Man and Mountains: Living in the Shadow of the Himalayas
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Man and Mountains: Living in the Shadow of the Himalayas

I believe one of the best things about Woodstock School is its unique mountain location.

Unlike many international schools in the country which are in big cities, Woodstock is set in the foothills of the Himalayas in one of the most beautiful natural environments I’ve ever had the joy to live in.

At this time of year I regularly glimpse the snowpeaks when out on walks on the chukkar, or see the stunning Winterline, a false horizon during sunset of stunning orange and mauve hues.

In early November a number of world-renowned mountaineers, writers, poets, musicians and artists came to the school to take part in the fifth Mussoorie Writers Festival, which this year was entitled Experience the Himalaya. Many students attended the festival, linking into the theme of outdoor education which is so important for the holistic education we seek to offer.

It was a fantastic weekend as many of the participants shared their experiences in the Himalaya and other mountain ranges around the world.

One question that kept returning was what draws man to the mountains? Why is it these mountaineers continue to risk life and limb to try and conquer another peak? Why is it that so many of us feel so at home in and have a such a strong connection with the mountains?

One of India’s foremost climbers, Loveraj Singh Dharmshaktu, appeared at the festival, and answered some of these questions in an interview which featured in an India special of the international newspaper the Financial Times.

In the piece, the mountaineer who hails from Uttarakhand gives some answers as to why climbers go to such extremes to scale such heights. His answers, and some of the thoughts shared at the festival, were:

  • Climbers are motivated by the challenge of a new peak and discovering new routes
  • They build teamwork and find out who their real friends are during ascents
  • The feeling of oneness with the natural environment when out in the mountains, and the spiritual connection with mountains, is a huge factor in doing what they do
  • They revel in the physical beauty of the mountain environment
  • Being in the mountains is a way to get away from the monotony of the day-to-day life and to stretch yourself

Most of us can probably relate to at least one of these points, and it is the ongoing connection between man and mountain that continues to attract so many of us back to the Himalayas year after year, and make it such a privilege for those of us that live here.

Read the interview with Loveraj Singh in the Financial Times