beautiful Hatu Peak, the second-highest peak in the Shimla District with an elevation of 3,200 meters above sea level.
Day 4(8 Sept) – With splendid views and a warm sunrise giving us company, we have a hearty breakfast and star for the last leg of our journey- the 175 kilometres back to Chandigarh. En route, we visit Matiana and Kufri. Matiana is a small village near Shimla town. With panoramic views, this is the perfect place to slow down, unwind and take a step back from your usual on the go life. Kufri, on the other hand, is a small town in the Shimla District and is a popular destination for holiday goers. Home to the beautiful Himalayan monal, Kufri is the highest point in the region and offers breathtaking vistas of the valley. With these two destinations, our journey would come to an end as we inch further towards hitting the base in Chandigarh. With a heart full of happy memories, and a bag full of apples, this will perhaps be the road trip that will change the way you see life!
Stay – Farm-House/ Camping (sharing basis);
Meals- Vegetarian Nutritious and Tasty Meals during the Trek with Evening Tea.
Breakfast on Day 2, 3 and 4
Lunch on Day 1, 2 and 3
Dinner on Day 1, 2 and 3
Experienced tour leader.
Transport from Chandigarh and back in comfortable Tempo Traveller.
First-Aid Kit/ Oxygen Cylinder.
Travellers are reminded that there is a 15kg limit on personal luggage for all trips.
Cameras, whether video or film, needed to be protected against the severe cold either in a warm pouch or the interior pockets of your clothing. Do not keep your camera in your backpack at higher elevations.
We do not provide donkeys or porters to carry luggage.
No insurance is provided during the trek.
When between camps, please carry your daily personal rubbish to the next camp.
Remember – “Take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but footprints”. So, keep the mountains clean and green.
Aspirins and Paracetamols are highly recommended for headaches and because they also thin the blood that will help improving circulation & oxygen delivery to the body. Strong painkillers are not recommended as they can suppress respiration.
Personal expense of any kind will not be entertained.
Personal Equipment Required:
A good sturdy pair of shoes and a backpack with plastic or water-proof lining.
Comfortable, lightweight clothing.
Sunglasses or goggles.
A woollen hat for warmth.
Scarf or bandana.
Ear plugs. (Optional)
Spare contact lenses or glasses.
Extra polythene bags.
Reading materials, Games, Cards. (Optional)
Towel especially lightweight quick-dry type.
Track pants with more pockets. Carry around 2 pants. Avoid jeans.
Waterproof jackets and gloves.
A raincoat since the weather can be unpredictable sometimes. (Optional)
Identification proof like Passport, Driving license, Aadhar card etc.
1 Passport size photograph.
REFUND & CANCELLATION POLICY
Cancellation of booking of tour 31 days or more before the date of Departure will result in a 20% deduction in the cost of the tour.
Cancellation of booking of tour 21-30 days before the date of Departure will result in 40% deduction of the cost of the tour.
Cancellation of booking of tour 11-20 days before the date of Departure will result in 60% deduction of the cost of the tour.
Cancellation of booking of tour 6-10 days before the date of Departure will result in 80% deduction of the cost of the tour.
Cancellation of booking of tour 1-5 days before the date of Departure will result in 100% deduction of the cost of the tour.