Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Thursday, May 09, 2013
Friday, November 02, 2012
Sunday, August 05, 2012
Saturday, December 17, 2011
Nomination for declaring the Great Himalayan National Park (GHNP) as a UNESCO World Heritage Site had been accepted and it would be granted the prestigious status after an evaluation is done early next year, chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal disclosed while presiding over a Wild Life Board meeting he presided over yesterday.
At the same meeting he also stated that redrawing of the state wild life sanctuary area would enable to bring out about 1.5 lakhs people in 775 villages from 33 sanctuaries and 2 national parks regions.
He said that the rationalization process was nearing completion and it would help to bring out people being affected by restrictions imposed in the wild life sanctuary areas
The 33 wild life sanctuaries and 2 national parks covered an area of about 7161 square kilometers, he added.
Sunday, November 06, 2011
Trekking was in my blood being a mountain lad. Right from organizing day bunks into the pristine wilderness which surrounded the Bishop Cotton School ( Shimla) in the mid eighties and going on hikes, I have always drawn inspiration from nature and its elements. One of my first organized treks was to Chandertaal Lake in 1988 where we were led by our geography teacher to experience the sheer power of nature. It was tough for me then as I slogged the heights of Kunzum la in Spiti and was last to reach the camp. As I entered the camp all my trek mates clapped and my teacher “proudly said” Now you have become a man”. And this man never looked back. I was trekking in the dry desert of Ladakh doing valleys like Markha, Nubra and climbing peaks such as Stok Kangri. My adventures in Himachal took me to Spiti and Kinnaur where I became a hard core trekker.
As I got to spend more and more time with mother nature, I also started exploring my home valley. I came to know about a newly created National park but It was not unless April 2003 when I was invited for a trek by Mr. Sanjeeva Pandey ( Director GHNP) to explore India’s most newest national park ,”THE GREAT HIMALAYAN NATIONAL PARK”. Seeing such a pristine area right in my backyard made me such a GHNP addict that whenever I got the time, I was exploring the deep jungles of the park with my innovative mentors Payson Stevens and Sanjeeva Pandey. This park is one of the last remaining unscathed virgin areas of the western Himalayas. On my first trek to Dhela thatch, I was really mesmerized at the true wilderness which the park offered. Sparkling rivulets, crystal clear air, virgin forests with pine, oak and spruce that seems that they existed forever, this was truly like walking back at least 500 years into the time machine.
As we started from Neuli the road head in Sainj Valley we had to walk for over 22 km to reach the first camp at Shakti in the Sainj wildlife sanctuary. This distance though seems much lesser due to a very gentle slope as you go from 1500 to 2100 meters. The Shakti village in itself was great. Years of being alienated from the road with no electricity meant that they lived like this forever preserving their rich heritage and culture. The second day we started our accent towards the Dhel Thatch thus entering the Great Himalayan National park. It was awe-inspiring for me to see a pristine forest like this . Fuelled by inspirational talks about nature from Sanjeeva and Payson, I was at an all time high. As we camped near Humkhani midway between Shakti and Dhel, the magic of the forest came alive with calls of birds , animals and the wind all making the most amazing natural orchestra. The third day was one of the greatest as I was sanctified with the sighting of the Tragopan early morning along with Sanjeeva Pandey who had been the Director of the park for 5 years but had never seen it thus making us Tragopan Brothers. The western Tragopan is one of the rarest species of birds found in small pockets of Himchal Pradesh with the GHNP being one of the only national parks supporting a sizable population. The sighting of the Tragopan was one of first initiation into bird watching as I began to learn more as this trip enfolded into being one of my most out of the ordinary journeys of my life.
The Dhel Thatch was heaven. After a steep climb from Humkhani we came across this wide meadow giving us great views of Himalayan Vistas, pure fresh air and that feeling of being on the top of the world. A walk to the Jogini “Mountain Goddess “ gave us astounding views of the Sainj and Tirthan Valley. As I headed the way back towards Shakti it became quite evident for me that I have found my ultimate destination. As one of the founders of the GHNP, Tony Gaston writes “If you venture into the Himalayan wilderness, you run the risk of becoming a stranger in the common world. We who have been brushed by these places are forever changed; the goals of ambition and desire become muted when touched by the immensity and grandeur of the great mountains. To wander alone in these high places, however briefly, is to become a prey to yearnings that can never be extinguished or denied”.
