First Gold Holders' expedition to explore, preserve and build in Spiti

Tentative Dates: late August to early September, 2010. KAZA, Spiti

National Award Partner- Ecosphere and the Gold Award Holders' Society of India are proud to present a "Meaningful trek" exclusively for Gold Award Holders and Gold Award participants. This expedition spanning a total duration of 15 days will include 4 days of travelling, 5 days of active volunteering and 6 days of trekking and sightseeing.

Route: Delhi - Manali – Spiti – Manali – Delhi.

Maximum Altitude: 5000 metres above sea level.

We invite you to a different kind of holiday that makes travel meaningful through active discovery of the magic of Spiti valley while contributing to the development and conservation of the region. Home to some of the oldest Buddhist monasteries and temples in the world, this Trip provides an interesting insight into Spitian life, culture and Buddhist heritage along with the opportunity to be part of reducing the impacts of climate change. During this journey you will be assisting the local community in the construction of a solar bathing facility. You will participate in the actual construction of the solar passive structure and will be assisted by a dedicated team of a qualified mason and representative from Ecosphere. During the trip you will also be hiking along some of the highest villages in the world, across rolling meadows which are the grazing pastures of the local livestock and the hunting grounds of the Snow Leopard and Himalayan Wolf. Each village along this trail is adorned by unique and ancient Buddhist monasteries and temples dating back to over a 1000 years, encased in legend and folklore. The home stay accommodation along the trail further enriches the experience by giving one an authentic understanding of the life and culture in a Spitian home. Your hosts are the local people of Spiti, accommodating you in their homes to enhance your sojourn in Spiti.

Highlights

• A carbon positive trip where by building a solar bathing facility for the local community, you will help reduce carbon emissions and enhance health of the local people and also offset the carbon emitted on your journey to Spiti.

• Experience rural life in the Himalayas by living with the local community and becoming a part of their daily lives. This is one rare opportunity to learn about local cultures, agriculture, ecological and socio-economic issue first hand, while making tangible contributions.

• Make lifelong relationships with real people in one of the remotest corners of the Himalayas. A journey that makes you part of a family and the community as a whole, their day to day lives, their relationship with the environment, their daily chores, religious strivings, struggles and celebrations.

• Hiking deep into the vast open spaces of this rugged backcountry. A great way to learn about the ecology and bio-diversity that is nurtured amidst this unique desertscape.

• Visits the ancient monasteries dating back to over a 1000 years preserving a living Buddhist tradition till date.

• Get insights into the local development and conservation issues and a peep into Ecosphere’s initiatives to ensure the sustainable development of this Trans-Himalayan region.

Significance of the Project in this Trip

The construction of a solar bathing facility is of great significance in Spiti as large amounts of fuel wood, coal and LPG are burnt for heating water throughout the year which contributes to Carbon dioxide and black carbon emissions. The latter has far more damaging effects on the melting of glaciers and snow at a local level. Through the set up of a solar bathing structure, we will not only enable the local community to cut down on emissions (especially those of black carbon), reduce their fuel wood consumption and hence the money they spend on it per annum, as well as enable them (especially the women and children) to enhance their levels of hygiene.

Contact the GAHS Team at the National Office by July 31st with your confirmed participation and get more information. Come be a part of a historic effort to relive Award Journeys, share experiences and make a difference to your community. All while having a great time!

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