Indiahikes goes international with a new trek in Eurasia!

I’ve been on my toes for nearly a month to make this announcement to you! And I think we’re finally ready for it.

Indiahikes has gone international!

We have been waiting for this day for a long long time. It has been our dream for nearly ten years to showcase the best treks in every country of the world. And we are finally ready to start.

In fact, our founders returned from our first international exploration recently, bubbling with stories and spectacular pictures of their adventure!

So without further ado, let me announce our first international trek!

Our first international trek is in the country of Georgia! 

If you have not heard of Georgia, then rest assured most people have not. Nestled just south of Russia, in between the Caspian and Black Sea run the Caucasus mountains. And in these mountains are some of the best trekking trails in the world.

“This is a country hardly anyone talks about in the trek circles. And yet, it has left us stupefied!  We have never seen such vast, smooth grasslands. They are soft, stretch as far as your eyes can see, and overflow with wild flowers! You can clutch at the flowers and make them a bouquet! They’re that pretty!” says Arjun Majumdar, our founder.

georgia trek omalo to shatili
That’s Sandhya in the flowering valleys of Georgia. Picture by Arjun Majumdar

Arjun has trekked extensively across the Himalayas and a little bit in Scotland. Sandhya, our co-founder, who was also on the exploration, has hiked in New Zealand and Austria apart from her many Himalayan expeditions.

“Going by the geographic location, and knowing that the Caucasus mountains are often compared to the Swiss Alps, we had a rough idea of what to expect. But we didn’t expect it to be this glorious,” says Sandhya.

Georgia trek - Omalo to Shatili
The extensive grasslands of Georgia. Picture by Sandhya UC

Where exactly is this trek? 

Well, Georgia is a Eurasian country that lies just below Russia and above Turkey and Armenia.

Our founders trekked in the Northern region of Georgia, where the Greater Caucasus Mountains run along the length of the country. The entire trail runs close to the Georgia-Russia border.

The trek starts in a town called Omalo, cuts across the Atsunta Pass (at 11,500 ft) and ends in Shatili.

A map of the trek from Omalo to Shatili in Georgia.

This is a fairly well-known trek in Georgia but not too many people from other countries trek there.

“We saw a handful of solo trekkers from Germany, Czech Republic, Sweden and Israel. They were few and far apart,” says Sandhya.

The trek is around 75 km long, and covers around 10-15 km a day, much like our Kashmir treks.

“But the scenery changes here are astonishing. Usually, in the Indian Himalayas, you need to climb at least 2,000 ft to see a change in terrain — from grasslands to alpine zones. But here, you see a sudden change within 300-500 ft of climbing! You suddenly step out of grasslands and into a dizzyingly different alpine zone, within no time,” says Arjun.

Here’s a picture of the Atsunta Pass crossing to give you an idea. This is just after crossing some mind-numbing grasslands of the mountains half hour earlier.

Georgia trek - Omalo to Shatili
The alpine zone after crossing the Atsunta Pass (11,500 ft). Observe how the section suddenly ends again where the grasslands begin.

While the first half of this trek is full of grasslands, the second half is a whole other adventure, with even prettier grasslands, forested descents, river-crossings and tall cliffs to Shatili.

The trek is a delight, and Georgia as a country itself is a pleasure on its own.

“A feeling of being in Europe at Indian costs”

I love how Sandhya put this — a feeling of Europe at almost Indian costs.

The feel of Georgia is very European — their architecture, their streets, the landscape, the food… “But unlike other European countries, Georgia is not expensive for tourists. And if you’re a minimal trekker, it’s even less expensive. You can do a European trek and come back in less than Rs. 30,000,” says Sandhya.

To me, that’s a big bonus. I have personally avoided the Swiss Alps and visited the Austrian Alps to save on the cost. But even that is not easy on the pocket. And here’s a European trek whose costs resemble Indian costs.

A culture that’s uniquely Georgian 

And I must touch upon the culture of Georgia too, because from what Arjun and Sandhya tell me, just for the culture, it’s worth travelling to Georgia.

The culture is very rich. There is a strong sense of art, theatre and music. The architecture of the city and the simple homes of the villages fill you with warmth. On the trek, ancient ruins and monasteries are many. The food is delicious. Homes have fruit trees growing out of them.

Georgia trek - Omalo to Shatili
Ancient homes on the trekking trail.

