Parvati Valley is one of the famous backpacker’s paradise in Kully valley of Himachal Pradesh. The serene valley offers multiple trekking routes for mountain lovers and adventure seekers from all across the world. The hilly terrains of this lush green valley include one of the most refreshing trek of “Kheerganga, a spiritual site situated at 2960m (9711 ft). It is believed that Lord Kartik, the elder son of Shiva is said to have meditated for thousands of years at this place and that is the reason this place has spiritual importance to many Hindu devotees. The 11kms trekking route concludes at a meadow, graced by the occasional tents, cafes and the temple premise which also comprises of the hot water spring.
Almost 3 to 4 years back, very few people use to visit Kheerganga. The place had limited number of cafes and camping options. However, in recent years, there has been a tremendous increase in the number of tourists travelling to Kheerganga. Everyone from honeymoon couples to backpackers can be seen in Kheerganga. The place has commercialised a lot in recent years with many camps, tents and new cafe facilities and together they have turned the beauty and the serenity of the place into the ground of scattered waste.
To understand the garbage disposal condition due to growing tourist count to Kheerganga, our found Pradeep Sangwan along with the owner of Backwoods Mountain Camp, Hamta Manali surveyed the location in September 2016. Not that we are complaining about a large number of people visiting the beautiful place, but it has resulted into some serious and disturbing sights that we came across while trekking on 11 km stretch. Once again, plastic bottles were the main villains and could be seen everywhere we had set our eyes. The trail was full of empty chips packets, wrappers and just about everything you can find in a dustbin. The disturbing sights made HHF mark an event “ Kheerganga Trek
Cleaning” on October 8.
For this event, total eleven young boys decided to dedicate their weekend for nature and helped in cleaning up the trail from “Barshaini” from where the trek starts to all the way to the top till Kheerganga village. The clean drive was completed in two days and on the way back, the team collected more than 35 sacks of garbage which included plastic bottles majorly.
After cleaning up as well, a large amount of garbage and waste was left behind. We tried ur best but we realised one thing that this remains a never-ending task for all of us. Unless people do not understand the basic things about nature and environment and why it is important to keep our surroundings clean, all this effort is going to waste. We came across lots of people who appreciated our work. But more than the appreciation we want everyone to understand that the dream of “Clean Himalayas” is not possible without everyone doing their little on daily basis. Proper disposal of waste material by tourists, awareness on environmental issues are some of the basics we look forward to working upon in next session. Being in the first year, we want to understand the extent and the grass root issues so that we find solutions and work step by step. We would like to thank everyone who volunteered for the drive.
Summary: One of the best slot of volunteers to work with. Eleven boys, twenty-two shoulders and finally thirty-five plus sacks of garbages. We are very proud.
Clean Drive Key Points:
- At 9711 ft, 11 volunteers covered 26 kms and carried back more than 4000 plastic bottles in 40 sacks.
- Many trekkers en-route to Kheerganga also joined the clean up drive.
- The waste was dumped in the dumping zone of main Kullu town. Around 3300 people reached on social media organically
We want to thank our volunteers for this beautiful day: Ashok Sharma, Ankit and Virat who came all the way from Delhi, Aditya Tipral (Shimla), Abhishek Mehta (Shimla), Akshay Yuwa (Shimla), Ashish Kochhar (Shimla), Varun Sharma (Shimla), Sunil Dogra (Mandi) and Keyur Parekh (Solan).