All you must know before filming in the Himalayas

All you must know before filming in the Himalayas

ultimate guide to filming in the Himalayas - Filming Indo

The Himalayas is the world’s highest mountain range, and has 9 out of 10 of the highest peaks in the world, including Mount Everest. These mountains, known as the Third Pole, are indeed the source of some of the major rivers in Asia, and also help control the climate of the earth. For strengthen our plot, we all love a good statistic and the Himalayas are a real treasure trove. The world’s highest mountain range extends along its 2400 km in length across five nations. It has over 50 mountains above 7,200 m and all 14 of the peaks are above 8000 m. For the ultimate guide to filming in the Himalayas you need to have a fixer in India.

 

ultimate guide to filming in the Himalayas - Filming Indo 2

Even though the Himalayas have so much more to offer to filmmakers than outstanding statistics. They include an amazing variety of mountain locations ranging from massive snow-capped panoramic views, alpine forests, meadows and streams to high altitude desert areas, plateaus, glaciers and huge azure lakes. They are equivalently culturally diverse with Muslim, Sikh, Hindu and Buddhist religious communities, along with so many tribal communities it would be impossible to list all of them.

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Visas and Permits

All the countries of the Himalayan region require a visa to enter. If you want to keep it legal and above board then in your production plan you will need to start this phase early. For the application process you should approach the Indian Embassy or Consulate of the countries concerned. In most cases your Media Fixer won’t be able to get local permits in your name unless you have a general authorization to shoot in the region. Broadly speaking, these formalities take 3-16 weeks to complete but this differs greatly from country to country. The costs of all the necessary permits and the expenses of the fixer associated with early acquisition of them are worth investigating.

 

Get in to Himalayas

ultimate guide to filming in the Himalayas - Filming Indo reaching by flight

Some towns can be reached by road in the Himalayas, and some by train or plane, although many of the more rural areas need trekking.

 

The Dhauladhar range in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh is the fastest route to amazing Himalayan locations. It’s a short one hour and 20 minute domestic flight to Dharamshala airport, where you land right in the foothills of the mountains, after arriving at Delhi International airport. A quick hour and a half drive away and you can fly to nearby high snow-capped mountains in an unspoilt valley.

 

Climate

ultimate guide to filming in the Himalayas - Filming Indo climate

Due to the altitude and shortage of any significant body of water nearby to balance the climate, the Himalayan weather is more extreme than in other places with similar latitudes. Many of the peaks have year-round snow atop them, and there are many glaciers.

 

Throughout the region there is a wide variation in micro-climates; two valleys only a few miles apart though isolated by the mountains may have quite different climates because one gets more sun or the wind patterns affect them in different manner.

 

Flora and Fauna

ultimate guide to filming in the Himalayas - Filming Indo flora and fauna

There are over 163 worldwide threatened species found around the Himalayas. It includes Asia’s three biggest herbivores – Asian elephant, bigger one-horned Rhinoceros, and wild Water Buffalo – and Tiger, its largest carnivorous.

 

The grasslands of the Himalayas have the densest number of Bengal tigers, residing alongside Asian elephants and one-horned rhinos. The mountains offer red pandas, golden langurs, and takins refuge. This is the world’s only known location where Bengal tigers and snow leopards share their habitat.

 

Communications

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In the Himalayas this can be extremely difficult as you easily lose coverage of your cell phone network. When you’re filming in India, it doesn’t allow satellite phones and UHF / VHF radios to be used, but they allow unlicensed CB radios and have a limited mountaineering frequency band. Rural has a range of useful GPS gears that not only enable you to monitor your position and follow directions, but also enable you to stimulate an emergency response, display your exact location and send text messages through the use of the Iridium satellite network.

 

Safety

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Altitude sickness is a concern, with many of the Himalayan passes reaching 5000 m. Raise your altitude as slowly as possible, stop traveling from low to high level, limit your physical activity; and drink plenty of liquids after altitude gain. Sickness at altitude is unpredictable, and may strike individuals who have not had problems before. Allow yourself plenty of flexibility in your plans, and don’t push higher when you’re about to rest.

 

Location

The Himalayas spread through a number of countries. India has many great locations including:

 

Jammu and Kashmir — This was a popular destination for travelers with its mountains and lakes, before the Pakistan-India dispute escalated. Although Srinagar is reasonably safe, much of the countryside is dangerous and some of it off-limits, particularly along the border.

 

Ladakh is the important exception here, an independent Kingdom with its own culture for centuries but now administratively part of Kashmir. It is not to be missed, offering much in the way of sight-seeing, and trekking.

 

Himachal Pradesh A friendly laid back, primarily Hindu state, with a population of Tibetan Refugees; popular with tourists;

 

Uttaranchal Another state of India, the Ganges source, has many pilgrimage sites in it.

 

Uttar Pradesh A state that is mainly on the plains but bordering the mountains, including some.

 

There are many Buddhist monasteries and related sight in Sikkim Wedged between Nepal, Bhutan, China and West Bengal. Here trekking is restricted because of the border’s closeness to China. You may need a local fixer and go as a party, and the number of routes is very small.

 

West Bengal much of the province is on the plains, a heavily populated agricultural and manufacturing region, but the northern edge extends into the mountains. As a tourist destination the area around Darjeeling is popular.

 

Arunachal Pradesh At the extreme northeast of India and seldom visited by visitors, this state is a fascinating mix with a large tribal population; people follow the religious practices of Animist, Hindu, Buddhist, and Baptist.

 

If you intend to make documentaries or feature films in the great Himalayas or elsewhere in India contact Filming Indo. For more information please contact us at info@filmingindo.com

 

 

Author: Pallavi Bhagat

 

 

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