------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ INDIAN HIMALAYA
Saturday 2nd July – Sunday 24th July 2011 (23 days)


This Expedition takes participants in the footsteps of Ludlow and Sheriff and Henry and Margaret
Taylor to the Indian Himalaya in the state of Himachal Pradesh. The western section of the Great
Himalaya is of particular botanical interest as it is home to many species not occurring further east.
Our travels follow a route to within 60 miles of the Tibetan border to an area with many peaks over
6000m and we shall botanise on passes at up to 5000m from high camps during our two treks. We
shall experience the whole range of altitudinal zones from our arrival in Delhi, crossing the plains of
Haryana and Punjab before making an abrupt change as we rise into the forested hills to Shimla.
Formerly the official summer capital of the British Raj, Shimla still has many examples of grand
British architecture. From there we follow the course of the Sutlej River into the heart of the
mountains to undertake the first trek and then transfer to Manali for a shorter trek into the area east
of the Rohtang Pass. As a finale to our trip, we will visit the Taj Mahal, often described as the most
beautiful building in the world.

Of the many exciting plants we will see on this expedition, a large proportion will not have been
recorded on previous AGS Himalayan expeditions to Nepal, Bhutan and Tibet, as they are unique
to this area. However, we also expect to see old favourites such as Cardiocrinum giganteum, Lilium
nanum, Saussurea gossipiphora, S. obvallata, Saxifraga lychnitis and Paraquilegia anemonoides,
which occur here in fine forms.
Primulaceae are well represented, with Cortusa matthiola and many Androsaces and Primulas.
These range from the high altitude A. delavayi, P. elliptica, P. stuartii and P. macrophylla
moorcroftiana to the more frequently grown A. muscoidea, A. sarmentosa, A. sempervivoides, P.
denticulata, P. macrophylla, P. munroi and P. rosea with A. lanuginosa and P. sessilis (leaves only)
at lower altitudes. We expect also to see stunning white P. reidii, rare P. obtusifolia, tiny P.
minutissima and more.
There are many Asteraceae, with interesting examples of Anaphalis and Leontopodium,
Cremanthodium and Ligularia, Aster and Erigeron. We also hope to see Walheimia glabra and
amazing pink tinged Saussurea simpsoniana.
There is a good range of Corydalis, Pedicularis and Saxifraga, as well as of orchids. Although only
one Meconopsis has been recorded, M. aculeata, it is a very beautiful species with a wide range of
forms, depending on habitat and altitude.
A full list of the species we expect to see will be provided as part of the Post Booking Information.


Depart London Heathrow on overnight flight. Depart Delhi on daytime flight to London Heathrow. The dates and flight times may be altered and are only indicative at this stage.


Saturday 2nd – Sunday 24th July 2011 Page 1 of 8 Leaders: David and Margaret Thorne
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Mon 4th – Thurs 14th Camping (11 nights) Sun 17th – Wed 20th Camping (4 nights) Thurs 21st

£2750 per person occupying a double/twin bedded room The single supplement is to be confirmed. The price includes: the services of the Tour Leaders, all flights (London/Delhi outbound and
Delhi/London on return), all road transport in India, all accommodation and breakfasts in hotels and
fully serviced camping on trek, tips to the Indian trekking crew.
The price does not include: drinks, laundry, items of a personal nature, meals other than breakfast
in hotels, hotel tips, travel insurance. Visa for India not included.
The Tour is limited to 18 members and bookings will be processed in order of receipt. AGSE
reserves the right to refuse bookings if there is good reason to believe that the applicant is unlikely
to be able to complete the trek.


It is essential that you are fit so that you can enjoy to the full what this trip offers and it is advisable
to undertake regular walking (preferably daily or at least several times a week) in the months
leading up to the start of the Tour. The itinerary gives an indication of the distances involved but
botanising inevitably means that you exceed these. Previous experience of multi-day trekking as
well as of extended periods camping and botanising in mountains over 3000m is preferable.


