The Kuari Pass trek in Garhwal (Uttaranchal) India, a classic route also called ‘Curzon’s Trail,’ wanders through mountain villages and forests of oak and rhododendron into the deodar belt and onto the high meadows with breathtaking views of the Himalaya. After crossing the Kuari Pass (3,658m/12,000ft,), students have an opportunity to summit Pangarchulli (5,000m/16,404ft). Frank Smythe, who came this way in 1931 en route to Kamet (7,757m/25,443ft), the second highest mountain in this region, summed it up beautifully. "We breasted the slope and halted, silent on the path. No words would express our delight. The Himalaya were arrayed before us in a stupendous arc". Some of the mountains seen are Kamet, Nilkanth (7,141m/23,425ft), Dunagiri (7,067m/23,182ft) and Changabang (6,864m/22,516ft), with even Nanda Devi herself visible. It is often said that this is one of the greatest mountain views in the world.
After the challenge of the mountains, students head to the Alaknanda River, a tributary of the Ganga. Groups follow this river to its confluence with the Bhagirathi, and then raft the actual Ganga River. Getting a feel of a grand river and her environs, students camp on sandy beaches, check out small villages and look for elusive bird and wildlife. In Hinduism, the river Ganges is considered sacred and is personified as a goddess known as Ganga. It is worshipped by Hindus who believe that bathing in the river causes the remission of sins and facilitates Moksha (liberation from the cycle of life and death) the water of Ganga is considered very pure.