It’s not the land, it’s not landscape, it’s not the people, it’s not the wildlife, it’s not the rivers, it’s not the mountains; or the stories, or the tales, or the journeys or the company or the destinations … it’s all of it.
The Mountain Walker is a philosophy of life, of living life as you want to, without infringing upon the way of life of others, of travelling in the Himalayas without wanting to change it, or expecting the comforts of other places, without wanting to judge anything, a philosophy of continuous learning, and of doing your bit for the world, in tiny, little little ways. And sharing what we see, what we learn, as we live learn it, as we see it.
As a private limited company, The Mountain Walker is not just a start-up, a tech company, a media company or a travel services company – although we are and we do all of that. We are a Social Enterprise, with a goal to be a profitable business but with the intent to share our skills and knowledge and do our bit for the local economies of the Himalayan states.
Personally, am grateful for the blessing to have been walking the Himalayas since the time I learned to walk as a toddler, and am now thankful for the opportunity of being able to continue walking the mountains and learning more from this great land and its people, in the company of a like-minded team- Abhishek Kaushal, Ameen Shaikh, and Abhinav Kaushal (thus far).
Here are some glimpses from the first year of walking the Himalayas with my co-founders and team members.
Wild mountain roads with all their promise, all their risks and danger, with all their raw power is one of the reasons I walk mountains. July 2016; Photo: sanjay mukherjee
Traveling in the remote, high altitude Himalayas of Himachal Pradesh helps one understand that beauty in Nature has different forms and meaning. This splash of colour near Leo village in Kinnaur is an artist’s delight. Shot in July 2016; Photo: sanjay mukherjee
What is peace? What is serenity? Is it sitting by like a lake on a mountain? Or is it sitting by a lake on mountainside after having driven 10 hours and walking 2 to get there? Is it all of it? Nako Lake, July 2016; Photo: sanjay mukherjee
Nako, July 2016; Photo: sanjay mukherjee
Nako Monastery, July 2016; Photo: sanjay mukherjee
The Spiti river winding its way around Leo village, July 2016; Photo: sanjay mukherjee
Misty Mountains seen from atop Shaali Tibba, March 2016; Photo: sanjay mukherjee
The morning after a snowfall in Kaza, January 2017; Photo: sanjay mukherjee
The wild Sutlej, March 2016; Photo: sanjay mukherjee
Confluence of Pin and Spiti rivers, seen from Dhankar Monastery, July 2016; Photo: sanjay mukherjee
Sutlej keeping pace with the rocky roads of Upper Kinnaur, March 2016; Photo: sanjay mukherjee
Rock Pillars near Shaali Temple, March 2016; Photo: sanjay mukherjee
Stormy evening sky over Nako, July 2016; Photo: sanjay mukherjee
Key Monastery across Spiti River seen from Keurik village, Spiti, July 2016; Photo: sanjay mukherjee
The Sutlej near Pooh, Kinnaur, July 2016
Lalung, Spiti, July 2016
Spiti near Mane Dhank, Spiti, 2017
Who would think there is a 12000 feet mountain and a wide river basin in this whitescape? Kaza, edge of Spiti river, January 2017
CEO Abhishek Kaushal on a precarious perch in Kinnaur, trying to capture that elusive glimpse of the Spiti river running through a gorge way down below the scissor-paths on the way to Nako, July 2016; Photo: sanjay mukherjee
Ameen Shaikh discovers his facial muscles in -7 Degrees in Spiti, January 2017; Photo: sanjay mukherjee
Abhinav Kaushal is born and brought up in Shimla, and has a natural born affinity for all living beings. Strays, birds seem to understand his peace and connection everywhere he goes – they just gravitate to him. Like this lonesome dog in Dhankar, January 2017; Photo: sanjay mukherjee
Ameen Shaikh catches a siesta on the Baspa at Chitkul, March 2016; Photo: sanjay mukherjee
Abhinav Kaushal playing the Om Bowl, July 2016; Photo: sanjay mukherjee
Abhinav Kaushal enjoying the rain on a Nako hilltop, July 2016; Photo: sanjay mukherjee
Ameen Shaikh at Shaali Temple, March 2016; Photo: sanjay mukherjee
Abhishek Kaushal, on the wild mountains near Ka, Kinnaur, July 2016; Photo: sanjay mukherjee
Abhinav Kaushal in Spiti, January 2017
Abhishek Kaushal, Spiti, January 2017
Kids playing in the market area at Kaza; Photo: Abhinav Kaushal