Why Everest Base Camp Trek should be on your travel wishlist in 2017!

I have the soul of an adventurer. The sea beckons me and mountains allure me.

As I am not a swimmer yet, mountains interest me more. I come alive on treks. I know basic rock climbing and rappeling.

In routine life, I may come across as apprehensive – doubting my skills, decisions, and efforts that I put in a particular field. Not in mountaineering.

In my negligible experience, I have found myself to be the most agile and fearless in the group.

My mountaineering Coach asked me if I was afraid¬†when I was getting ready for the first ‘real’ rappelling experience off a cliff in Nainital. A 16-year old me looked into his eyes and answered, “Sir, humaari dictionary me darr shabd hi nahi hai.” (My dictionary does not have the word fear.)

While the other girls cried, some bailed out, I was calm as a cucumber – having full faith in my harness and the wall training that we did the day before. There was a flicker of apprehension when I fixed myself in the 45-degree position at the start, but it vanished as I took my first leap. I still remember the adrenaline rush I felt.

Rappelling at Nainital (2002). Click to enlarge.

 

My mountaineering ambitions did not come to fruition. However, then onwards I tried to climb any creviced wall or rocks that came in my way. I still do ūüôā

Last year, we went to Manali in May. Our guide took us to a place called Gulaba to see the remains of the meager snow that the valley had seen in 2016. I and the better half trekked for 10000 foot-steps vertically and back (so my iPhone says), exploring the trickling glacier streams, the stray ice patches and marveling at the distant snow covered peaks.

The husband caught on my mountaineering vibe and strode ahead decisively up the rocky track that a very few people were taking. I had no option, but to follow him and delicately stop him in his tracks. There, we shot my first attempt at video blogging :

Caution : If you are not experienced with snow, do not wander alone on snow covered mountains. Snow is extremely slippery and it will take you no time to tumble down the same ‘un-snow covered’ slope that you spent hours climbing! We learned this when we abandoned our trek just after the video, and went back to a small ice patch along the road shown in the video.

In case you were wondering if we found snow, this is what we found…

 

 

In any activity that you take up, your efforts are always towards the highest goal that you can achieve in the field. In case of mountaineering, taming the Mt.Everest is the dream culmination of every mountain climber’s aspirations.

The Everest Base Camp prepares you just for that. Even if you are not as serious as a professional mountain climber, at 17,950 Ft. the Everest Base Camp gives you a measurable high (no pun intended).

What is the Everest Base Camp?

In the beautiful land of Nepal, stands the highest mountain in the world – The Mount Everest. (I will not mention that the Chinese share the border across its summit.) Named after the Welsh Surveyor General of India, Sir George Everest, the mountain has several local names; the most prominent being – Sagarmatha (Nepal) and Chomolungma (China/Tibet).

You can climb the gigantic girth from either China occupied Tibet or Nepal. The most popular approach is from South-East Nepal – which I am going to talk about.

The whole trip takes anywhere from 13-17 days, detailed packages for which are available on Mojhi.com.


The rough itinerary provided by every trip vendors looks like this

      1. Land at Kathmandu
      2. Travel to Lukla
      3. Walk to Phakding
        4. Trek to Namche Bazaar (Enter the Sagarmatha National Park)
        5. Begin the actual leg of trekking towards the

Everest Base Camp

        6. Reach the

Everest Base Camp

       and begin downwards trek towards Lukla.
      7. Lukla to Kathmandu

Each travel operator takes different times for stay at each of these places, according to the needs of the travelers to explore the local culture, get acclimatized to the weather and pressure, and their stamina to trek at a stretch.

Things to look out for when choosing a trip operator (vendor) 

        1. Nepal Government Certified Guides (Sherpas)
        2. Number of porters per client
        3. Is food included in the package?
        4. Does the tour operator take care of all the necessary permits required?

Generally, the group size of 2-15 is taken at a time, with the average group size being 5. It is advisable to ask for group discounts while booking.

If you do not want to go through the hassle of finding the right tour operator for your Everest Base Camp Trek, you can take help of Mojhi.com. For the first time traveler and even experienced ones, Mojhi.com offers a plethora of tried and tested tour operators, whose itineraries you can check, contact them and even get feedback from an experienced traveler community which is an integral part of the website.

