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Hyderabad: Citizens often travel to get away from their daily run-of-the-mill jobs and the hustle and bustle of the city. But Vandana Vijay, a Hyderabadi, has a different vision when it comes to travelling. Wanting to serve the rural communities, she collaborated with 14 foreigners from California and solar powered 10 houses in Takmachick village, Ladakh, this month.

Since the houses are located amidst the mountains, Vandana and her team had to trek 2 and half hours with about 100 Kgs of equipment. These houses along with 80 others have been off the grid for decades now. “This village is about 500 years old and the ten houses we solar powered where located in a place called Hammer, which hasn’t been electrified until now.

Once the panels were fixed we used to have a small ceremony where the owner of the houses switched on the lights,” Vandana said. Narrating here experience, Vandana said that they were accorded a grand welcome and made them feel at home. “The entire village cultivates food organically and their main produce are Walnuts, Apricots, Apricot oil and seeds,” she added.

Speaking about the difficulties they faced to transport the batteries from Delhi to Ladakh, Vandana said, “My 14-member team brought the solar panels and batteries from America to Delhi but we weren’t allowed to carry batteries by the airlines here. So, I had to leave the batteries in Delhi and book a road transport from Ladakh to bring back the equipment, which took us 7 days.

For my future expeditions, I’m even trying to get the help of Ministry of Tourism. Meanwhile, in Ladakh, a local Non-Government Organisation named LEHO (Ladakh Environment and Health Organisation) helped us during our stay there.

Vandana started off as a travel blogger while working for Facebook as an Operations Manager. But, she decided to quit her job and established her own travel company, Offbeat Track, last year. Her mission is to promote rural areas and ecotourism. Her future explorations include North East India and Andaman Nicobar Islands.

By Tera Sneha Reddy