DHUNDI VILLAGE – TREKKING IN AVALANCHE AREA

Sitting with three of my likeminded friends in a room in Palchan, a small village situated 11 km ahead of Manali, we were talking about places to explore nearby. We didn’t plan this trip, we just followed the tune of nature and synchronised our movement rhythmically, that is rather summing up sophisticatedly for an excuse by teenagers who have no clue about life.

That’s when we came across something called ’Dhundi’. Dhundi is the last village in Solang Valley and closest to the Beas river. It witnesses the intersection of the mighty Beas river with its first tributary originating from the Beas Kund and the Rohtang Pass respectively. It is also the first village from the south portal of the Rohtang tunnel, which is now called the ‘Atal Tunnel’.

Our hotel was adjacent to the Palchan bridge and Dhundi was around 10-11 km ahead of us. So we decided to visit Dhundi next day and fell asleep all excited. The next day I woke up at 7 am and the temperature was -10 degrees Celsius and the sun hid behind the mountains, maybe a little angry with us for not getting up on time to see it’s first rays.

With that thought, I forcefully woke my friends up and we headed towards Solang Ski and Ropeway Centre. We were stopped by the Border Road Organisation’s ranger, who at first was very friendly but as soon as we told him about our destination, got a bit sceptical. We asked him the way to Dhundi to which he replied – Bhai Ji, you have already crossed Dhundi and there is no village named Dhundi ahead. But when it comes to travelling, we need to rely on our instincts, so we found an alternative route other than the metal road because before proper roads were made, the Himachali people used hidden trails in the mountains to travel.

We eventually were treading on a rock trail which was on the outer edge of the mountain but gradually curved into a narrow trail which led us to a pine forest. Suddenly we were amidst a thick blanket of snow and we had lost it. Each step we took made us feel heavy than the previous one because the snow got inside our shoes making them wet and heavy. We thought this is probably our last trek.

Our trail suddenly ended on what I think was an intersection of two adjoining mountains, it forced us to take a left to find us ourselves in the middle of a snug waterfall flowing over the trail we were supposed to take. We were stuck again. One of my friends went to look out for an alternate trail but came back disappointed.

There was only one way to cross and that was to jump on the other side. Luckily we found a tree to grab onto so we land safely. So I jumped first and barely caught it because my feet slipped, I quickly cleared away the snow from the landing spot for my friends to jump. We came back close to the highway and clearly saw the intersection of our trail and we all were pleased to see the road again but it was short-lived. We heard a rumbling sound and found ourselves looking at two big boulders tumbling down from the mountain bringing with them kind of a mini avalanche just a few hundred metres ahead of us. We never had an experience like this before feeling so helpless in front of nature. All we could do was to run for our life. We discussed taking the road back to Palchan.

But we didn’t come this close to go back without entering Dhundi.

After a kilometre, we saw a partially completed tunnel just next to a tunnel which was entirely destroyed by a landslide. After crossing the tunnel and covering another kilometre, we saw massive cranes, excavators and road rollers. We found the supervisor of these massive machines and asked him about the place. He told us we were near Dhundi. He asked us about how we got here, so we told him about the ranger and the trail we found. 

He blatantly told us – you shouldn’t have taken the trail because this whole area is an avalanche and landslide prone area and in the winter months this place is unpredictable.

Tourist cars need prior permission before entering this area and that too on a very tight come and go schedule because there can be an avalanche anytime”. He was clearing the highway which was blocked by a landslide which struck 3 days before we visited. He also told us to return before it gets dark because temperature reaches as low as -20° Celsius in the evening itself.

I looked at my watch, the time was 1:30 pm and we still had 2 kilometres to cover so we increased our pace and reached the Dhundi bridge. 

Being a snow-fed river in Solang Valley region, the Beas river was almost frozen and there wasn’t too much water so we decided to find the intersection point following the river and we were successful.

Two rivers with water as so clear that even the tiniest of the pebbles on the riverbed was visible to the naked eye. As soon as I reached the intersection, I removed my gloves, sat beside the Beas river, dipped my hands in the icy cold water and took a sip of the cleanest water that I ever drank in my entire life and probably the cleanest water in the entire Himachal Pradesh at that moment.

