On the Roof of the World
were a crew of 31, and none among them was a seasoned explorer. But, as they trundled along the road on the mud-caked wheels of their trusty, all-terrain vehicles, their aspiration for adventure led them from sea level in Singapore to the roof of the world in the Indian Himalayas.
above ri ght Despite its large Hindu population, northern India has many Buddhist monasteries
So commenced Asiangeographic’s first expedition. Thankfully – within this band of green explorers – were some of the most seasoned guides in northern India.
A train ride from Delhi to Chandigarh and a Land Rover journey later, the team spent their first night at Nalagarh Fort, making for Manali at daybreak. The latter is a peaceful town in the alpine Kullu Valley, known for its white water rafting, river fishing and high altitude trekking.
The following leg of the ride uphill to Keylong was a treacherous one, navigating the sometimes impassable roads and the encroaching fog that reduced the tail lights of other vehicles to dim red smudges in the grey. As they broke through the clouds, the landscape was revealed with sudden clarity: breathtaking crags that stretched into a ceiling of blue, dropping off sharply into harrowing gorges, painted with frozen streams of white. The muscular vehicles hugged the Khardung Pass.
The next destination would prove a challenge to some of the team, who had thus far been unfazed by altitudes as high as 5,100 metres along the Lachulung Pass; they would push up to a breathless altitude of 5,604 metres. Lake Tsokar sits high on the Rupshu Plateau, where trees give way to scrub grass, bogs and rocks. Yaks forage here, watched over by shepherds in an interdependent relationship that has remained unchanged since the time of Genghis Khan.
On the final morning of the expedition, the team visited the Thikse and Hemis monasteries, filled with reminders of their proximity to Tibet: Portraits of the Dalai Lama grace the walls, along with effigies of Buddha; the reverent atmosphere is completed by the scent of tea and candles.
The team’s final ascent to Tanglang Pass – one of the highest roads in the world – formed a highlight in the host of memories that the team had gathered during their journey into the untouched Himalayas. ag
Thankfully – within this band of green explorers – were some of the most seasoned guides in northern India
The ASIAN Geographic Hot Soup Challenge returns for another year to put Singapore’s kids in the quiz hot seat and challenge their general knowledge about Asia. The school challenge runs in two parts: The first round ran in April 2017 under the theme of Climate Change at the Asia Dive Expo (ADEX), and the second and third rounds will take place on July 8, 2017. Students will have the opportunity to study up on relevant issues through previous editions of the magazine. The contest is broken down into three different categories: • Junior (age 7–12) • Students (age 12–18) • Open Category (age 18 and above)
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