Arun Samant Memorial Lecture 2019

Arun Samant Memoria Lecture 2019

Dear Friends,

We welcome this New Year 2019 with our annual Arun Samant Memorial Lecture Series and in this first lecture series of the year, we present to you some exciting presentations on various topics of Himalaya.

Date: Saturday, 12 January 2019
Time: 03:00 pm - 08:00 pm
Venue: Mayor’s Hall, C.D. Barfiwala Marg, Juhu Lane, Andheri West, Mumbai 400058.
Entry: FREE. (Seating arrangement: First come first serve basis).
RSVP: Required. Kindly register your names at the Himalayan Club’s office either by email to:, or through phone [022 - 24912829/ 49730738].

Co-sponsored by: Active Biz Solutions Pvt. Ltd.

Please note that the registration for this screening is free, and seating arrangements are on first come first serve basis. The entry to auditorium will open 30 min prior to the event.

Looking forward to see you there...!

Rohit Bhat 
Hon Local Secretary
The Himalayan Club


The Himalaya are spread over approximately a length of 2,500 km from the Nanga Parbat, Kashmir in the west, to Namche Barwa, Arunachal Pradesh in the East. The harsh, inhospitable and remote high-altitude mountains have been the subject of exploration by ardent mountaineers and trekkers for centuries. However, there is an important constituent of these high mountains - its wildlife, for which there is little information. Knowledge on where the species occur, their status and threats they face remain mostly blurred. This knowledge is crucial for effectively conserving some very elusive and rare species occurring in specialized habitats.

Yash Veer and his colleagues have been in the forefront of these explorations and scientific studies. He has worked in the Kajinag and Gurez valleys, along the LoC in Kashmir, Sarthal, in Jammu, most of Ladakh; Pangi, Lahaul-Spiti, and Kinnaur, in Himachal Pradesh; North Sikkim; and Tawang and Namdapha, in Arunachal Pradesh, thus covering almost the entire length of the Himalaya. Here, he has studied enigmatic species that include the apex predator of the high mountains, the snow leopard, wild goats, the stately markhor and ibex, wild sheep, the striking Ladakh urial and Tibetan argali, and a host of other mountain denizens including the Tibetan gazelle, kiang, bharal, and Himalayan tahr.

In this pictographic talk, Yash Veer gives a glimpse of the species across the length of the Himalaya, introducing some key findings from decades of research and conservation programmes that he has led and supervised. Finally, he discusses the way forward for holistic conservation that requires partnerships with multiple stakeholders, including mountaineers and modern explorers.

Harshad Rao explores climbing in India, in a style that is neither pure alpine nor fully traditional. In this talk he presents the jinx of Kangchenjunga which has eluded mountaineers because of its remoteness, its inherent dangers and the difficulty in route finding. Interestingly if time allows, he will also explore the changing trend in climbing that is taking root in India with the increasingly popular commercial expedition scenario.

There are numerous difficulties when attempting climbs in remote areas like the Eastern Karakoram. Anil will talk on how to plan an expedition on a low budget, without involving commercial agencies. He will highlight the technical climb along the route from base camp to the summit of Saser Kangri IV. During this expedition, there was a tragedy too, while descending. A rescue operation was initiated when a Sherpa fell into a hidden crevasse but all efforts to save him, failed.

This talk centres around the exploration in Dhauladhar, Pir Panjal range and GHR of Himachal Himalaya including the Paddar and Zanskar areas of Jammu & Kashmir. The author talks about his treks in this area especially ‘Gadderan - The Land of Gaddis’ with the Gaddi shepherds of Kangra-Chamba who walk across some of the most remote and difficult terrains of Himachal. Rijul will also talk about the ‘Save Bada Bhangal’ campaign initiated by him along with a group of volunteers to help the villagers and shepherds of Bada Bhangal village who had an acute shortage of food and salt as landslides had blocked the mule trail from Chota Bhangal leading to Bada Bhangal.

Narender Kumar Gautam will talk about how he got into Scootering and the challenges he faced on an old scooter during his rides. He will talk about route planning and how one can achieve the dream of travelling across the trans-Himalaya - Ladakh to Nepal and Sikkim, on a scooter.

About Speakers:

Dr. Yash Veer Bhatnagar
Dr. Yash Veer Bhatnagar is a wildlife biologist with a keen interest in the Himalaya, where he has devoted close to three decades of his work. With his team, he has worked on models of effective community-based conservation, which can be up-scaled to cover large landscapes that improve conservation impact. Towards this end, he is working with governments and other partners in the 12 snow leopard range countries of Central & South Asia to develop climate smart landscape level management plans.

Harshad Rao
Harshad Rao is an experienced mountaineer based in Pune. He has completed his basic and advanced mountaineering courses from Nehru Institute of Mountaineering, Uttarkashi and Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Darjeeling, respectively. Among his notable expeditions are Mt Jaonli, Mt Everest and Mt Kangchenjunga - the world’s third highest and India’s highest peak. Harshad also has a vast experience in rock-climbing in Sahyadri. He has climbed pinnacles and difficult rock faces including Telbaila, Duke’s Nose, Nafta, Khadaparshi and Vajir.

Anil Retawade
Anil Retawade is an experienced mountaineer from Pune. Having completed his basic and advanced mountaineering courses from Nehru Institute of Mountaineering, Uttarkashi, he has a vast experience in Himalayan trekking and expeditions including Mt Draupadi Ka Danda, Mt Kedardome, Mt Baljuri, Mt Shiva, Mt Norbu, Mt Deotibba, Mt Papsura Mt, Indrasan and now, Mt Saser Kangri IV.
He has climbed extensively in the Sahyadris and is also an artificial wall climber and instructor. His hard work led to building a climbing wall, thus popularizing wall-climbing sports in Pune, He has also given free wall climbing training for the Pune Municipal Corporation.
He also loves paragliding. He is a Solo and Tandem pilot, flying for the last 12 years with more than 5000 successful and safe take offs on different sites in the Sahyadri and Himalaya. He has also flown in Dhauladhar mountain range.

Rijul Gill
Rijul Gill was born in the lap of Dhauladhar mountain range and so mountains have always been his first love. Having spent almost a decade with Gaddi shepherds, he has managed to see some rare vistas in the Himalaya. He lives a simple life and believes in giving back to the mountains and its people. Dhauladhar, Pir Panjal and the Great Himalayan ranges have always been his favourite exploring areas.

Narender Kumar Gautam
Narender Kumar Gautam, widely known as Masterji in travellers’ circles, is a Delhi resident. He works as a Government Primary school teacher for the last 19 years. He has been travelling to Himalayas for last 20 years. He is photography hobbyist and riding to offbeat and lesser known parts of the Himalaya to collect and share information is his passion.