Tag Archives: Himalayas
“We have got in-principle approval from the Home Ministry for allowing satellite phones in the Himalayas, where there is no phone connectivity. A policy is being finalised and it is likely to be announced on World Tourism Day,” a senior Tourism Ministry official said.
With the government nod, satellite phones-equipped tourists will be able to contact their relatives in case of emergency while trekking in the remote areas of Ladakh, hiking in Sikkim, or exploring the wilderness of the Himalayas spanning across in Arunachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Darjeeling.
There is a long-standing demand from the industry for allowing satellite phones in the Himalayas. However, the official said there are certain conditions being laid down by the Ministry of Home Affairs for allowing satellite phones like monitoring of the calls made from these areas and the type of phones to be allowed.
Adventure Tour Operators Association founder member India Ajeet Bajaj said, “It will be a game changer for Indian adventure tourism industry as it will take the adventure related activities in the Himalayas to a new height”. About the proposed call monitoring provision, Bajaj said “we have no problem at all with it.”
According to the policy to be announced shortly, the adventure tour operators will be provided satellite phones by the government authorities for use and they would be responsible for its correct use as per the established norms. According to industry sources, the Himalayas attract about 2 million domestic and foreign adventure tourists in a year who go for skiing, hiking, camping and trekking. The number will go up with the satellite permission as the Himalayan ranges are missing many global tourists due to poor communication facilities. At present, the ministry is pushing adventure tourism in the country and announced several schemes like bearing the cost of 50 per cent fee of climbers trekking the Himalayas as part of the campaign,” 777 Days of the Indian Himalayas”, launched last year.
Source: Economic Times
Four bravehearts from Maharashtra became the first Indians to summit Mt Everest this climbing season while another 80 Indian climbers are waiting on the lower slopes for their turn.
Four members of the Sagarmatha Giryarohan Expedition from Maharashtra summited the world’s highest peak, once virtually barred to private groups due to lack of funding, at 6.45 a.m. Saturday, said the team’s guide and Everest hero from Hyderabad, Shekhar Babu Bacchinepally.
“This expedition is dedicated to Ramesh Gulave,” said Shekhar, whose ascent in 2007 as an individual climber unsupported by any organisations inspired dozens of Indian Everest aspirants subsequently.
Gulave developed breathing troubles and other health complications last month after the expedition had flagged off and had to be airlifted to Kathmandu and flown to India for medical treatment. He died on April 27.
Shrihari Tapkir, a 28-year-old avid trekker and climber from Wadmukhwadi village in Pune, was one of the four summiters.
Tapkir is also one of the founders of the Sagarmatha Girayarohan Sanstha at Bhosari, which is now one of the leading adventure clubs in Pune.
Accompanying the ordnance factory employee on the 8,848 m peak were Sagar Palkar, 27, from Chinchwad, Balaji Mane, 34, from latur district, and Anand Bansode, 27, from Solapur.
Bansode also set a new Guinness World Record for playing music on the highest altitude with a concert at camp II of Mt Everest on May 6, at a height of 6,300 meters.
“It was a financial challenge,” said Shekhar. “Most of the climbers took personal loans while the rest of the money came from individual donors and a few groups.
“Most corporates shied away from offering sponsorship, thinking it would cost them Rs.3-4 million per climber.
“However, the boys did it on a shoe-strong budget of Rs.1.5 million per climber.”
Shekhar himself had been a shoe-string Everest conqueror who owned his boots to the Indian Army expedition at that time as well as weather forecast reports.
If the weather holds, the Pune boys will make another go later this week.
Also waiting in the lower camps are three institutional Indian teams: from the army, Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and Nehru Mountaineering Institute, Darjeeling.
While 62 Indian climbers are following the route from the south through Nepal, there are nearly 20 more Indian climbers pushing ahead from the Tibet side.
The Pune boys shared their feat with another record creator Saturday.
Tamae Watanabe from Japan became the oldest woman to tame the mountain.
The 73-year-old, who reached the top as leader of the Asian Trekking International Everest Expedition 2012, along with Noriyuki Muraguchi, also from Japan, recreated her own record.
Ten years ago, she had strode to the top to become the then oldest woman to stand there at 63.
India lost an opportunity for another record earlier this month with Delhi teenager Arjun Vajpai being forced to abandon his twin goal in China after developing breathing problems.
The 18-year-old, who holds the record for being the youngest Indian to summit Mt Everest, is now trying to become the first Indian to tame all 14 “Death Zone” peaks in the world towering above 8,000 meters.
He has summited Mt lhotse and Mt Manaslu besides Mt Everest but his attempts on Mt Shishapangma and Mt Cho Oyu, the 14th and sixth highest peaks in the world respectively, had to be called off.