Monday, January 17, 2011
A unique blend of dance, music, history , mythology, paintings , photographs and the Great Himalayan National Park.....all woven into one powerful presentations by one of the most talented couples in the world. In the words of Sanjeeva Pandey "
Monday, December 27, 2010
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Phase I: Installation of Demonstration Pico Hydro Flour Mill in the Ecozone of the Great Himalayan National Park through BTCA ( www.btca.org.in )
To introduce Pico Hydro technology to the Kullu District as an appropriate means of generating renewable energy and providing employment without negative impact on the environment.
One Pico Hydro unit installed in the ecozone of the Great Himalayan National Park in October 2010 (there are several possible sites, to be decided in Feb according to results of surveys). The unit will have a dual function of generating 5kw of electricity as well as providing direct shaft power to grind flour. The unit will provide electricity to approximately 20 households.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Sunday, November 07, 2010
Projects planned for next year include:-
• Environmental education and introduction of recycling facilities in schools
• Improvement program for waste and segregation area in Tirthan Valley
• ‘Holy Cow’ campaign – awareness raising, food waste collections and links to be set up between hotels and owners of animals
• Clean up and recycling model to be extended to villages, mountain camps, trekking routes, pilgrimages and tourist areas
• Green Book providing local info and facts about responsible tourism. To include where tourists can buy filtered water, popular treks, wildlife, plastic ban, recycling facilities, hotels and eco friendly services. All proceeds from sale to fund eco projects in the area.
• Sale of eco products including solar lanterns and chargers, water filtering and purifying solutions, cloth bags etc. Profits to subsidise eco products for those with a low income.
• Recycling collections for households, businesses, shops, hotels etc in Bhagsu.
• A range of community composting solutions
• Tetra Pak recyclin
Sunday, July 18, 2010
FIRST EVER PHOTOGRAPH OF THE WESTERN TRAGOPAN CLICKED IN THE WILD by Mr. Dhritiman Mukherjee and the Sunshine Himalayan Adventure Team .
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Tuesday, December 01, 2009
THE GHNP has been described as undoubtedly the most pristine mountain landscape in the Western Himalayas… and perhaps the planet. From the Andes to Nepal and Tibet, to the mountains of Eastern Europe and Western China - the pressures of a growing human population have left the landscape – even so-called “national parks’ - overgrazed, denuded of timber, devoid of wildlife and covered with signs of animals and their shepherds. Ironically, here in India, home to over a billion people, it is still possible to find vast virgin forests and endless fields of wildflowers and ranges of un-named, unclimbed summits. Blue sheep, Himalayan Thar, even bear and snow leopard abound.
At present, the Great Himalayan National Park (GHNP) comprises 750 sq km. It is naturally protected on the northern, eastern, and southern boundaries by areas under permanent snow or by impassable ridges. In addition, there are two wildlife sanctuaries adjacent to the Park: Sainj (90 sq.km.) and Tirthan (61 sq.km.). The total area under the National Park administration is 1,171 sq. km. The western boundary of the Park has historically supported communities that have had economic dependence on the designated area of the Park. Realizing the environmental pressures these villages would exert on the Park’s biodiversity, an area of over 250 square kilometers was set up as buffer zone. This Ecozone contains 160 small villages with a population of about 19,000 people. Almost 90% of the Ecozone is forest habitat which, when properly managed is leading to income generation of the locals without harming the environment. One such initiative is the community based ecotourism being practiced in the GHNP.
Community Based Ecotourism – Lessons 2005-2010
GHNP is also one of the major sites for studying community based ecotourism enterprise in the Western Himalayas. For over five years a private ecotourism company styled Sunshine Himalayan Adventures have been advocating and practicing ecotourism initiative along with a local NGO called BTCA (Society for Biodiversity Tourism & Community advancement). This initiative has increased awareness about the park and specifically ecotourism among ecozone residents themselves or those living near the zone providing balance in educating these important stakeholders realizing that the local community is going to be providing tourism services.
