Wednesday 26 June 2013


3rd Spiti Gold Residential Project and Adventurous Journey from 7th - 23rd June 2013 at Spiti, Himachal Pradesh, A participants report

Our group of 25 Gold participants left New Delhi for Lahaul-Spiti as part of the Residential Project and Adventurous Journey on 7th June 2013 reaching Kaza on 9th June, completing the road journey by bus and jeep. Our project work started on the 10th with a briefing about Spiti and the region at the Ecosphere office.  We formed four groups, each with six participants, one instructor and one escort.  After lunch we went to Kungri village situated 25 kms from Kaza, along the Pin Valley. We stayed at the village monastery known as Ugyen Sanag Choling Monastery, Kungri, along with 70 lamas who stay there.

Over the next four days - 11th June to 14th June - we worked on the construction of a greenhouse at the project site, situated 1.5 kms from the monastery. Every day, three groups worked at the project site while one group had kitchen duty, in rotation. We made mud bricks for constructing the greenhouse and cleared away the stones.  

On 15th June we left the monastery for a trek, hoping that the mud bricks would dry while we were away. The Ecosphere team briefed us about the trek and we left for Langza which is at an altitude of 4400 metres, with a population of 137 in 33 households. From Langza we trekked to Komik village at an altitude of 4585 m, situated about 25 kms from Kaza. We had to stay in home-stays in different houses of village.

On the 16th we started our trek to Demul village at 9.30 am, but after completing 3000 m, due to heavy snowfall and high speed winds we had to return to Komik village and spent the night at the home-stay.

We spent the next day cleaning the snow from our home-stay along with the families who were hosting us. 

On 18th June, after two days of heavy snowfall, we trekked our way through Hikkim, Langza and reached Kaza, covering a distance of 17 kms in 8 hours along a mixture of snow and mud flaked roads and stones. 

We went to complete our greenhouse at the project site in Pin Valley on 20th June. We brought the dried mud bricks, and used bamboo and wood sticks as a support post like a roof truss model. We tied the bamboo and wood sticks as a support for the polythene to be used as the roof of the greenhouse. We then placed the polythene and put mud on three of its ends, the top and two sides.

And that's how we completed the greenhouse, which had a dimension of 30 x 16 feet, with 1 door, 1 window and one rooftop ventilation.

The next day - 21st June, we started out journey back to Delhi via Manali and finally reached Delhi on 23rd June 2013.

report by Sumankit Pandit

Wednesday 19 June 2013


5 June 2013 - 10 June 2013 at Tumling, Darjeeling

The train slowly whistled out of Kolkata station carrying a group of 23 Gold and 3 Silver aspirants, all set to complete our qualifying Adventurous Journey. The enthusiasm was unbeatable as some of us were boarding a train for the first time and some will be seeing the mountains for the first time.  We, a group of 11 Awardees from Emmanuel Ministries, 4 from All Bengal Women's Union, 2 from Sarada Math, 4 from New Market Boys School and 5 from Pavement Club, along with our instructors, reached NJP station at 11 am. After a quick breakfast at the station, we drove up to Manebhanjan in cars. The view was breath-taking. It rained all along the six-hour journey. Finally, we reached and settled down in our allotted rooms. Ashim sir took a survival session and briefed us about the Tumling trek and mountain etiquette.  

Next morning, we started our march towards Tumbling. It was doing to be difficult. The sky was cloudy and it was still raining. It didn't seem like it would stop any time soon.  Dragging our bags and ourselves, panting for breath, we reached Chitrey, three kilometres away from where we started.

The route from Maneybhanjan to Chitrey is the steepest trek. The road was covered with moss and the 'short-cuts' had been eaten up by overgrowth of bushes. After a hot cup of tea and a bite of yak-cheese, we carried on with our journey. Next stop was at Lamedhura. The trail went up and down like the waves in the ocean, and we followed it. The forest seemed unaware of our presence, blooming with bright flowers and the song of birds. We were exhausted by the time we reach Lamedhura. None of us had undertaken such a trek before. Moving slowly, we took another good three hours to reach Tumbling. The clouds cleared,-opening the lovely Singhalila Range in front of us. We stayed in the Mountain huts (Shikkar).

The next morning was fresh and clear. We started walking towards Jobari. From Jobari, one gets a good look of the Singhalila National Park. We returned, packed our bags, took lunch and set out again and trekked down to Maneybhangyang via Meghna and Chitrey. We stopped for tea at Chitrey. This time downhill, back to Manebhanjan. While walking down, the only thought that lurked in our head was 'how did we walk up all this distance?' That time we understood the true nature of the words 'pushing one-self to get to greater heights.'

Next day after having our breakfast at Maneybhangyang, we loaded our baggage on to the Landrover and made our way down to Mirik. At Mirik the participants went shopping and sight-seeing. Then we continued our journey onward to NJP and stopped in between for lunch. We arrived at New Jalpaiguri station at 2pm and all of us rested at the waiting hall till we boarded our return train. This experience will be unforgettable. None of us could have thought that we were capable of completing the trek. But we did. We pushed ourselves. We learned. We shall ever be grateful to the Award to present us with the scope to discover ourselves. 

-   As narrated by the Awardees.