We were walking on snow that nobody had walked on for months. We were finding solid ground by poking a long stick in the fresh snow.

There were massive rocks in the then dried up Beas river which we used to sit and admire the beautiful scenery that Dhundi showed us. We found a perfectly elevated rock to sit and admire the view.

We were completely isolated. During sub zero temperature, the villagers of Dhundi go to a lower region and make a temporary settlement to be safe from avalanches and landslides. So it was just us, the endless mountains and the crystal clear Beas river flowing beneath us.

This was the most thrilling and the most frightening adventure of my life.

From jumping over a waterfall in the edge of a mountain to witnessing an avalanche in front of my eyes. This adventure made me rethink our existence.

How easily our life could be taken from us.

We should live life to the fullest and do what our heart says because life could be unpredictable. 

So travel as much as you can and as soon as you can.

Gurupreet Arora

WE BELONG TO NATURE!

Nature does not belong to us, we belong to nature.
Have you ever wondered why people find happiness and solitude in travelling?
Humans have been nomads since ancient times, and it has been our trait from time immemorial. Our natural instinct was always to roam, stay close to nature and adapt to our surroundings. It always brought peace to that instinct and self-satisfaction to the soul. Hikes and treks have become the new means of that part of seeking ourselves.
No mineral water bottles. Drink from springs and streams, do not worry if it isn’t a renowned brand. Be a part of nature. It is okay to sweat, it is okay to get some bruises, it is alright to not bath for a few days, to try new stuff, to meet new people while travelling, to caress the dogs that lead your path. Be Kind. Let us be humble and grateful for all we are offered by the mother Earth.
The whole purpose of travel is to become a better person and establish a bond with nature which is now somehow diluted due to all the modernization surrounding us. When in the lap of nature, let us try to be as sustainable as possible.

Nirvan sah

Instagram handle:

https://www.instagram.com/theguyfromhimalaya/

WHY DOES HE TRAVEL TO THE MOUNTAINS?

Screenshot_2020-06-21 R O B I N ( cliffclimber_) • Instagram photos and videos

According to him, the Mountains are the best places on Earth to go for an adventure. He can be completely free and is able to do many activities in the Mountains. From nature walks, hiking, camping, trekking, rock climbing, mountain biking, paragliding and much more.
He loves to indulge in one or more of these activities whenever he travels to the mountains because it fills his soul with simplicity, adventure and joy.

He Travels to the Mountains because he constantly wants to appreciate the beauty of nature, and he thinks that Mountains are the best creation of God. Trees, river, lakes, glaciers, birds and animals – he loves everything which makes these mountains worth admiring.
He travels to the mountains because he just wants to sit on a cliff and be thankful to Mahadeva for the blessings and got a chance to live this life and witness his beautiful creation.
He Travels to the Mountains because he wants to know himself, he is curious to know his strengths and weaknesses, the more time he spends in the mountains, the more he gets to know about himself.

ROBIN RAO

THE INNER OUTDOORS APPAREL!

We know it’s irritating not to be able to go for our adventures these days, but it’s alright, when the time is right we want you to wear how you feel about the world of outdoors. We have launched our apparel. Let us know which design excites you the most?
Comment and tell us.

Six Reasons why you should Travel to the Mountains

We should feel blessed that it has become easy today to access the beauty of the mountains, an overnight journey from Delhi and you are amidst the big mountains grasping the fresh cool air into your lungs and witnessing the vistas of incredible nature.

We want to highlight six reasons why you should travel to the Mountains:

