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Days Of Solitude, A Could Have Been Bear & The Mystery Lake - Roopkund Trek !

It was late evening. we had reached Lohjung ,the base point of Roopkund trek. With 8 hours of bus journey from Delhi to Haldwani & 12 hours of hopping one taxi after the other from Haldwani to Lohajung, It had been a long journey for us. Thankfully we had booked accommodation in advance . Mr. Dayal Singh Patwal , the owner of the lodge showed us our room . Mr. Patwal was a nice gentleman. Like the man himself Patwal lodge with clean & affordable rooms , is a nice place to stay. The lodge is located on a high ground overlooking the village . The sun had set & in the sky opposite to our balcony was a full moon. The sky was clear & dotted with stars. Seeing the perfect setting, we requested permission from our host to place two chairs & a table in the balcony . While we were sitting , Mr. Patwal joined us. He briefed us about the trek route and itinerary. The conversation moves to other topics . We came to know about how too much interference from outside world has resulted in overgrazing in the meadows of the region . Mr. Patwal is part of an organization which is fighting for the preservation of this region's environment. It was 8:30 PM & getting late by local standards. We were served dinner . After a fulfilling meal we are off to our room. Before sleeping we had a look at the map of Roopkund trek. Soon the tiredness from the day overcame & we fell asleep.

Day 1 ( Lohajung to Bedni Bugyal )

I woke up early . Ritvij was still sleeping . From the extent of light coming in from the window of our room i guessed it was about 6:00 AM . I pushed myself out of bed . I opened the door of the room. The sun was rising . I took a couple of shots with my camera.

Before starting the trek , we have to buy ration for our journey. As per information from the locals there are fibre huts on all the camping sites so we decide to not carry any tent. While sipping tea we planned our itinerary . Usually the trek is done in 6 days from Lohajung to Lohajung. Since we did not have the luxury of so many days at hand we crashed it to.

day 1 - Lohajung to Bedni Bugyal ( Trek )

day2 - Bedni Bugyal to Bhaguabasa ( Trek )

day3 - Bhaguabasa to roopkund & back to Wan ( Trek ) . Wan to Lohajung ( Drive )

By 8:30 AM. Mahavir (our guide) & Raghuveer ( our cook ) had arrived. We discussed the itinerary with them . Initially they were apprehensive about our capability of doing it in 3 days but finally they agree. From Patwal Lodge, Didina village can be seen towards north . Right behind Didina, a snow covered peak can be seen . Its name is Nanda Ghunti (6,309 M) .

Days Of Solitude, A Could Have Been Bear & The Mystery Lake - Roopkund Trek !

in picture - Nanda Ghunti ( 6309 M ) . Small settlement seen right below it is Didina

There are two ways for Didina from Lohajung . One way is along the river. For this you have to descent to the river in Lohajung & then walk parallel to it. The other way which we took is via kuling . There is a road parallel to the river from Lohajung to Kuling . From kuling you have to decend to the river . Both of these routes merge in Akhodi which is 15 minutes walk away from kuling .

We started from Lohajung at 09:15 AM . We had walked only a few steps when a car stopped by. The driver was a teacher in the same school where Mahavir & Raghuveer studied. He offered us lift upto kuling .We fit our bags & ourselves in the small vehicle. Kuling is about 4 kms from Lohajung. The four of us started trekking from Kuling at 10:15 AM. As we were walking through the village, the village folks were asking Mahavir about where we were headed . He was telling them Bedni Bugyal . Without exception everyone was telling " Nahi Pahunchoge ! " . Real encouragement !

The trail is downhill upto Akhodi . Akhodi can be identified by a water crossing. From Akhodi the trail climbs for some distance & then plane walk till we cross the river "Neel Ganga " by a metal bridge . From this bridge the trail is uphill upto Didina. By 11 : 30 AM we had reached Didina . Didina is a beautiful village with very less population. For trekkers there are many homestay options in Didina .

Days Of Solitude, A Could Have Been Bear & The Mystery Lake - Roopkund Trek !

in picture - Akhodi, where two routes meet

Days Of Solitude, A Could Have Been Bear & The Mystery Lake - Roopkund Trek !

in picture - The metal bridge over river Neelganga

Mahavir invited us for tea in one of his friends house in Didina . We happily accepted the offer. After having tea we filled our water bottles & started trek from Didina at 12 :10 PM. A small tip of Ali Bugyal is visible from Didina if you look up north. From the look it seemed like there is a steep climb ahead. Without wasting any time we started walking . At 2:00 PM we had our first major halt for lunch. We reached ali by 4 : 30 PM.

Days Of Solitude, A Could Have Been Bear & The Mystery Lake - Roopkund Trek !

in picture - Didina, the beautiful little village

Days Of Solitude, A Could Have Been Bear & The Mystery Lake - Roopkund Trek !

