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An expedition with a cause

Archana Mishra, june 5, 2013, DHNS 21:27 IST
What if five good friends find out they have a common love interest? If it’s a beautiful lass, they will definitely be squabbling amongst themselves to get that lady love.

But what if the love interest turns out to be the beautiful snow-clad Himalayan peaks? Either, they will go on a trip annually or will form the ‘Global Himalayan Expedition’ (GHE) to enjoy every moment of their lives with the peaks and summits they have lost their hearts to.

Paras Loomba, Bharat Joshi, Chanakya Bhardwaj, Mohit Poddar and Rajeev Dubey are those five who started GHE not only to enjoy the beauty they are enchanted by but also to give others an opportunity to have a holistic experience in the Himalayan peaks - specifically in Leh and Ladakh.

It was City-based Paras Loomba, a member of 2012 International Antarctica Expedition who united his friends Bharat, a graduate in mass communication, Chanakya, an engineer, Mohit a travel enthusiast and Rajeev, CEO of a company in Baroda together to start a one-of-its-kind expedition.

“One day, we friends were sitting together and having a discussion on our passion for the Himalayas and the Antarctica Expedition. At that point, we decided to start a similar expedition in India too. We wondered, ‘why not set up an Educational base (E base) in Ladakh the way it exists in Antarctica and Pench,’” shares Paras.

“We were excited but not sure and therefore wanted to take approval from the person who had initiated this concept of E base, Robert Swan. He had gifted the world its first E base which is totally running on renewable energy,” says Bharat.

Their keenness to be different from other groups, their love for Himalayas and desire to inspire people from all across the globe to take climate change seriously, made Robert Swan associate with them. Swan will be travelling to Ladakh in August this year to set up the 3rd E base called the Third Pole E base.

“The idea was to share with the world community that how climate change disrupts life. Remember the flash floods by the cloud bursts in Ladakh. The local population was able to bounce back to normalcy within a matter of months, creating lessons in sustainable living. Therefore, through E base we will act as a window for the world to interact with Ladakh; help understand their culture and sustainable lifestyle; create a platform for the convenient solution to their environmental problem and also act as a medium to educate the local youth on energy and climate change,” explains Paras.

Interestingly, their novel idea is attracting people from around the world. Renowned cyclists of Cycle for Water – Joost Notenboom and Michiel Roodenburg, who have covered 30,000 kilometres from Alaska to Antarctica on their bamboo cycles, will be joining the GHE on their first expedition.

Sonam Wangchuk, also known as the real ‘Phunsukh Wangdu’ (remember 3 Idiots?) and founder-director of the Students’ Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh (SECMOL) is associated with them. “A lot of foreigners have shown interest in our expedition. Many people from Nigeria and Zambia have already got their registrations done,” informs Bharat. The eleven-day expedition will not only educate participants but also take them on an adventurous journey which will include cycling, trekking and rafting. The other members of the team are in Ladakh setting up camps and E base. So, those who want to be part of this expedition will have to loosen their purse strings and shell a out One lakh.

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