“The world relishes Georgian cuisine, they take pride in their dance, music and theatre. And the people have a strong sense of belonging to Georgia. Interestingly, the hospitality is a lot like that of the mountain folks in our country. The locals love to host, feed you and show you their culture,” says Arjun.

Our office is extremely excited about Georgia. After seeing the initial pictures, we are all dying to go to Georgia.

Well, I have a lot more to tell you about Georgia, but I’m intentionally holding myself back till Monday.

But in brief that is Georgia for you! A fantastic trekking trail, warm and welcoming people, great culture and food (even for vegetarians) and a feeling of being in Europe at Indian costs.

This marks a new beginning for us! 

With this trek in Georgia, we mark the beginning of a new journey.

We have had this vision for a long time, to explore trekking trails in other countries, to bring out that one great trek of that country.

“One best trek of every country,” as we have been saying.

We will be running this under the name of World Of Hikes — a sister concern of ours. Don’t go looking for the website. It is not up yet, though we have had the domain with us for over ten years. That long has been our dream in waiting!

Here’s hoping everything goes smoothly! Fingers crossed!

You’re welcome on our first international trek

I will share more about this on Monday. Details about the dates, costs, visa requirements and everything else you would need to know.

I can tell you this much now — you will have to clear out your schedule for early September for this one. I know it’s a bit of short notice, but we are going to be taking a small team of around 10 people doing it exploration style. It’s going to be one heck of an adventure!

The good bit is that it isn’t a difficult trek like Warwan Valley. It does require fitness of course, but it doesn’t have any technical difficulty. Even fit beginners are welcome to go on this trek.

So if you’re up for a trek in Georgia, to one of the prettiest places in this World Of Hikes, then stay tuned for Monday.

To new beginnings!

 

Swathi Chatrapathy

Swathi Chatrapathy

Swathi Chatrapathy is the Chief Editor at Indiahikes. She also runs a video series, Trek With Swathi. Before joining Indiahikes, she worked as a reporter and sub-editor at Deccan Chronicle. She holds a Masters in Digital Journalism and continues to contribute to publications such as Deccan Herald. Trekking, to her, is a sport that liberates that mind like nothing else can.Read Swathi's other articles. Watch Swathi's video series here.

107 thoughts on “Indiahikes goes international with a new trek in Eurasia!

  1. This is awesome:-) congrats guys. Austria, mont blanc are some of the places id love to explore.

    What are the visa requirements for georgia ?

  2. It is mentioned in the post that “You can do a European trek and come back in less than Rs. 30,000,” says Sandhya.” Does this mean this includes fooding, lodging and flight? Or is it just the trek?

  3. This is wonderful! Also, fyi, Georgia is an Asian country, along with Armenia and Azerbaijan, though it’s feel may be European. Also this isn’t the first international trek that Indiahikes is doing. I went on Indiahikes’ first international trek- The EBC in Nepal in Oct-Nov 2015, headed by a very capable and responsible trek leader- Vivian! The trek was amidst our glorious Himalayas, but still, a different country.

  4. It seems great.. Congratulations!! Wanted to see some more pics about culture and architectures.

  5. What about the recent years problem for Indians not getting entry to Georgia?
    “Don’t travel to Georgia on e-visa, says Embassy of India in Yerevan, Armenia
    Updated: Jul 08, 2017, 19:39 IST”

  6. A lot of Indian travellers have been deported from Georgia in the recent past. A close friend of mine recently got deported in spite of having all relevant documents. Visa requirements , processing etc are fairly easy but there’s no guarantee they will let you enter the country. Please check the incidents online.

  7. This is simply mindblowing. It is quite admiring how you are expanding the organisation and trekking world. Best wishes!

  8. Wow…this is super exciting. I cant wait to be on this trek but right now i cant wait for Monday to get the details about the trek.
    I hope i can be a part of the first group.
    All the best guys!!

  9. Georgia is an unexplored, hidden gem of a country.
    The rich culture and warm people makes it an ideal destination for a trek!

    Really happy to learn IH is staring their first trek from Georgia. Since I work with the travel sector I can tell there will more options for direct flight coming in very soon.

    Cheers and Godspeed!

  10. Hey – this is amazing, just AMAZING!
    Every feather in IH’s cap feels like my own.

    I hope more treks are in the offing. Hope to visit sometime 🙂
    Good luck!

