Live Chat: Responsible tourism in the Himalaya: What you can do

Are you a responsible tourist? What can you do to travel more responsibly in the Himalayas? Join eco-entrepreneurs Minakshi Pandey, Rajesh Ojha and Sunny Narang in conversation with Yahoo India's Tisha Srivastav and Bijoy Venugopal in a live chat on Thursday, June 27, 2:30 pm IST. Sign up to be reminded.


Whether you are a first-time traveller or an annual pilgrim to the Himalaya, the Uttarakhand calamity must be a turning point in your understanding of the great mountains and your way of interacting with them.

Facebook walls and social media timelines are ablaze with impassioned, conflicting opinions: Must tourism be banned in Uttarakhand? Must pilgrimage be regulated? Must tour operators be licensed? Is the calamity being politicized? How can we mitigate the threat of climate change in the Himalaya? How can you contribute to the future of Uttarakhand, and to disaster mitigation in the wake of natural calamities?

This flood of questions begs answering. Yet, the most we can salvage from the torrent of media is a confused picture of reality.

The choice boils down to you, dear traveller. How can you make a difference? How can you become a better-informed and responsible tourist who understands and respects the sensitivity of the Himalaya to man-made interventions? How can you make your travel choices accordingly?

Seek out the answers in a live discussion with our panel of Responsible Travel entrepreneurs.

Minakshi Pandey, Rajesh Ojha, Sunny Narang will converse with Yahoo! India’s Tisha Srivastav and Bijoy Venugopal about ‘Responsible tourism in the Himalaya: What you can do?’ on Thursday, June 27 at 2:30 PM IST.

Our panelists, all under 50, are either directly engaged with tourism in the Himalaya or have supported sustainable projects. Do note that they are not talking heads as seen on TV but practitioners with a record of environmentally conscious action behind them.

Get your questions ready and register to be reminded when the chat begins.  


About the panelists


Minakshi Pandey
Minakshi Pandey (L) with her husband Ritish Suri ran Camp Forktail Creek 
Minakshi Pandey is one of India’s first female white-water rafting guides. A guidebook writer, she lives in a small Kumaoni village, Bhakrakot, in the northeastern periphery of Corbett National Park. With her husband Ritish Suri, she ran Camp Forktail Creek for 12 years. A low-impact experience with tents and mud huts, Camp Forktail Creek was set up in a natural clearing. Minakshi and Ritish regenerated the forest, which over the years acquired a reputation as a birding destination and a haven for wildlife watching using conventional, unobtrusive tracking. In 2010, Travel Operators for Tigers (TOFT) recognized Camp Forktail Creek with a Wildlife Tourism Award and commended it for being India’s most inspiring eco-lodge. The camp was closed in 2012 and Minakshi, when not teaching the village kids, is now training and preparing to address the garbage menace around Corbett National Park. She is a hotel management graduate from WGSHA and continues to keep her love of gardening and cooking alive on her patch of home. Photos here: http://www.campforktailcreek.com/

Rajesh Ojha 

Rajesh Ojha (R) co-founded Banjara Camps and Retreats 

In 1993 Rajesh Ojha and Capt. Ajay Sud found their way to the stunning Kinnaur region in Himachal Pradesh. This entire area had been closed off after the Indo-China war due to its proximity to the border. Only Indians with Inner Line Permits were allowed in. When the government began to permit access to the area they explored the idea of making hitherto unexplored high mountain areas accessible to those willing to travel harder and farther. And thus was born the story of Banjara Camps & Retreats. The initial offering was luxury tents. Today they have an extensive network across the Himalaya from Kinnaur, Spiti and Kulu valleys, to the Northeast and Ladakh. Theirs is an ongoing hands-on dialogue into what responsible tourism can mean in remote valleys and how to meet the urban need for middle and upper middle-class ”different” holidays. Rajesh himself is a genial hardy lover of the mountains who hails from Gorakhpur who studied in Punjab. He lives in New Delhi, where he co-runs a zero-grid restaurant, Café Roots, which runs exclusively on solar energy and serves seasonal Himalayan fare. More information: http://banjaracamps.com/

Sunny Narang 

 

