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Iquest Chadar Trek A grand Success

After Enduring the Harsh weather conditions with Tempratures dipping to less then -30 Degrees C, our team completed the trek with a smile

 

The trek held in January had 13 members in our team ,   it was a mix of seasoned trekkers and  beginners , the Pre trek briefings ,  and regular updates , kept the mood upbeat , and helped our team members   a lot ,

 

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Thailand : something more to know

THAILAND  a True international destination

 

The Kingdom of Thailand is an independent country that lies in the heart of Southeast Asia. It is bordered to the north by Laos and Myanmar, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the west by the Andaman Sea and Myanmar. 

The capital and largest city of Thailand is Bangkok. It is also the country’s center of political, commercial, industrial and cultural activities. In Thai, the city is referred to as “Krung Thep”, meaning “City of Angels”. 

 

Thailand is the world’s 51st-largest country in terms of total area, roughly equal in size to Spain, with a surface area of approximately 513,000 km2 (198,000 sq mi), and the 20th most-populous country, with approximately 63 million people. About 75% of the population is ethnically Thais, 14% are of Chinese origin, and 3% is ethnically Malay, the rest belong to minority groups including Mons, Khmers, and various hill tribes. The country’s official language is Thai.

 

Thailand is one of the most devoutly Buddhist countries in the world. The national religion is Theravada Buddhism, which is practiced by more than 95% of all Thais. 

 

Thailand is a constitutional monarchy with King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the ninth king of the House of Chakri, as the ruling monarch. The King has reigned for more than half a century, making him the longest reigning Thai monarch and the longest reigning current monarch in the world. The King is recognized as the Head of State, the Head of the Armed Forces, the Upholder of the Buddhist religion, and the Defender of the Faith. 

 

Thailand is the only country in Southeast Asia that has never been ruled by a European power. However, during the Second World War, and while claiming neutrality, Thailand was occupied by the armed forces of the Empire of Japan who built the infamous ‘Death Railway’.

 

Cambodia : The Land of beautiful mystries

We at Iquest Adventures  Strive to bring  Memorable and responsible experiences  through all our ventures ,

A peek into Cambodia  ….  to help you  design your next  escape….

 

Cambodia

Country in Asia

Cambodia is a Southeast Asian nation whose landscape spans low-lying plains, the Mekong Delta, mountains and Gulf of Thailand coastline. Its busy capital, Phnom Penh, is home to the art deco Central Market, glittering Royal Palace and the National Museum’s historical and archaeological exhibits. In the country’s northwest lie ruins of Angkor Wat, a massive stone temple complex built during the Khmer Empire.

A citizen of Cambodia is usually identified as “Cambodian” or “Khmer,” though the latter strictly refers to ethnic Khmers. Most Cambodians are Theravada Buddhists of Khmer extraction, but the country also has a substantial number of predominantly Muslim Cham, as well as ethnic Chinese, Vietnamese and small animist hill tribes.

 

The country borders Thailand to its west and northwest, Laos to its northeast, and Vietnam to its east and southeast. In the south it faces the Gulf of Thailand. The geography of Cambodia is dominated by the Mekong river and the Tonlé Sap lake, an important source of fish.

 

Agriculture has long been the most important sector of the Cambodian economy, with around 59% of the population relying on agriculture for their livelihood (with rice the principal crop). Garments, tourism, and construction are also important.

 

Tourism in CambodiaSiem ReapBattambang Province The tourism industry is the country’s second-greatest source of hard currency after the textile industry. 

Tourism has been one of Cambodia’s triple pillar industries. The Angkor Wat historical park in Siem Reap province, the beaches in Sihanoukville and the capital city Phnom Penh are the main attractions for foreign tourists.

Cambodia’s tourist souvenir industry employs a lot of people around the main places of interest. Obviously, the quantity of souvenirs that are produced is not sufficient to face the increasing number of tourists and a majority of products sold to the tourists on the markets are imported from China, Thailand and Vietnam.Some of the locally produced souvenirs include:

  • Krama (traditional scarf)
  • Ceramic works
  • Soap, candle, spices
  • Wood carving, lacquerware, silverplating
  • Painted bottles containing infused rice wine

There are many temples around Cambodia to see. Both men and women should make sure to have their shoulders and knees covered – and head uncovered – when entering the temples out of respect.

