Mussoorie Mountain Festival
Celebrating the Himalaya
The Mussoorie Mountain Festival was founded in 2005 by Stephen Alter in conjunction with Mussoorie Writers. It was initially established with the aim of celebrating Mussoorie’s Literary Heritage. It has since redefined itself to become a broader Mountain Festival at the heart of which is a community celebration of Himalayan culture, natural history and exploration.
The theme of the 2019 Festival revolves around Health and Risk Management for Outdoor Programs in the Himalaya. The festival begins with a musical/cultural event on the evening of March 7th, followed by sessions on the 8th and 9th. All sessions on March 8th will be at Parker Hall. On the 9th, sessions will be at Hanifl Centre where the audience will comprise folks from the outdoor industry, mountaineers and nature enthusiasts.
Do you like to hike, explore the mountains,
Are you in love with the Himalaya
If yes! Then, Join us from March 7th to 9th for Mussoorie Mountain Festival by Hanifl Centre at Woodstock School, Mussoorie
Friends & Allies
Our Clients And Partners
Andrew Alter graduated from Woodstock School in 1978. After completing his Bachelor's Degree from Wesleyan University in the US, he emigrated to Australia where he completed his Master of Music degree from the University of Adelaide. In 2001 he completed his PhD in Ethnomusicology from Monash University, Melbourne. Andrew taught music for over twenty years at the University of New England in Armidale, NSW before moving to Sydney where he currently works at Macquarie University. He has undertaken a variety of roles in his current position including Associate Dean for Higher Degree Research and Senior Lecturer in Music Studies in the Faculty of Arts. He teaches and researches in a diverse range of sub-disciplines including popular music studies, ethnomusicology, composition, and music theory. His primary research is focused on traditional and popular music of the Himalayas and he has published two books on the music of Uttarakhand: Dancing with Devtās: Drums, Power and Possession in the Music of Garhwal, North India (London, Ashgate and Routledge, 2008), and Mountainous Sound Spaces: Listening to History and Music in the Himalaya (New Delhi, Cambridge University Press, 2014). In addition, he has published numerous articles in Musicology and Himalayan Studies in academic journals like the Yearbook for Traditional Music, the European Journal of Himalayan Studies, Himalaya: The Journal for the Association of Nepal and Himalaya Studies, Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism and The New Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments.
Anupam Sah (b.1968) is a heritage conservation-restoration strategist, practitioner and educator and is the Founder of the Himalayan Society for Heritage and Art Conservation and Director of Anupam Heritage Lab (India) Pvt. Ltd, a heritage conservation services and consultancy firm. He also serves as the Head of Art Conservation, Research and Training at the CSMVS Museum Art Conservation Centre, Mumbai. He has rendered heritage conservation, training and consulting services to the Government of India’s Ministries of Culture, Tourism, Urban Development, various State Governments, Universities, NGOs, World Bank, UNDP, UNESCO, and others. As a trainer he has designed and conducted more than 200 workshops and training courses both in India and abroad. His present interests lie in developing the art conservation profession in India and employing heritage conservation as a lever for development by networking with various sectors. After acquiring his B.Sc. degree from the University of Delhi, Anupam secured a Masters Degree with distinction and a Gold Medal in Conservation of Works of Art from the National Museum Institute, New Delhi. He pursued further specialisations and professional education in Italy and UK. Anupam is a recipient of the Sanskriti Award for Social and Cultural Achievement for his work in the field of heritage conservation with a strong community link. The President of Italy has recently conferred on him the title of Knight of the Order of the Star of Italy for excellence in the field of art restoration. His roots are in the Kumaon Himalayas.
Chhemet Rigzin was born in 1972 in Ladakh. His father, Nawang Tsering is a well known sculptor who also taught at the Tibetan Institute for Buddhist Studies in Choglamsar, Leh Ladakh. Chhemet studied traditional Buddhist sculpture for six years at this Institute, as well as in his father's workshop. Even today Chhemet, his wife, and children work together to create exquisite clay sculptures of Buddhist deities. Monasteries invite Chhemet to create figures of deities and he also travels around the world to teach this art to others through workshops and lecture-demonstrations.
Stanzin Chokdup, is the son of Chhemet, and whenever he has free time from his studies and friends, he has been helping his father in his studio since he was a child. With hard work and with the blessings of his elders he too may become a famous sculptor like his father and grandfather.
Tshewang Peldon is the principal of a premier institute established in 1971 to preserve and promote the traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan. She took over as the principal of the National Institute for Zorig Chusum (13 traditional Arts and Crafts) in February 2017. Prior to that, Tshewang worked as a principal in various schools ranging from Lower to Higher Secondary. She has masters in Community and Educational Leadership from the University of Canberra in Australia.
