Orphan youths successfully climb Kuari Pass
Like the famous one-liner of an international sports goods company that says, “Just do it!’ …. a small group of 15 orphaned boys and girls from Mysore, Pune and Tamil Nadu did precisely that. The orphans, joined by a supporting team of trekkers, trekked to Kuari Pass summit in Uttar-khand’s section of Himalayas. Kuari Pass trek is popular for the Himalayan peaks of Nanda Devi, Kamet, Mana, Trisul, Dunagiri, Bethartoli and others. The trek began on April 25 and concluded on May 14.
It may be recalled that SOM had published an article (SOM dated March 24) about the proposal to take orphaned boys and girls on a trek to foot of the Himalayan range. The trek for these orphans was organised by the City based, International Academy of Mountaineering and Allied Sports (IAMAS), and Society for Trekking and Environmental Preservation (STEP), New Delhi.
The happy trekkers are K.D. Devendra and Mahadeva Swamy from JSS, Suttur, Siddarth Bapu from Grace School, Kumbarakoppal, Anitha, Kavya and Shruthi from Bapuji Children’s Home, Savitha, Divya and Reshma from Govt. Girls Home, Siddharthanagar, Sakthi Kumar from Govt. Home for Boys, JP Nagar, Mallikarjuna, Juvenile Home (all from Mysore), and Suhas Dilip Bodake and Bhupesh Chadrakant Indulkar from Radhabai Hardikar Pranjit Mangal Sanstha of Pune. The trekkers were led by N. Shankara Subramanaya, supported by Pankaj Mallick, Shrisha Bhat, M. Mohan Kumar, Dr. Rashmi, M.S. Lakshman Raju, Somnath Pal Ashok Banka and Pradeep Bist.
The cost of the trek which was around Rs. 4,10,662, was borne by Australian Martin Gregory and his friends from Australia, who played the Good Samaritans. When a simple outing like a visit to the zoo for instance seems often impossible, a trek to the Himalayan range was like a dream that they wouldn’t dared to have dreamt. Aptly enough the trek was called, DREAMS -2010.
“Dreams-2010” is the first ever trekking expedition held exclusively for the orphan youths of Karnataka, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. The expedition is the brain child of D.S.D.Solanki, Program Director of IAMAS.
The planning for the trip led to intense bon-ding among trekkers, with a lot of laughter and some tears (of joy).
Here is what these young trekkers say:
“I can smell those fresh flowers, the dew, the bustle of the breeze caressing our bodies and it was truly a climb up to face the creator himself.”
“Walking up to Ramni from Chepna. On Day 1, we had a breathtaking view of the Chaukambha mountain ranges. Day 2 saw us heading to Jhenji. The peak emerged and what a way to experience pleasure on Day 3 when we reached the villages Jhenjhi and Pana.”
“With our back-packs up, toeing in line, heads held high and with our gazes fixed at the distant hazy mountains, we set out on Day 4 from Pana to Santoli on a terrain which was more even surfaced and not so treacherous. Perhaps we were now getting used to the climb and were slowly inching towards conquering the mountains that made us take the hills in our stride. We camped there for the pre-summit camp to acclimatize ourselves before we attempted the next leap of our final climb. With a day’s break and making preparations — physical and mental — we left on Day 5 to Khulara from Santoli, when finally the moment of Eureka! Came—the KUARI Pass Summit — We had made it.”
“On Day 6 we took a break at Khulara where we had fun playing games, reliving the moments of physical struggle and mental resolve we endured. On the next day, Day 7, we walked down to TAPOVAN. The entire trek was so planned, it evoked the completeness of our lives and our connection with nature, both within ourselves and with each other.”
“The camp fires, the discussions, the small talks, the laughter, the songs, the splendid views of Nanda Devi, Neel Khant, Nanda Ghunti, Chaukhamba, Kamet, Mana, Hathi Parvat, Trishul, and a host of other celestial spots will be etched in our memories forever. This is how our planet earth was intended to be and we, young boys and girls, have a tremendous responsibility ahead of us to ensure that we slowly but surely ascertain that nature always remained in her pristine glory.” “We slept inside tents in our sleeping bags on the mou-ntain top, surrounded on all sides by glaciers, in the lap of Mo-ther Nature. ”
“Having lost my parents when I was very young, thinking of a trekking expedition in Himalayan Ranges was a distant dream and it was simply a DREAM COME TRUE”, says Devendra Kanakappa Dasara, a student of JSS and a native of Gadag.
“It was all possible because of IAMAS’s noble gesture of taking us to Himalayan ranges,” says Sharada, Salundi, Govt Girls Home, Mysore.
The youths scaled the famous Kauri Pass on May 8, 2010, which is at an altitude of 4,268 meters, in the Garhwal, Himalayas. At Kuari Pass, tears rolled down as trekkers, hugged each other and said, “We have done it Sir!”
Before ascending the Kuari Pass the team camped at various places like Ghat, Ramni, Jhenji, Pana, Santoli and Khulara, finally culminating at Tapovan. On the way the trekkers had a refreshing bath at the hot springs in Badrinath.
But this was not the only treat for these youngsters. They were also taken to Parliament House, Badrinath and Wagh Border (India’s border crossing with Pakistan) and this segment was co-ordinated by B.D. Sharma, Laxman Singh Negi and K.L. Sharma of STEP.
En route the team also visited Agra to see the Taj Mahal and Agra Fort, the Parliament House in Delhi and Red Fort, Golden Temple in Amritsar, Jallianwallah Bagh, Indian Military Academy, Forest Research Institute (Dehradun), Haridwar and Rishikesh. They even had a white water rafting expedition in Ganges organised by Ravers Expedition, Rishikesh.
This expedition was dedicated to the legendary mountaineer late Govindaraju of Deccan Mountaineering League, Mysore.
The last word goes to Ananya Deepanjali Kodandera of St. Joseph’s Central School, who accompanied the orphan trekkers, “Having trekked in various places in eastern Ghats, western Ghats and in Himalayan Ranges with IAMAS this expedition was really a dream come true, once in a life time experience for me.”