At 5:00 PM we were walking through Ali Bugyal . As per our guide we were not too far from camps . As we walked further two structures become visible . Directly in our direction of walking was a small structure made from stones . It was a temple of some kind with size of about 6 X 6 X 2 Feet . Slightly to our right we could see a cluster of fibre huts green in colour . Initially i assumed that these were the camps. Ritvij was of the opinion that it was the campsite of Ali Bugyal & not Bedni bugyal where we have planned our stay. The trail further was uphill in zig zag shape . When we reached the stone structure we sat for a break . We must have been sitting for about 5 minutes & commenced walking again .

Days Of Solitude, A Could Have Been Bear & The Mystery Lake - Roopkund Trek !

Days Of Solitude, A Could Have Been Bear & The Mystery Lake - Roopkund Trek !

Days Of Solitude, A Could Have Been Bear & The Mystery Lake - Roopkund Trek !

in picture - The green fiber huts

By 5:30 we had negotiated the first leg of ziz zag trail. We were expecting to see our guide from that point but after reaching there we could not spot them anywhere. The trail was going in four directions from this point . One was in the direction from where we came. Second trail was going downhill towards the jungle . Rest of the two trails are going uphill & merging up further . When we could not spot our guide , we decided to take one of the two trails going up. We went on this trail up to the point where it merged with the other trail going up . From this point, the trail was visible for about Half a km ahead but nobody was on it. We calculated that it was not possible for them to walk so fast . We would have seen them atleast once before they could cross the visible section of the trail. We decide to return to the point from where we have come & look for them on other possible trails. We went back to that point . It was 6 :15 PM by now .The sky had turned red & sun was ready to set . By this time we had started evaluating our options in case we are not able to find our camps. Thankfully there were those green fibre huts nearby we thought . We had about 15 mins of daylight left. so we took our last chance . We decide to look for our camps on the only remaining trail which we hadn't seen yet , the one going downhill towards the jungle . Since there was only about 15 mins of daylight left and we dint want to get lost inside the jungle ,we fixed a time for ourselves. As per plan we were to walk fast & go for about 7 minutes on this trail . If we dint find any clue we were to return back to the same point. We wanted to have enough time at hand to return to the green fibre huts before it went completely dark. As we walked on this trail we saw some fresh shoe marks. Seeing them we thought we are going in the right direction & we were almost sure that we were headed to our camps . We walked even faster only to see that the trail suddenly disappeared as the jungle started. This was the moment of truth . It was not possible for the campsite to be here firstly because this was not in the route to Roopkund & secondly why would a campsite having the name of a meadow "Bedni buyal " be inside the jungle. Our last chance was gone . We had to retrace our steps to the stone structure. It took us about 15 minutes to do so & by the time our torches were in our hands. After every few minutes we were calling the names of Mahavir & Raghubir in the hope that they will be looking for us like we were looking for them .

It was freezing cold. We had to make fire to survive the night . Thankfully there was lot of firewood lying around the stone structure . According to Ritvij it was a better idea to spend the night in green huts which were closed from all sides and offered better protection from weather as compared with the stone structure. But the firewood was here. After a little thought we decided to collect sufficient amount of firewood and carry it to the fibre huts . We made a bundle of the woods & rolled a mattress around the bundle. Idea was to carry the firewoods to the green huts & make fire there. We were walking to the green huts . Ritvij was carrying the firewood bundle while i was carrying the bags of both of us . He was walking about 30 meters behind me. After a while huts became visible through the dark in some distance . Then i stopped suddenly. I had seen something which is the last thing one wants to see in a situation like this. There were two eyes sparkling in the dark & a dark shape surrounding them . As i looked at it, it saw me in the eyes. It dint move from its place but i definitely did . I slowly retraced my steps with my eyes on it . Then with a sudden move i changed my direction & moved swiftly. When Ritvij saw me coming back he asked what happened ? I told him that i saw a wild animal there . He was not happy with the new development . What wild animal ! he said . I told him you want to go & check ? We stood there for a few seconds . We both knew that going back meant spending the night in the stone structure . Reluctantly Ritvij followed me to the stone structure .

