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Camping in Eastern Himalaya

Camping as a recreational and travel activity has been very popular in the western world. In India the trend of participating in camps specially among children is fast catching up. Large number of camps are organised in the Western Himalayan region every year and there are several permanent camping grounds catering to the requirements of the North Indian students. In the recent past the corporates have also realised the benefit of camping as a recreational as well as motivational and team building exercise for its employees.

The increased demand for camping in the North East India is confined majorly to Sikkim – Darjeeling area including Bhutan. Camps are also being organised with increased frequency in Meghalaya and Assam as well as parts of Arunachal.

The Camping infrastructure as well as expertise in the region is still catching up with the best in the country as well as abroad. There are very few permanent camp sites and even the ones existing have basic amenities.

naturebeyond came up as a camp organiser in this scenario where on one hand there is a substantial demand for organising camps but on the other hand the expertise lacked behind. Over a period of more than a decade we have developed the best camping expertise and are capable of organising camps of various nature throughout North East.

`naturebeyond` organises several camps every year in the Darjeeling, Sikkim and Dooars region, we also organise camps in Bhutan, Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya. The camps are organised for varied purposes keeping in mind the requirement of the participants. Depending on the purpose of the camp, naturebeyond has collaborated with other organisations to make these camps successful.

naturebeyond organises nature interpretation camps in collaboration with NESPON, an NGO working for environmental protection in the Northeast.

For management development programs naturebeyond has joined hands with Siliguri Educare Pvt. Ltd., an educational organisation run by professionals specialising in the field of management education with special emphasis to marketing and sales training. Apart from the inhouse camping experts, naturebeyond also maintains close link with freelance experts in related fields.

Camping grounds

Latpanchar in the Darjeeling district is a small village close to the Sikkim-Bengal highway. The camping ground here is located on a grass land spread over about 5 acres of land on top of a hill overlooking river Teesta. Local people have developed the infrastructure in collaboration with naturebeyond. White water rafting can be easily added to the camping itinerary as the Tista river is just 15 kms away. A number of short treks lead to the Mahananda Wild life sanctuary from here. The large camping ground provides enough open space to organizing different camping activity. Bird watching and jungle survival are among the most common activity in this camp.

Samsing Rocky Island camp is organized on the bank of river Murti. The campsite has semi-permanent accommodation facilities and is capable of accommodating camps of upto 100 participants. As the name suggests the place has no dearth of good climbing rocks, making it an ideal place for a course in rock climbing. The Neora valley national park is just a mile away and is quite suitable for short treks during the day.

Apart from these two permanent camping grounds naturebeyond camps are also organised in several other destinations in the region including at Saddam (Sikkim), Mansang (Kalimpong), Pedong (Kalimpong), Gorubathan (Kalimpong), Peshok (Darjeeling), Hee (Sikkim), Aritar (Sikkim), Bhalukpong (Arunachal) and many others.

Rajabhatkhawa – This is our second camp site in the Buxa Tiger Reserve area. The camp site is in the plains of Dooars. Spread over about 5 acres of land, this camp site provides excellent facilities for school groups to learn about environment and forest. Elephant sighting in the nearby area is also an added excitement for the children.

Namdapha – This camp ground is in the Assam – Arunachal border. The camp site is close to river Kameng and river based activities are also organised in this camp.

Adventure Camps

North East of India offers some excellent locations for adventure camping activities. The varied geographical locations include forests of the Himalayan foothills that are rich in biodiversity and wildlife which is ideal for nature based camps. The higher Himalayan destinations offer plenty of adventure activity options including Mountain Biking, Climbing, Rafting, Rope activities and others.

A typical adventure camp is organised for 3 to 4 days. Participants are mostly school or college students although we have experience of working with senior groups including the armed force personnel. The camping activities vary depending upon the location and the interest of the participants. Often the camping activities are combined with leisure tours where the participants spend a few days in the camp and then go around common tourist destinations in the region.

Activities in Adventure Camps

Short treks : These short treks are meant to provide a first hand understanding to the campers about the place. The normally lasts a few hours. Our permanent camping ground in Samsing in Darjeeling district has good accessibility to short trails. From Samsing camp, treks are organised in the Neora valley national park. There are other destinations in West Sikkim and Arunachal that offer excellent small treks for the participants.

Mountain Biking : naturebeyond arranges mountain bike trips in the nearby locality for the campers. This is a fast and convenient way to visit the sites which are near the camps yet not within walking distance. More on Mountain biking

Canoeing : naturebeyond organises canoeing trip in the various rivers for the campers. The most common canoeing rivers include Tista and Rangeet in Bengal and Jia Bharali in Assam.

Rafting : canoeing may be out of bound for the inexperienced, but rafting is not. It is one of the best attractions of naturebeyond camps especially you are near a Rafting base. Rafting in Tista is mostly organised around Chitrey near Kalimpong and in Kameng river in Arunachal. Whitewater Rafting is not only huge fun, its also safe, thanks to the expert hands of our guides. More about Rafting

Cultural Studies : Camps in the higher Himalaya are set up in proximity to local villages which allows the campers an opportunity to study the local culture closely. The camp guides include expert anthropologists and campers are allowed to mix freely with the locals. Our camp sites are developed with active participation from local villagers.