Amongst other initiatives are increasing public awareness of the GHNP and its ecozone among potential visitors and running programs which actually promote visitation to the ecozone or park structured carefully to avoid creating unrealistic expectations about the type of experience, available infrastructure and standards; care has been taken to develop the ecotourism “product” before marketing it.
We also work with the park authorities in matters like poaching, wildlife monitoring and improving roads and trails or other infrastructure , though realizing its a horse vs. cart problem: tourists must begin coming before they can express demand for better access and infrastructure. In my experience (unless a carefully designed large capital improvement program is initiated with national or international funding) this process will only slowly unfold, with more and more low- to medium-end tourists and activities eventually proving there is a demand for higher end activities and the infrastructure to support them. The process will go faster if there is effective communication between the park and regional stakeholders who influence capital budget decisions (especially for roads leading to the park).
Sunshine Himalayan Adventures realize that privatization (the role of private enterprise) is a complicated one and sometimes controversial means of stimulating and managing ecotourism in protected areas and buffer zones. In my experience the most successful examples are when there are mutually beneficial partnerships developed between private investors and community members and the relationships are supervised by an NGO to assure that neither partner takes advantage of the other. Since the protected area is generally providing the physical tourist attractions, the park must also be directly involved to assure that commercialization does not damage those resources.
NEED FOR AN ECOTOURISM AUTORITY
We have realized that at least in early stages these private/community partnerships will need protection from independent unsupervised operators such as low-qualified guides or food and accommodation services which do not favor local community members as labor. We are trying to develop an Ecotourism Authority where the “authority” of this enterprise has to be clear to prevent such independent operators from entering the market. In later stages the Authority may act to establish standards for independent tour operators, guides and other service providers in order to maintain a certain level of service. This establishment of an Ecotourism Society (better called Ecotourism Authority) with real decision-making authority and the ability to shorten implementation time and will be carefully designed with input from all the relevant stakeholders, including the Private operators such as Sunshine Himalayan Adventures , BTCA and the newly-formed tourism and home stay operators association called STDA( Seraj Tourism Development Association).
One is aware that it will be a huge challenge to avoid pressures to allow or even encourage large scale commercial tourism development especially in the ecozone. But there are dozens of examples in the world and even close by in northern India, (Corbett National Park, Ranthambore National Park) where such commercialization has failed to be a wise long term strategy because 1) it does not continue to be profitable; 2) it destroys the attractiveness of the area which prompted its commercialization; and 3) it loses essential support because it has betrayed original commitments to bring long term benefits to local communities.
Guided by zeal to create new models of ecotourism SHA & BTCA have a unique and exclusive relationship under the guidance of the park management. Our activities include promoting visits of friends from foreign lands to create a better understanding of the Western Himalayas, its people, religions and culture. The ecotourism program continues developing a paradigm wherein local villagers actually benefit from having their ancestral lands turned into a wilderness preserve. Our regular trainings with the local youths in various spheres of eco-tourism and trekking is empowering them to keep the wild nature preserved for posterity. This plan of simple elegance and sweeping implications requires patience and support, not only from the Government but civil society at large.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Justification of Outstanding Universal Value
The GHNP is one of the most picturesque areas in the Western Himalayas, well known for its exquisite floral and faunal biodiversity.
The boundaries of GHNP are contiguous with the Pin Valley National Park (675 km2) in Trans-Himalaya, the Rupi Bhaba Wildlife Sanctuary (503 km2) in Sutlej watershed and the Kanawar Wildlife Sanctuary (61 km2) covering a range of wildlife habitats representing the biodiversity of Western Himalaya - from tropical to alpine. GHNP is the crucial link that connects the above Protected Areas making this region a compact patch of inter-linked wildlife habitats.
