Frequently asked questions
If you are interested in possible participation in Surya project in Kargyak, India read the following questions and answers to get a better idea.
Budget: How much is my journey to India going to cost?
- One Indian rupee is roughly 50 halers, precisely 2,2IRs = 1 CZK (1USD = 38 IRs).
- The estimated price could be counted from these items:
- Flight ticket: The sooner you book your ticket the better chance is to get a special offer. Return ticket Prague – Delhi could be bought from 15 000 CZK; the average price is around 20 000 CZK including airport taxes.
- Transport in India: see “How to get to the village?”
- Visa to India: http://india.gov.in/overseas/passport.php
- Vaccination: You will be most probably advised in the vaccination centre to get vaccination for hepatitis A and B, typhoid fever and meningitis (for information about vaccination and prices see http://wwwn.cdc.gov/travel/destinationIndia.aspx)
- Insurance: Your insurance should cover medical expenses abroad and also include insurance for high altitudes (as the village is at 4200m above the sea level). You may find yourself in the altitude of 5000 above the sea-level during the journey. Convenient insurance policy, which includes rescue operation in mountains as well as rescue operation by helicopter, could be obtained by joining OEAV (Austrian Alpenverein, http://www.aacuk.org.uk/?navid=111 1840CZK a year for adults or £ 36).
- Accommodation and food on the journey: night approx.100-300 rupees/night/room, tea 5 rupees, food 35-100 rupees
What kind of insurance will I need for the journey?
As mentioned above, besides medical travel insurance also insurance which covers stay in extreme altitudes and will cover for example rescue operation by helicopter. If your stay abroad is longer than 6 months you don’t have to pay health insurance tax in the Czech Republic (in this case is necessary to fill in a “Declaration of long-term stay abroad” form with your insurance company).
DOMESTIC TRANSPORT – How will I get to the village?
There are two main ways to get to the village are via Manali and via Leh.
- Journey via Manali:
- DELHI – MANALI – DARCHA – KARGYAK = 2500IRs – 8-10days
- Bus Manali – 500Irs – could be bought only in India
- Bus or jeep to Darcha – 140/300 IRs per person
- 5 days walk from Darcha to Kargyak (1 horse for backpacks approx. 300 IRs/day)
- Journey via Leh:
- DELHI – LEH – KARGIL – PADUM – RARU – KARGYAK = 150-200USD (one-way Delhi-Leh; depends on age) + 3000IRs – approx. 5-7days
- Leh by air – approx. 150USD
- Bus from Leh to Padum – 700IRs (2 days journey) it is possible to divide the journey into 2 days or to use a jeep (jeep for 6-10 people approx. 12000IRs)
- Jeep from Padum to Raru (300IRs/person) or 1 day journey on foot
- From Raru to Kargyak 4 days on foot in ideal conditions (1 horse for backpack approx. 300IRs/day)
You can also view detailed map of the trek and map of India with highlined village of Kargyak and Padum or download them in high resolution:
map of the trek (1800x1300px, 1.02MB)
map of India with Kargyak and Padum (1600x1600 1.1MB).
What is altitude sickness?
Altitude sickness is potentially fatal condition caused by too fast ascent to high altitude places. To avoid the altitude sickness it is necessary to climb slowly in high altitudes (approx. 300m/day) and after arriving into high altitude place by air (when traveling via Leh) to rest approx. 3 days. As a precaution is recommended to drink lots of water and avoid alcohol. There is no medically proven method to avoid this condition apart from descending to a place with lower altitude. More on http://www.princeton.edu/~oa/safety/altitude.html
What about food?
We will cook together from locally available food – mainly flour, rice, lentils and to a limited extend vegetable. You can contribute to common provisions with food like salami, Nutella, chocolate, nuts, sweets, powder to add flavour to water (something like Vitacit). We are assuming that when you will be coming to the village you will bring some fresh vegetable and possibly eggs to the common provisions as it takes a week to send somebody to get fresh vegetables. If there will be only non-vegetarian food available (on rare occasions) we will not provide different food for vegetarians.
What about drinking water?
We recommend to drink only bottled water (or water from other reliable sources), on the way to the village. The fact that the local people drink the water doesn’t mean that it cannot cause health problems to you. It is also good idea to get water disinfectant (like Sanosil drops: http://www.sanosil.com/-disinfectants-m.htm) for the journey. On the way to the village is a few places where you can get clean water (it is necessary to watch out for animals above the place). We drink water from the spring in the village and we didn’t have any issues connected with it yet.
Necessary equipment – What to take?
- This is a list of things you should not forget at home:
- Good walking boots
- Hat , suntan lotion with high UV factor, sun glasses for protection against the sun
- Sleeping bag (with comfort below 0˚C if possible)
- Sleeping mat
- Metal plate, cup, cutlery (it is possible to buy them on the way)
- Tent or a tarpaulin for the way (it is sufficient to buy plastic tarpaulin in Bauhaus or it is also possible to buy it in Manali)
- Clothes from permeable materials which dry fast and will cover most of your body) it is hot in summer and you will hand-wash your clothes). To wear long sleeves and trousers is good not only because of the hot sun but also because it is the local custom – shorts and sleeveless t-shirts are not appropriate. Temperatures in summer are between 0 and 30˚C.
- Basic first aid kit: medicine which you expect you will need. Get inspired on http://www.indiadiets.com/firstaid/index.htm
- Headlight and spare batteries
- As was mentioned above, there is never enough yummy food so if you fill your backpack up to the weight allowance your flight company allows you, you will make yourself as well as other participants happy :0)
Will I be able to call my relatives & friends?
There is no electricity in the village (except 12V solar panels), no internet access or phone signal (if we don’t mention satellites), everything is 3 days journey so to check an e-mail take a week! Information that you have arrived, departed or are on the way to the village will be communicated to the Czech Republic once a week over a satellite phone from the village. If there are any changes your relatives and friends will be informed, depending on the situation, either by e-mail, by phone or on web site.
What’s going to happen before the departure?
Book your air ticket as soon as you find out you were taken up. You should also start the vaccination well in advance as it is necessary to keep the dosing intervals and also because you cannot get the vaccination unless you are healthy...so why to leave that for the last moment. You also should not underestimate the packing – make a list. It will help a lot if you contact members of Surya team in the Czech Republic before the journey so they can let you know what is needed to take to the mountains and will also give you contact for other volunteers so you can travel in larger group. Please make sure that you gave us all required information before the journey (information about your insurance company, passport number, contact for your relatives or friends, e-mail address you wish us to send information from the village on, etc.) which would help us to solve possible problems. It is absolutely necessary to make photocopies of your passport, visa and credit/debit card and keep one set on you and another one at home.