G. Seetharaman, reporter for India’s leading business magazine, Business Today, recently filed this cover story report:
How Mountain Shepherds is helping in improving living standards of the Bhotiya community
JANUARY 6, 2013
When Bipasha Majumder, 38, wanted to go on a trek in Uttarakhand’s Nanda Devi National Park this October, she did not rely on a regular tour and travel outfit. Instead, she opted for a six-day package from Mountain Shepherds, an adventure tourism company operating in the region. “There are home stays within villages in the area. Everything is sourced locally and is very eco-friendly,” says Majumder, who works for an international non-governmental organisation (NGO) in Mumbai. She is richer for the experience, which cost her Rs 17,000.
Mountain Shepherds was born out of a movement begun by the Bhotiya community in the late 1990s to regain their historical rights over the region’s natural resources. In 2002, decades after the government banned tourism in the region to preserve its ecology, Sunil Kainthola, a psychologist, and Dhan Singh Rana, a community leader, joined hands with people from villages in the region to launch the initiative. Its primary objective is to improve the living standards of the Bhotiyas, an Indo-Tibetan tribe, by promoting eco-friendly adventure tourism.