It could have been anything. A cow, a dog , a beer or any other wild animal of that size and shape .If i had to guess , it was a cow as it had a very low temperament . It only saw me while i stood there & it dint look like in a mood to attack or anything . But as a matter of fact we dint see any cows since we started on this trek. We were not sure about what it was but one thing was sure that we were not going back to the green huts now . So we started making fire near the door of stone structure . Idea was to make fire at the door of stone structure & sit inside the structure for as long as the fire lasted. It will heat up the stones of this little room . After the fire is out we will move some of the charcoal inside the structure & try to get some sleep around it. This will also avert any wild animal if it comes nearby during the night. Surely it was going to be one hell of a night with freezing temperature at 3700 M altitude in the month of November but we knew we would survive it . As we were into making fire, i heard a faint voice. I knew what it meant . Mahavir was searching us . The voice kept becoming louder & clearer. I gave signal with my torch while i moved in the direction of voice. In mountains its difficult to figure the direction of sound but still i moved in the most likely direction . We were relieved that our hardship was over & soon we will be safe in our camps. But the voice stopped coming suddenly . We waited for about 10 minutes but nothing happened. So now we were back in the business of making fire. Meanwhile we were shouting Mahavir's name & signaling with torch as we were still hoping that he was nearby somewhere. After about 10 minutes the voice came again. This time much clearer & closer . We hurriedly gave signal with torch & shouted mahavir's name. Then we saw a shape of a man emerge on the small hill in front of us. It was Mahavir. He came running. His first question was what are you doing here ? He looked worried & angry . We could have told him our side of story & that we were angry too . But we dint do that . Rather we hugged him & thanked him. It was not anybody's fault that we were lost. Just some misunderstanding . Such things happen in the mountains. In the end what mattered was that Mahavir came back looking for us & we should be thankful for that.

We marched behind Mahavir . It took us 40 minutes to reach camps. Mahavir was in a hurry . The reason for this we came to know later. Apparently Raghuveer was afraid of ghosts & Mahavir had to leave his childhood buddy all alone. We joined Raghuveer in camps at 8 PM . As we entered the camps Raghuveer was worried too . Very soon we were back to normalcy & laughed the whole incident while we ate delicious dinner cooked by Raghuveer . Raghuveer's eyes were vide opened when we told him about the wild animal story . It was indeed a memorable story .

Before going to sleep we revisited our plan for the route ahead. Raghuveer told us that it wont be possible for to camp in Bhaguabasa tomorrow. He pointed two reasons for this. Firstly it will be too cold in Bhaguabasa & secondly there will be no source of water near bhaguabasa campsite. We could manage the cold but camping without water is not a wise idea . Raghuveer advice was that we should rather camp in Patar Nachauni . So we decided to camps in Patar Nachuni the next day & went to sleep.

Days Of Solitude, A Could Have Been Bear & The Mystery Lake - Roopkund Trek !

Days Of Solitude, A Could Have Been Bear & The Mystery Lake - Roopkund Trek !

Days Of Solitude, A Could Have Been Bear & The Mystery Lake - Roopkund Trek !

Day 2 ( Bedni Bugyal - Patar Nachauni )

It was 11 :00 AM . We had left camps at 10 :00 AM & By 12:30 PM we had reached the our campsite.

When you go for a high altitude trek like Roopkund you would not expect a camping site which looks & stinks like a garbage disposal site at the outskirt of Delhi but thats exactly what we saw here. Unfortunately this could be attributed to thousands of trekkers who visit Roopkund trek every year and pilgrims of Nanda Devi Raj Jat Yatra 2014. Its my sincere appeal to anyone who go to the mountains that please do not do this. If you think that what difference does throwing just one wrapper makes to such huge area then just have look at the pictures below & you will know the answer.

Days Of Solitude, A Could Have Been Bear & The Mystery Lake - Roopkund Trek !

Days Of Solitude, A Could Have Been Bear & The Mystery Lake - Roopkund Trek !

With so much time at hand we could have easily reached Bhaguabasa but in mountains you have to follow certain rules. So overall today was relaxed . We had hardly walked for two and half hours . We were not very happy about it because what we had not done today will add to tomorrow's distance . For tomorrow it was going to be a mammoth task so we planned to start trek at 5:00 AM. We had kept two options for ourselves . If we are able to reach Roopkund in time and return to Patar Nachauni by 2 PM we will attempt to reach Lohajung via WAN on the same day. In case we are not able to return to Patar Nachauni by 2 PM , then we will camp in Ghairoli Patal ( a campsite midway Bedni Bugyal & Wan ) . In this case we will start trek at 4 AM on the next day and reach Lohajung by 7:30 AM and thereafter board vehicle for Kathgodam .

For today we dint have much to do so after lunch we took our sleeping bags and had a long afternoon nap.

Day 3 ( Patar Nachauni - Roopkund - Back to Lohajung )

It was 3:20 AM when Ritvij's phone alarm went off. I woke up but dint move. Its always difficult to get out from sleeping bags in mountains at such an early hour . I got descent sleep last night, except for some time in between when the sound of some mouse playing with polythene wrappers kept awakening me . I called Raghuveer's name and asked him to start preparing breakfast and lunch . He told me from inside his sleeping bag that its too cold outside & we should start the trek a little late . I asked him how much time you want. He told me 20 minutes. After 20 minutes i switched on my mobile phone and played bollywood number "Baby Doll" at full volume & thereafter the playlist continued while we ate breakfast and prepared for the journey ahead..

