Lighting The Himalayas - Season 2


Lighting The Himalayas: Follow The Trek

Join us and the Global Himalayan Expedition (GHE) in our efforts to power up the Phugtal Monastery with solar micro-grids that produce green energy. The monastery, an ancient heritage home to 150 monks, is tucked away in the Himalayas with barely any access to basic amenities.
Aug 11, 2016
18:15 (IST)
Team Lighting the Himalayas resolved to power up the Phugtal Monastery nestled in the heart of Himalayan mountains. The monastery, at least 2,500 years old and home to over 150 monks, has never seen electricity.

Aug 11, 2016
18:08 (IST)
Aug 06, 2016
12:39 (IST)
Little monk Tenzin is all smiles under a lit bulb in the lobby. He is likely to spend all his life in the premises of this monastery; thankfully he will never live in the dark again.

Aug 06, 2016
12:38 (IST)
After years of planning, months of dedication, days of travelling and trekking, and hours of drilling and hammering, the Phugtal Monastery is finally lit up. This is how the monastery now looks at night.

Aug 06, 2016
12:36 (IST)
Home to over 150 monks, the Phugtal Monastery, tucked away in Himalayas, has been struggling with basic amenities even in the 21st century. They live in the dark with limited resources, medical support and education. Lighting the Himalayas, an initiative undertaken by NDTV and Global Himalayan Expedition (GHE), electrified the abode using solar power.

Clad in traditional Ladakhi (or Ladakhi?) robes and stone-studded head gears, people from nearby villages joined the celebration at the monastery. People can be seen swaying to the rhythm of Ladakhi folk music.

Move this video around to get different perspectives.
Aug 06, 2016
12:34 (IST)
The last solar panel gets installed on the roof of the monastery.

Aug 05, 2016
17:02 (IST)
NDTV crew prepares for a shoot at the top of the east end of the Monastery. The dining terrace of the Monastery and the rapid flow of Lyungnak, both are visible from this spot.
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Aug 05, 2016
16:29 (IST)
Kathryn Mullin and Jose Lobos are surrounded by curious little monks as they meticulously fix the wires in the bulb sockets.

Aug 05, 2016
14:08 (IST)
The monks held a spiritual ceremony before the installation of solar panels began. Loud Tibetan chants, and the sound of metallic gongs being thumped filled up the temple, capturing all in a trance.
Aug 05, 2016
12:45 (IST)
Phugtal Monastery has over 150 monks living there without any modern amenities like electricity. Lighting The Himalayas has decided to electrify it with solar power. The monastery, well settled in the heart of rocky mountains with the Lyungnak River flowing below, looks magnificent.

Aug 05, 2016
11:36 (IST)
Humbled by the warm welcome at the Phugtal Guest House, the team captures the moment in the camera.

Aug 05, 2016
11:33 (IST)
Dry air and scorching sun aren't exactly the best companions when trekking. Dehydration and sunburns are common side-effects of hiking in the Himalayan Mountains.

Aug 05, 2016
11:32 (IST)
The trekking path to Phugtal is quite threatening. The team was treading on loose sand, sharp-edged rocks, and pebbles which made the trek challenging.
Aug 05, 2016
11:31 (IST)
4,000kgs of baggage is loaded on 45 horses as the team gets set to leave Cha for Phugtal.
Aug 04, 2016
17:54 (IST)
The team captured this photo while bidding farewell to the Cha village which was their comfortable abode for a day.

Aug 04, 2016
17:36 (IST)
The women of Cha, dressed in ethnic Ladakhi gowns, looked on curiously as they greeted the team in their village. They served the team a home-brewed drink called Chang.
Aug 04, 2016
17:34 (IST)
A tiny hamlet on the way to Cha opened its heart to the team and treated the members to a delicious lunch in the garden. Each of them soaked in the breathtaking scenery along with the food that helped rejuvenate the team.
Move this video around to get different perspectives.

Aug 04, 2016
17:23 (IST)
The initial couple of hours of the trek from Ichar towards Cha was through mountains covered in greenery. The remaining eight hours of the trek were under open blue skies, on rocky ground.

Aug 04, 2016
17:22 (IST)
Here's a 360 view of the camp at 5:30am. While some team members were comfortably snuggled in their sleeping bags, others were loading their baggage and were all set to leave.
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Aug 04, 2016
17:13 (IST)
The camp site for the night on the way towards Ichar was set up about an hour's hike away from the Ichar village. The bright blue tents at the bank of Tsarap River made for a comfortable stay at night.

Aug 04, 2016
17:12 (IST)
On the way from Rangdum towards Ichar, the team crossed a receding a glacier. It looks hauntingly beautiful but also proves that climate change is for real.
Aug 04, 2016
16:25 (IST)
Fingers turned sore with the chills at Penzilla pass, but that did not threaten the spirits of the crew.

Aug 04, 2016
16:24 (IST)
Glacial Ice, shallow pools, and debris from landslides filled the roads from Rangdum till Ichar. As the altitude increased, the oxygen in the air thinned, but the stunning scenery kept us going.