What’s more? You can even become a member and share your own experiences about a place or tour operator.

Not only for the Everest Base Camp, for other adventure and leisure travels too, Mojhi.com is the place to find the most sound travel advice.

I have started saving for my Everest Base Camp trek. I hope my thrilling accounts of trekking and what awaits you at the Everest Base Camp have motivated you enough to take on the ‘quest’ too in 2017!

Please let me know what your travel plans are for this year, in the comments.

Thirteenth ramble

Photographs. 

They are great souvenirs. These days, they are wreaking havoc with my memory – crippling it severely. So much so that if I start taking pictures, I totally miss registering the moments. Hence, I have started dedicating slots to photographs. Half time I spend taking pics, the other half – total devotion to exploring the place.

I have always been fond of photography. But – If you see the Monalisa, is it necessary to take a picture? Case in point, I did not have a picture of the Burj Khalifa until last week, because it never occurred to me to take one. Am I contradicting myself?

Well, let me clarify. I had been putting it off for an exclusive shoot. 

The Arabian Wildlife Centre here has a strict no photography policy which was a welcome change. We spent 3 hours noticing the behaviour of the wildlife and marvelling at the free moving birds in their comfortable enclosure.

Photographs make sense only when you snap them to commemorate something – either the rare occurrence at a known site or you with the known site. I have thus started getting rid of mundane pictures and have also reduced the number of snaps I take at the same site.

After all the ordeals of getting that one snap for Instagram, how many of us back them up religiously? If iCloud does, I am saved, otherwise all my work is down the drain. I have several pictures in my old laptop which refuses to turn on now.

One of the years, my resolution has been to take photos. Now, it is to take meaningful photos only. 

 Sometimes off-hand clicks like this evoke pleasant memories too. 

Photography nowadays is all about finding the right balance between experiencing the place you’re in and preserving memories through pictures. 

Book Review : Capturing Wildlife Moments in India

“Capturing Wildlife Moments in India” contains 120 photographs of animals and birds of India, photographed from visits to over 30 parks,sanctuaries and other locations.”

WHY I READ THE BOOK

I received a copy for review from Saveus Wildlife India. The reason I said yes was because it was a long long time since I had read a picture book on wildlife.

The one I had read was on the Amazon Jungle. (I forget the publisher, but it was a renowned publishing house. The book was hardcover and worth 1000s of rupees.)

This book is picturised completely in India. I am dead afraid of serious carnivorous wildlife like lions and tigers and other members of the cat family (except cat). It is unlikely that I will roam these locations myself. So I picked it up.

WHY YOU SHOULD READ THE BOOK

The book is authored by Ashok Mahindra – the pictures and the snippets both by him. He comes across as very passionate about wildlife conservation – a domain most of us have conveniently blocked out from our conscious memory.

The photographs are indeed carefully taken and some of them are absolutely rare – like those of the rhinoceros and the elephants.

THE BOOK

The book has been backed by the Director of BNHS. I have a t-shirt from them, bought at the Kalaghoda fest 2011.

It is roughly divided into 11 sections consisting of the photographs, information about each species, the wildlife parks which house them, the ongoing conservation attempts, and the accommodation/travel facilities for visiting the exact spots where the photographs were taken.

At 85 pages, the book takes considerably more time to finish than you would imagine, as one sits absorbed into every photograph on each page.

WHAT I LIKED

The book covers a lot of endangered species and normal but dwindling species in their natural habitats at their natural best. None of the photos seem to have disturbed their natural peace.¬†A very rare photograph of the brown winged kingfisher had me go ‘Wow’.

WHAT I DID NOT LIKE

I was expecting a hard-cover review copy. I was disappointed when I had to make do with a PDF document which was difficult to scale to read on my laptop. I guess hardcover copies of such books are very expensive, thus the arrangement.

IN A NUTSHELL

You should certainly pick it up as a prized (and priced ūüėČ ) possession for your bookshelf. An occasional read once in a while will remind you about the abundant wildlife of our country and our duty towards protecting it. Who knows,¬†you will start helping out the sparrows and humming birds with water, honey and grains!

This post is a part of the book review program of at Saevus Wildlife India in association with The Hemchand Mahindra Wildlife Foundation for the book Capturing Wildlife Moments in India