Hiking trips are generally for the adventurous, but for Dr. Om Manchanda, Managing Director, Dr Lal PathLabs, they are more of a spiritual experience. “I love to feel and hear the sound of nature. I go to mountains to bask in the glory of scenic places. There is something about landscapes at high latitudes… it feels blissful being there,” he says.
Manchanda’s first hiking tour was as a 17-year-old to Milam Glacier, in the Kumaon Himalayas in Uttarakhand, in 1982. “I was a member of the college’s mountaineering club,” he says. After a long break, he revived his passion around 10 years ago, and has been on a hiking trip every year since then. “I love to hike on the Alps. I have been to Italy, Slovenia, Scotland and lot of tracks in the Himalayas.”
Even though these trips start in groups, after a few kilometres, you are on your own. “You get into the rhythm of going up and up for eight-nine hours. You have a goal of reaching your destination. You are in the forest. You cannot go back. Hiking teaches you perseverance.” It also provides lessons in camaraderie and concentration. “There is no one-upmanship in hiking. Your group mates are not your competitors. The entire group has to reach its destination. It is teamwork.”
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