Her contributions while she was in Education sector were Development of Continuous Assessments Guidebook for PP-XII, Development of ToT (Training of Trainers) Manual for Educating for Gross National Happiness (GNH), Development of English Curriculum for PP-VIII, Development of Human Resource Policy for the Ministry of Education. She was a member of National Committee for English Curriculum.
Currently, she is one of the Board Directors of APIC (Agency for Promotion of Indigenous Crafts). She is also a pioneering member of Women in Leadership Network (WiLN) for Australian Awards -South and West Asia and was the Ambassador for the Endeavour Awards for the year 2016.
Tshewang is married with two children and lives in Thimphu, Bhutan. Her interest ranges from hiking to Campaigning for Gender Equality.
Dhruv Chandra Sud
Dhruv Chandra Sud completed his undergrad-studies with some (very) reluctant assistance from the School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi in 2001. Since then he has wandered the lower Himalayas, exploring themes of craftsmanship, conservation & responsible development. Collaborators have included shepherds, weavers, potters, masons, tailors, carpenters, Buddhist monks & nuns, feminists and even the odd cabaret artiste.His home & studio in ‘Maatisaar’, a community of earth-built homes in the Kangra valley, has no broadband, no heating, the occasional leopard and several dozen aunts in the vicinity.
Goran Paskaljevic is one of Europe's most respected independent film directors. He was born in Belgrade (Serbia) and he studied at the well-known Prague school of cinema (FAMU). He has made 30 documentaries and 17 feature films, shown and acclaimed at the most prestigious international film festivals (Cannes, Berlin, Venice, Toronto and San Sebasti). In 2001, Variety International Film Guide marked him as one of the world's top five directors of the year. The Museum of Modern Art in New York (MoMA) in 2008 and the British Film Institute (London) in 2010, both presented a full retrospective of his feature films, along with the publication of The Cinema of Goran Paskaljevic, a monograph in English about his work.
His last feature film Dev Bhoomi , the first Indian/Serbian co-production, was shot in India in the Himalaya mountains in March-April 2015.
John Keay is the author of many standard works on India and the Himalayas including India: A History and The Honourable Company, both of which have been in print for several decades. His two books on the exploration of the Western Himalaya were published in the 1970s and his latest work The Tartan Turban: In Search of Alexander Gardner, appeared in 2017. He will be discussing the work of the Great Trigonometrical survey and its nineteenth-century measurement of the Himalayas as featured in his best-selling The Great Arc.
Lokesh Ohri has a doctorate in Anthropology from the South Asia Institute, University of Heidelberg, Germany. His research is focused on Uttarakhand Himalaya, especially the Jaunsar Bawar region. He was also the Marsilius Van Inghen Fellow at the Radboud University in the Netherlands. His research is focused on rituals and politics in the Himalayan region.
Books authored by him include Suspended Beliefs - The Bridges of Uttarakhand (2017), On the Pilgrim Trail to Kedarnath (2016), Upper Ganga Region - Cultural Resource Mapping (2014-15), Been There, Doon That (2010) and Chakravyuh - Theatre of the Found Space (2006).
He has worked on several documentary and short films on the communities and culture of Uttarakhand. He is helping in the development of tourism circuits like Forts of Kumaon and Meeting Shiva, connecting Shiva temples, in the state.
He has been associated with cultural development organizations, Rural Entrepreneurship for Art and Cultural Heritage or REACH, as co-founder and Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage or INTACH, as co-convener in Uttarakhand, since the last two decades. He is also a founder of the two-decade-old Virasat arts' and heritage festival and Theatrefest.
He founded the popular walking group Been There, Doon That? or simply BTDT, which is promoting zero-carbon-footprint or slow tourism through walking. The group's membership has now crossed 40,000 and has spread from Dehradun to four other cities of Uttarakhand, including Almora, Nainital, Uttarkashi and Haridwar. The group is working with remote village communities that are not connected to highways, to develop home stays and experiential and appropriate tourism as a means of economic regeneration.
