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On regular basis the Grassroots Institute organizes Ecotourism Expeditions for adults belonging to any stream of life. If these adults in a batch of not less than 20 persons approach the Ecotourism Centre, an Ecotourism Expedition can be organized for them in the Western Himalayas. The Ecotourism Expedition is 7-day program in the unbeaten treks of Western Himalayas and the participants enjoy the pristine forests, nature, wildlife, alpine lakes, grasslands, trails, rivers, agro-ecosystems and traditional culture in world famous Great Himalayan National Park, besides learning the practical aspects of ecology, environment, and local economics, geography, agriculture and society. Renowned subject specialists guide the Ecotourism Expedition for 7 days and make it memorable for the participants. The entire program is conducted in Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh.
Day . 0
Immediately after passing 3 km long tunnel on Chandigarh-Manali highway, every potential participant has to get down from the respective bus/taxi at AUT. Aut is located just 28 km before Kullu city. There is no train route from Chandigarh to Kullu. Those interested to fly may find the airlines going to Kullu, however. The Leadership Schools Coordinator may guide the participants how to book and get the bus/taxi from Delhi, Chandigarh or any other place.
Day . 1

Receiving at Aut

The group members are received by the Head of Operations at AUT in the morning till 8 am.

Welcome at Camping Site

The Welcome of all participants takes place at Jibhi where the whole group also stays for next 6 days at beautiful camping site along side the rivulet flowing down amid lush green forests of coniferous trees and high altitude mountains. Jibhi is uniquely beautiful place en route to Shimla from Banjar (Kullu) via Jalori Pass. Jibhi is the permanent camping place for flock of foreigners.

Briefing of Program at Jibhi

The schedule of 7 days with the available logistics and assistance is shared with the group. DOs and DON’Ts are also told to the group members.

Chaini Kothi Castle and Temple

Chaini Kothi is the ancient monument of Kathkuni style. It had 14 storey once upon a time; right now it is 7 storey building and upper 7 storey demolished in a quake. The group of participants treks little to reach Chaini Kothi from road head. This is a magnificent building of such age which ought to deserve more attention. This quadrangle monument in Chaini village is at a height of 2148 m from sea level. This was the fort and palace of Rana Dhadhia, who ruled all he could see from his eyrie about 1500 years ago. To climb the various floors of the building there is unprotected staircase hewn from the thickest part of a single fir tree.
Famous astrologer, teacher and philosopher Shri Hiralal Sharma generally describes the history of Chaini Kothi castle and temple.

Night Halt at Jibhi Camp

The group will stay overnight in quality camps protected from pests, insects, animals, etc. in Jibhi. The camps are equipped with all essential facilities required for comfortable and memorable stay. The participants stay in peer groups of 2-3 males or females separately.

Local Kulluvi Film Show

Kulluvi is the local language of traditional people in entire Kullu and Seraj Valley. At the same time the language is one of the richest with the typical cultural traits and folklore. The group members are given opportunity to watch the selected Kulluvi movie. The film would be translated if needed.
Day . 2

Sight Seeing in Shoja

Shoja is about 20 km uphill from Jibhi en route to Jalori Pass on Shimla road. From village Ghyagi to Shoja the road has 40 degree climbing. Shoja is the village from where great sight seeing is organized for group members. Shoja sights are full of conifers and natural beauties that are unavailable elsewhere.

Sleusar Lake

Sleusar Lake is about 2 km away from Jalori Pass that can be approached by trekking right from Jalori Pass. This is rarest lake of Himalayas – clean, untouched and unpolluted. On the bank of circular shaped holy lake there is a small temple of ‘Boodhi Nagin’ – an old female snake. Here a shepherd who serves tea and biscuits to the visitors at a reasonable cost. He has created a small hut with stones and wood. This hut has a small charcoal stove in the middle of the room with a pipe taking its fumes out. A sitting place has also been created with slate stones covered with rags of gunny bags.
Renowned scientist and ecologist Dr. S. S. Samant, Scientist-in-Charge, Regional Centre of G. B. Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment and Development, Kullu, will facilitate the study of Freshwater Ecosystem of Sleusar Lake.

Jalori Alpine Meadows

Jalori Pass is one of the most important high altitude passes in Western Himalayas. It lies at the height of about 3800 meter. There are several magnificent meadows in which silky grasses grow along with various medicinal herbs. It provides exclusive experience.
Dr. S. S. Samant of G. B. Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment and Development, Kullu will facilitate the study of Meadows in Jalori Pass area.

