In Pursuit of Paradise

Day 1
We arrived in Leh as absolute strangers from all over the world but by the end of the day we knew each other well enough to become a community...and obviously performing Egyptian dance by the fire.
Day 2
Busy day at the Mahabodhi School. The day started bright and early at the school with the kids and attending the morning assembly with them followed by a walk around of the E-Base. A visit to boy’s hostel split us between the Manchester United and Liverpool fans, while the evening culminated our rich cultural experience with the traditional Ladakhi folk dance. Truly a Ladakhi affair!
Day 3
Long journey ahead but nothing like a refreshing early-morning yoga and meditation sessions with venerable Guruji Bhiku Sanghasena. And off we drove through the scenic valleys of Ladakh towards the shores of the spectacular Pangong Tso Lake.
Day 4
Beauty beyond Words - we woke up to a dream, a dream to find the waters of the multi-colored Pangong Tso lapping up the shores near our campsite. We dipped in the polar water, bathed in the sunshine of Ladakh, enjoyed the photography session, and immersed ourselves in the beauty that surrounded us. A stop at the Hemis Monastery on our drive back to Leh culminated a day of amalgamation of nature and culture.
Day 5
Who doesn’t want the adrenaline rush? With an open sky and scenic winding roads, we didn't even realize when and how our pedaling ate up all the miles between the start and the end. If only we can cycle everyday around such landscapes! And Ofcourse, the double hump back camel was the cherry on the cake!
Day 6
We attended the centuries old Lamayuru monastery and were greeted to an early morning prayer in our honor. The monks of all ages chanted together to create a vibrant spiritual atmosphere and prayed for our safe trek and mission’s success. And we couldn’t have left without an exploration of the moonland topography and capturing it in our hearts and soul.
Day 7
The most exhausting and challenging day of the expedition was yet to come. Encountering the mighty Konksila pass located at 16000ft made our city-life problems seem petty in contrast. The feeling of achievement on scaling the pass on a cold day peppered with rain and light snow was something we all would keep close to our hearts for a long time to come.
Day 8
After the mammoth effort of crossing Konksila the previous day, the trek to Sumda Chenmo seemed like cake-walk today. 2 days of trek finally wrapped up at Sumda Chenmo. The participants quickly got down to setting up the solar micro-grid and we made every minute count.
Day 9
The D-Day! We set out to work early in the morning, and by late afternoon we had all the solar panels installed, wiring done, and light bulbs put in place. At 19:00 hrs, we went live with the 3 solar grids lighting up the village in a synchronized pattern. The emotions, the accomplishment, the celebration, and a sense of pride yet humbleness followed through the night. The 11th century old village finally had the electricity!
Day 10
We left Sumda Chenmo with a huge sense of achievement, with the villagers wishing us well for the journey back to Leh. We crossed, jumped across, waded, and walked through multiple streams that came our way before finally reaching our campsite in Chilling by the amazing Zanskar River.
Day 11
We spent this day just literally chilling out in the sandy beach by the Zanskar River. We swapped stories, aided on by bottles of beer and bowls of Maggi noodles. ‘Mafia’ had to be played to keep our energy intact. Despite a change in schedule caused by a massive landslide, we still managed to keep our spirits high and danced our way back riding in the disco bus!
Day 12
Rafting down the Zanskar River towards its confluence with the Indus cannot be measured in true sense. One has to paddle to feel it! With sore muscles and aching body from all the oaring and roaring shout-outs, we quickly changed from our wetsuits to land-gear and headed to attend the TEDx Leh event. From one nature borne immersion to the intellectual absorption, it was all a day’s play.

Testimonials

Shama Amalean
IAE 2014 Alumni & Retail Merchandising Manager, New York
Joining hands in an unknown land to bring electricity to the beautiful people of Sumdha Chenmo was an extraordinary experience; one which not only cultivated strong friendships but also showcased the power of the human spirit when we come together to achieve greater good.
Ritu Menon
Marketing Professional, Mumbai
An experience of a lifetime that brought so much peace and happiness ...it was the mountains, the experience of connecting and learning from people from diverse cultures, varied age groups ....and above all, the feeling of having been able to contribute to make a difference to the lives of the people of Sumdo Chenmo. It was an honour to be part of the great and memorable moment on the evening of August 18,2014 when Sumdo Chenmo saw light for the first time ...You needed to be there !
Archi Verma
Consultant, Qualitative Research, TNS Dubai
The journey you undertake with GHE, is a journey unlike any other.  As you are thrown against the bare and stark backdrop of the Himalayas, you learn to overcome your fears, challenge your limits and appreciate the beauty around you. In between conquering peaks and battling cold and sun, you befriend kindred spirits, and unite with those who were once strangers, to bring ‘light’ to a shared dream (Sumda Chenmo) !
Rolf F. Palgaard
Chief Operating Officer – Capana Group
GHE was for me an opportunity to bring back focus, dedication and a broader perspective to my life – it was extremely enriching and inspirational to see-, live with- and change the lives of the people in Sumda Chenmo. I can urge anyone who feels they want to do more with their life, to take the leap and join the cause of “improving sustainability worldwide” and GHE is the perfect place to start this journey.
Esther Wong
IAE 2013 Alumni, HongKong
Very seldom are we given the opportunity to make a measurable impact in the world. To be part of a team that helped to set up solar grids in the village of Sumda Chenmo, and seeing the pure joy on the villagers' faces when we turned on the lights for the first time, is something I will never forget.
Rikke Maria Eriksen
Psychologist, Abu Dhabi, UAE
“To live is to travel” the famous writer and Dane H.C. Andersen said, and I couldn’t agree more with him. It describes perfectly the feeling I had during and after this unique and extraordinaire experience. It was challenging, fun, rewarding, amazing. Up there in the mountains you feel totally free and alive, a vivid and life enhancing experience without a doubt. It was tough, it was magical, it was a real adventure. The people we met on our way live a simple, uncomplicated life often battling with the elements and harsh landscape they are surrounded by and still they surrounded us with a warmth and a welcome that amazed. The times I shared with my fellow adventurers can never be taken away or forgotten.

© GHE 2017