  11. Very much excited after getting the mail… Hope I can be a part of this trek… Waiting eagerly for Monday !!

  12. Congratulations Indiahikes.I was eagerly waiting for this great news.please show the dates for this international upcoming trek at the earliest.

  13. Congratulations Indiahikes.This is amazing news as I was eagerly waiting for this.please show the dates for this international upcoming trek.I would be surely interested.

  14. Hi! Really looking forward to more details on the trek – dates, cost.
    And what seasons will it be open?

  15. Please provide the details iternary and cost of the trekking. Please mention the inclusion and exclusions of the package.

  16. Great news!. I always wondered what trekking is like in other countries. This is a chance, I only hope that one day I will be able to do this trek. The place looks beautiful. Eagerly waiting for the details in the next message.

    Congratulations to Arjun and Sandhya

  17. Wonderful to do trek with Indian hikes that to a trek out side India .
    Will be waiting for the updates .
    Congratulations and All the best ..

  18. Thanks for sharing the international trek details. I would like to join the trek. Please let me know the exact dates of the trek.

  19. I would love to take up this opportunity.. please post more details on visa requirements and other official stuff so we can get those sorted well ahead of time

  20. Wonderful. I am more than excited and definitely interested in visiting Georgia.
    Eagerly waiting for Monday for more details 🙂
    Congratulations India Hikes <3

  21. This is awesome news. After early September is there going to be another trek scheduled here this year or early next year?

  22. So happy to read, i have been looking for a trek in georgia and had no idea where and what.for us from Dubai, It is easier than reaching kashmir for a himalayan trek.

  23. Wow, I am so glad that so many people wants to go to my country. I am Georgian, but I live in states, I wish I could trek with you guys, but I can’t. Hope you all enjoy to see, the one of the most beautiful and breathtaking places of the world. Good luck

  24. It’s always been a dream to travel onsite..now for a trek is simply amazing.wishing Indiahikes all the very best and many more milestones on the way. You guys truly Rock. If not booked for Kashmir trek should have sure come. Keep rocking team

  25. Owao! Congratulations! All the best in advance. I would also love to be there once. Eagerly waiting for that scope after going through this article. Thanks for the information.

  26. Take me along and you will find clear sky, prettier flowers and lovely meadows.
    Maybe little bit of rain also to make it more enjoyable.

  27. Very good news and I am very interested.. Awaiting ALL THE DETAILS, and the costs you mentioned.. Is that only trek cost inclusive of meals and camping or flight costs as well. Eagerly waiting for the details
    Regards
    Shubha

  28. Come on Indiahikes we are ready to explore the outside trekking world with you , keep the expenses minimal
    I am definitely interested to join.

  29. I see there are a load of folks interested in this trek. How are you gonna manage this if you are taking only 10 at first… I don’t want to see my name out of those first 10…☹️

  30. I see there are a load of folks interested in this trek. How are you gonna manage this if you are taking only 10 at first??… I don’t want to see my name out of those first 10…☹️

    1. Hi, we will release more details about the trek by Monday (July 22). Would request you to check again then 🙂

  31. Georgia? Wonderful! And I hope you will come to the US. In Utah, look at Little Wild Horse Canyon, which is free, and the camping is free. Look at the Thunder River trail, from the north rim of the Grand Canyon it goes into the canyon to a river that begins as a waterfall pouring out of the canyon wall. You are invited. Come check it out. We will take you hiking.
    Linda

  32. A big congrats to the Indiahikes team! When I saw the word international in the headline of the thursday mail I thought the new trek will be somewhere in Nepal , Bhutan or other neighbouring countries. But being in Georgia is beyond my expectations. I saw some part of the country in a film and it seemed a beautiful place with full of serenity to me

  33. Congratulations! Look forward to more details. Would also like to know how NRIs like me (I stay in Dubai) can join these treks as UAE residents have a visa on arrival in Georgia.

  34. Hi, may I know the actual duration of this trek?? Actually i’ll have to apply for leave, so if You please let us know the duration then I can proceed to apply leave as soon as possible.

  35. It’s so not fair, only 10??????? I want my name in the first list of 10… Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaseeeeeeeeeeeeeee

  36. Great , my passport has been lying since I made it , the description is quite tempting and explore the unexplore. Monday e-mail.awaited.

  37. Waiting eagerly for the announcement. Kindly mention the time when you are going to announce the trek.

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