During the process of continental drift the Gondwanaland mass collided with Asia resulting in the formation of gigantic fold mountains of the Tertiary Himalaya-Alpine System of Eurasia. The representation of the flora and fauna of Gondwanaland as well as Asiatic landmasses can be observed in GHNP. The Park has representation off our ecological zones: (i) the dry deserts of interior Asia and the well-watered lowlands of the Indian plains, (ii) the Oriental and Palearctic faunal realms, (iii) the high plateau of Tibet and the jumbled Himalayan peaks, and (iv) The catchments of the tributaries of the Indus, the Beas and Sutlej rivers. Thus, the bio-geographical peculiarities and the wide altitudinal variation contribute to range of species diversity, spanning sub-tropical and alpine vegetation characteristic of South-east Asian forests as well as Siberian and the Asian steppes. The GHNP harbours a wide variety ofwildlife habitats and high biological diversity within a small area.
The flora of GHNP shows affinities with Mediterranean, Tibetan and Himalayan region. For example, Valeriana jatamansi, Dactylorhiza hatagirea, Taxus baccata, Leycesteria formosaare typical taxa which extends up to Afghanistan and west China. Other affinities that are met with here are in form of Hippophae of palaearctic region; Cedrus deodara, Viola biflora, and Poa alpina of mediterranean region; and Euphorbia of Peninsular India. In addition, the Himalayas have evolved a high proportion of their own endemic taxa, for example several species of balsams Impatience, Androsace primuloides, Hedysarum cachemirianum, Draba lasiophylla, etc. and Himalayan Tahr Hemitragus jemlahicus are well represented in GHNP. Occurrence of least disturbed temperate and alpine ecosystems in a geographical compact area, andinaccessible and rugged terrain representing the ecological, geomorphological and biological values of the North-west Himalaya make GHNP a significant area for mountain biodiversity conservation.
The GHNP harbours the most important gene pool of Western Himalayan flora and fauna. This includes endangered mammalian species such as Snow leopard Uncia uncia, Asiatic black bearUrsus thibetanus, Himalayan brown bear Ursus arctos, Grey Goral Nemorhaedus goral,Himalayan Musk Deer Moschus chrysogaster,Himalayan tahr Hemitragus jemlahicus and Serow Nemorhaedus sumatraensis. Five species of pheasants, viz., Westerntragopan (Tragopan melanocephalus), Cheer pheasant (Catreus wallichii), Himalayan monal (Lophophorus impejanus), Koklas (Pucrasia macrolopha) and Kalij (Lophura leucomelana) are found here. The charismatic Western Tragopan is the most spectacular among the pheasants and aptly named the 'King of Birds'. GHNP has one of the best populations of this bird across its range. The Western Tragopan locally referred to as "Jujurana" (King of the birds) is revered in several folk songs and lores. According to folklore, god created this colourful pheasant with the help of the most beautiful feathers of each bird in the universe.
GHNP is an Important Bird Area representing birds of three biomes viz.,Sino-Himalayan Temperate Forest (Biome-7), Sino-Himalayan Subtropical Forest (Biome-8) and Eurasian High Montane - Alpine and Tibetan (Biome-5).
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Success! WOA and Sunshine Himalayan cross the Pin parvati Pass.
The untracked mountain wilderness of the Great Himalayan National Park in northern India is undoubtedly the most pristine alpine landscape in the Western Himalayas… arguably the planet. Amazingly, here in a country that is home to over a billion people, there remain corners where it is yet possible to drink right from untamed, glacier-fed rivers, to wander for days through vast virgin forests and fields of wildflowers in the tracks of Himalayan brown bears, Blue sheep and psychedelically colored pheasants like the Western Tragopan. This year most highlighted expedetion in the GHNP was the crossing of the Pass by Way of Adventure team led by VInce Poscenete an x olympian and a motivational speaker. Backed by the ground operation team of Sunshine Himalayan Adventure and BTCA this turned out to be an epic adventure culminating in Spiti.