  • Explore the Cardamom mountains for jungle trekking and waterfalls. Walk in S.E. Asia’s largest mangrove forest. Hang out on white sand beaches, all in Koh Kong
  • Laze on the beach in Sihanoukville.
  • Enjoy the river and peace in Kampot
  • Visit the temples of Angkornear Siem Reap
  • Get far off the beaten track with a motorcycle tour which will take you into some of the most remote parts of the country.
  • Visit the Royal Palace, National Museum and Toul Sleng Museum In Phnom Penh
  • Enjoy one of the last natural Island, Rabbit Island of Kep
  • Koh Rong, Sihanoukville (5hrs by boat from Sihanoukville). The islands of Cambodia are what Thailand was 15 years ago. Currently, Koh Rong and Koh Rong Samloeum are the only islands accessible to the public with any development. Koh Rong, the bigger of the two, has a growing backpacker presence but, to date (December 2014), still has 78 sq. kms of jungle, 30 untouched beaches, 4 fishing villages, and fewer than 10 bungalow guesthouses. Koh Rong Samloeum is just as beautiful as its bigger cousin, but quieter and less developed and caters more to mid-range tourists.

CITIES TO SEE

  • Phnom Penh— the capital
  • Banlung— far northeastern provincial capital located near some great waterfalls and national parks
  • Battambang— the second biggest town of Cambodia
  • Kampot— town between the capital and Sihanoukville and gateway to the Bokor National Park
  • Koh Kong— small border crossing town near the Thai border
  • Kompong Thom— access to less well known (and less crowded) ancient temples and other sites
  • Kratie— relaxed river town in the north-east on the Mekong, and an excellent place to get a close look at endangered river dolphins
  • Siem Reap— the access point for Angkor Wat
  • Sihanoukville— seaside town in the south, also known as Kompong Som

DESTINATIONs TO SEE

  • Angkor Archaeological Park— home of the imposing ruins of ancient Khmer civilization
  • Bokor National Park— ghostly former French hill resort
  • Kampong Cham— nice countryside village on the Mekong river and good place to meet real Cambodia
  • Kep— a seaside area which pre-dates Sihanoukville as the main beach resort in Cambodia; slowly being re-discovered by travellers
  • Krek— a small village on the backpacker trail between Kratie and Kampong Cham
  • Koh Ker— more ancient ruins, north of Angkor
  • Poipet— gritty border town that most overland visitors to Angkor pass through
  • Preah Vihear— cliff-top temple pre-dating Angkor
  • Tonle Sap Lake— huge lake with floating villages and Southeast Asia’s premier bird sanctuary

CYCLING TOUR

  • The countries of Southeast Asia are greatly diverse. With improved travel links, multi-country cycling is a popular way to explore the ancient and modern wonders of the region. On our multi-country tours, you’ll explore historic temples, relax on spectacular beaches, experience buzzing cities, and cycle among the best biking tour guides deep into the SE Asian countryside.
  • We at Iquest Adventures genuinely believe that cycling through a region for the first time with a group of like-minded people is the best way to experience Asia. Our aim is to provide you with the opportunity to meet new people, learn about new cultures, experience different landscapes and, most importantly, to have some fun. 
  • Cycling is a major part of our trips – they are cycle tours after all. All of our tours accommodate the preferences of the participating cyclists. Different trips will require varying degrees of physical ability. Specific details on terrain, cycling conditions, distances covered each day and altitude will be discussed prior to your biking adventure.
  • Remember, we’re here to make your Indochina experience the best it can be. We understand that while biking allows unique access to the countryside, it can also be tiring! All of our trips are fully supported, We design each tour to allow you the opportunities and time to appreciate the environment, scenery and culture around you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

VIETNAM OVERVIEW

The natural landscape of Vietnam ranges from the fertile, green paddy fields of the Mekong Delta in the south, to long stretches of sandy beaches along the coastal area, with highlands and mountains in the north. A warm and friendly people will welcome you as you explore quiet villages and bustling cities and experience a unique blend of rich heritage and modern tourist facilities. 

 

About Vietnam:

  • Official name: Socialist Republic of Vietnam
  • Population: 90,730,000 (estimated 2014)
  • Capital city: Hanoi (6 million); Ho Chi Minh City (8 million)
  • Area: 332,698 km2
  • Administrative units: Vietnam is divided into 64 provinces and cities. 
  • Weather: Sub-tropical climate with four seasons (Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter) in the North and two seasons (dry and rainy) in the south.
  • Time zone: GMT +7
  • Religion: Buddhism, Christianity, Catholicism, Islam, Hoa Hao, Cao Dai
  • Currency: The Vietnamese Dong (VND) is the official currency. 

 

Cycling in Vietnam:

Vietnam has become one of the best destination for cycling tours in Indochina.Hanoi, it’s charming capital, has a lot of character of Vietnam with its old building where Ho Chi Minh City is modern and bustling. Combine with Hanoi, it is truly a good discovery by bicycle to Sapa and Halong Bay. From Hanoi, it is worth to have a beach break in the central part of Hoi An, and the other two old towns of Hue and Danang before heading to Ho Chi Minh City.  Exploring Mekong Delta on bike is one of the best trip in Vietnam to see the lives of the people along the Mekong River and take the boat trip in Chau Doc. Vientam Cycling also offer combination cycling trips Thailand to Vietnam through Cambodia, and Laos. It is worth to visit Indochina on bike.

