At Eco-Traveler, we always welcome travelers to come, travel and contribute in their own special way to the local communities that we work with. To our luck we had Dr. Apoorva Raghavan who traveler with us to Spiti all the way from Chennai. She will always remain one of the most special travelers for Eco-Traveler. Apoorva came with a pile of medicines from Chennai to Delhi to Manali to Spiti and we were successfully able to pull of a medical camp for the villagers of Dhankar Village in Spiti. We had an overwhelming response, Appoorva checked close to 80 patients in the village.
Here is what she had to say about her experience:
Spiti, the middle land, has always been a place that evoked wonder and longing within me. Being a volunteer for the environment and conservation, I always look to travel for a cause. It was providence that brought me to Tanya Roy of Eco-Traveler. The name speaks for itself as her company embodies everything that I am passionate about- the eco (system/eco-friendly ) and travel. Booked a seat for myself on a Spiti Valley road trip, to learn first-hand, what eco-tourism is all about. First leg of the journey felt the longest; from Chennai to Delhi and then to Manali, I couldn’t wait to soak in the beauty of the Desert Mountains. In Manali, we stayed in a quaint but utterly charming village homestay with breathtaking views of the green clad slopes. From Manali, we started early the next morning to Kibber. The rising altitude brought along with it spectacular images of mountains with crowns made of clouds, the clearest, bluest sky and vast valleys. At Kibber, the homestay was thronging with tourists, but managed to provide us with a hot bath, owing to the solar water heater. Who needs electricity when we have the sun? From Kibber, we went onto Dhankar, the cliff village with a high altitude lake- the Dhankar Lake which is a short trek away. The homestay at Dhankar had dry toilets i.e. the waste is covered with a lawyer of cowdung and used as manure. Not even water is wasted here. We had a small, modest medical camp there as the locals don’t have easy access to medicines. It helped us in getting to know the people there, their needs, health status and the problems they face. Next, it was onto Langza, going to the highest village in the world connected by road- Komik. The Langza homestay
(with dry toilets and solar power)
was most memorable; the boisterous, iron willed, witty granny, my poor hindi, helping her in prepping for dinner, crying as I chopped onions only to leave her cackling with laughter. Now that is what travel is all about. Our final day took us to Chandra-tal, the moon lake. We chose to trek there instead of going by road. The 4 hour trek, surrounded by towering giant mountains on all sides, capped with snow, left us feeling utterly insignificant and our troubles, more so. Nearing the lake, we could see the path strewn with bottles and trash left behind by campers. Naturally, we started picking up and embarked on a clean up around Chandra-tal, it was a privilege! The campsite we stayed in, does its part for the environment too. The trash was segregated, loaded up onto trucks and taken back to Manali for recycling.
Travel- the word has become all the rage nowadays. Social media is choc a bloc with blogs, photos and videos, claiming “To Travel is to Live” and everyone feels compelled to travel, its more peer pressure than inspiration.
Yes, travelling is good, when done right. We have a beautiful planet waiting to be explored and most of all, cherished and protected. Going on a travel-rampage, leaving a footprint of trash, just to post photos on Instagram isn’t going to help preserve whats left of nature. Travel at the grassroots level with someone who knows, understands and strives to help the local ecosystem. Get to know the people of the region, share stories, make memories, learn how people in various corners of the earth live, their local trade and livelihood. By doing so, you will learn that you are a small but important gear in the machinery of the universe. Even you, as a single human bring, can turn a few wheels; all it takes is some care towards Mother Nature. Swanky hotels ain’t gonna give u that. For me, Eco-Traveler is the only way to travel from now on.