  • Good for Physical Health: Travelling to the mountains and indulging in activities such as; nature walks, hiking and trekking can boost your overall health. The high altitude of mountains causes the heart and lungs to work more than the usual routine which builds up your cardiovascular strength and thus spikes up your endurance levels. Plenty of sunlight enriched with Vitamin D is essential for the body to function effectively which you receive in abundance in the mountains. Also, indulging in outdoor activities gives a true reflection of your physical well being which you sometimes don’t realize in the busy city life and this realization gives a message that taking care of your body is paramount to live a better life.
  • Good for Mental Health: According to research, spending time in wilderness and nature benefits mental well being. It detoxifies the mind by releasing feel-good chemicals in the brain known as dopamine and serotonin which are responsible for reducing stress and anxiety and ultimately creates happiness. Nature not only heals your body and mind but also purifies the soul. So, whenever you want to relax in peace amidst nature, get disconnected from the hustle-bustle of city life, keep in mind that mountains are the best places to do so.
  • Activities in mountains: From off-road biking, mountain biking, paragliding, trekking at high altitudes, climbing on rocks, river rafting, skiing on snowy slopes, mountains never score low on filling you with adventure and thrill. If you are not an adventure junkie, mountains have other exciting offers for you; camping in forests, chilling beside a river or a lake or sitting on a cliff and admiring the breathtaking view of the valley, meditating in a rock cave to taking a cold shower in a waterfall or relaxing in hot water springs, there are countless things you can do in the mountains which give a memorable experience.
  • Nature at its best: The true beauty of nature can be witnessed in the mountains which harbours a wealth of flora and fauna. Lush Green Forests, gushing rivers and waterfalls, magnificent Lakes, stunning meadows and exquisite glaciers glorify the beauty of the mountains. The dynamic weather conditions make it more dramatic; you never know when a clear sky will be enveloped by quaintly shaped clouds and after a while, the valley would be filled with rain or snow and even a rainbow. The mountains make us realize that we are very small in comparison to nature, we will eventually leave the earth, but the mountains will stay forever.
  • Bonding and Knowledge: A trip to the mountains with friends holds a special place in the journey of friendship. Mountains help us bond and know each other well and leaving behind joyful memories that stay in the heart forever. Along the way, we get a chance to meet new people and make new friends. We also receive valuable knowledge by watching the lives of mountain people and their traditions, culture, language, way of living and surviving which helps in expanding our mind and intellect.
  • Budget-Friendly: A trip to the mountains would rarely dig a hole in your pocket. Are you thinking of a holiday in the mountains but worrying about the money? Then let me inform you that taking a holiday in the mountains is quite cheap compared to a beach vacation? With plenty of options for budget hotels, hostels, home stays and budget travel companies that exist today, you can plan a mountain trip at a nominal cost. 

So after when we get our freedom back, use it wisely, use it for going to the mountains.

ROBIN RAO

THE HIDDEN GEM IN INDIA

Owning an Indian passport is not a novelty. There are only about 60 countries you can travel without a visa or visa on arrival. It is frustrating because India is the second-most popular market for Instagram, and when everyone around the world is posting beautiful travel pictures on Instagram, we think India being such a large market is lagging.
But there is a place in India which seems to be a country on its own.
Surely the gods live here, this is no place for men, were the words described by the famous English journalist and author, Sir Rudyard Kipling.

Not as if we know what heaven feels like, but it must surely be like this. You don’t attain salvation after the seventh realm, you attain Manali. Yes, Manali it is. Nestled at an altitude of somewhere about 2000 meters in the state of Himachal Pradesh amidst lush green Deodar trees, it is a hidden gem. The snow-capped mountains and the lush green trees remain silent but observe each tourist of their desires and purpose of the visit, therefore, conveying the message to the omnipotent presence. Hence, the on-arrival Visa is granted, but the visitors are not aware of it.

A magical location in the Indian Himalayas exuding freshness and a vibe of divinity, after all, it is situated near Kullu valley, the valley which is often referred to as the ‘Valley of Gods’.

Instead of a destination, Manali has become a notion interpreted in many ways, some of which are – The drugs and hippie capital of India, a major holiday and drive destination of North India, some strongly boast about the breathtaking natural beauty being the hallmark of this valley, the part of high Himalayan mountains which hold the last snow ranges of the region, a place with thick forests amidst beautiful foliage and flowers and the gastronomical capital of Himachal Pradesh.

The things you can do in Manali:

Adventure Sports- Mountaineering, trekking, rock- climbing, mountain biking, river rafting, bouldering, camping. People from around the world come to Manali for such sporting activities. 