Days Of Solitude, A Could Have Been Bear & The Mystery Lake - Roopkund Trek !

Days Of Solitude, A Could Have Been Bear & The Mystery Lake - Roopkund Trek !

in picture - Chaukhamba & Neelkanth Peaks

We left camps at 5:15 AM. Its always easier to walk in the early hours and its better to cover maximum distance in this time. We walked for next 75 minutes without stopping . It was a gruelling climb and by far the most difficult on this trek. After negotiating this climb we had reached "Kalua Vinayak" (14000ft.) at 6:30 AM. By this time the first light of rising sun had already started falling on the peaks all around us. To name a prominent few there were Kedarnath ,Chaukhamba , Neelkantha to our left while facing in the direction of roopkund .. Directly in front of us were the peak of Trishul & Nanda Ghunti.

Days Of Solitude, A Could Have Been Bear & The Mystery Lake - Roopkund Trek !

Days Of Solitude, A Could Have Been Bear & The Mystery Lake - Roopkund Trek !

Bhaguabasa campsite can be seen from kalua Vinayak . After a short break in Kalua vinayak , we commenced walking towards roopkund . The snow was soft and easy to walk on in the early hours. We wanted to negotiate the snow sections as soon as possible because as the day progresses the snow starts melting & it becomes very slippery to walk.

It was 7:15 AM. we had crossed Bhagua basa and were walking towards Roopkund . The lake which is also known as mystery lake is famous because human skeletons were rediscovered here in 1942 by a Nanda Devi game reserve ranger, although there are reports about these bones from late 19th century. The skeletons are visible in the clear water of the shallow lake during a one-month period, when the ice melts. We had our first glimpse of Roopkund lake at 9:30 AM.

Days Of Solitude, A Could Have Been Bear & The Mystery Lake - Roopkund Trek !

in picture - Glacier near roopkund

Days Of Solitude, A Could Have Been Bear & The Mystery Lake - Roopkund Trek !

in picture - The roopkund lake

While coming back we retraced the same route. On the way we passed through Kalua Vinayak at 11:00 AM & reached Patar Nachauni camps at 12:00 AM. Since we were almost 2 hours ahead of our schedule, we took some rest in Patar Nachauni after having lunch. We starter at 01:00 PM from Patar Nachauni & reached van at 6:00 PM. From here we took a taxi for Lohajung . The evening was spent roaming in the small marketplace of Lohajung. Next day we took a cab for Haldwani & Boarded overnight Volvo from Haldwani to Delhi.

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1. Insurance

Adequate and valid travel insurance is a mandatory requirement for all international (Non-Indian) and domestic (Indian) participants. The same should be obtained before the date of departure.

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To make a booking, you can contact us through email/phone, our website www.bikatadventures.com, or through an approved travel agent. The person making the booking must be 18 years old or over and must  possess the legal capacity and authority to make the booking. If one person is making the booking on behalf of other people then after the booking of the event, other people will also be required to take the undertaking of accepting the terms and conditions mentioned in this agreement. All international (Non-Indian) participants may also be required to pay for any non-transferable and non-refundable items  such as National Park entrance fees and Permits as per the requirements of the particular Park/permits applicable for all international (Non-Indian) participants..

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Your personal safety is of paramount importance to us and therefore it is imperative that you inform us in writing, at the time of booking, of any condition (medical or otherwise) that needs any special care/attention and that might affect your or other people’s experience during the event. You agree to provide any/all information that may be asked by government authorities / border control / security agencies for the purpose of security and counter terrorism. This is known as Advance Passenger Information. The information you must provide will include, but not be limited to, full name – as shown in your passport or travel document, gender, age, nationality, travel document type, and number. For Indian nationals, this information may be provided only for the person making the booking (lead booking participant) but for Non Indian nationals, the same might be asked from all participants.

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In case of bookings made by paying partial amount, you are expected to make the balance payment at least 20 days prior to the departure date (w.r.t. to the published itinerary of the event & batch booked). In case the balance payment is not made at least 15 days prior to the departure date, then the booking would be deemed cancelled and Bikat Adventures would not be liable towards any cash refund. However, you can request for a voucher refund and the same would be treated as per the cancellation policy (refer clause 3.1.2).

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Prices (for all events) are updated regularly on our website but the company reserves the right to change the prices from time to time. There might be temporary offers & promotions running from time to time and the company reserves all rights to introduce or withdraw any offer or promotion at any time without any prior intimation. However, those who have already booked using any promotion or offer would not be affected.

