26 November 2005

Mission Himalaya-Conservation International

Conservation International's (CI) Rapid Assessment Program (RAP) and Disney's Animal Kingdom deployed the first of two scientific research teams to explore and document the many wonders of this special place. Discovery Networks will accompany CI and Disney to document the expedition’s journey, and share the unique story with millions of viewers.

Visit Conservation International.

Environment Information System -Himachal Pardesh

Evironment Information System (ENVIS), Himachal Pradesh, is a programme of the Ministry of Environment and Forests , Government of India on" POLLUTION & ENVIRONMENT". Envis is a decentralized system using the distributed network of databases to ensure integration of national efforts in Environment Informational Compilation , Storage , Retrieval and dissemination to all concerned including policy planners , decision makers , research workers and the public.

Visit Environment Information System

Buddhas Land

A balanced way of tourism and kudos to the people who think this totally unique way of promoting tourism yet maintaining the right balance of environment preservation.

The description of the sites reads :

“ The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest people in the care of the human frame in diet & in the cause and prevention of disease."

While you are on holiday you can do something for your health and well being. We offer inexpensive Alternative treatments, trekking, sightseeing and other activities like learning music, meditation, archery, yoga, dance...Create your own holiday package according to your needs.”

Thanks to Martin to allow me to use the picture from his website and I was so happy to see the monastery at Bir, which is next to my home town, Baijnath. I have mentioned on earlier article about Tibetans in Himachal and specifically in Bir/Bhattu area. Please visit Budhhas land and experience first hand what Himachal has to offer.

24 November 2005


Gaddi is Himachal's nomad caste, a male is called Gaddi(spelled Gh–dh–ii) whereas female a Gaddan (spelled Gh-dh-n). Gaddis carry a rich culture of Himachal with their own traditional clothing which is mainly made of sheep wool, as they live usually in higher altitude areas and lot of silver jewelry.

Male Gaddis wear a coat made of pure wool and tie a black rope made of wool around waist. Himachali cap sits atop head always.

Gaddan wears a traditional gown again made of pure wool and lot of jewelry usually made of silver, there is a myth that Gaddis put iron on sheep’s foot and when they travel to higher altitudes with the sheeps it turns out to silver, so thats why gaddans usually has a lot of silver.


Visit Himcrafts to buy Himachal products

23 November 2005

Fruits Of The Himalaya

Fruits Of The Himalaya Fruits of the Himalaya is a new Fair Trade business based in the Indian Himalaya. Fair Trade is an ethical system of trading intended to protect the rights of small producers by ensuring they receive a fair share of the profits from the entire product chain.

Sonia Kundu runs this organization and in her own words:

Just a few things; it is important to let people know that this is not an NGO. It is not a charity. It will (hopefully!) be a self sustaining business. The idea is to help people who are able to work by teaching them better business practices and giving them better access to markets as well as paying them premium prices in return for providing a grade A quality product (I give the training on how to achieve this).

Whilst charity has a very real place in society for orphans or victims of abuse or of natural disasters, in other cases it can have a negative effect. Where people are able to work, offering them a step up through business gives them a better sense of diginity and does not take away their pride.

In the initial set up phase, however, I have hit some problems. Mainly that there was a massive flood in July - a cloudburst over the source of the Palachan river which has carried so much debris down the river bed that it has practically buried the river!

This has meant that much of the drying technology will have to be redesigned. There is no electricity in that region and I had been planning to povide all of the processing unit's electrical needs with a pico hydro unit. But with very little water now, that may not be possible. Electricity is required because the products I am working with all come during the monsoon which is obviously very humid. Simple solar drying technologies will not be adequate.

I am trying to design a CHEAP (and therefore replicable at village level) technology for drying in extremely humid conditions without electricity.

This also has to be incorporated into requirements for organic and HACCP certification which is necessary for the export markets in which I have orders. The drying unit is constructed as a polyhouse with seperate sections for grading and drying. It must be like this so that the inside can be completely washed down twice a day.

22 November 2005


Recently on our internet group of People for Himachal and its Causes", Payson Stevens, who is also a great friend of Himachal as well as Friend of GHNP, introduced Ben Heron to all of us.

Ben works for SEHYOG. Here is a small intoduction of SEHYOG from their website:

The Two Branches of Sehyog's Work: The work of Sehyog Research Group can be split into two different areas; 'research and demonstration' in Deushar, and 'extension' work with other local projects and organisations:

1. The foundation of the project is to apply and increase our own knowledge of sustainable agriculture, medicinal plants and appropriate technology through research and demonstration at the Sehyog headquarters in Deushar. By implementing locally applicable sustainable practices ourselves, we aim to create an environment in which we can learn from our own practical experience as well as provide an example that others can follow and learn from.

