Trek in the Himalayas for a lofty purpose
In the Himalayas, a national park cost locals their livelihoods. With Himalayan Ecotourism, explore the mountains and help communities thrive again.
THE DIFFERENCE YOU MAKE
Himalayan Ecotourism, through its cooperative model, engages locals as shareholders — and not as passive workers — with a two-fold agenda: a) a means to livelihood, and (b) as conservators of a fragile ecosystem that has been experiencing the side-effects of human activity.
When you travel with Himalayan Ecotourism, you not only ensure that money from tourism in the region empowers locals who are dedicated to protecting the land they call home but can also opt to neutralise your own carbon footprint.
Meet Stephan of Himalayan Ecotourism, and Sanju of the GHNP Community-Based Ecotourism Cooperative, which works with Himalayan Ecotourism to improve livelihoods through ecotourism and sustainability initiatives.
Himalayan Ecotourism is located in Gushaini, near the Tirthan Valley. It is 100km from Manali and 180km from Shimla — two of the most famous hill-station destinations in Himachal Pradesh.
To reach GHNP, take a Volvo bus (2x2 AC semi sleeper) from New Delhi’s Inter-State Bus Terminal (ISBT) at Kashmere Gate to Aut in Himachal Pradesh’s Kullu Valley. The overnight journey takes around 12 hours and costs about Rs1,000 to 1,500 (US$14 to 20).
From Aut, either take a local bus to Banjar bus station or request a pick-up with Himalayan Ecotourism. If you are thinking of driving to Gushaini, refer to the directions outlined here by Himalayan Ecotourism.
Himalayan Ecotourism suits anyone who enjoys nature and the outdoors, whether you are looking to trek or just looking to relax in the mountains.
Amid COVID-19 pandemic, the region has seen few cases, but tourism has come to standstill. Consider channelling your travel budget towards offsetting your carbon footprint, by buying carbon credits from Himalayan Ecotourism. The fund will be used to reforest eroded areas in the eco zone.
If you do visit, set aside one day to acclimatise to the altitude, which starts at 1,300m above sea level.
Owing to its altitude, the region receives snow during the winters (December to January) and heavy rainfall during the monsoons (July to September), and may be inaccessible during this time.
- Elita Almeida
- Stuti Bhadauria