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July 13, 2024
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Camp Kharu: Royal Enfield’s First Green Pit Stop in Ladakh Speaks Community, Culture & Conscious Travel

Camp Kharu

Overlooking the Zanskar range and Indus river, visitors can enjoy rest, refreshments, tourist amenities, local culture, exhibitions and crafts

Homemakers to entrepreneurs, a community of women from Kharu are being supported with entrepreneurship and hospitality training to run the facility

A Ladakhi archetype rammed earth construction, Camp Kharu is an ode to local sustainable architectural practices of the region

Royal Enfield has unveiled Camp Kharu – its milestone Green Pit Stop in Ladakh, the first of many, planned on popular motorcycling routes. A short drive from Leh city on the Leh-Manali highway (NH3), Camp Kharu is en route to some of the most scenic tourist destinations in Ladakh such as Pangong, Tso moriri and Hanle. Nestled in the Kharu market, the two-storied 1,500 sq ft archetype rammed earth architecture, stands on the banks of the Indus river, overlooking the stunning Zanskar range. Travellers can stop for rest, refreshments, riding routes and tourist information – such as Intangible Cultural Heritage experiences and a list of homestays, including ones supported by Royal Enfield.

“Camp Kharu is an ode to the transformative power of travel that inspires people to ‘Leave Every Place Better’. Its sustainable architecture, community initiatives and avenues for cultural exchange show the way for mindful exploration. A Green Pit Stop is meant for slow travel, making one savour local experiences. Local communities are at the core of our Social Mission and an initiative like this helps in local entrepreneurship, environment sustainability and promoting intangible cultural heritage – all in a differentiated way. The Green Pit Stops are truly for the community, by the community,” says Bidisha Dey, Executive Director of Eicher Group Foundation.

Managed by six self-help group (SHG) women, aged 37 to 55, from the Kharu village, the facility provides a cafe, serving authentic Ladakhi dishes made from locally sourced ingredients, commercial and exhibition spaces, and public convenience facilities.

Selected with support from the village Panchayat, these women have received comprehensive training from Royal Enfield in entrepreneurship, hospitality, bookkeeping, facility management, cooking and baking. They were also taken on exposure visits to Mumbai and Goa and mentored by established chefs like Chef Prateek Sadhu of Naar. Working at Camp Kharu has provided these homemakers-turned-entrepreneurs with a steady income, an expanded worldview and newfound confidence. They have also catered at prominent events such as Royal Enfield Motoverse Goa, the Royal Enfield Ice Hockey League in Leh and Sa Ladakh at Disko Valley, Leh. Through its Social Mission, Royal Enfield is supporting the SHG women to develop and deliver on a business plan to become self-reliant.

Camp Kharu is an all-weather facility designed by architect Sandeep Bogadhi of Earthling using rammed earth architecture – an ancient, sustainable construction practice, resulting in a resilient and low carbon footprint structure. Fitted with solar panels, the property is built to keep cool in the summers and warm in the winters, even in temperatures below 25 degrees. It is also equipped with water refilling stations, free wi-fi and charging points for visitors. The two-floor facility includes a lounge and community space for visitors on the ground floor, as well as a dedicated exhibition space to spotlight Ladakhi intangible cultural heritage, textiles and local produce. It also hosts workshops and community learning activities.

Camp Kharu is a joint initiative between Royal Enfield Social Mission, the Rural Development Department/Leh Development Authority, Kharu Nambardar and the local community. Addressing the long-standing need of public hygiene facilities in the bustling tourist area of Kharu, Royal Enfield, through its CSR initiative has developed a one-of-a-kind pit stop that is run, for and by the community.

Camp Kharu is an initiative of Royal Enfield’s social mission, which aims to work with 100 Himalayan communities to ensure their resilience in the face of climate change. Serving as more than just a pit stop, it embodies Royal Enfield’s commitment to preserving the pristine beauty of its spiritual home – the Himalayas, with the establishment of a clean and sustainable oasis nestled amidst the wilderness. With the first of many green pit stops to come, Royal Enfield also seeks to catalyse a movement among riders to explore sustainably and regenerate the landscapes they traverse.

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