 

Vietnam’s number of visitors for tourism and vacation has increased steadily over the past ten years. The government and private enterprises are investing capital into the coastal regions that are already popular for their beaches and boat tours. Besides those regular tours, Vietnam is perhaps one of the best countries for cycling vacations. It gives travellers more chances to see the countryside and experience local life, compared with other methods of travel.

Popular destinations include: Hanoi, Saigon, Phong Nha, Hue (the old imperial capital), World Heritage Sites like Hoi An and the Cham temples of Mỹ Sơn, the coastal city of Nha Trang, the caves of Ha Long Bay, the Marble Mountains, and the Mekong Delta.

 

 

contact us at +9448476683

Iquest Alang Madan Kulang trek a grand success

The grand trek to Alang Madan and kulang in the sahyadris was a great success ,    the year end of 2014 and the entry into 2015 was done  in a very special Iquest way,

we shall let our pictures do the speaking

For any inquiries  on this trek please cfontact us at  Sunand Sampath   +91 9448476683    email sunand@iquestindia.com

 

All set to climb Kulang  as the sun starts to set

All set to climb Kulang as the sun starts to set

The base village ... warm simple family

The base village … warm simple family

TRIP LEADER SUNAND SAMPATH

TRIP LEADER SUNAND SAMPATH

Alang Madan kulang ( L to R )

Alang Madan kulang ( L to R )

sweet pain of success

sweet pain of success

Day one morning  of Jan 1st 2015

Day one morning of Jan 1st 2015

feeling the mountain

feeling the mountain

Not an easy climb

Not an easy climb

yes that cave is 60 feet high

yes that cave is 60 feet high

technical climb to summit Alang

technical climb to summit Alang

inside the cave

inside the cave

towards alang

towards alang

Descending Madan

Descending Madan

Sometimes this nature gets one emotional

Sometimes this nature gets one emotional

absailing

absailing

Rappelling down the pitch

Rappelling down the pitch

Descending Madan

Descending Madan

Scary narrow descent

Scary narrow descent

Heart in Mouth

Heart in Mouth

Hmmmm

Hmmmm

All team  going good

All team going good

Inside the cave  ... there is energy

Inside the cave … there is energy

dusk and we almost done with climbing

dusk and we almost done with climbing

Climb on

Climb on

Any stronger then ever

Any stronger then ever

Akash on the move

Akash on the move

At the base of Madan

At the base of Madan

Hemant ... anchored

Hemant … anchored

a small wait before one gets to climb up this pitch , its a technical climb ahead

a small wait before one gets to climb up this pitch , its a technical climb ahead

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Towards Madan

Towards Madan

Resting time

Resting time

And enjoy the nature Beauty

And enjoy the nature Beauty

Mind and body in synch

Mind and body in synch

Narrow trail

Narrow trail

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descend with greater caution here

descend with greater caution here

One at a time descend

One at a time descend

Descend

Descend

Descend the steep narrow Kulang top

Descend the steep narrow Kulang top

The team

The team

Sunrise ... warmth , nature

Sunrise … warmth , nature

There is water .... Vikas  and his smile  always ...

There is water …. Vikas and his smile always …

Water tanks made  long ago on Kulang

Water tanks made long ago on Kulang

Adding Life to the trek Akash

Adding Life to the trek Akash

 

One of the best treks in the Sahyadris … recommended  highly for thrill seekers…..

 

never venture in rainy season

never venture without experienced people along with you ..

good planing and preperation needed …..

 

Blog by Sunand Sampath  the proud Trip Leader

 

 

 

 

Secretarybird

secretary

 

Secretarybird is the  large bird of prey that lives in the Sub-Saharan Africa. Secretarybird usually inhabits savannas and open grasslands which enable fast identification of the potential prey. Other than that, secretarybirds can be found in semi-deserts, forests and farmlands. Secretarybirds are threatened by habitat loss due to increased agriculture and urban development. Luckily, number of secretarybirds in the wild is large and they are not on the list of endangered species.

 

Interesting Secretarybird Facts:

