Photo: Antoine Janssens

We have some incredible beauties in Nepal and the Phoksundo Lake in Dolpa happens to be on the top of my list! The Pangong Project is a high altitude diving expedition which took place recently consisting of divers, photographers and a camera crew to explore the hidden waters of Phoksundo Lake! The objective behind the project was simply to explore, research and document. I guess it was to do something that hadn’t been done. Phoksundo Lake is located at a height of 3600m above sea level.

Photo: Loic Ray
Photo: Loic Ray
Photo: Antoine Janssens

Unsurprisingly, the project drew questions regarding the exploration of a sacred lake and whether permission was sought. The Pangong Project group have responded and you can read it here (it’s not in English) or you can read the translated version in English below. The group will release a documentary video in 2019. Well I certainly am interested to see this video.

[reaction – our philosophy and values]

Following an article published in the daily arcinfo of Monday, 22 October, on our expedition, we received several accusations, wrongly, of desecration of sacred place, some even going to accuse us publicly and without foundation of corruption.

We take these attacks very seriously and we see ourselves in the obligation to clarify and publicly deny these accusations affecting the project and our values, but also to the people who supported us and trusted us for more than a year Preparation.

In advance, it is important to clarify that the primary purpose of this expedition project is not recreational, but it is good to study, on our scale and from a new angle, the impact of high altitude on underwater diving. A very poorly documented aspect of this practice. The Himalayas are one of the only two mountain chains in the world (with the Andes Cordillera) to offer us lakes of so high altitude.

The Expedition team has a special relationship with these mountains, especially with Nepal. Some of us have been travelling there for over thirty years. An unconditional love for this region of the world that has made us undertake this project with the greatest respect for local cultures and customs and the environment in which we are évoluerions. To undermine traditions and beliefs was therefore not an option, and we put a lot of importance and energy into it.

We started, in 2018, close collaboration with a nepalese team and contacted the inhabitants of the village to organize a ceremony with a monk upstream. We did not reach the lake, loaded with our equipment, without the prior agreement of the villagers and a religious authority.

On the other hand, the very sacred aspect of the lake has evolved in recent decades with the arrival of the new generations and the opening up of these regions, so far That is why we have obtained the authorization and the blessing to dive in, once again, in the greatest respect.

The Reception of the inhabitants exceeded our expectations and gave rise to beautiful exchanges. We took a great deal of pleasure to explain to them what we were doing and to make them discover the hidden face of the lake next to which they have lived Just as they will have shared with us a moment of their daily lives, their smiles and their vision of the world, which we would obviously all have.”

[PANGONG PROJECT WEBSITE]

PS. Watch the project being featured on RTS here!

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