Our increase in altitude is well paced with the first evening at Shimla at c.2205m, and the following
nights at Sarahan c.2500m and Sangla, 2950m. From here we begin our trek and rise to Sangla
Khunda 3600m and a small increase to 3700m at Ranglati, with the next day botanising locally,
which should take us to about 4000m, and returning to Ranglati. We should be fairly well
acclimatised by this time but this is a factor which is unpredictable for anyone, even those who on
previous trips have performed well with no effect of altitude. A long day taking us to over 4600m will
see us return to a camp above 4000m while next day we move to our highest camp with 3 nights at
4400m. From this camp we explore the highest pass of the whole trip, in excess of 5000m.
During our shorter second trek the highest pass is 4268m for which we should now be well
Consult your doctor well in advance of the trip to discuss your needs for combating the effects of
altitude, as we cannot advise you. We take Diamox and before using it for the first time our doctor
advised us to have a trial at home for a few days so that we understood its effects before
administering it on the trip; we found this useful. On previous journeys we began taking it after
coming off the long haul flight so that we had been taking it for more than 24hrs by the time we
reached a significant altitude and we encountered no problems.
Saturday 2nd – Sunday 24th July 2011 Page 2 of 8 Leaders: David and Margaret Thorne
As a botanising expedition it has been organised to allow plenty of time to look at and photograph
the plants at a slower pace than the usual trekking schedules. We have 11 days of camping, and 8
consecutive trekking days in the first section of the tour, and 4 nights camping on the second trek,
with 3 full days walking and a short walk out.


The plains in summer are hot and humid and we can expect our days in Delhi and Agra to be so.
We are in India during the monsoon so we should expect our share of wet weather, but it tends to
arrive in the north west corner of the sub-continent later than most areas so we may be fortunate
while in the mountains. Mountain weather anywhere can vary quickly and we should be prepared
for it to be cool under cloud and cold in winds blowing from remnant snow patches, some of which
we may have to cross on our route. The road over the Rohtang Pass crosses a range which is a
major barrier to moisture laden air and beyond it is generally much drier and can be hot.


Day starts with ‘bed tea’ delivered to the tent followed by warm washing water and then breakfast.
Packed lunches will be handed out before we set off after which, if it is a moving day, the camp is
taken down by the crew and it and our bags loaded onto the ponies. Given our botanising speed
they will overtake us fairly quickly and by the time we reach our next camp the tents should be up.
We can expect to be greeted with a hot drink in the mess tent and washing water at our own tents a
little later. Depending on timings we can have a plant session prior to, or just after our dinner. At
this time our water bottles will be filled with boiled water for the following day and this doubles as a
hot water bottle for the sleeping bag for those who wish. Bed time comes early in camp to allow for
plenty of rest and early starts. This will sound very familiar to anyone who has trekked in Nepal, the
main differences being that the camp crew is smaller here, because we use ponies and not porters,
and, as in Bhutan, there are no tea houses or shops along the way.

We shall be following paths used by goat grazers to access their summer shielings, by pilgrims and
the small number of trekkers who travel this way. There will be a mixture of scree, rock, scrub and
meadow, with an associated mixture of gradients and at times crossing steep slopes. Over the
passes we will be traversing scree slopes and while botanising we shall be exploring screes so
experience of this and confidence in moving on such terrain is a necessity. There may be some
remnant snow banks to cross and the path can at times become the watercourse and, because
animals use the trail it can be muddy, and particularly after our own ponies have passed us the
conditions may be more sticky. Good boots and gaiters should be sufficient for crossing most
streams along our way but we should all carry lightweight plastic shoes for at least one river
crossing near the end of the second trek.


All of the vehicles which we use from and to Delhi will be air conditioned while our transport
between Shimla, Sangla and the Manali area will be 4WD Tata jeeps.

Saturday 2nd – Sunday 24th July 2011 Page 3 of 8 Leaders: David and Margaret Thorne
Soft bags are easiest to pack on the ponies which will be our trek transport but they can also have
wheels for ease of movement in airports and hotels. Remember to bring a padlock for your bag.
Weight limits will be confirmed later.


Given the range of altitudes and climatic zones through which we shall travel a variety of layers is
preferable but include a good quality fleece or down jacket for the warm layer, particularly for high
level camps. A breathable waterproof outer layer is essential and, unless brand new, it is advisable
that you reproof both jacket and trousers prior to going. We do this prior to every trip. Boots should
be waterproof and well fitting gaiters available. We wear gaiters every day on trek. A ‘golf’ umbrella
is a standard piece of our equipment for use in rain, as a parasol and as a windbreak and wet cover
when photographing plants. Unless an umbrella fits inside hold luggage it is unlikely to arrive
unscathed so we shall each buy a new one in Shimla on arrival and donate it to the crew, if it is
worth having, at the end. Because we shall be using high camps you need to bring a 4 season
sleeping bag to ensure that you are warm and comfortable. Sleeping mats will be provided by our
trek crew.
If you normally use poles, bring them. Everyone should carry a whistle for emergency purposes. A
headtorch will be needed to navigate around camp after dark, but should also be carried by day. A
compass or GPS gives information useful for notes/diary. A pair of binoculars for some is essential,
us included, as is a hand lens, and a tape measure. Bring a supply of your own favourite high
calorie treat, but be aware that hot valleys can reduce a chocolate bar to an unpleasant mess.
A Packing List is provided at the end of this document.