  • Secretary bird can reach 4 to 5 feet in height and 5 to 9 ½ pounds of weight.
  • Upper part of the body is grey in color. Bottom side of the body and flight feathers are black. Facial skin is orange-red in color, and the beak is bluish-grey. Long, erect black feathers form crest on the back side of the neck.
  • Researchers used to believe that name “secretarybird” originates from 19th century when male secretaries wore quills in their wigs (similar in appearance with crest of secretarybird). More likely, name “secretarybird” originates from Arabic word “saqu ettair” which means “hunter-bird”.
  • Secretarybird has wingspan of 7 feet. These birds rarely fly even though they are proficient in the air. They fly with the help of warm air currents to preserve energy.
  • Secretarybirds have extremely long legs that are covered with scales. Scales prevent injuries that may result from the movement across the rough terrain.
  • Unlike other raptors, secretarybirds look for the food by walking on the ground. They can travel a distance of 20 miles each day.
  • Secretarybirds are carnivores (meat-eaters). Their diet consists of snakes and other reptiles, insects and rodents.
  • Secretarybirds apply two methods to kill their prey. They will either stab the prey with the beak or stomp the victim until it is dead. Secretarybirds swallow the prey in one piece.
  • Secretarybirds are territorial animals. They occupy territory of around 19 square miles.
  • Secretarybirds are loud animals that produce croaks, whistles, groans and clucks. They vocalize during the courtship, when they are threatened or as a sign of aggression toward other males.
  • Besides humans, natural enemies of secretarybirds are hawks, large snakes and carnivorous mammals.
  • Mating takes place throughout the whole year and reaches the peak during the spring and summer. Female produces couple of broods per year when the food is abundant.
  • Both parents build nest out of the sticks and leaves. Nest is usually 8 feet wide and located on the acacia tree. Female lays 1 to 3 eggs that will hatch after incubation period of 42 to 46 days.
  • Both parents take care of the eggs and young chicks. Secretarybirds regurgitate swallowed food to feed their chicks. At the age of 40 days, young birds will start to eat small animals. They will leave the nest for the first time at the age of 12 weeks.
  • Secretarybird can survive up to 20 years in captivity.

 

Iquest Adventures Annapurna Circuit Trek , Nepal… An expedition with a difference

Education  and mountaineering are in so many ways connected …  both lead to a more peaceful way of life , more understanding and self awareness ,  and  both have their own share of hurdles , challenges and summits to be reached , both  are  addictive , both are explorative.…

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The Rotary Club  has taken a huge and gigantic step towards its mission to eradicate illiteracy  in South Asia,  one of its Major project TEACH  which stands for  ‘Teacher empowerment, E-Learning, Adult-Literacy, Child Development  and Happy school’ ,  is an initiative to eradicate  Illiteracy from the face of South Asia.

Iquest Outdoor leadership and Adventure consultants one of the leading mountaineering Organizations  took up this cause  to spread awareness through the Annapurna Circuit Trekking expedition .

Below is an account on our trek which is rightly counted among the top 10 treks in the world.

Some circuits are complete only when there is a soul flowing in it .   and when complete it creates  a sense of enlightenment …

Such is the Annapurna circuit trek ……..

The mighty Himalayas offers  life  in all its  forms ,  every aspect , every element  is  so positive ,  vibrant  with  diverse cultures , rituals , values ,

This circuit had been evading me for quite some time  and  we were in two minds  on selecting the major trail for this season , until…  I remember on a casual talk with Hemant  that we decided that Annapurna circuit trek it is .

And with it started the preparations,

Hemant , Sabina and Yogita  already having  experienced in High altitude Himalayan expeditions   were more then ready  and eager for this expedition ,   For Varun  it had been a dream to Trek in the Himalayas  although an ardent nature lover  he was always instrumental in promoting outdoors  from his college days  itself. It was to make a decision based on his work availability etc ,  Varun  convinced Sri also residing  in Dubai for whom too it was a not so difficult decision to make   inspite ofholding major responsibilities at work

All the participants  were leaders in their own respective professions,

Being  a leader of this trekking expedition was a special  occasion  for me  for many reasons . Hemant was the deputy Leader  as he too had a lot of mountain experience .

An air of excitement at Iquest adventures as this was the first time we were organizing an expedition to the Annapurna region ,   Although Nepal  is not new to us  having organized  many expeditions to the Everest Base camp since 2007…

Kathmandu  the meeting point    I would say the melting point   as most tourists  land here and  disperse into thin air  for some Himalayan indulgence ….

With Varun and Sri arriving from Dubai  and Hemant , Yogita and Sabina   arriving from Bangalore and Mumbai via delhi ,   and their flights separated by just about less then an hour , It became easy for me to receive  them at the  Airport with traditional garlands.

As is a norm with me to reach the base city a day or two in advance  and look into some prior arrangements , this time too I was in Kathmandu 2 days before others arrived .

Thamel — about 20 minutes drive  from the Airport ,   always hustling with activities , shops selling everything a tourist would need  both services and goods ,   this tourist ghetto is most popular for expedition teams to stay  and so did we ,

With so many restaurant options, cafes, most places offering free wi-fi , different variety of food to try from , one doesn’t take long for  some global indulgence or local  experience…

We take one day off before the trek starts  so we can  do final  purchases required for the trek ,   and this involves running up and down the streets of thamel , bargaining ,  choosing the right  material ,  ofcourse  taking permits is also the important task for the day ,

With many restaurants playing live music we decided to choose one randomly  for the dinner   and we decide to hit the bed after our final packing and separating the dump kit that would remain in Kathmandu,

 