Khanag Grasslands

Khanag is important meadow on roadside, which is best place to understand the socio-ecology of plants, insects, small mammals and geo-climatic factors.
Dr. S. S. Samant of G. B. Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment and Development, Kullu will facilitate the study of this grassland in vicinity of Jalori Pass.

Folk Cultural Program

During the dinner time at camping site in Jibhi a folk cultural show would be organized. This show will exhibit the true folk culture of Kullu and Himachal Pradesh

Night Halt at Jibhi Camp

The group stays overnight at the same site in the camps.
Day . 3

GHNP Ecotourism Centre

The group members visit the Ecotourism Centre of Great Himalayan National Park (GHNP) at Sai Ropa where they are briefed by Tirthan Range Officer about the wilderness, biodiversity, eco-development and sustainability of natural ecosystems in buffer and core zones of the Park.

Rolla Trek via Khadungcha

In this 3-4 hours slow trek, the biodiversity of plants, landscapes, animals and human-nature interactions are studied. There are plenty of most beautiful falls, streams, rocks, lichens, ferns, gymnosperms, trees and scenic spots on this trek. On the way from Khadungcha to Rolla, this undulating trek with slight slopes up and down constitutes the easiest trek in GHNP buffer and core area. From Rolla 2-3 difficult treks start in different directions, which are suggested only for trekkers or researchers. Surrounding the Rolla there are extremely beautiful and purest forms of nature amid which the human being feels in divine. Away from the wicked world this place is really a revelation ground for everyone.
A scientist from Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun would be requested to facilitate the understandings of science of biological diversity en route to Rolla trek.

Night Halt at Rolla

All group members are assisted to stay overnight in Rolla jungles in Forest Huts where the Light Forest Dinner is served.
Day . 4

Bird Watching & Call Recording

GHNP is known for rarest birds. Monals and other pheasants are very common. Western Tragopan is endangered species which is found only at two places in the world – one in Pakistan and the other in GHNP. The group members are encouraged to watch the birds and record their calls in early morning in surroundings of Rolla.
A scientist from Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun would be requested to facilitate the study of birds at Rolla.

Environmental Quiz at Rolla

After breakfast all the group members take part in an Environmental Quiz right at Rolla that is facilitated again by a scientist from Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun. The group returns from Rolla before Lunch time.

Fishing Game in Tirthan River

Trout fish is the rare species that exists in Tirthan River originating from GHNP and falling in Beas. People from around the world visit Banjar for trout fishing. The interested group members may fish in the river barring the trout. This way they demonstrate the world outside how the trout could be saved through sustainable game fishing.

Night Halt at Jibhi Camp

The group stays overnight at the same site in the camps.
Day . 5

Kalwari Nala & Gharaats

A tributory of Tirthan River, the Kalwari Nala is freshwater perennial water body giving feel of divinity in the Valley of God. The trek starts from Deori village and ends at Kalwari bridge on the nala, where beautiful thatch exists with big stone bolders. Nala has water falls, adventure spots, religious places and advance.
farmers. Working Gharaats (traditional water mills) along the bank of nala are unique features. Gharaats are still used by villagers to grind the foodgrains and make flour (aatta). The flour is of superior quality and taste. These are ecofriendly ways of energy invented by local people. Gharaats are owned by village community, not a single family. The group members are exposed to the science of Gharaats during this trek.
Mr. Chuni Lal facilitates the trek and explains the scientific and technological features of Kalwari Nala and Gharaats.

Organic Farm in Kalwari

Organic Farm in Kalwari village has been established to demonstrate the organic farming technologies meant for producing chemical-free food crops. Within this Organic Farm the food crops like onion, potato, wheat, millets, beans, cucurbits, maize, pea, vegetables, etc. are grown seasonally. The group members are exposed to the agronomic interventions, phenology of crops, nutrient budgeting, soil-water equilibrium, humus and mulching, bio-control of pests and diseases, post-harvest methods, organic quality control, traditional gran/seed storage & treatment, and so on.
Mr. Chuni Lal, who is award winning farmer too, explains the agro-technologies and organic operations on-farm.

Traditional Lunch

The groups members are served with the traditional lunch, followed by the visit at Organic Farm in Kalwari village. The traditional lunch constitutes the local items such as siddu, sauce, ghee, daal, puffed bhatura, sabzi, rice, rajma, kadhi, bundi sweet, etc.

Kalwari Temple

Kalwari temple is famous worship place and a representative temple in contemporary Kullu. Made by wood in Kaathkuni and Pagoda style, the Kalwari temple is the residence of Lakhmi Narayan deity. The priest of the temple usually explains the features of the temple and facilitates the worship of deities.