The teen took it stoically.
“A good mountaineer is the one who is able to return back safely from the heights,” he said. “The mountains are always there, it’s not the mountains that one conquers but oneself.”
The eagerly anticipated second edition of Mahindra Adventure will take place in June 2012
India’s leading SUV manufacturer Mahindra & Mahindra’s second season of Mahindra Adventure will be held in June. This series that showcases the off-roading potential of Mahindra vehicles includes categories like Great Escape, challenges, Monastery Escape, Royal New Year Escape, besides three new adventures, viz, the 14-day Tri-Nation Escape that traverses Bhutan, India and Nepal, and the six-day Authentic Goa Escape and Wildlife Escape. Primarily designed for Mahindra vehicle owners, those who do not own one can also participate by paying a nominal fee.
The Great Escape participants can participate in an ‘Off-Roading Trophy’ later in the year.
“After the successful run of Mahindra Adventure Season 1, we are all geared to unveil the new season that promises even more thrills for the adventure seeker. The ‘Off-roading Trophy’ and international events make season 2 even more exciting and will go a long way in showcasing the tough and rugged capability of our range of vehicles,” said Vivek Nayer, Vice President, Marketing, Automotive Division, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd.
Mahindra Adventure has also featured in the motorsport arena. After roping in drivers Gaurav Gill and Lohitt Urs, it has also got 2012 Dakshin Dare Rally winner Sunny Sidhu on board. The team will compete in India’s most popular motorsport events including Mughal Rally, Raid de Himalaya and Desert Storm.
The company also unveiled ‘Get Lost’, India’s first online adventure magazine.
|July||Monsoon Challenge||South to West||July 19 – July 22|
|July – August||Monastery Escape Classic||North||July 26 – August 5|
North to East
|Sept 7 – Sept 9
Sept 15 – Sept 29
|November||Wild Escape||Central||Nov 16 – Nov 21|
|December – January||Royal Escape Classic||North||Dec 27 – Jan 1|
Great Escape Calendar
|June||Kottayam – GE 90||South||June 23|
|July||Mumbai – GE 91||West||July 7|
|August||Goa – GE 92
Chandigarh – GE 93
Saklespur – GE 94
|October||Kohima – GE 95||East||October 20|
|November||Jaipur – GE 96||North||November 24|
|December||Off Road Championship||Mumbai||December 7 to December 9|
|January||Kolkatta Challenge – GE 97
Hyderabad Challenge – GE 98
|February||Coimbatore Challenge – GE 99||South||February 3|
Rohtang Pass to open for traffic next week
By the year 2070, we could lose…The Himalayas
Like Antarctica, the Himalayas are covered in ice and snow. In fact, the world’s highest mountain range—which runs 1,500 miles through seven countries, including India and China—contains the planet’s largest non-polar ice mass, with over 46,000 glaciers. And just like in Antarctica, the ice is melting. Between 1950 and 1980, about half of the Himalayas’ glaciers were shrinking. That number hit 95 percent in 2010, and scientists predict that the entire Himalayan land mass may be slashed 43 percent by 2070. Global warming is just one reason—soot from millions of coal- and wood-burning stoves in India and China also take a share of the blame. The glaciers absorb the heat, which exacerbates the warming process. The glacier loss will affect people living along Asia’s 10 major rivers—who make up one-sixth of the total global population-that depend on glacial melt to stave off drought and starvation.
Source: Fox News
Sherpa on Everest expedition dies in Nepal
A government official in Nepal says that a Sherpa who was guiding a group of climbers on an Everest expedition has fallen into a crevasse and died.
Tilak Pandey of the Ministry of Tourism and Mountaineering says that Namgyal Tshering Sherpa died on Saturday. Few other details were immediately available.
Sherpa had scaled the peak twice before. He is the second guide to die while climbing Everest in this year’s spring climbing season. Climbers generally try to scale Everest in May.
On Wednesday, experienced climber Karsang Namgyal died from altitude sickness.
Everest is the world’s highest mountain and has an 8,850-meter (29,035-foot) peak.
Source: Fox News
Legendary Nepalese mountaineer completes Great Himalayan Trail
Legendary Nepalese mountaineer Apa Sherpa created yet another mountaineering milestone by traversing the 1,449 km Great Himalaya Trail between Taplejung in the far east Nepal to Darchua in the far-West in 88 days.
Apa, a record 21-time Everest summiteer, and his team traversed the trail from Ghunsa in Taplejung crossing almost 10 of the world’s over 8,000 meters summits.
The theme of the traverse, flagged off by President Ram Baran Yadav, was not mountaineering but to create awareness among the people regarding climate change impacts in the mountain region.