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3.1.1.  Process – The cancellation process is completely automated. Please login to your Bikat account and find relevant instructions on your dashboard. You can choose your preferred mode of refund (Cash/Voucher) as per the policy below and your refund would automatically be processed by the system.

3.1.2.  Replacement of participant(s) – Our system allows you to seamlessly replace any of the participants in your booking through the Bikat login account dashboard. Please note that this feature is applicable only when the status of the Booking is “Paid” and there are at least 5 days remaining prior to the departure date (departure date minus 5). The new participant needs to print, sign, scan and send the undertaking form to info@bikatadventures.com

Please note that the replacement would not be applicable on any Volvo/Train transport booked for the original participant. The same would be automatically cancelled. This is simply because the seats booked in such transport mediums are not transferrable.

3.1.3.  Cash Refund:  Cash refund is applicable only in case of bookings made without using any promotional offer code or vouchers. Also, the cash refunds would not be applicable in case of shifted batch bookings.

The Refund of the amount would be processed as per deduction guidelines outlined below:

  • Cancellations up to 30 days prior to departure date - 5% deduction
  • Between 30 days to 15 days prior to departure - 50% deduction
  • Less than 15 days of departure - No Cash Refund

All cancellation refunds will be processed back to the bank account or the credit card account from which the event fee has been paid. The amount for refund processing would always be calculated basis the net amount paid* for booking the event w.r.t the Base Price of the event (excluding additional components like transport, rent, portage, etc.).

Please note that in case of booking with a partial amount, the deduction amount would be calculated with respect to the overall event fees only. The amount would be adjusted from the partial amount deposited with Bikat Adventures to calculate the final refund amount.

For e.g. if one has booked Pin Parwati Pass trek with partial payment of INR 10,000 (supposing that the Expedition fee is INR 20,000) and cancels the booking 1 month prior to the date of departure, then the refund applicable would be: INR 9,000/- {INR 10,000 – 5% * INR 20K

3.1.4. Voucher Refund: This option is available for all types of bookings including the bookings made under promotional offers.

Bikat Adventures would offer you a short term voucher that would enable you with a flexibility to book any other Bikat event using the voucher. The option of claiming a voucher is available till 5 day prior to the departure of the event. The Refund of the amount would be processed as per deduction guidelines outlined below:

  • Cancellations up to 5 days prior to departure date - No deduction
  • Less than 5 days prior to departure - No Refund

The amount for refund processing would always be calculated basis the net amount paid* for booking the event w.r.t the Base Price of the event (excluding additional components like transport, rent, portage, etc.). Please note that the voucher issued would not include the service tax amount paid while making the booking. However, when you use the voucher to book again on our website, service tax would not be applicable on the voucher amount. Validity of the voucher would be 6 months from the date of issue.

*Net Amount Paid would be the amount paid to Bikat Adventures at the time of booking after adjusting for all rebates provided by applying vouchers.

Please note that any additional transport bookings are completely non-refundable, be it cash or voucher refund. For e.g. If you have booked Manali – Leh Cycling expedition by paying a base price of INR 35,000 along with the transport from Delhi to Manali, then in case of postponement or cancellation, only the base price of INR 35,000 would be considered for calculations of refund as per the slabs defined above or for the matter of issuing a voucher (for postponement cases). The additional transport fee deposited is completely non-refundable.

3.2. In case of Cancellation or change initiated by Bikat Adventures

Bikat adventures reserves the right to cancel your booking or change any of the facilities, services or prices described in our brochures or website. We will endeavor to advise you of any changes known at the time of booking. We plan the arrangements for your events many months in advance and may occasionally have to make minor changes.. Transport timings and carriers shown or communicated on our website are for guidance only and are subject to change. We will send you the final itinerary closer to the departure dates (2-3 days prior) along with the tickets (wherever applicable).

However in the field of adventure activities, there are many variables beyond our control like weather conditions, landslides, road situations and any other force majeure conditions. Circumstances amounting to "force majeure" include any event which we or the supplier of the service(s) in question could not even with all due care, foresee or forestall such as (by way of example and not by way of limitation) war, threat of war, riots, civil disturbances, industrial disputes, actual or threatened terrorist activity and its consequences, natural or nuclear disasters, fire, epidemics, health risks and pandemics, acts of God, unavoidable and unforeseeable technical problems with transport for reasons beyond our control or that of our suppliers, closed or congested airports or ports, hurricanes and other actual or potential adverse weather conditions, and any other similar events. In such situations we might be forced to change the itinerary or even cancel an event. In case of a change /cancellation, you will have the choice of either:

  • accepting a replacement event from us of equivalent or similar standard and price (at the date of the change), if we are able to offer you one; or
  • Cancelling your event, in which case you shall receive a full refund*, including all the components paid by you (transport, base fee, taxes).

