Updated: Jan 3
I always imagined fresh air, clear silence and a sense of rich solitude on the Top of the mountains. Whenever I go for a trek, I make sure to carry few books and my sketchbook to preserve those raw feelings. But when I saw this overcrowded picture of Mount Everest summit clicked by Nepali mountaineer Nirmal Purja, I couldn’t believe my eyes.
Read full article about Traffic jam at Mt. Everest summit here : https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/18/sports/the-everest-climber-whose-traffic-jam-photo-went-viral.html
As an artist based in Dharamshala, Himalayas, I seek inspiration from nature around me. With time, I have internalized words by Ruskin Bond. "It is always the same with mountains. Once you have lived with them for any length of time, you belong to them. There is no escape." Post corona, I have been witnessing the sudden increase in human traffic in the mountains but I never imagined the same to be happening up above at 8000mts peak which I believed to be the Abode of the Gods.
Thanks to wonderful photography hacks, sophisticated photoshop editing tools and dream like instagram reels which convinced many that 'Mountains are calling' but did not educate on how valuable and fragile the landscape is. If you have been to the Himalayan mountains or many other touristic destination in India post pandemic, you know what a struggle it is to find a clean spot to sit on or to breathe in.
“How do I hide trash in this picture?”
- is a hidden thought behind every picture I take and sometimes I don’t want to do it. We can hide it but we cannot really hide it.
Pictures clicked with 2 different camera angles at same spot in Sidhpur, Dharamshala, India.
As travellers, we often claim our love for mother earth and it is upsetting that we are equally numb towards the ugly plastic wrappers, bottles, beer cans, broken cups as we walk in nature. According to a 2001 WWF report, approximately 1.5 million tonnes of plastic is used every year in the bottling of 89 billion litres of water.
Whereas a little bit of awareness and intention can bring a big change by simply carrying a reusable water bottle everywhere you go and get them refilled locally.
McLeod Ganj, among many other hill stations has also fallen prey to increasing herds of irresponsible tourists, from being a spiritual space for the seekers to a town that generates over 6 tonnes of garbage in a month.
A place known for its breath-taking mountain views with colorful Tibetan prayer flags in the air is quickly getting filled up with chips packets at the bottom.
Join the ongoing art series here :
It is not the time to Photoshop trash but to actually stop and think about our role in this problem. It is a call for awareness towards travelling responsibly without damaging the fragile eco system for the sake of our adventure. On 11 december 2022, we celebrated International Mountain Day under the theme of: Women move Mountains and I, as the daughter of the mountains, intend to use my creative skillset to bring awareness about the rising problem in my beloved place, hoping that more people will join me along and bring the much needed change.
" MOUNTAINS ARE CALLING BUT WE MUST ACT "
This is my last blog post of the year 2022 with an important message for the New Year celebrations. It will be helpful if you can share a tip or two on how you reduce your waste while traveling or just a word of mouth can also go a long way. Show your support by re-sharing this post and you may inspire others.
In hope for a better tomorrow, Happy New Year !
Apurva Pandhi Art Peace Studio