Food- Manali is well known for its variegated cuisine, it is the gastronomical capital of Himachal Pradesh. From cozy cafes to themed restaurants, the local food freshly cooked in the guest homes and Israeli shacks with Hebrew written on its entry, you can find the most exotic dishes to savor.

The secret parties- only if you are lucky enough, you would manage to uncover groups that host wicked parties in the mountainous region. And, once you are invited, you will remember the party forever.

Hindu Temples- there are significant temples, each holding its importance and they are sure not to be missed out on. Some of them are, Hidimba Devi Temple, Manu Temple, and Vashisth Temple.

Manali is a hidden gem in India which you can’t afford to miss. For queries related to travelling or different adventures in and around Manali, contact us at theinneroutdoors@gmail.com

Jayant Jayneel is a wanderer by soul and a writer by heart. He had read Robinson Crusoe when he was ten in 1999, and did his first trek in 2000, Sitlakhet/Ranikhet circuit. Since then he has been on foot, mostly in the Indian Himalayas looking for stories. A Bachelor of Arts graduate in Tourism & Hospitality management from Raffles College, Singapore. He has completed 24 treks and has been to 12 countries, and has also dived in the middle of Atlantic Ocean, just for the thrill. He has worked with the best adventure travel company of India – Snow Leopard Adventures and Himalayan Caravan Adventure in Old Manali leading groups and promoting outdoor education. He has worked in the field of Travel, Tourism and Hospitality building and motivating dynamic teams focused on accurately administering company programs through writing content, copy and conceptualizing ideas. Jayant has also worked with Decathlon Sports India in their mountain sports brand – Quechua

Instagram Handle

https://www.instagram.com/jayant_jayneel/

ECOTOURISM

Tourism has great potential to change the world. Tourism is an industry that continues to grow. Over 1.4 billion tourists are expected to travel internationally in 2020 bringing with it the opportunity for cultural exchange, economy building, and what’s becoming increasingly important – “sustainable development”.

Tourism is in a very special position to benefit local communities, economically and socially, and to raise awareness and support for conservation of the environment. Within the tourism sector, economic development and environmental protection should not be seen as opposing forces—they should be pursued hand in hand as aspirations that can and should be mutually reinforcing. From employment of local people, increase of cultural pride, educating the tourist, and commuting through local transport will steadily boost the purpose of Ecotourism and give immense confidence to local people from these several pristine ecotourism spots.

It is important to understand the environment. Everyone and everything that surrounds us, deserves to live, breathe, and be respected.

ADVENTURE TOURISM IN INDIA

The Indian government has opened more than 120 peaks for mountaineering and trekking, that will help in promoting adventure tourism in the country. India’s rank in Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index (TTCI) of the World Economic Forum has moved to 34th rank in 2019 from 65th in 2013. It is an exciting time for Adventure Tourism in India.

The famous tourism campaign of our country justifies the name, the incredibility lies in the vastness of India. From snow – capped glistening mountains, wildlife sanctuaries, ancient civilizations, religious monuments, spectacular scenery, national parks, different languages, festivals, spicy food, and the golden sand beaches, it seems to have everything.

IMPORTANT STATISTICS:

  • India is the 7th largest country in the world, and 3rd largest in Asia.
  • India is second only to Africa in the variety of its Wildlife resources.
  • Total Area of India – 3,287,263 square kilometers.
  • Foreign tourist arrivals grew by 3.23 per cent to 96,69,633 during January-November 2019.

India offers a plethora of adventure sports and travel activities from:

  • Hiking
  • Trekking
  • Mountaineering
  • Mountain Biking
  • Surfing
  • Wildlife Safaris
  • River Rafting
  • Bungee Jumping
  • Mountain Climbing

2020 -2026 is a crucial time for Adventure Tourism worldwide, and is anticipated to reach $1,626.7 billion, enlisting a compound annual growth rate of 13.3% from 2019 to 2026.

India can actually take a lot of advantage out of Adventure Tourism. Our aim is to bring the world of Adventure Travel in full flow to you, just how our ancestors lived, when the world was young and they roamed the earth trekking and hiking far over mountains and desert, grassland and jungle, looking for food and shelter. Ate when hungry, rested when they were tired.

We want to open your inner world with the help of outdoors.