Monisha Ahmed is an independent researcher whose work focuses on art practices and material culture in Ladakh. Her doctoral degree from Oxford University developed into the book Living Fabric: Weaving among the Nomads of Ladakh Himalaya (2002), which received the Textile Society of America’s R L Shep Award in 2003 for best book in ethnic textile studies. She has published several articles on textile arts of the western Himalayan world, co-edited Ladakh – Culture at the Crossroads (2005), and collaborated on Pashmina – The Kashmir Shawl and Beyond (2009 & 2017). More recently she published a chapter on textiles for The Arts and Interiors of Rashtrapati Bhavan – Lutyens and Beyond (2016), and the catalogue Woven Treasures – Textiles from the Jasleen Dhamija Collection (2016). Formerly Associate Editor of Marg Publications, she is co-founder and Executive Director of the Ladakh Arts and Media Organisation.
Minket Lepcha is born and brought up in Darjeeling. She has been working on various projects like documenting stories and folklore based on ethnic communities of Darjeeling and Sikkim. Along with Acoustic Traditional, an NGO based on documenting folklore and stories, she initiated exhibition and awareness programmes based on the Relevance of Oral Stories in a new Millennium in schools and colleges of Gangtok, Darjeeling and New Delhi.Prior to that she spent 13 years of her life in Delhi, studying and working in advertising firms like Ogilvy and Mather. In Darjeeling she was actively promoting small farmers’ products and local artists through an outlet called Life & Leaf. She also organised a festival celebrating local art, food and culture called ‘Jamghat’ to promote biodiversity farming in the region and represented Life & Leaf in Mei Ram-ew Festival conducted by North East Slow Food & Agrobiodiversity Society (NESFAS) in Shillong, 2013. She has been associated with Darjeeling Goodwill Centre for conducting community mapping workshop. Currently, she is a school teacher in Darjeeling and tries to mediate various experiences she has attained to the children through interactive storytelling and art. She has directed a film based on River Teesta called Voices of Teesta and received a Young Green Filmmaker Award in Woodpecker International Film Festival ,2016. Recently, she used storytelling, drama and community mapping as a medium to interact with government school students and parents of Kala Ruhi village in Udaipur through an NGO called Children Art Society ,in an endeavour to sensitise socio-economic issues based in their society.
At 70, Pertemba Sherpa has accomplished what very few men dream of in mountaineering. ‘I came, I saw, I conquered’, would come close to describing his achievements in the mighty Himalayas.
He was born and brought up in the Khumjung Village of the Khumbu (Everest) region and was amongst the first students in the Khumjung School founded by Sir. Edmund Hillary Trust. Due to financial constraints he could only complete his studies till Grade 5. In 1966 the construction of the ‘Gateway to Everest’, Lukla airport, was started and he got his first job there as a kitchen helper. Here he met Col. Jimmy Roberts who initiated his trekking and climbing career by giving him employment at Mountain Travel Nepal, the first Trekking and Mountaineering Expedition Company in Nepal.
In 1968, he started his climbing career by summiting Mardi Himal. For the next two years, he trekked around various regions of Nepal and successfully summited the Yala Peak and Dhampus Peak. In 1970, he joined his first major peak expedition with the British and Nepal Army, joint expedition to Annapurna I. The expedition was a success and he reached till the last camp as a support team.
His first Expedition on Mt. Everest South Face with an International Team was in 1971. In 1972, he joined a British expedition to Mt. Everest (Sagarmatha) as a climbing Sherpa, trying to summit from the South Face. Chris Bonnington was the team leader for this expedition. The expedition failed due to bad weather and tough route. In 1975 ,Chris Bonington selected Pertemba as an expedition Sardar for the next expedition on Everest but this time they changed their route and opted for the South West Face. They became the first ever climbers to summit Mt. Everest from this route. Pertemba was awarded with the Gorkha Dukshin Bahu award 1st Class for this achievement.
In 1979 he was invited as a climbing Sherpa for the Everest Expedition via South East Ridge which was his second success on Mt. Everest. In 1981 he became an Instructor for the Manang Mountaineering School.Having summited Mt. Everest three times from two different routes, Pertemba decided to stop climbing Everest. However he started his new venture Nepal Himal (P) Ltd., a trekking and expedition company in 1985.In 1993 he summited Mt. Twins Peaks in Sikkim with a Japanese expedition and his last expedition as a climber was Mt. Manaslu in 1995 with a Japanese group.Since then, he has led many expeditions to various mountains but has stopped climbing. He has also been awarded with the Tri Shakti Patta (3rd) from Nepal, Sports Medal (1st Class) from People's Republic of China and the Key to the City of San Francisco, USA.
Pertemba is a member of the Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA) and life member of Sherpa Sewa Kendra , founder member of Kathmandu Environmental Education Project (KEEP) , member of Benoit Chamoux Foundation, France and member of Ken Noguchi Foundation, Japan. He is also an advisory member of the Himalayan Trust, Nepal.