Enjoy the pictures.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
Held in Sairopa Training center,
Great Himalayan National Park
July 10th to July 14th 2008
Lecturer Tours and Travels
Govt. PG College Kullu
Mr. Harsh Mitter (IFS)
Sunshine Himalayan Adventures and BTCA ( Biodiversity Tourism and Community Advancement)
Objectives of the training:
Linkage with Biodiversity Conservation
Our rationale for investing in a community is allied with our primary objective of conserving the Great Himalayan National Park and its biodiversity. This linkage is constantly reinforced during village mobilization and planning meetings, so that it becomes associated with the ecotourism activities being supported by the HPFD.
All stakeholders (villager, nongovernmental organization, or government) must make a reciprocal contribution, within their means, to compliment that being made by the Forest Department . In the case of this training a small all the members of the Trekking Club have contributed Rs 35000 as seed money. This may be in the form of cash or in-kind services such as materials and labor, which are valued using existing market rates and prices.
There must be strong commitment to active and equitable participation from each involved stakeholder group through the life of the project, from planning to implementation, monitoring, evaluation and reporting. The ecotourism activities should benefit as many individuals and households as possible, and be sensitive to matters of ethnic or economic equity and gender.
The beneficiary community must be willing to assume all or significant responsibility for repairing and maintaining any infrastructural improvements provided by the HPFD. This usually means maintaining the biodiversity.
Monitoring & Evaluation
The stakeholders should be willing to employ simple but realistic indicators for measuring project performance and impact, according to a Monitoring and Evaluation Plan (part of the overall Action Plan).
*HPFD : Himachal Pradesh Forest Department
* Ecosoc : Ecotourism Society of Himachal Pradesh
* Guidelines adopted from the training given by the Snow Leopard conservancy
Experienced and President of the Club
Has done MOI in 2004
Computer Education, Resourceful, Limited tourism Exposure
Bsc Ist Year ,
Financial Capability , Treasurer of the club , well exposed and can speak to Tourists ,Contact Point , Has computer
Limited Trekking Experience
Limited Trekking Experience
Experienced Cook, has worked with Christopher for the last two year, Khem Bharti as well , Trekking Experience
+1 Pass ,
Interested in cooking, shows potential , Previous trekking Experience
Youngest member , Interested in becoming helper and then a cook
Good Trekking Experience
Interested in cooking, is young shows limited potential
Immense Trekking Experience, very strong , good insight into flora and fauna , good knowledge about research
A+ : Potential to become good guide / Trek leader E: Entrepreneur P : porter and Helpers C : Cooks
ABOUT THE TRAINING :
The training took a hand on approach. The first day began with an introduction session about the club and its members. After due introduction was given the participants were asked to write what their expectations and fears were from the workshop. As expectations they wanted the workshop to be
- Giving them knowledge about ecotourism
- About the park
- About the ways to earn money through ecotourism
- About trekking
- To attach themselves with Sunshine Himalayan Adventures and other people bringing tourists and to be able to run their groups
As their main fears came
- Lack of Knowledge
- Non availability of equipment etc. These fears were mainly towards the organization themselves and not the training in general.
The program started with
Lecture I – About the Great Himalayan national Park: Difference between WLS and National Park, its history
About its flora and Fauna (meaning of the words flora and fauna)
About the geography of the park.: its valleys, Altitudes etc.
A film entitled "Voices and Choices in the Great Himalayan national Park was shown with pauses and detailed scene explanation
PRACTICAL I Exercise more about the flora and fauna of the park
- List of twenty famous animals and birds. : an exercise was done whereby the sound of the bird was played which was recognized by the participants, the local name was told with a typical characteristic and then they were told the English name along with the picture of that bird. Similarly about twenty animals and 10 medicinal herb species
The evening session started with the discussion of the club, how it was formed, what were the objectives? The participants were told about the basics of having an adventure club. An exercise about having a clear address and clear budget was done.
The Second days initial lecture dealt with Trekking in the national park . The participants were told about all the treks. How to explain treks to tourists. Basics including altitude, zonal flora and fauna, preparation of itinerary and using the GHNP map as a base for marketing their treks. This was led by a map reading class. The importance of maps , its uses and an insight into the GHNP map.
The role of local community in ecotourism. Roles, Duties and responsibilities of guides, helpers, porters and trek leaders.