*The refund would always be in the form of a voucher (validity 6 months) if the change or cancellation arises from circumstances amounting to “force majeure” or from any other reason beyond our control. However, for cancellations made otherwise, the participant would have a choice between voucher of 12 month validity or cash refund. Please note that in case you have made the booking using a voucher, cash refund would only be made for the part paid in cash. However, we will reactivate your consumed voucher with an additional validity of 6 month.

3.3  In case of changes/cancellation of the event after departure,

3.3.1 When the change or cancellation arise from circumstances amounting to “force majeure” or for any other reason beyond our control Bikat Adventures shall not be liable to refund the amount already deposited.

3.3.2 When the change or cancellation arising otherwise: We will, wherever possible, make suitable alternative arrangements. If we are unable to make such alternative arrangements, or you reject the same for good reason then we will return you to your point of departure and refund you for any unused services, as appropriate. The refund would be primarily made in the form of a voucher (3 month validity). However, in case the participant desires, the same amount can also be refunded in cash.

3.4 In case of drop out by the participant in between the event

We shall not be liable to make any refund in such situation. The participant would also have to pay additionally for unplanned expenses on planning and executing the retreat of the participant on actual basis. In case suitable arrangements for retreat are not possible, Bikat Adventures reserves the right to deny such drop out in between the event.

3.5 In case of Emergency Evacuation

While we do have first aid and experts available on all our events but still there might be situations under which an emergency evacuation might be needed. We are committed to make a safe evacuation for you in case of an emergency. We would make necessary and adequate arrangements for your evacuation till the nearest road head that is well connected by road, and would also help you in boarding a vehicle to the nearest Hospital or any other facility so required. Any additional expenses incurred, that of porters, vehicle, ambulance, hospitalization, or any other expense incurred for evacuation, would be covered by the participant.

4. Visa, Health, Passport, Travel Documentation

Whilst we are able to provide basic advice/information to clients regarding passports and visa requirements, it will be your sole responsibility you are required to check/verify with the appropriate embassy or the consulate for the exact requirements for your chosen event and date of travel. We cannot accept responsibility for any failure to comply resulting in any costs or fines being incurred.

5. Local Laws & Customs

Laws and customs of the areas we visit can be very different to those we are used to. Be aware of your actions to ensure that they do not offend, especially if you are visiting religious areas. It is your responsibility to familiarize yourself with, and respect local laws and customs. If you fail to do so, we will have no liability to you for any cost, loss or damage which you suffer nor will we refund you the cost of any unused portion of your travel arrangements.

6. Privacy Policy

We are committed to not pass your information unnecessarily. Bikat Adventures would use your info to make your experience a better one but incase required for safety or arrangement purposes, we might have to forward your contact details to relevant vendors.

During all our expeditions, we click pictures, record videos, and create other intellectual property. Such content may feature you in many cases. Unless specified otherwise by a participant, we shall deem the permission granted for using such creative content created on our events.

We also encourage you to share the pictures or videos that you create on your own. We give due credits before publishing such content on public platforms.

7. Leader Authority & Behaviour

On any event, it is necessary that you abide by the authority of the leader, who represents the Company. If you commit any illegal act when on the event or if in reasonable opinion of the leader or another person in authority your behaviour is disruptive, threatening or abusive, causes unnecessary inconvenience or is causing or likely to cause damage to property, danger, distress or upset, disturbance or annoyance to others or puts any other traveler or our staff in any risk or danger, on the telephone, in writing or in person, we may terminate your travel arrangements without any liability on our part. Any form of intoxication, by means of alcohol, illicit drugs, weed, or hash, is completely banned on all expeditions. The observation & assessment of the Leader would be final in this regard and any traces/indication found would deem the participant unfit to continue further. The leader has complete authority to terminate your expedition in such a case. In any of these circumstances no refunds or compensation will be paid to you and we will not be liable for any costs or expenses you incur.

8. Your Accommodation

Any accommodation we arrange for you, must only be used by those people named on your Confirmation Invoice. You are not allowed to share the accommodation or let anyone else stay there. You are responsible for the cost of any damage caused to your accommodation or its contents during your stay. These charges must be met by you and may have to be paid locally.

9. Special Requests

We will consider special requests such as dietary requirements or specific rooming arrangements when you book. We will tell you whether there is a charge for the request. We can only guarantee requests for which there is a charge, or those that are confirmed in writing. It is your responsibility to advise us of any special requirements through email after you confirm your booking.

