The Himalayas: Astounding Landscapes, Volunteering Opportunities and Much More

The Himalayas have always been a great attraction for people across the continents. Being a citizen of east India, I have had the privilege of visiting the eastern Himalayas, often known as the Sivaliks. I have also had the opportunity to visit Kashmir — a place which is beautiful beyond comparison. Through my life, I have visited the Himalayas and come back!! I had visited the Himalayas only as a tourist — like most people. However, this time, my visit to the fascinating ranges was much more.

I visited the Himalayas, for an internship. As a social worker, I was able to intervene and provide support in addressing some of the social concerns of the city life —the life on the plains. However, life in the mountains is far more complicated and complex. To intervene and work with the mountain residents, I chose Dharamshala for my internship. This time, I had come to the Himalayas to stay with the people for three long weeks. I had come to look at the problems that the people face and give in a probable solution for the same.

For the first few days, I was made to try all my of patience, my energy to climb uphill and downhill through roads that are little travelled. My visit to the Government schools around Dharamkot and Mcleod Ganj tested my stamina to the utmost extent. As a tourist I always had a car or I walked on peach paved roads. This time, the Himalayas however decided to push me beyond my limits. She made sure that I fell at times, scratched my hands and legs, yet, found the zeal to carry on walking through her paved pathways.

One of my most delightful memories of the Himalayas was a trek to a place called Triund. It was a four-hour long Trek which I under took with my colleagues, assisted by a seasoned trek-guide. At the end of the Trek, I felt like I had arrived at the end of the world. Though in extreme body pain, I was still able to see a absorb the beauty of the sunset and the sunrise.

The one thing that Himalayas taught me this time was to wonder. I often found myself wondering during the course of the trek that what is a more difficult task- trekking up — hill or trekking down — hill. Throughout the three weeks I pushed myself to walk, walk and walk. As such, this is what people in the mountains do. Walk, walk and walk!

The work here in the mountains becomes very challenging for the simple reason that transport is a problem. Through the trek to Triund, I met a lot of mountain mules. Their work somehow seemed even more difficult than the humans. The mules are used to carry 100–150 kilograms of weight right up to Triund — and they finish the trek in 2 hours. This is the one of the main income generating occupations for the people in the Himalayas.

Thus, I must admit that the city life that we often crib about is so much more easier than life in the mountains. People in the mountains do not know what the traffic of Kolkata or Delhi or Bangalore is like. However they do know to climb up and down a hill on a daily basis to earn a living.

Another aspect, which I was able to focus on deeply was the Tibetan Culture and its population. It is said that Tibet and China have had severe political issues, which continue to this day and has resulted in the migration of Tibetan population into the country of India.

On the same lines, I made a visit to the Dalai Lama Monastery (Namgyal) and the Tibetan Museum. I also had the most amazing opportunity to meet a few Tibetan Monks, who are trying their best to learn the English Language in order to survive in India.

The gripping stories of the aged and the youth; self — their narratives of travel from Tibet to India through the snow — capped Himalayas was truly heart wrenching. Their endeavor to preserve and promote their culture in a foreign land is truly praiseworthy. Here I also want to extend my good wishes to the Government of India for having given the Tibetans an opportunity to live a life of dignity and respect in this wonderful country.

Though Himalayas have always been a great attraction for people across the continents, the true Himalayan Beauty lies in the soul of people who live in it. The beauty lies in the dedication towards the conservation of the mountains. The beauty also lies in the silence of meditation and the warmth of the local people.

So, the next time you visit any part of the Himalayas, do look beyond the snow — capped peaks, the mall roads for shopping and the cold water that run down the falls. The Himalayas indeed has much more to offer. Cherish her inner beauty and she will never let you down.

About the Author

Shruti Roy Chowdhury loves travelling and adventures. She loves visiting old monuments with enriching history.

Her dream is to visit all Disney Lands across the world and travel to deepest jungles in order to meet the Royal Cat Family - in the Wild!!