Christmas Gifts for the Adventurous Soul
Global crisis or not, Christmas is right around the corner and people are already rushing to real and virtual shops in search of that unique gift. What, might you ask, will they give? In Spain at least, adventure sport experiences and spa vouchers were among the most popular Christmas gifts last year and the same is expected this year. It seems everyone is hoping to get someone’s adrenaline pumping or their mind and body relaxed.
High altitude treks are one example of those invigorating adventures in demand. When they offer the added value of a fulfilling personal and cultural experience, there’s no beating them.
One popular destination for such holistic travel experiences is India. Trekking in the Himalayas, or less well known but equally impressive areas like Paddar (district Kishtwar, near Kashmir) are beautifully rewarding adventures worth recording in a travel blog.
One such expedition begins in a village of Paddar called Gulabgarh, an area completely isolated until 1985, when the road was finally opened. Scarce, if any, tourists are to be found in this rough territory.
This five-day trekking route begins in Gulabgarh itself (1990m.) and then climbs to Kabban, the farthermost Buddhist village in the area (3000 m). The walk uphill to Kabban is not easy, but it helps trekkers to acclimatize before attempting the climb to the Kabban pass (La, in the Ladakhi language) at 4900.
Once beyond the pass, there are 55 km to cover before arriving back in Gulabgarh. The route passes through Machail, one of the major Hindu pilgrimage sites in India.
There is no better way to immerse oneself in the traditional Buddhist culture than this trek. The Buddhist community is welcoming and helpful and always ready to share its typical food and drinks of wine and chang with visitors as they sit cross-legged around the fire lit rooms. Sharing a conversation is easier if you know a bit of Ladhaki or Hindi, as few if any of the locals speak English. A guide like Tashi Tsering can help bridge the linguistic gap.
No cell phones in Kabban, although there is a satellite phone in case you’d like to call home, and then only if home is in India. Bear in mind that network connections are only available in Gulabgarh itself. There is no Internet connection either, which means a real holiday from the hustle and bustle of our Western lifestyle.