One special request that we get on most of our trekking events is carrying of backpacks on mules / porters. We highly recommend that the personal backpack be carried by the participant themselves because your rucksack can be a life saver in the mountains when faced with unforeseen situations. However, in case a person is absolutely not able to carry or is feeling sick, he/she can offload by paying a charge as per the rates below:

  1. INR 500 per bag* per day# when the logistics of the event are managed through mules
  2. INR 1000 per bag* per day# when the logistics of the event are managed through porters

* Each bag should not be more than 12 Kg in weight. This weight limit is a reference for maximum weight but bags shall be counted in number to calculate the charges.

# Partial offloading is not allowed i.e. number of days would be counted as the total duration of the trek/expedition no matter when you offload during the expedition. In case of expeditions where there are additional days required for reverse logistics, then 1 or 2 days may be added to the total duration of the expedition.

10. Participation Requirements

All clients are expected to satisfy themselves prior to booking that they are fit and able to complete the itinerary of their chosen event as described in the itinerary. No unaccompanied minors (those under 18 years of age) can be accepted however minors aged between 10 -17 years may accompany their parent or guardian who accepts full responsibility for them. Anyone suffering from mobility impairment, illness or disability or undergoing treatment for any physical or mental condition, must declare the true nature of such condition at the time of booking and make arrangements for the provision of any medication or other treatment which may be required during the event. Failure to make such disclosure will constitute a breach of these booking conditions and result in such persons being excluded from the event in which case all monies paid will be forfeit. Please contact us if you wish to find out more information.

All participants are also expected to have read and understood the eligibility criteria of the expedition they are signing up for. They are clearly mentioned on our itinerary page (under FAQs section). At the time of start of the expedition, they must meet the criteria fully (fitness & experience). In case our ground staff finds that the participant is not meeting any of the criteria (fitness or experience) desired for the expedition, they can simply refuse the participation at any stage during or before the expedition. In such case, Bikat Adventures or its staff shall not be responsible for any refund of any kind of fee paid by the participant.

For expeditions that involve road journey or travel, participants are advised to take utmost care of the road safety norms. Any indiscipline regarding road safety or risky riding/driving by the participant may force our team to restrict/suspend/terminate the participant’s ride/drive.

All equipment issued to the participants at the start of any expedition should be maintained and responsibly used by them at all times during the expedition. Any damage or loss of equipment issued by Bikat Adventures to the participant, shall make the participant liable to compensate for the loss/damage.

11.  Law & Jurisdiction

If any dispute or difference(s) of any kind whatsoever shall arise between the parties hereto in connection with or arising out of this agreement the parties hereto shall in good faith negotiate with a view to arriving at an amicable resolution and settlement

Any/all legal proceedings with regard to any matter, claim, differences and disputes arising out of this agreement, will be governed by the Indian laws and the courts of NCT, Delhi, shall have exclusive jurisdiction over any claim arising out of it.

 

1.1    Change/Cancellation of Booking by the participant

1.1.1.  Process – The cancellation process is completely automated. Please login to your Bikat account and find relevant instructions on your dashboard. You can choose your preferred mode of refund (Cash/Voucher) as per the policy below and your refund would automatically be processed by the system.

1.1.2.  Replacement of participant(s) – Our system allows you to seamlessly replace any of the participants in your booking through the Bikat login account dashboard. Please note that this feature is applicable only when the status of the Booking is “Paid” and there are at least 5 days remaining prior to the departure date (departure date minus 5). The new participant needs to print, sign, scan and send the undertaking form to info@bikatadventures.com

Please note that the replacement would not be applicable on any Volvo/Train transport booked for the original participant. The same would be automatically cancelled. This is simply because the seats booked in such transport mediums are not transferrable.

1.1.3.  Cash Refund:  Cash refund is applicable only in case of bookings made without using any promotional offer code or vouchers. Also, the cash refunds would not be applicable in case of shifted batch bookings.

The Refund of the amount would be processed as per deduction guidelines outlined below:

  • Cancellations up to 30 days prior to departure date - 5% deduction
  • Between 30 days to 15 days prior to departure - 50% deduction
  • Less than 15 days of departure - No Cash Refund

All cancellation refunds will be processed back to the bank account or the credit card account from which the event fee has been paid. The amount for refund processing would always be calculated basis the net amount paid* for booking the event w.r.t the Base Price of the event (excluding additional components like transport, rent, portage, etc.).

Please note that in case of booking with a partial amount, the deduction amount would be calculated with respect to the overall event fees only. The amount would be adjusted from the partial amount deposited with Bikat Adventures to calculate the final refund amount.

For e.g. if one has booked Pin Parwati Pass trek with partial payment of INR 10,000 (supposing that the Expedition fee is INR 20,000) and cancels the booking 1 month prior to the date of departure, then the refund applicable would be: INR 9,000/- {INR 10,000 – 5% * INR 20K

1.1.4. Voucher Refund: This option is available for all types of bookings including the bookings made under promotional offers.