Day 1

An early morning  awaits us to start our journey  , we head to Bishishahar  from where we plan to  take a local jeep to reach our first  village  sachi   ,  it takes  us  a whole 8 hoiurs to reach this village ,  and we encounter some heavy rains , hail , during the jeep ride along the beautiful Marsyangdi River … we reach syange located at 1400 mtrs  and stay there   that’s the starting point of our trek    ,

Day 2

Chame to dharopani  at an altitude  of 1920 mtrs

At this point I would make a short mention on The LNT ( Leave No Traces ) principles

  1. 1.       Plan Ahead and Prepare

2.       2 Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces

3.       Dispose of Waste Properly

4.       Leave What You Find

5.       Minimize Campfire Impacts

6.       Respect Wildlife

7.       Be Considerate of Other Visitors

 

 

Dharapani a beautiful village belongs to the Gandaki zone of Manang  district..  it is the continuation of the trail  that gradually climbs  uphill…

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Dharapani to Chame

 

We start  this day  with a gradual trek through forests and tree line towards  chame

Chame is a unique village  with distinct structures  also the district head quarters of Manang .

Chame is at an altitude of 2630 Mtrs  and this day we get stunning views of the Annapurna ranges , the snow clad peaks ,  the ridges give an extra  pack of energy  to move ahead .

 

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Day 4

Chame to Upper  pisang   –  this day involves a relatively long trek of about 15 kms approx , gaining altitude gradually ,  Upper Pisang at an altitude of 3310 Mtrs  has quaint old-school lodging and an active Tibetan Buddhist Monastery worth visiting for the Sunset and Sunrise chants. And an amazing spectacular view of the surrounding  mountains and landscapes. Furthermore, the villages along the upper trail are full of character and the views along the trail are perhaps the best of the whole circuit , it takes a little extra effort to take this trail  as there is an alternative trail to continue the trek  , however I strongly recommend this trail  and a visit to this  place .. when there  do try the Tibetan tea.   .

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Day 5

 

Pisang to manang  —  at this point of the expedition we are getting into the High altitude zone  which means  managing  acclimatization  is the key,  A few tips  for proper acclimatization are as follows

 

  1. Hydrate  properly
  2. Enough sleep during night and active during  day
  3. Slow and gradual gain in altitude
  4. Enough rest and acclimatization days
  5. Checking health and look for symptoms in the initial stages itself .
  6. Good appetite, healthy food  is very important.
  7. A very positive mental state  is a must. Humor helps…
  8. Follow the basic rules ‘climb high sleep low ‘

 

The trek from Pisang to Manang  is the continuation  of the previous days trek  similar terrain  one can expect some snowfall or rain, so be prepared  ,  the  views change  after every small  distance

 

Manang  is a lovely town  and is well established to  Himalayan standards, it has video parlors, Bakeries offering delightful  bakery items ranging fro apple crumbles to pizzas, cakes and  various english delights,

 

A place where the trekker gets a much needed break  and gets ready for the second phase of the big expedition  which is more tough and  goes higher ,

 

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Day 5

Manangthis is a rest day  and I recommend an acclimatization walk  to the Lake and  the high  point  we gain an altitude of about  100 mtrs and come back to our  tea house ,  trekkers  are adviced to drink lot of fluids , soups ,  etc .   there is a health check up[ point ,  and the Himalayan association runs regular talks  on High altitude  awareness , one can alsop visit the museum  there which showcases the local life style and  a glimpse of its history and culture. .

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Day 7

Manang to Yak katka – Yak khatka is at 4200 mtrs  a very tiny village   and not a distant trail ,  it has only about 4 tea houses   a few prayer wheels ,  but this could be an important stop considering acclimatization process and is advisable to stay over ….

 

Day 8

Yak katka to torung phedi at this point we are on the snow line  at 4500Mtrs thorung phedi which is the base camp for the final push to the pass  ,  the short distance may take about 4 hours of trek ,  a narrow trail at places gets dangerous with falling stones and splinters , the trekkers are advised to be extra cautious  during this  trail ,  thorung phedi has a Helipad for emergency evac  facilities .   here we have an early lunch    and followed by an early dinner  and all move to our respective cabins  to prepare for the  early morning push the next day .    a cold night  awaits ….

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Day 9

 

Thorung la   this is the longest and toughest day of this whole expedition ,  an extra layer of thermal  wear , comes into play before sleep , and most warm gear   are mainly for this  days hike ,  head gear, gloves , wind stoppers , goretex, etc etc … the list is big …

 

We plan to wake up at 3 am  get ready by 3:30 am have  a cup of tea , pack cinnamon rolls and a few boiled eggs , fill the bottles with water, head-lamps  light up our trail ,  and  at 3:45 am we start our  climb  slowly and gradually  a steep  incline is negotiated   and in about  3 hours we reach the high camp  at 4850 mtrs … a small rest and we continue  our trek landscape changes into a snow  terrain ,  what looks like never ending sheet of snow laid of the mountains , sometime slippery , sometime shallow ,  sometime deep ,  many times funny and frustrating to many a  hikers ….