Sunny Narang's passion leads him to create networks for sustainable … With a passion for rural development and making it self-sustaining, Sunny has facilitated grassroots micro-enterprises to innovate and thrive in the urban and global markets. He has been involved in integrating design-based and traditional craft-based enterprises to reinvent as creative industries providing employment and economic growth at the village level. He has initiated merchandising systems for craft and design retail. Sunny has angel-invested/mentored and supported design-led enterprises and retail. He is a sitting board member in non-profits with extensive networks in media, technology and academia. He believes that an enabling environment and an ecology of mentors, advisors, financial and networking support systems needs to be created for talented individuals and groups for sustained growth.

Sunny recommends you familiarize yourself with these topics for a firmer grip of issues during the chat:

Managing Treks – the Bhutan example [PDF; opens in a new window]
Controlled Tourism in Bhutan
An inquiry into fragile Himalayas 

Tisha Srivastav 

 

Tisha Srivastav manages Yahoo! India’s video site, Screen. An unstoppable traveller, she was part of the award-winning team of India’s first environmental news magazine on national TV, Living on the Edge. Tisha has worked as a freelance rural affairs journalist and reported and produced news campaigns as a bilingual correspondent for NDTV. From her school days in the Himalayan town of Mussoorie to her annual trips to the Himalaya, she is witness to the ecological breakdown of the bond between the city and the mountain.

Read her recent blog posts on the Uttarakhand flood 


Bijoy Venugopal

 

Bijoy Venugopal is editor of Yahoo! India Travel and founder-editor of The Green Ogre, one of India’s most enjoyable nature blogs. A travel writer and journalist, his passion for the Himalaya was stoked during childhood escapades into the literary realms created by Ruskin Bond, Jim Corbett and Bill Aitken. Though he has walked in the Himalaya on several occasions, he returns each time with an overwhelming sense of loss. Connect on Facebook and Twitter

Loading...

Test your Travel Quotient!

Question 1

Which of these structures was built to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the founding of Buenos Aires?

Poll Choice Options
  • Babel Book Tower
  • The Obelisk
  • Plaza San Martin
1
2
3
4
5

Join the Great East Coast Road Drive

  • A detour to Squamish

    A detour to Squamish

    Revered by the First Nations people who take its name, Squamish offers a view of another Canada More »

    Lakshmi Sharath - Mon 16 Mar, 2015 5:46 PM IST
  • 5 things about Vancouver that will make you want to stay

    5 things about Vancouver that will make you want to stay

    Canada’s largest western city is full of unexpected surprises and a wilderness right in its heart More »

    Lakshmi Sharath - Mon 9 Mar, 2015 6:12 PM IST
  • Going cuckoo at Galibore

    Going cuckoo at Galibore

    Celebrating a fledgeling foray into birdwatching More »

    Lakshmi Sharath - Mon 16 Feb, 2015 6:32 PM IST
  • Five essential travel experiences in Kutch

    Five essential travel experiences in Kutch

    Kutch nahin dekha to kuch nahin dekha is not just a marketing tag line. India's largest district has so much to offer that one visit is barely an appetiser More »

    Lakshmi Sharath - Mon 9 Feb, 2015 2:22 PM IST
  • China plans database of bad behaviour to deter its unruly tourists

    China plans database of bad behaviour to deter its unruly tourists

    China has started work on a national database to help rein in some of its unruly sightseers and monitor the behaviour of habitual offenders, state media said, after some instances of graceless conduct brought its tourists unwanted notoriety. Chinese tourists overtook Americans and Germans as the world's top-spending travelers in 2013, the World Tourism Organization says, but questionable behaviour has given offence in some countries, making them unwelcome. A system that tracks bad behaviour by Chinese tourists is in the works, the official Xinhua news agency said on Thursday, citing Li Jinzao, head of the National Tourism Administration. Once it is in place, habitual offenders may find it tough to board planes or book hotels, with the data being shared with airlines, hotels and travel agencies. More »

    Reuters - Fri 16 Jan, 2015 6:55 PM IST
1 / 60

Follow exclusive coverage of Jay's bike ride to Kashmir

Write for Traveler