The practical session in today's day consisted of a Rappelling demonstration as its one of the main activities involved in trekking as well as mountaineering. The participants were introduced to technical equipment, its uses and how to use. The practiced Knots, safety procedures while rappelling and then were finally made to experience the thrill of Rappelling on their own. In this way the participants actively tied knots, harnessed and used their new found skills to rappel all their fellow trainees.
The evening session looked after trekking procedures. The experience between the SAHARA staff and personal trekking experience was told. Right from the time the group enters into the park to the time they leave each step was covered in detail primarily focusing on the duty of the Group Leader.
The movie of the Uttaranchal Forest Department about their experiment in the "Valley of Flowers : was shown educating the participants about the importance of keeping their environment clean.
The night class initiated discussion about their own organization: aspects like marketing, financial management, book keeping and the role of the office bearers were discussed in full detail.
Day 03 :
The trekking procedures were dealt in detail. Procedures regarding
- Campsite Management
- Rules of packing it in and packing it out
- Pitching of tents, selection of campsite and toilet areas
- Trekking equipment, its types and uses were discussed.
Movie on global warming called "Inconvenient Truth" was shown in Hindi language.
The practical session consisted of listing local resources that may be of tourist interest. This included food items, handicrafts and other local direct usage items in the tours conducted by them. A kit list was prepared which should be with every trekking member. More exercises about the common problems faced in trekking were discussed.
A lecture on first aid , its importance, interaction with wild animals, do's and don'ts in the park were discussed. Each problem or accident and what to do in its happening was also discussed. A first aid kit was discussed in detail . Rescue and severe accidents were also dealt with.
More exercises on bird watching were done. A movie from RSBP was shown signifying the importance of fauna in the great Himalayan National Park. Common birds of the GHNP were discussed.
Evening session dealt with their organization, its mission statement, objectives and goals so that the participants were absolutely clear in their minds about the objectives. A detailed budgeting was done including the sources of revenue generation, expenses in equipment and other infrastructure. Means to get more training flowed.
Day 04 :
The fourth day began with the Trekking equipment and its maintenance. Store Keeping etc were discussed in detail.
Details of common equipment like sleeping bags, rucksacks, tents, toilet tents, kitchen equipment etc were given
A class was taken by "Mr. Payson R Stevens" who did a LFA of their club. Its need to get more experience in practical trekking procedures and the expectations of a westerner. He also told them how an organization can grow. A simple test about recognizing the bird calls was also taken.
Food : Its hygienic preparation. Water and hygiene were all discussed. A common menu in practice was discussed for a five day trek. Local food items that could be included in the common menu giving people a taste of Himachal was discussed. The cook also showed them basic preparation of meals .
A 54 minute movie entitled "Valley of Gods" was shown in detail so that the people may see what a trekking trip entails. The movie had been made to the source of the Tirthan River and a mountaineering expedition to an unclimbed peak named CHakri. Being from the same valley the participants thoroughly enjoyed it and came out with more suggestions about trekking.
A river crossing and traverse session was done in full detail including safety procedures, uses of equipment, do's and don't's etc.
A detailed exercise about the participants and their SWOT analysis was done keeping in view their experience, age, area of interest etc.
Day 05 :
A yoga session was taken by a Yoga guru " Mr. Raman Jain from the GDC , Banjar. He told the importance of good hygienic living , practicing yoga therapy when tired , common body aches of in the trekking and how to over some them through regular exercise. A few important asana like Anlom Vilom, Bhrastika were told and practiced.
A class on the Biodiversity especially Flora was taken by the Deputy Director GHNP Mr. Labh Singh. He emphasized how the flora is an indication to altitude, about trekking do's and don'ts regarding GHNP and the treks of the GHNP in detail.
Lessons learnt with working with SAHARA. What works and what does not were discussed in detail. The best practices which were learnt with the SAHARA were told and ways were discussed on how can the new trekking club incorporate the same.
There was a lot of homework which was given regarding their training. This was principally to practice things we had learnt in the training, getting equipment and material together and ways for them to gain more experience.