A male nurse who was part of the expedition carried a few basic medicines and machines to keep a check on altitude sickness.
Aug 04, 2016
11:12 (IST)
White canvas sheets on our tents quivered in the freezing winds of Rangdum valley. Barren ground and gigantic mountains surrounded the camp site, while a silent stream flowed behind the tents.

The luggage was transported by the support staff of 15 members on 45 horses. They set up the tents and prepared food for everyone.

Aug 03, 2016
14:04 (IST)
One can find these flags fluttering throughout Ladakh. They are almost a signature sign of a nearby settlement in an otherwise deserted terrain.

Jul 22, 2016
20:14 (IST)
Restless beneath the glorious night sky in Ladakh, our team member sets out to explore a bit near the Rangdum Monastery.

Jul 20, 2016
17:21 (IST)
Hot food and tea await the entire team at a camp 60kms short of Rangdum in Jammu and Kashmir's Ladakh region. The entire team sat together for a hearty meal during the much-needed break.

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Jul 18, 2016
15:36 (IST)
Jul 18, 2016
14:17 (IST)
The cyclists pose for the camera holding the banner of the initiative 'Lighting The Himalayas'.
Jul 15, 2016
12:51 (IST)
Becky Chung, a member of the expedition team, jumps up in the air with open arms during a break from cycling. Her excitement was contagious.
Jul 14, 2016
15:24 (IST)
The team gets set to ride mountain bikes through the valleys of Kargil towards Rangdum. The roads are narrow and tedious.
Jul 12, 2016
16:06 (IST)
The NDTV crew members, and Tata Sky representatives pose for the shutterbugs before they set out to follow the GHE volunteers and begin their road trip to Kargil. Meet the Team
Jul 11, 2016
11:43 (IST)
Volunteers from Global Himalayan Expedition (GHE) and the NDTV crew are all set for their journey to light up the Phugtal Monastery. They're on their way to Kargil in Kashmir's Ladakh region.
Jun 07, 2016
15:21 (IST)
Isn't the night sky in Ladakh spectacular? The high altitude and un-polluted air makes the stars appear larger than in most parts of the world.

Jun 07, 2016
15:20 (IST)
The Head Lama of Mahabodhi Meditation Center receives the expedition team in Leh.

Jun 07, 2016
15:19 (IST)
Here's a panorama shot of Leh's KBR Airport as the team deboards the airplane.

Jun 07, 2016
15:18 (IST)
The expedition team has arrived in Leh from countries across the world to light up the Phugtal Monastery.

The Kushok Bakula Rimpochhe (KBR) Airport in Leh is at an altitude of 3256 meters, and only the best pilots can maneuver through the mountains and thin air to make a safe landing on this unique airstrip.

Jun 07, 2016
15:14 (IST)

Join us and the Global Himalayan Expedition (GHE) in our efforts to power up the Phugtal Monastery with solar micro-grids that produce green energy. The monastery, an ancient heritage which is home to 150 monks, is tucked away in the Himalayas with barely any access to basic amenities.

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About the Initiative

About the Initiative

The remote settlements of the Himalayas continue to struggle for basic amenities in the 21st century. The future of these communities is at stake. They live in extreme climatic conditions, without electricity, health care and education.


Lighting the Himalayas is a journalistic feature series, committed to procurement and documentation of the on ground installation of renewable powered electric grid systems with cost effective, sustainable and scalable designs.


The great Himalayan ranges continue to bear the effects of climate change in the most extreme weather and living conditions. Longer summers, heavy rainfall, floods, droughts and soaring temperatures are one of the more evident symptoms of this disease.


To add to the severity of climate change almost 3000 Himalayan villages are based above an altitude of 13,000 Ft, which ensures that they remain cut-off from the world for over half a year.


The Lyungnak valley of ladakh, which is also home to the 2500 Phugtal Monastery and the remotest village of Zanskar Shade, has witnessed several calamities due to climate change in the last few years.


This is the story of bringing light to one of the remotest and oldest villages in the world. At an altitude of 14,300 feet, a team of highly motivated change makers, from several corners of the world take on the task of installing sustainable and scalable solar power grids in this pristine hamlet.


This endearing challenge begins in Leh, only to be redeemed 750 kilo meters away in the heart of the steepest, most unhabitable mountain peaks.


Season 1 of Lighting the Himalayas witnessed the 2500 year old Phugtal Monastery’s transition from darkness to light. And Season 2 will see the illumination of the remotest village of Zanskar, called Shade.

About GHE

About GHE

The Global Himalayan Expedition (GHE) is a social impact enterprise focused on creating tangible change in the remote Himalayan communities. Their approach includes, seeking of beauty and wisdom of the Himalayas and to share it with others through such expeditions. GHE aims to install sustainable & scalable solar power for the rural population of the Himalayan ranges. Their lives are pledged to the provision of green energy and education for the humble residents of this acute landscape.

In the past, GHE has held many other expeditions that involved successful installation of solar power in 10 off-grid Himalayan villages located above an altitude of 12000 Feet. In the near future, GHE will power up 30 more villages and bring light to them.

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