Environmental Studies : naturebeyond organizes environmental studies in the adventure camps in collaboration with environmental NGOs working in the North-East India. naturebeyond also organises camps exclusively for environmental studies.

Horse Riding : Depending upon the location of the camp, naturebeyond may organise horse safari for the participants mostly lasting between a few hours to a full day program.

Mountaineering / Rock Climbing : naturebeyond camps are managed by expert mountaineers some of whom are regular instructors in the himalayan mountainering institute (HMI). The campers are taught basic techniques of mountaineering including rappelling, overhung climbing, river crossing, use of equipments etc.

Rope Courses : Here the campers are taught rope knots that are useful for camping and mountaineering.

Search and Rescue : The Campers are trained in search and rescue operations including mock drills for the same

Wilderness Survival : In the survival camps the campers are taught the technique of survival with the barest minimum. The campers learn to collect firewood from the forest and cook food on their own, to make plastic shelter or find a safe place for overnight stay, communicate in sign language etc.

School Camps

School camps are a training ground for the young minds. They are programs designed to excite the children into learning newer skills in an open learning environment. naturebeyond organizes these camps with specialists from different fields participating with expert knowledge to develop long lasting skills among participants.

Participation in School camps

Schools from all over India participate in these camps. The camp module is built according to the requirement of the specific school. Students as young as 5 years may participate in these camps and the maximum age of the participants is 18 years.

The skills that we emphasise on
1. Physical development through outdoor activities such as outdoor games.
2. Communication and interpersonal skills.
3. Group cohesiveness, ability to participate and contribute in a group and brotherhood among group members.
4. Self imposed discipline
5. Understanding and appreciation of the natural environment
6. Stress management during studies
7. Self development and leadership skills
8. Community concerns
9. Arts and crafts
10. Confidence Building and Conquering fears
11. Improving Emotional Intelligence
12. Developing Leadership skills
13. Conflict Management & Assertiveness Development

Techniques used during the camp

Physical activities (Optional and depending on age of child)
1. Night outing and self cooking - During these programs the children are taken out of the main campsite to a separate location. The participants are given basic tools such as plastic sheets and ropes for making their own shelter. They are taught the technique of lighting fire and cooking basic meal. The campers learn survival skills such as using a torch light to send morse code, reading maps etc.

2. Adventure activities such as climbing, hiking, stream crossing
These activities not only develop the physical abilities of the camp participants but also develops their self confidence and brings them closer to nature.

3. Self defense techniques such as Karate and Taekwondo
The programs are designed to provide basic self defense skills to the participants in a short span of time.

4. Fitness drill
The School children participating in the camp start their day with a fitness drill that helps them take up the challenges ahead in the day.

5. Obstacle Course
School children love these obstacle courses that provide a fun outdoor activity. The participants get to Jump, hop, skip, run, crawl-under, climb-over, walk along, go right or left and navigate across tunnels, ramps, seesaws, ladders and other challenges. Our expert designers develop the course according to the age of the participating group and the requirement of the school. The course participation involves bending, straightening, balancing, crawling, creeping, somersaulting, etc.

Communication and interpersonal skills
1. Extempore
2. Speech on topics

Group Activity
1. Group games
2. Group tasks
3. Inter group competitions

Self discipline
1. Waste management
2. Camp cleanliness
3. Following Camp routine and relative hardship

Understanding nature
1. Bird Watching
2. Sky watching
3. Gardening
4. Nature Study

Stress management
1. Tai Chi
2. Yoga

Others
Community Service
Camp Craft

Nature Interpretation Camps

`naturebeyond` organises nature interpretation camps in collaboration with nespon, an environmental NGO of the North-East. The NGO has been working for environmental awareness in the region over the last decade.

The camping infrastructure including arrangement of tents, food, transportation etc is provided by naturebeyond whereas nespon decides on the camp itinerary.

naturebeyond and nespon, organisations committed to conservation of the natural eco-system of the country, consider these camps a conservation program and run them on a non-profit basis.

The camps are meant for schoolchildren or young members of different voluntary organisations and societies. naturebeyond does not entertain request by individuals to join these camps as they are customized according to the wishes of the school / organisation.

The camps offer tremendous opportunity to know nature first hand, to understand the unique natural eco-systems and biodiversity of the region, to know about the environmental problems and finally to participate actively in programs launched to combat such problems. Organised by trained and expert naturalists, many camps follow ICSE syllabus for environmental studies and combine outdoor sport and fun activities with academic modules.

Let us together make our planet more habitable.

Corporate Camping Programs

naturebeyond management camps synergies with Management Consultants to develop camping programs that are full of fun and also provides a great learning experience for the participants. naturebeyond also complements corporate captive training resources with its own expertise. A team of University management consultants help the corporate in implementing daily course modules. The emphasis is given on behavioral training and refreshing oft forgotten management tools in a different functional environment. Another major area of emphasis for these camps is stress management by using a fine blend of tai chi and yoga techniques.

Our camps are set according to specific corporate requirement, from raw encounters with mother nature to 4 star camping facilities, we have the expertise to serve you all.

Camping emphasis
1. Team building
2. Leadership skills
3. Time management
4. Crisis management
5. Personality development
6. Motivation techniques
7. Negotiation skills

The camping activities would include

Climbing and rappelling
Body Surfing
Trekking and Hiking
Night outs and self cooking
Treasure Hunts

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