“Not all those who wander are lost.” - J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
“Wara Kharkongor, an educator in one of Meghalaya’s best schools–Pine Mount School has found her second home in Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir. The teacher with a wonderfully animated personality has spent almost all her vacation days in the Northern state of India. Since 2009, Mrs. Kharkongor has been travelling to Ladakh annually with adventures that would fill any soul. Ever since she was a little girl, she had always had a fascination for mountains and dreamt of the mountains of Kazakhstan and the beautiful horses. Talking to TNT-The Northeast Today, she reminisces how immediately on getting up in the morning she would climb on top of the roof of her family home in Risa Colony. She felt at ease in open spaces and longed for them whenever indoors. She would climb tree tops in the nearby jungle and study there when she was just a young girl. She always felt at home in the midst of nature which is why her multiple journeys to Ladakh seem to naturally fit with her outdoorsy personality.” – The North East Today, 01 Sep 2017.
Adventures & Treks:
- Tiger Monastery, Bhutan - 2011
- Lachung, Lachen & Yumthang Valley – 2012
- Meeting the Red Aryans – Dha & Hanu, Ladakh – June, 2015
- Chadar – The frozen river trek – Jan, 2016
- Siachen - First battle ground – July, 2016
- Zanskar Valley & Ice Flowers – October, 2016
- Shepherdess of the Glacier @ Gya, Ladakh – Organic Village – June 2017
Wara answered her calling back in 2009 and started backpacking & travelling in the North East region of India. She’s a teacher from Shillong, Meghalaya who broke free of her curriculum to chase the mountain energy. Embarking on easy destinations in the beginning she realised that her love for the mountains beckoned her to continue exploring. She continued to travel in the Himalayas & finally found Ladakh in 2015. She instantly knew that this is where she belonged & has since been traveling to the roof of India every year.
She has now visited numerous remote villages in the high altitude cold desert thereby meeting the endangered Red Aryan race, the shepherdess of the glacier & had the opportunity to see the ice flowers (one very rare phenomenon).
She stayed with the shepherdess Tsering in her village of Gya to experience her life of solitude in the high mountains. This experience showed her the extent of human endeavour to survive in the harsh & punishing environment. She came back with a new found respect towards life & people.
Shepherdess of the glacier: A documentary by Stanzin Dorjai
"On a rock-strewn mountain, 5,000 meters high in the Himalayan region of Ladakh, lives shepherdess Tsering with her flock of 250 sheep and pashmina goats. The documentary follows Tsering’s solitary movements over a year, from her home village to the high plateaus where she acts as midwife to her goats, warms batteries on a cooking pot and occasionally sings to herself and the surrounding landscape. Her only access to events in the outside world is via a small transistor radio and she daily faces the troubling presence of wolves and a snow leopard. Having turned 40, Tsering now finds the pastoral life physically challenging, whilst climate change is endangering her livestock. Packed with stunning images of the Gya-Miru Valley, The Shepherdess of the Glaciers reveals the ancestral wisdom of those Ladakhi shepherds whose environment and livelihoods are under severe threat."
Wara's been lucky to visit Siachen’s first battle ground (highest battleground in the world) & has done the Chadar Trek (one of the world’s top 10 treks). She recalls the time when on her Chadar trek the temperature had plummeted to -30 and she saw a few trekkers turn back because they were not geared up for the low temperature. This is where she realised the important of the right gear at the right time. Even when she was head to head with a melting waterfall, she remained fearless & reminisces on how warm the water was despite the freezing temperatures. She loves to travel alone & would be following her own quests into the high mountains of Ladakh in years to come.
Trek Kit had the opportunity to help her build her kit which would serve her well in her high altitude cold weather adventures. Wish her the best on all her upcoming adventures!!
“One does not often realize the importance of right clothing when travelling. While warm and pleasant weather can be quite forgiving, cold and freezing weather can remind you of this fact quite harshly. This was proved apparent on my trip to Ladakh, in the month of January 2016, where temperatures were always sub-zero both day and dipping doubly at night.
I was on the Chadar Trek when I saw a good number of trekkers turning back, unable to complete the trek. Reason being.... the unbearable cold in spite of their voluminous, thick, multi-layered clothing! Their clothing, it turned out, was not adequate enough for the extremely harsh & cold weather (-35 to -40 degree celsius on most nights) that this winter trek brought on. I was fortunate enough to be able to plod on in comparative comfort and not to turn back. Reason? Rab’s cold weather high altitude endurance clothing!
On such trying occasions I realized, the right clothing - light but warm, absorbent yet insulating - is MANDATORY to make the trip not only doable but comfortable too. Leaving enough room to enjoy what nature has to offer in comfort & Confidence! I did not fear the nights. I did not fear the biting cold. I completed my trek! Thanks to RAB. I highly recommend it for anyone going on a cold climate travel.””