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  • Taman Raturi


Mountaineering and I started off on our journey almost ten years ago. In the craze of living my dream as an Army personnel, I never realised how the divine had other plans for me . I started trekking professionally at Gangotri National Park. Those everyday encounters with my clients built my own knowledge box. I would like to open this box through this blog. I assure you it is not the pandora one but one full of tips and opinions of the trade. So while the box was being constructed with each trek, hike and expedition, I realised the lack of awareness amongst people, who desire to trek the incredible mountains not to forget to click that quintessential selfie for their insta page. The box was getting filled up with each experience. Imagine that one box that has caught your eye and heart, wouldn't you just wish to take it with you….I am hoping while we open the box and seek to know the inside, all you amateur trekkers, experienced mountain travellers and novice researchers about mountain adventurers; are able to plan and make your trips your best experiences.

What a treat it is when we are able to look for hospitality services which are cheap yet best. However in this bargain, we might end up getting cheap but not the best services.

The first item that you will find in the box is - When do I trek? What is the right time to tread on those gorgeous land masses? When is the time to tick off the trekking plan on my To-Do list? Here you go -

  1. Check the weather forecast according to the numbers of days of the tour

  2. Visiting the mountains to trek in the monsoons is to be avoided,

  3. Although there are winter treks, I suggest that trekking during winters for amateurs should be evaded, the “easy treks” transform into “moderate to difficult” during winters,

Having said this, the experienced trekkers can surely put their plan in action.

Scouting further, you will see the “planning the tour item”.

Although we always feel that our planning is probably the best , yet sometimes it can go terribly wrong. So a backup plan is the stepney that you should always carry. It seems very obvious, right? However there are many experienced professionals who can go terribly wrong.

As your hands move to the next item in the box, you will find my own thoughts flowing through your hands. These can be seen as pertinent information which will guide you in your adventure plans.

So, let's get started

How to get cheap and best services?

Now the thumb rule of the market is if you opt for low rates products, quality will also decrease. All we have to do is balance these two factors. Let's explore some options-

Option 1.

Enquiring about packages from the local agencies can be a great starting point. The local agencies have been promoting themselves online slowly to gain their own popularity and reach out to customers directly. But if you choose to hire any travel company, ultimately, they will hire a local agency. There is going to be an unnecessary chain which will affect your pocket. In my experience, a local agency works with a greater amount of energy with their direct clients as compared to indirect clients who come via travel companies.

Option 2.

Customization! yes you read it right but the question is what kind of customization do we need. Well let's assume that we are planning a trek to Gaumukh- What is the company going to provide us?

First, it needs to provide PERMITS to enter the trekking trail leading through the forest, because the only way to trek through these enchanting forests is to hire localites who would be guiding you through the forest. The permit is a necessity to trek to Gaumukh. However, for some places you don't need it.

Second, the company must provide you with equipments such as sleeping bags and tents.

Third it must send with you porters to carry those equipments. Guides or trek leaders are only 10 percent of the staff , it is the cooks and porters who make the other 90 percent.

Fourth, it must provide you with good food.

Fifth and the most crucial , they must promise you that they are equipped with first aid, however, mostly nobody considers this to be essential. And so at some point, if there is an accident, they are unable to conduct the correct first aid treatment with the right protocol.

Lets recap, I am planning a trek in the Gangotri mountains, then what are the most important services that I need for this trek ( keeping in mind that I don't need to pay for the services that I don't need) So I need permissions, equipments ,food and some manpower. I can negotiate with any local agency for these services.

Next in the box, you will see that there are some points which everybody must treat as strong guidelines:

  • Taking a package or customization of a package is totally your choice but consider only those packages which have strict and professional safety guidelines. (especially if you are trekking with kids,elders or with amateurs)

  • Safety is non negotiable.Always assess the risks before opting for any package. For simpler analogy , helmets with bikes are imperative, so is safety with adventures in the mountains.

  • NEVER EVER negotiate with any local agency regarding their cost. Their cost is inclusive of labours’(porters and cooks) salary. Porters are silent workers, who work tirelessly to make your experience worthwhile. They face unimaginable difficulties when on duty. So when you negotiate with the costs being provided to you, an agency will never reduce the salary of the porters or cooks , they might reduce the salary of their own frontline workers which creates losses for them. Based on my own experience, I state this point with much seriousness.

Option 3.

Size of the group

The logic is larger the group, lesser per person cost. It is a smart way to get cheap yet best services from the local agencies. So next time keep that solo trek plan for later, go for group treks which will give you both company of friends or family and next services at low cost.

The box still has more things inside….I am simply closing and putting the latch back for a short while, so that the things don’t catch dust.

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