51-year-old Apa started his epic trek from eastern Nepal on January 24 and concluded at Darchula district on April 20, said the Asian Trekking, the organiser of the event.
“People in the mountains must be given livelihood opportunities that also address threats from climate change,” Apa said.
“The experience of walking the entire length of Nepal’s Himalayas has made me even more committed in my resolve to speak for the mountains and mountain communities,” he said.
Source: Deccan Chronicle
Top 5 Mountain of Indian Himalayas
The arc-shaped Himalayas extend along the entire northern boundary of India from the state of Jammu & Kashmir in west to Arunachal Pradesh in east. The term “Himalaya” from Sanskrit meaning the “The Abode of Snow”. For centuries Indians have been fascinated by these mountains for pilgrimage in early days now for trekking and other adventure sports (fast picking up in India).
The Indian Himalayas cover a vast area along the northern frontiers of the country and span five Indian States — Jammu and Kashmir , Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh — from west to east. The true divisions of the Indian Himalayas are based on the mountain ranges rather than the state boundaries. From west to east, the Indian Himalayas can be divided into
- Kashmir (Jammu & Kashmir)
- Ladakh (Jammu & Kashmir)
- Zanskar (Jammu & Kashmir)
- Lahaul and Spiti (HP)
- Chamba (HP)
- Kinnaur (HP)
- Kumaon (Uttarakhand)
- Garhwal (Uttarakhand)
- Sikkim (Sikkim)
- Arunachal (Arunachal Pradesh)
Top 5 Mountain of Indian Himalayas
Khangchendzonga / Kanchenjunga
Kanchenjunga gets its name from the the Bhutia and Tibetan languages which means “The Five Treasures of Snows” as it contains five peaks. Kanchenjunga is the third highest peak in the world and 1st in India. Kanchenjunga stands tall with an elevation of 8,586 meters (28,169 ft). Goechala Trek and Dzongri Trek are famous trek from where one can have majestic views of this mighty mountain.
Nanda Devi (25663 ft, 7824 m)
Nanda devi is the second highest mountain peak in India. This is the highest peak (entirely) in the country, as Kanchenjunga lies on the border areas of India and Nepal. It was the highest known mountain in the world until 1808 when western surveyors discovered Dhaulagiri. The mountain stands tall at an elevation of 7824 meters (25663 ft). The Nanda devi peak is the part of Garhwal Himalayas and lies in the state of Uttrakhand. Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve is home to many famous treks like Roopkund Trek, Kuari Pass Trek, Valley of Flowers Trek, Har etc
Climbing is not allowed on Nanda Devi as it is declared as holy peak. During my discussion with Mr. Kushang Sherpa (Climbed Everest from all side including Kangshung face and other 8 thousanders) he said that Nanda Devi is the toughest to climb.
Kamet (25446 ft, 7756 m)
Kamet is the second highest mountain peak in Garhwal Himalayas. It lies in the Chamboli District of Uttrakhand. It is the third highest peak in India (according to India however, the rank is much lower as it includes in its list of mountains all those in Pakistan occupied Kashmir).
Saser Kangri (25172 ft, 7672 m)
Saser Kangri (or Sasir Kangri) is the highest peak in the Saser Muztagh, the easternmost sub-range of the Karakoram range in India. This massif lies toward the northwestern end of the Saser Muztagh, at the head of the North Shukpa Kunchang Glacier, a major glacier which drains the eastern slopes of the group.
Mana (23860 ft, 7273 m)
Northeast of Badrinath is another impressive cluster of mountain peaks. The mountains rise almost on the Indo-Tibetan border with Mana and Kamet as the principal peaks. Mana itself marks the eastern extremity of the Zanskar range. It lies between the pass of the same name and the Niti Pass.
Three years ago, Preeti Ralhan, a 41-year-old homemaker from Gurgaon, was holidaying in Chiang Mai, Thailand, with her family. While they had no plans for adventure, their guide insisted they try a 5-km zip line tour atop the rainforest. “Suspended from cables, zipping past trees and cliffs, we had the time of our lives,” says Ralhan.
They wanted to zip-line again, but didn’t want to go all the way to Thailand. And then, they heard of Flying Fox, a service that offers zip-lining tours in Neemrana, 100 km from Delhi. So, last month, the family drove to the heritage town for a zip-lining tour that cost just Rs 1,500 per person. “Three years ago, we thought this was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. But now, we know we can afford to do it twice a year,” says Ralhan. She adds that the Neemrana zip line was more picturesque than the Chiang Mai one because of the view of the heritage fort and the rocky terrain around it.
