SHRI’s headquarters and Homeo Clinic are located in Bir, a small village on the edge of the Kangra and Mandi districts of Himachal Pradesh, India. Considered part of the Kangra Valley, Bir is about 2.5 hours southeast of Dharamshala, 30 minutes east of Bajnath, and is home to a substantial Tibetan refugee colony, rolling tea gardens and terraced, Indian, farm villages. At 1,525 meters in elevation, Bir rests in the Dhauladhar Range, the foothills of the Indian Himalayas.
To raise awareness about the charitable work of Shantideva Homeopathic Research Institute, on July 18th 2011, Spero and Robin will embark upon a 10-12 day trek into the Western Himalayas. They will begin their journey with a 900 meter ascent up a steep ridge that connects the Kangra and Barot Valleys. From there, they will trek another 5 kilometers into the remote village of Rajgunda. As one of the locations of SHRI’s monthly, mobile clinics, Rajgunda will be a wonderful spot to rest, enjoy local cuisine and prepare for the journey ahead.
The local, Gaddi shepherds say that it takes three days to walk from Rajgunda to the very remote village of Bara Bhanghal. This trek begins by following the Uhl River up into the Ravi Valley. Spero and Robin will walk a minimum of 17 kilometers a day, spending their days living off of tsampa (roasted barley flour), nuts and dried fruit and their nights in the simple, stone wind breaks constructed by the nomadic shepherds of that region. They will carry various Homeopathic remedies to assist them on their journey; namely Arnica, Arsenicum & Coca to sooth aching muscles and support healthy adaptation to altitude changes as they ascend Thamsar Pass, at 4624 meters in elevation. The local people only like to cross this pas in July, which is the only time of year when the snow is usually melted. If, due to varying weather conditions, the snow has not melted, Spero and Robin will have to turn back. Many shepherds have died from slipping on the ice and literally sliding off the side of the mountain. The walk from Thamsar Pass to Bara Bhanghal is considered one of the most pleasant and scenic treks in the Dhauladhar Region. Bara Bhanghal lies, in a bowl, at the base of three high mountain ranges and many glacial torrents. The three mountain ranges are Kailash Peak at 5656 meters, Shikar Beh at 6200 and Hanuman Tibba at 5932 meters in elevation. Bara Bhanghal’s alpine terrain is in one of the most spectacular and little known regions of the Western Himalayas.
After a few days rest in Bara Bhanghal, Spero and Robin plan to head east into the Kullu Valley. From Bara Bhanghal they will cross one of two passes; either Tainta Pass, at 4996 meters in elevation or Kathi Kukri Pass (couldn’t find the elevation). All the locals say that Thamsar Pass is extremely difficult and that anywhere one goes after that feels easy. So, Spero and Robin are planning to walk another two days east, to the thriving metropolis of Manali, where they will indulge in hot showers, yummy restaurants and plush mattresses!