Bikat Adventures would offer you a short term voucher that would enable you with a flexibility to book any other Bikat event using the voucher. The option of claiming a voucher is available till 5 day prior to the departure of the event. The Refund of the amount would be processed as per deduction guidelines outlined below:

  • Cancellations up to 5 days prior to departure date - No deduction
  • Less than 5 days prior to departure - No Refund

The amount for refund processing would always be calculated basis the net amount paid* for booking the event w.r.t the Base Price of the event (excluding additional components like transport, rent, portage, etc.). Please note that the voucher issued would not include the service tax amount paid while making the booking. However, when you use the voucher to book again on our website, service tax would not be applicable on the voucher amount. Validity of the voucher would be 6 months from the date of issue.

*Net Amount Paid would be the amount paid to Bikat Adventures at the time of booking after adjusting for all rebates provided by applying vouchers.

Please note that any additional transport bookings are completely non-refundable, be it cash or voucher refund. For e.g. If you have booked Manali – Leh Cycling expedition by paying a base price of INR 35,000 along with the transport from Delhi to Manali, then in case of postponement or cancellation, only the base price of INR 35,000 would be considered for calculations of refund as per the slabs defined above or for the matter of issuing a voucher (for postponement cases). The additional transport fee deposited is completely non-refundable.

1.2. In case of Cancellation or change initiated by Bikat Adventures

Bikat adventures reserves the right to cancel your booking or change any of the facilities, services or prices described in our brochures or website. We will endeavor to advise you of any changes known at the time of booking. We plan the arrangements for your events many months in advance and may occasionally have to make minor changes.. Transport timings and carriers shown or communicated on our website are for guidance only and are subject to change. We will send you the final itinerary closer to the departure dates (2-3 days prior) along with the tickets (wherever applicable).

However in the field of adventure activities, there are many variables beyond our control like weather conditions, landslides, road situations and any other force majeure conditions. Circumstances amounting to "force majeure" include any event which we or the supplier of the service(s) in question could not even with all due care, foresee or forestall such as (by way of example and not by way of limitation) war, threat of war, riots, civil disturbances, industrial disputes, actual or threatened terrorist activity and its consequences, natural or nuclear disasters, fire, epidemics, health risks and pandemics, acts of God, unavoidable and unforeseeable technical problems with transport for reasons beyond our control or that of our suppliers, closed or congested airports or ports, hurricanes and other actual or potential adverse weather conditions, and any other similar events. In such situations we might be forced to change the itinerary or even cancel an event. In case of a change /cancellation, you will have the choice of either:

  • accepting a replacement event from us of equivalent or similar standard and price (at the date of the change), if we are able to offer you one; or
  • Cancelling your event, in which case you shall receive a full refund*, including all the components paid by you (transport, base fee, taxes).

*The refund would always be in the form of a voucher (validity 6 months) if the change or cancellation arises from circumstances amounting to “force majeure” or from any other reason beyond our control. However, for cancellations made otherwise, the participant would have a choice between voucher of 12 month validity or cash refund. Please note that in case you have made the booking using a voucher, cash refund would only be made for the part paid in cash. However, we will reactivate your consumed voucher with an additional validity of 6 month.

1.3  In case of changes/cancellation of the event after departure

1.3.1 When the change or cancellation arise from circumstances amounting to “force majeure” or for any other reason beyond our control Bikat Adventures shall not be liable to refund the amount already deposited.

1.3.2 When the change or cancellation arising otherwise: We will, wherever possible, make suitable alternative arrangements. If we are unable to make such alternative arrangements, or you reject the same for good reason then we will return you to your point of departure and refund you for any unused services, as appropriate. The refund would be primarily made in the form of a voucher (3 month validity). However, in case the participant desires, the same amount can also be refunded in cash.

1.4 In case of drop out by the participant in between the event

We shall not be liable to make any refund in such situation. The participant would also have to pay additionally for unplanned expenses on planning and executing the retreat of the participant on actual basis. In case suitable arrangements for retreat are not possible, Bikat Adventures reserves the right to deny such drop out in between the event.

1.5 In case of Emergency Evacuation

While we do have first aid and experts available on all our events but still there might be situations under which an emergency evacuation might be needed. We are committed to make a safe evacuation for you in case of an emergency. We would make necessary and adequate arrangements for your evacuation till the nearest road head that is well connected by road, and would also help you in boarding a vehicle to the nearest Hospital or any other facility so required. Any additional expenses incurred, that of porters, vehicle, ambulance, hospitalization, or any other expense incurred for evacuation, would be covered by the participant.

 

Girish Kumar

I love exploring mother nature in all its forms. I am a keen Cyclist, Hiker & a Novice Kayaker. Curr Read more

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