 

Utmost care is to be taken while trekking in these  terrains …   with a focus on the  highest  point of thorung la   we keep moving , slowly and steadily  one step at a time , some trekkers complain of headaches ,  tiredness etc   this is very common  and the relief is  after a while its just descend ,

 

The snow line remains for quite some time  offering  surreal views  of the surrounding mountains ,  the formations ,  the clouds ,  everything falls in its own place very elegantly .    although one is adviced to wear UV protection glasses to avoid  over exposure to Glare from sunlight .

 

The Highest point at 5400 mtrs   looks like a big relief   there is a mark  where one can pose for photographs  tie Tibetan  prayer flags  take some rest  it seems like the toughest part is over … but hang on.  the  descend is  not yet over …  the trek must go on …   usually descend is more risky when compared to asends  and more accidents happen while descends ,    my team  descend  slowly  care is taken at the  snow filled terrain  as we do not use crampons and ice axe  which is not needed  here.

 

The descend  is to an altitude of 3800 mtrs to Mukthinath   a spiritual town which has the  famous Muktinath temple  considered as one of the holy pilgrimage by Hindus,

 

The town has many street vendors who sell Tibetan hand made jewelry , souvenirs , wollen shawls and warm clothes  , Saligram a sacred black stone ,  apart from a couple of fancy restaurants which offer  even free wifi facilities.

 

The temple visit  is almost a must  as this simple shrine  holds  major importance to Hindus  it houses Vishnus deity , the 108 taps from which water  falls around the temple  is also considered  sacred to take bath in .

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Day 10

Mukthinath to Tathopaani   taking a vehicle ride is recommended  for this stretch    we go from Mukthinath to Jomsum by jeep , , take a bus to Ghasa  and thereon change to another bus  to Thatopaani ,  this bus ride was one of the most Bumpiest ride ever ,    and add to it heavy rainfall ,  we had a stone fall from the cliff  and smash the windscreen of our bus , , the bus passes through  some very scenic terrain  we get to see the Annapurna ranges in all its glory ,  and the river below   is always flowing along  the narrow bus trail …

Thatopaani  at 1200 Mtrs is famous for its Hot springs , tourists stay their for an extra day to enjoy a  bath in the hot spring ,   we are in the Mastang district now ,

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One of the holy Temples right after crossing the Thorung la

 

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One of the most Bumpiest bus rides ever

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Tathopani to Ghorepani   a long  day  this covers a rich beautiful  trail  a steadily  inclined  path leads through various small villages ,  with children playing , fields , Huts  and small tea houses offering  refreshments ,  the stunning views  are  worth mentioning ,  a photographers paradise ,   a dreamers heaven ,

This trail passes through  Ghara , Shika , Chitre  among some of the prominent villages .

One gets to see  a typical Mountain village life  ,

If one has more days  this trail can be broken down into two days as well .

Almost a 9 hours trek  we reach Gorepani at al altitude of 2800 Mtrs … again to be received by a magnificent view of the Daulagiri ranges

Poon hill   is a must visit  High point  in this trail , an early morning  climb of 400 Mtrs  from Gore pani  , offers  spectacle so enchanting  that one gets into a deep  mesmerism, the  rising sun makes the mountain ranges  very beautiful  , the clear skies,   the mix of Dusk  shades on the distant  ranges is worth a visit ,  the photographers love it ….

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The beautiful terrain and the river that flows by almost thropughout the trail

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Day 12

Grorepani to Helay to  Nayapul   to Pokhara  – The last day of the expedition is all about descending ,  there are steps , and at times it gets taxing on the knees, advisable to use walking sticks  or hiking poles …  as usual of this  region the views are never ending it simply amazes one as we hike down hill through those many villages  , the different shades of green , blues ,  the flowers ,  Fauna, birds ,   everything seems to have come together  in a perfect synch .

We trek upto Helay and take a jeep  to Nayapul  and from there  ride to Pokhara .

Pokhara is a silent city also called the adventure capital of Nepal , perfect to spend post trek days chilling out at  its many restaurants ,  indulging in adventure activities ,  or just doing nothing  and staring at the distant mountains  over a cuppa  hot  tea.

During this trail we see many  facets of Himalayan life , their culture , children, schools ,  some  new schools coming up ,  newer hospitals and health care centers  ,  the people who have lived there for generations and the  visitors and trekkers  like me and my team .

There is always some inner strength that  drives a trekker to move ahead , this time it was the strong  urge and desire  from our group to raise awareness  towards Rotary’s project on  Literacy ,  lot of help is needed to make  this dream come true … lot of hands  must join together  in driving  many initiatives  to make  this region  completely literate .

