Tracing the rugged landscape of the Himalayas can be one of the most fulfilling experiences of one’s life. Walking alongside nature is not only good for one’s health, but is also a great spiritual experience. When 25-year-old Pankaj Sharma decided to explore the territory, he took to hiking and trekking. “The idea was to be able to explore newer landscapes and get in touch with nature on a minimum budget. I have gone for these treks with some of my close friends as well. We generally take a bus to the last spot and start our trek from there. So it is just the bus ride that costs us,” he explains. He recently covered the Kinnar-Kailash trek, located in the district Kinnaur in Himachal Pradesh. The experience was life-changing.
“We carry basic food like rice and lentils that can be prepared easily and don’t take a long time. It is not difficult to find picturesque landscapes for camping as well. However, contrary to popular belief, one can fall short of water on several trekking patches here, so it is advisable to be prepared. It is important to always have at least three litres of water with you,” he says. Pankaj has also covered many other trekking routes in the Himalayan mountains. While he began with a simpler hike like Triund, the wanderlust has only increased since then.
His love for nature is evident from the other activities he is involved in. The young explorer was paragliding on the night the moon was closest to our planet in 2017. “It was one of the most memorable experiences of my life,” he says. The explorer also likes to indulge in activities like river-rafting. But that is not all he has in mind when it comes to adventure. “I am much concerned about the amount of garbage and plastic waste that is piling up in the Himalayan range. As more tourists flock here to indulge in adventure and enjoy their vacations, more garbage is piling up. When I climb down down a trek, my bag is filled with garbage that I bring back. Carry paper bags if you have to, at least they are bio-degradable,” he appeals.
Pankaj wants to start an NGO that works on environmental awareness. “Beautiful landscapes are being ruined due to littering and it is time people took some responsibility. I will try to do my part as well,” he stresses. Pankaj doesn’t want to set up any business based on adventure sports or traveling as he feels it is more important to preserve the environment that makes it possible for us to enjoy nature and celebrate life on such a grand and detailed scale.