If you are an adventure junkie, you needn’t pack your bags and take a flight out of India. You can now go zipping at Neemrana, Jodhpur and Kikar Lodge near Chandigarh, or scuba diving off Andaman and Nicobar, Lakshadweep, Goa and at Angria Bank in Maharashtra; paragliding at various places in Himachal Pradesh, Uttaranchal and Rajasthan; hot-air-balloon-riding in Rajasthan; parasailing in Haryana, mountain biking at Jalori Pass in Himachal, Manali and Narkanda, heli-skiing in Kashmir, or skiing in Manali.
Even though adventure tourism has been around for at least a decade, lately, it has seen several new companies offering tours in offbeat sports like sky diving, zip lining, and heli-skiing to consumers that include corporate managers, youngsters and families. Mukul Ronak Das, CEO of Bangalore-based Waltair Escapade Thrills, the company that launched commercial sky diving for the first time in India in October 2011 (in Madhya Pradesh, followed by Maharashtra late last year and Punjab in February), says that five years ago, adventure sports contributed not more than 35-40 per cent to the tourism revenue, and most of it came from conventional sports such as skiing and rafting. Now, new and sophisticated sports such as sky diving, heli-skiing, and zip lining are also doing well. And the government realises the potential of promoting the country as an adventure destination. “Out of the 48-second recent Incredible India ad on TV, 60 per cent time is devoted to snapshots of adventure activities,” says Das.
While there were already around 35,000-40,000 big and small adventure operators in India, the last six months have seen them getting more organised and professionally managed. Flying Fox, which began in 2007 in Neemrana, has, over the years, spread to Jodhpur and Chandigarh. Delhi-based Wanderlust Camps and Resorts, which claims to be “the first company to bring bungee jumping to India (in 1999), hot air ballooning in 1989 and sky-walking in 2005” and is run by ex-Army officer Captain SK Yadav, has been organising camps for companies and now even families. Their camps are priced between Rs 999 and Rs 1,999 per person per night. “Adventure activities were first brought into the Indian corporate culture as part of team-building exercises. They used activities, such as valley crossing and flying fox, which the army uses to train its officers and jawans,” says Yadav. One of the most unique activities they have organised so far is sky walking. Participants were harnessed and made to walk vertically on the exteriors of some tall office buildings in Gurgaon.
Trained adventure professionals from abroad have also set up shop in India. India’s first 83-metre-high bungee jump, in Rishi-kesh, has been designed and is run by a team of bungee experts from New Zealand, and the Flying Fox zip lining tours are run by two British nationals. “Since these are not native adventure activities, you need to bring in foreign skills because there’s no domestic expertise to draw upon,” says Flying Fox Asia director Richard McCullum.
Obviously, commercial interests are driving the adrenaline boom in India. Manmeet Ahluwalia, marketing head at travel portal expedia.co.in, says, “Indians travel overseas a lot, and consume a lot of adventure there. Even foreign tourists, who come to India mainly for cultural and spiritual consumption, end up indulging in adventure activities here, especially in Manali and Ladakh.”
Ajeet Bajaj, the first Indian to have scaled both the North and the South Pole, and who runs one of India’s oldest adventure tour companies, Snow Leopard Adventures, agrees: “There are no exact figures but estimates say that there are no less than two million adventure consumers in India every year — domestic as well as foreign.” Vikas Arora, administrator, Adventure Tour Operators Association of India, pegs that number to be increasing at a rate of 20-25 per cent annually, thanks to “corporate getaways and family tourism fuelling the demand.”
Women, he says, are big drivers of adventure tourism. “More than 25 per cent of adventure travellers are women in the 35-60 age group,” says Arora. Chandigarh-based Kanika Khanna and her four college friends, for example, celebrated their graduation by bungee-jumping in Rishikesh, offered by Jumpin Heights, which also organises an 83-metre-high swing and a 1-km-long zip line. “The first sight of that sky-high platform from where I was supposed to jump off , even though the coach had harnessed me well, gave me butterflies in the stomach. I almost chickened out but when I saw another girl my age jumping off the platform without any inhibition, I took heart and gave it a shot. The next day, we took the combo package and enjoyed all three activities in one day for Rs 4,000 per person,” she recalls.
India’s vast terrain makes it an ideal adventure spot. Says Das, “We have the mountains with snow-clad peaks, beaches and coasts, rocks and plains — each state has something to offer,” he says.
The topography apart, affordability lures domestic tourists. Arup Bhowmick, a 32-year-old investment banker from Delhi, went scuba diving in Goa last May, after his “very expensive” adventures abroad, including bungee jumping in Poland and scuba diving in Mala in 2008, and sky diving in California in 2010. “I wouldn’t say that the Goa experience was better than Malaysia — the marine life is equally divine at both places, but we saved a lot of time and money. My Goa trip cost just 25 per cent of my Malaysia one,” he say