2. Extension and Wider Implementation with other NGOs: The second branch of the project is to work together with other local NGOs and ethical businesses to encourage the adoption of appropriate, ecologically sustainable living and livelihood practices on a wider scale. Our role is to organise training, disseminate information and facilitate the implementation of sustainable practices and income-generating activities that relate to the above mentioned areas of work. This process is already underway and is being carried out through the informal 'Sehyog Extension Group'.

On Sehyog's website I found many other NGO links also who are working in the smaller areas and making a change. I am listing all of them one by one with smaller intrductions from their websites, I wish all of you visit their websites and contribute in every possible way.

Please visit SEHYOG

19 November 2005

Medical Tourism

From Camilla to King Khan, he prescribes a healing cocktail, Dr Mosarraf Ali combines yoga, reiki & ayurveda to bring medical tourism

Taragarh Palace Hotel, owned by Former ruler of Kashmir, Maharaja Dr. Karan Singh and managed by his elder son Vikramaditya Singh. Taragarh palace hotel was first a retreat for Maharani Tara Devi, mother of Dr. Karan Singh. Dogra kings have a glorious past and were one of the greatest warriors. A complete history about Dogra Kings is on Karan Singh's website. When Maharaja Hari Singh married Tara Devi Katoch of JaisinghPur area (Bija Pur), Maharani moved to Jammu but when she came back to visit her native place and wanted to spend more time back here so Maharaja bought this estate.

Taragarh is nestled in between Dhauladhar valley, surrounded by beautiful tea gardens, if you stand in middle of the town the pure air itself rejuvenates the body. Dhauladhars are mostly snow covered all year along, and complete valley has an aura of freshness. No matter which weather you travel this place always carries its own charisma of Raj period as well as beauty of hills.

Recently I read an article on Indian Express about Medical tourism in Taragarh, link for which is also on Taragarh website, it came to my mind that Himachal is so well suited for medical tourism, the complete hill state is full of freshness and virgin mountains. So many midicinal herbs are grown all over HP, almost all the spirtual Hindu saints travelled and stayed in the state and still do so, people from plains come over during summers so as to rejuvenate their spirit.

I am adding few excerpts from Indian express article by VRINDA GOPINATH . " Speaking from Taragarh, a summer palace resort of the Kashmir royals in the Kangra Valley, Dr Ali, a former medical student of Delhi and Moscow, is wistful. ''Today, everyone in India talks of reiki, ayurveda massages, pranic healing, but when I was practicing integrated medicine in the '80s in Delhi, no one quite understood it.'' Hailed and derided in the same breath—skeptics question his unconventional approach—Dr Ali remains a pioneer in medical tourism in India. His A-list patients from his clinic in London, near Harley Street,to the magical, restorative Himalayan foothills in the last one decade, has had people pleading for more.

Dr Ali's Himalayan retreat sees small groups of 16-20 people twice a year for a week's camp, to treat ailments from chronic fatigue and stress to bereavement to alcoholism/drug addiction.

His A-listers, however, get a more personal trip with just the doctor. Charles' wife, Camilla, a convert for years, has been to Taragarh twice, and has given up yeast, white wine and coffee to ease her chest and sinus problems. Supermodel Kate Moss checked into Dr Ali's Himalayan retreat six years ago allegedly to kick her cocaine habit long before she went to Arizona rehab centre last month. He has cured former Spice Girl Geri Halliwel of bulimia; helped Bollywood's Shahrukh Khan recuperate after his back surgery; gave consultations to Karan Johar, Ramola Bachchan; flown to meet Presidents K R Narayanan and Venkataraman, former PM Atal Behari Vajpayee, minister Arjun Singh, Virgin's Richard Branson, playwright Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, actor Micheal Caine, Arab princes and kings, Euro aristos and the simply rich. "

Here is the link for another article about Dr. Ali on Uk telegraph newspaper I think this article boost the capability Himachal offers, however careful planning from Government is a must because nature looses its strengths if it is exploited to the limit. I wish any one reading this article would visit HP and see the beauty of the state first hand.

15 November 2005

Project Dharamshala

Project Dharamsala is a University of Denver International Service Learning program that combines service work with academic study in Northern India during Winter Interterm. The program is based in Dharamsala (where students spend about three weeks volunteering), but the group also tours Delhi, Agra, and other points of interest in Northern India.

Students interact with Tibetan and Indian people and are engaged by speakers from organizations based in Dharamsala. The goal of the program is for students to study the history and culture of India and of Tibet in Exile, with special insights gained through service work in the community.

05 November 2005

Himachali Products

You can buy Himachali products now: http://www.dollsofindia.com/

02 November 2005


Shimla glitters on Divali night.—PTI