Dr.Shekhar Pathak taught in Kumaon University, Nainital for more than three decades. He was a Fellow at Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla and Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, New Delhi.
He now works with PAHAR (People's Association for Himalaya Area Research) and edits the journal of the same name. Widely traveled in different parts of Himalaya and Tibet, he is associated with social-ecological movements of the region and is also a team member of PLSI's Linguistic Study Initiative, New School's (India-China Institute), Kailas Sacred Landscape Initiative and ICIMOD's migration studies. His work on social movements (coolie begar and forest related) of Uttarakhand, history of Himalayan explorations, definitive biography of Pandit Nain Singh Rawat is well recognized.
For some of his ideas on Himalaya one can see: Shekhar Pathak, 2016, Himalaya : Highest, Holy and Hijacked in Raghubir Chand, Walter Leimgruber (Editors), Globalization and Marginalization in Mountain Regions, Springer, Switzerland.
Stephen Alter is the author of twenty books of fiction, non-fiction and children’s literature. His most recent novel, In the Jungles of the Night: A Novel about Jim Corbett was shortlisted for the 2017 DSC Prize for South Asian Literature. His most recent non-fiction book, Becoming a Mountain: Himalayan Journeys in Search of the Sacred and the Sublime received the 2015 Kekoo Naoroji Award for Himalayan Literature. From 1995-2004 he was writer-in-residence at MIT and from 1988-1994 he was director of the writing program at the American University in Cairo. From 2006-2016, he founded and directed the Mussoorie Mountain Festival. Among the honours he has received are a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Fulbright Senior Research Grant and fellowships from the East-West Centre in Hawaii and the Banff Centre for Mountain Culture. He lives and writes in Landour.
Dr.Tenzin Lhanzey is a Traditional Tibetan medical practitioner from Men-Tsee-Khang school of Tibetan Medicine. Founded by HH The Dalai Lama in 1961, the main objective of Men-Tsee-Khang is to preserve, promote and practise Sowa Rigpa, the ancient Tibetan system of medicine, astronomy and astrology, to provide healthcare and social service to people regardless of caste, color or creed and to provide health care based on service orientation.
Dr.Lhanzey did her initial schooling from Central School For Tibetans in Poanta Sahib and Central For Tibetans,Mussoorie.She completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Traditional Tibetan Medicine from Men-Tsee-Khang, Dharamsala in March 2009. In 2013, she completed a Diploma Degree in Acupuncture.
She started her practise at the Itanagar branch of Men-Tsee-Khang, followed by a stint at Ahmedabad, India. She has also practised in Kazakhstan and Russia. In 2017, she represented Men-Tsee-Khang in Centenary outreach programs’ tour to South America [ Chile, Peru, Brazil and Argentina]
Dr.Lhanzey is presently based at the Poanta Sahib branch Men-Tsee-Khang, Himachal Pradesh.
About Pung Cholom
Victor Banerjee is an actor, author and social entrepreneur.
He received his schooling at St. Edmund's School, Shillong, graduated in English Literature from St. Xavier's College, Calcutta and did Post Graduate studies in Comparative Literature at Jadavpur University.
As an actor, he has worked in English, Hindi, Bengali and Assamese language films. He has worked with many award winning directors including Roman Polanski, James Ivory, Sir David Lean, Jerry London, Ronald Neame, Satyajit Ray, Mrinal Sen, Shyam Benegal, Montazur Rahman Akbar and Ram Gopal Varma.He was also cast in the critically acclaimed role of "Jesus" in the 1988 production of the York Mystery Plays, by director Steven Pimlott.
He has also won the prestigious "National Award" in three separate categories. As a Cinematographer for his documentary - "Where No Journeys End”.As a Director for Best Documentary on Tourism - "The Splendour of Garhwal and Roopkund" . As an Actor - "Best Supporting Actor" award for his work in Satyajit Ray's "Ghare Bairey".
About Pung Cholom
The Meitei Pung or the Manipuri drum is an indispensable part of all religious and social rituals of Manipur. Considered the soul of the Manipuri Sankirtana music, the instrument is accorded a very revered status in the Meitei’s traditional customs. Pung Cholom is traditionally performed by men and involves highly skilled acrobatic and graceful body movements.The complex acrobatic feats involving jumps and leaps to the changing rhythms has been ingenuously incorporated from Manipur’s famed martial art form ‘Thang Ta’ and ‘Sarit sarak’. Highly refined dance form characterised by sound modulation from a soft whisper which builds up to a thunderous climax, the Pung Cholom is an exquisite and quite a breathtaking presentation.