On trek boiled water is supplied daily, so bring a suitable container to fill and carry with you and
drink plenty to avoid dehydration. Bottled water will be available when we are hotel based, as
kettles are unlikely to be provided in the rooms. Use bottled or boiled water for cleaning teeth as
well as drinking. No water from other sources should be drunk unless it has been treated with

Lists of plants and birds recorded from our previous visits to the area will be circulated as part of
the Post Booking Information, together with Recording Forms to use on this Expedition.


Bring all your photographic requirements with you, do not depend on purchasing items during the
Tour and if you have a new camera, practice using it before you come. Batteries may be charged at
all the hotels, using a worldwide mains adaptor. You must subsequently be self sufficient in battery
power for an extended period.
Once we leave Shimla no mains electricity source will be available until we reach Manali, a period
of 12 days. If you have a charging system which works through a car’s cigar lighter this period may
be reduced, if your charger is compatible, to the time we are away from Sangla which is 8 days,
Saturday 2nd – Sunday 24th July 2011 Page 4 of 8 Leaders: David and Margaret Thorne ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
although there may be competition from group members for use of this single facility in each
Always ask before taking photos of people.


We shall be up to a long day’s walk from a roadhead which has no basic health facilities, at our
furthest point, so you should discuss with your doctor both the immunisations you need before you
go and what it is sensible for you to take for your needs. We always take a course of antibiotics for
each of us and have no qualms about self administering. Be wary of dogs and monkeys, both of
which can carry rabies; we give them a wide berth.


Check now that your passport has at least 6 months (190 days) validity after the end of the Tour
and if not, renew it as soon as possible.
For India you require to obtain a 6 month Tourist visa which for those in the UK currently costs
£39.05 from vfsglobal which undertakes visa work for the Indian High Commission.
All necessary information is on the High Commission’s website: www.hcilondon.in

There is a tradition of tipping trek staff in the Himalayas and the cost of tips is included in your Tour
price. However, you may feel it appropriate to give an individual tip to particular members of the
crew who give exceptional personal service. Hotel tips are not included.

Everyone on this tour must be adequately insured and you must be able to satisfy AGS Expeditions
Ltd that you hold cover. It is recommended that you take out cover for the full period you are away
from home and that your policy is in force from the time you make your booking, so you are
covered in the event that you have to cancel your booking for any insurable reason prior to the
departure date.
Care should be taken with policies given away free with credit cards and some cheap policies
available on the Internet. Some of these will class walking at altitude as a hazardous activity and
either exclude liability completely or limit it dependent upon altitude. Please check the wording of
your policy carefully.

On any tour it is necessary that you abide by the authority of the Tour Leaders, who represent the
Company. Signing the booking form signifies your agreement to this and if you commit any illegal
act or if in the opinion of the Tour Leaders your behaviour is detrimental to the safety and welfare of
the group as a whole, the Tour Leaders may ask you to leave the tour without the right to any
refund. If circumstances warrant it, e.g. you are not fit to travel with the party on any particular day
or days, the Tour Leaders may insist that you do not join the party.

Saturday 2nd – Sunday 24th July 2011 Page 5 of 8 Leaders: David and Margaret Thorne

AGS Expeditions Limited will be the tour operator and its conditions of contract will apply.
Appropriate insurance cover is held. If you use AGS Expeditions Limited for flight bookings, this
tour will be covered by our Air Travel Organisers Licence granted by the Civil Aviation Authority.
Our ATOL number is ATOL9615. In the unlikely event of our insolvency, the CAA will ensure that
you are not stranded abroad and will arrange to refund any money you have paid to us for an
advance booking. For further information, visit the ATOL website at www.atol.org.uk

India North
. Nelles Vertag. ISBN 9783865740373 (£7.95)
Maps at the given prices are available from Stanford’s bookshop: Edward Stanford Ltd, 12-14 Long
Acre, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 9LP. Tel: 020 7836 1321. Website: www.stanfords.co.uk