Traditional Sustainable Houses

Traditional houses in Kullu district are famous in the world for their sustainable indoor environment and architectural strengths. Made by wood and stone in Kaathkuni or semi-Kaathkuni style, the traditional houses are resistent to earthquake, termite, moisture and extreme weather conditions. These houses have organic ambience. Generally the traditional houses have 3½ storeys: top ½ storey for kitchen, 2nd floor for bedrooms and lobby, 1st floor for store rooms, and ground floor for animals. The group members can enjoy the comfort of such a house in Kalwari village.
Mr. Chuni Lal explains the architectural, environmental and sustainability housing systems of Kullu people.

Haat of Handicrafts & Women Self-Help Group (Banjar)

On returning back to camping site at Jibhi, the group members are given a chance to see and buy cheaper and authentic quality handicraft items at Khundan Rest House (Banjar). Ambika Self-Help Group (SHG) of local women from Khundan village make by hand the woolen socks, hamp shoes, knit wears, stalls, shawls, mufflers, etc. and sell the dry fruits, millets, rajma, and other local items. The SHG has an outlet from where the group members may buy the items of their choice at very cheaper prices.

Night Halt at Jibhi Camp

The group returns to Jibhi and stays overnight at the same site in the camps.
Day . 6

Parvati Hydel Project at Sainj

Parvati Hydroelectric Dam was constructed on Jiwa Nala rivulet in magnificient Jiwa Nala forest range of Great Himalayan National Park (GHNP).
This is the representative site of mega dams which have destroyed pristine ecosystems and wildlife habitats in India. Visit to Parvati Dam tells the story of environmental degradation and destruction to the group members. It also exposes the group to the socio-cultural impacts on the local populations.
Known environment & development expert Mr. H. Arjjumend describes and facilitates the visit to Parvati Dam.

Sacred Grove at Shangar

Sacred Groves are the patches of land, forest, water or grasslands protected by the local people through their social systems and institutions. These are the repository of rich biodiversity and immense bioresources. Sacred Grove of Shangar village exists in Sainj range of Great Himalayan National Park that is about 20 hectare patch of grassland fenced by deodar and fur trees. The trees circumventing the grassland are as old as the village is. Village has in place a local social institution that prohibits the local villagers and outsiders harming the trees and grasses. All powers of protection are vested in a local deity. Group members get the unique experience.
Known environment & development expert Mr. H. Arjjumend describes and facilitates the visit to Sacred Grove.

Night Halt at Jibhi Camp

The group returns to Jibhi and stays overnight at the same site in the camps.
Day . 7

Naggar Castle

28 km from Manali, Naggar is famous for Naggar Castle, which has now been transformed into a heritage hotel; Roerich Art Gallery and Uruswati Mueseum that houses paintings of the famous Russian painter, Nicholas Roerich. Nicholas Roerich was a Russian who settled down in the beautiful hills of the Himalayas after the revolution of 1917. He was a gifted painter, who dreamt of unifying the world through art. Situated in Naggar, within the premises of the Roerich estate, Uruswati Himalayan Folk Art Museum is just 100 m uphill from the Nicholas K. Roerich Art Gallery. Professor and Madame Nicholas Roerich set it up in 1928. Visit to Naggar Castle exposes the group members to combination of rare art and history.

Manali Visit

One of the most beautiful hill stations of Himachal Pradesh, Manali falls under the district of Kullu. It is situated at a height of 2050 meters above sea level and is visited by tourists from various parts of India and abroad. The natural beauty of hill resort gets greatly magnified by the presence of the Beas River, which swiftly meanders through it. The wild flowers, hamlets and fruit-laden orchards seen on the banks of the river lend it a magnificent look. Given below are the major tourist destinations of Manali, which should be covered on all the sightseeing tours of the hill resort. The places to see in Manali are: Gadhan Thekchhokling Gompa, Hadimba Devi Temple, Manu Temple, Vashisht Hot Water Baths.

Shopping at The Mall in Manali

The group members usually like to buy some gifts and novelties for parents, brothers, sisters, friends and relatives, when they proceed to return home from Himachal visit. Manali’s The Mall is right place from where the woolen clothes, handicrafts, local dry fruits, etc. may be bought before departure.

Closing of ECOTOUR and Departure (from Manali)

All group members depart to their respective places by bus/taxi right from Manali. If they wish to continue their stay in Manali they should make own arrangements.