Mountaineering is a  very indulging  activity,  and It becomes a  big responsibility for every trekker   or visitor to the mountains  to be as responsible  as possible and come back with nothing but only memories …  one must remember that we have borrowed  this  from our future generations.

For people wanting to  go on a trek in this trail  they can contact sunand sampath at 9448476683 email tosunand@gmail.com

A Travelogue by

Expedition Leader Rotarian  Sunand Sampath

 

The IQUEST ADVENTURES – ANNAPURNA CIRCUIT TREK (NEPAL)

ATC

Annapurna circuit trek …. !!!!

This trek takes you through distinct regional scenery of rivers, flora, fauna and above all – mountains.    There are four regions that are passed through on the trek; Lamjung, Manang, Mustang and Myagdi.

Lamjung and Myagdi of the lower elevations are both predominantly Hindu and with lush green subtropical valleys with villages and terraced farming. Manang and Mustang are of the higher elevations and are predominantly Tibetan Buddhist.

The trek goes counter-clockwise reaches its summit in Thorung La (pass) at the height of 5416m, or 17,769 feet.  The route goes past the  mountains,      passing through the world’s deepest gorge in between those two 8,000-plus meter peaks. Poon Hill, at the end of the trek, affords views of those two mountains, as well as South Annapurna and Macchupucchre, the “Fishtail Mountain.”

The trek also goes through Buddhist villages and Hindu holy sites, most notably the village of Muktinath, a holy site for both Buddhists and Hindus, and Braga, one of the oldest monasteries in the region. From Dharapani to
Kagbeni you will be walking the Annapurna section of The Great Himalaya Trail, a long distance trekking route that connects Nepal from East to West.
To Be led by a Highly experienced Mountaineering Leader and supported by well experienced Guides and Friendly Staff…!

Dates : 5th April to 20th April 2014 ,KTM to KTM.
Type of Trek : Tea House.
Highest point:  17873 ft/5416 mts.
Focus : Villages, monasteries, wildlife, high passes, and dramatic landscape.
Grade : Physical Challenge, Hard trek overall, so physical fitness is recommended.

Day to Day Itinerary:-

Day 01: 5th April 2014: Arrival in Kathmandu
Upon arriving in Kathmandu (Tribhuvan International Airport), a representative will meet you and help you transfer to your hotel by private bus. Enjoy a free evening to explore Kathmandu and recover from your jet-lag. Meet the our trip leader during a short pre-tour briefing before dinner.

Day 02: 6th April: Sightseeing of Kathmandu Valley and preparation for the trip. Travel to Pokhara proceed to syangje and stay.

Day 03: 7th April: Trek from Syange to Dharapani [1,960m/6,430ft]: 7-8 hrs. A leisurely trekking pace takes us into the Manang district with its fields of barley, rice, potato and pine forests. We pass the village of Kodo and will overnight in Dharapani.

Day 04: 8th April: Trek from Dharapani to Chame [2,710m/8,891ft]: 5-6 hrs. On the way to Chame we climb a few steep, forested ridges and are treated by some of the most sensational mountain views: Lamjung Himal, Annapurna II, and Annapurna IV (7,525m/24,688ft). At our destination a few small hot springs bring relief to our taxed muscles.

Day 05: 9th April: Trek from Chame to Pisang [3,300m/10824ft]: 5-6 hrs.
Today we trek higher along a steep and narrow, densely forest path that leads to a rock face that soars 1500m/4,920 ft above the river. We reach at Pisang finally.

Day 06: 10th April: Trek from Upper Pisang to Manang [3,500m/11,482ft]: 6-7 hrs. Out of the two routes to choose, we select the upper one (through Upper Pisang and Geru) where the sceneries are unmatched. Majestic peaks tower all around us are Annapurna, Pisang peak, and several others. As we trek higher the landscape and vegetation change with the colder and dryer environment. It’s not all hard work though, since we will visit the Barge monastery (largest in the district of Manang).

Day 07: 11th April: Trek from Manang: Acclimatization Day
To allow our body chemistry to change, adapt to the lower levels of oxygen at altitude, this will be an acclimatization day. We will take a few short walks to higher ground. Great destinations are the Bhojo Gompa, Gangapurna Lake, the Himalayan Rescue Association and even the small old, monastery village of Vraga. This day is important since the next two are challenging with a rapid gain in altitude.

Day 8: 12th April: Trek from Manag to Yak Kharka ,3,110m/13,484ft]: 3-4 hrs.  We climb out of the Marshyangdi Valley toward Jarsang Khola and Ghunsa. We pass a few pastures, a patch of juniper trees, and the flat mud roofs. After crossing a small river, we pass an ancient old Mani wall (religious carvings on stone slabs) before entering the small village of Yak Kharka.