Margaret & Henry Taylor: Exploring the North Western Himalaya, in The Alpine Gardener 297
pp241-251 September 2004
Henry & Margaret Taylor: Kinnaur: Rare Plants and a Puzzle, in The Rock Garden 108 pp282-
293 January 2002
Margaret & Henry Taylor: Flowers of the Baspa Valley, in The Rock Garden 104 pp199-208 June
Margaret & Henry Taylor: New Flowers in the N W Himalaya, in The Rock Garden 101 pp375-385
January 1998
Margaret & Henry Taylor: A Taste of India, in The Rock Garden 93 pp395-408 January 1994
Joel Smith: Seven Wonders of the Roof of the World, in the Rock Garden 94 pp12-22 June 1994
Margaret & Henry Taylor: Difficult Alpines, 4 Paraquilegia anemonoides, in the AGS Bulletin
250 pp436-439 December 1992
Margaret & Henry Taylor: The blue corydalis, in The Rock Garden 83 pp142-146 January 1989
George Kirkpatrick: Barabangrahal, over the high Himalayas, in The Rock Garden 82 pp89-93
June 1988
Barry Starling & David Winstanley: Primula minutissima, in the AGS Bulletin 209 pp222-225
September 1982

Toshio Yoshida (2005): Himalayan Plants Illustrated. ISBN 4635580318. Available from Sue
Towers, NHBS Environment Bookstore, 2-3 Wills Road, Totnes, Devon TQ9 5XN
Oleg Polunin & Adam Stainton (1984): Flowers of the Himalaya. ISBN 0192176234 (hardback),
0195641876 (paperback)
Adam Stainton (1988 & 1997): Flowers of the Himalaya A Supplement. ISBN 0195619811
(hardback), 0195644158 (paperback)
Oleg Polunin & Adam Stainton (1987): Concise Flowers of the Himalaya. ISBN 0195618327
(hardback), 019564414x and 0192177575 (paperback)
Daya Singh Dhaliwal (1999): Flora of Kullu district, Himachal Pradesh. ISBN: 8121101492
Saturday 2nd – Sunday 24th July 2011 Page 6 of 8 Leaders: David and Margaret Thorne ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Christina Noble: OVER THE HIGH PASSES, A Year in the Himalayas with the Migratory Gaddi
, Collins, London 1987. ISBN: 0002177897
Christina Noble: At Home in the Himalayas, Collins, London 1991. ISBN: 0002153807
Penelope Chetwode: KULU, The End of the Habitable World, Times Books Internation, New
Delhi. ISBN: 8185113203
Imogen Lycett Green: GRANDMOTHER'S FOOTSTEPS, A Journey in Search of Penelope
Macmillan 1994 and Pan Books 1995. ISBN: 0330343947
Indian Himalaya – Lonely Planet, but there are other guidebooks

• Flowers of India: www.flowersofindia.net
• Flora of British India: www.biodiversitylibrary.org/bibliography/678
• Meconopsis World: www.meconopsisworld.co.uk
• Primula World: www.primulaworld.com
• High Commission of India: www.hcilondon.in
• Travel advice: www.fco.gov.uk
• Airport security: www.dft.gov.uk
• Health issues – www.dh.gov.uk
• ATOL: www.atol.org.uk
• Stanfords: www.stanfords.co.uk

If you have any queries about the itinerary, equipment or other practical matters relating to the
expedition, please do not hesitate to contact David and Margaret Thorne, preferably by email, who
will do their best to help. Please contact the AGS Centre or Martin Lindop should you have any
questions about other matters.
David and Margaret Thorne
Saturday 2nd – Sunday 24th July 2011 Page 7 of 8 Leaders: David and Margaret Thorne ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ ESSENTIAL CLOTHING and EQUIPMENT
 Waterproofed and broken-in trekking boots  Leak proof bottle (suitable for boiling water)  Waterproof jacket and trousers, preferably  Whistle to attract attention in emergencies  Sunglasses suitable for screening out UV  High protection sunscreen and lip salve  Notebook, biros, pencils, plant lists etc  Watch and/or small digital alarm clock  Underwear including thick and thin socks  Spare spectacles or contact lenses, if you  Large plastic bags suitable for protecting all  Secure travel wallet for money, passport,  Umbrella – available in Lhasa (only bring travellers’ cheques, credit/debit card etc one if it will fit inside your hold baggage, OPTIONAL CLOTHING and EQUIPMENT
 Mending kit, pocket knife, nail scissors The leaders will have a basic medical kit with them. However it is recommended that you should bring a personal first aid kit in a semi-rigid sealable plastic container comprising the following:-  Assorted sterile, individually wrapped,  Simple pain killer (eg, Paracetamol)  Dioralyte or Rehydrat for dehydration. Saturday 2nd – Sunday 24th July 2011 Page 8 of 8 Leaders: David and Margaret Thorne

Source: http://www.alpinegardensociety.net/pdf_files/tour/2011IndianHimalayasExpedInfo.mcl.pdf

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