Day 9: 13th April: Trek from Yak Kharka to Thorong Phedi [4,600m/15,092ft]: 3-4 hrs.  Thorong Pedi is close to the foot of the pass, Thorong La. This ‘trekker/climber’ village caters to the needs of these adventures souls. Some people hike higher to make the “pass-day” easier and risk contracting Altitude Sickness. We stop here to avoid this and potentially get a better night’s sleep.

Day 10: 14th April: Trek from Thorong Phedi to Muktinath [3,800/12,467ft]: 7-8 hrs. Thorong La (5,416 m/17,769 ft), an unforgettable experience, is clearly the climax of our Annapurna Circuit trek. It is in our grasp today. Yes, we will be huffing and puffing, and at the same time exulting in the experience; our own human performance and the unimaginable majesty of this place that few Westerners see. We reach Muktinath with the setting sun. Muktinath hosts a Vishnu temple and a Buddhist Monastery and is often referred to as an example of the religions harmony in Nepal.

Day 11: 15th April: Trek from Muktinath to Tatopani [1,200m/3937ft]: 6-8 hrs. Today, we drive along a plateau above the Kali Gandaki – world`s deepest gorge. We will be using the local private jeep of bus to Ghasa and then change another vehicle to Tatopani. The road is gravel and unfortunately rough and dusty. At Tatopani another treat awaits us, and everyone is anxious to relax their weary muscles in one of the hot spring pools.

Day 12: 16th April: Trek from Tatopani to Ghorepani [2,850m/9,350ft].: 7-8 hrs. The trek to Ghorepani takes us past the Pun Magar villages of Ghara and Sikha and their terraced farmlands, through Phalate and Chitre, and through beautiful rhododendron, birch, and magnolia stands. The surrounding peaks look wonderful, almost ominous, as they tower above.

Day 13: 17th April: Trek from Ghorepani to Poon Hill to Nayapul and then drive to Pokhara. And stay
An early ascent of Poon Hill (3,210m. /10,531ft) takes us to the top to witness a spectacular moment in time: sunrise over the whole Annapurna and Dhaulagiri massifs. We then return back to our lodge for the breakfast. And then, we trek downhill to Nayapul via Ulleri and Birethanti. We drive to Pokhara from Nayapul, which take approx. an hour and half.

Day 14: 18th April Buffer Day 1
Day 15 : 19th April Buffer Day 2
Day 16 : 20th April: Final Departure from Kathmandu

Note:-

  • Cost :40000/- INR
  • Last Date for Registration : 15th March 2014                                                 [Registration through an advance payment of 50% of the total charges , Balance to be paid before 15th March 2014]
  • Age Group: 15 and above
  • Minimum number of participants : 5 nos.
  • Contact for registration:-
  • Sunand Sampath ( Expedition Coordinator )
  • Email contact@iquestindia.com phone +91 80 40930357 ( 15:00 to 19:00 hrs on week days )
  • Mobil: 9448476683

Cost Includes:-

  • Highly experienced Leaders, High Altitude Guides.
  • Hotels when in city, during the trek in tents on sharing basis.
  • Food :3 Veg meals a day while trekking.
  • Certificates and expedition t-shirts.
  • Flight to and fro Pokhara
  • 3 night accommodation in Kathmandu in non star hotel.
  • 2 Night Accommodation in Pokhara non star (without meals)

Cost Excludes:-

  • All the personal expenses like drinks, tips etc.
  • Cost of any form of insurance, rescue, evacuation, hospitalization, etc.
  • Travel fare up to KTM and Back (iQuest can assist in getting reservations for travel).
  • Any Insurance. Any item apart from that indicated in the itinerary.
  • Sightseeing and other charges in Kathmandu.
  • Meals in Kathmandu and in Pokhara
  • Any Temple entry fee

Cancellation Charges:-

  • 25% of the total charges of the actual cost incurred , whichever is higher if cancelled before 15th March 2014.
  • 50% of the total charges If cancelled between 16th March and 25th March 2014.
  • 75% of the total charges if cancelled between 26th March and 31st March 2014.
  • 100% charges if cancelled on or after 1st April 2014 , No refunds will be made if the participant has to return back at any point of the programme or does not attend the programme due to any reason what-so-ever .

KINDLY NOTE:-

In case of circumstance out of our control like, natural calamities, local law and order situation,etc.,which may result in change in itinerary, additional booking of accommdation,transport,logistic etc., causing an increase in expenses, and also in case of any fuel price hike .The additional cost thus incurred shall be borne by the participant.

Hampi Photography trip

A visit to Hampi

Is a sojourn into the past

And the best way to

experience this

World Heritage Site

Which now lies in ruins,

Is to take a leisurely walk.

And go on an enchanting journey

Of excitement and discovery.

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Congratulations!!!!

to the team that returned from the Hampi Photography trip ,. Divya, Sindhu, Hinglaz, Saransh, Saket, Ami, Taushik and myself ( Sunand) went through some really memorable moments during the trip , Lot of sharing , Learnings teachings  and  Progress.