The world still remembers the glorious moment when astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first man to set foot on the moon. Similarly, to this day, we celebrate the victory of Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay on the peak of Mt. Everest. While achievements like these are so much more than just the end result, the charm of reaching a place where no one has been before is forever fascinating.
Today it may seem like we humans have conquered every nook and corner of this wonderful planet, but there are some hidden gems that are still unexplored or barely known to most of humanity. While the lockdown has all of us staying inside our homes, there’s no restriction on curiosity. So let’s gear up and get exploring!
1. Mountain Gangkhar Puensum, Bhutan – World’s tallest unclimbed mountain.
The meaning of Gangkhar Puensum is ‘White Peak of the Three Spiritual Brothers’. The list of people who have attempted to climb it is not very long since its location remained relatively unknown. The world learnt about its height only in 1922 which is 7,570-metres. The localities around this mountain believe to be sacred and hence the government of Bhutan has banned any expeditions on it since 1994. While summiting this mountain isn’t possible as long as the ban is imposed, it does make one curious as to what all one may find upon climbing this magnificent mountain.
2. Devon Island, near Canada – The largest uninhabited island on Earth.
Situated in the Canadian Arctic, this island shares some similarities with Mars. It has a rocky, barren terrain with extreme temperatures, remoteness and lack of infrastructure. For these reasons, NASA has been using this island for training their astronauts for a trip to Mars since 1997. They call it a polar desert, meaning it is both very cold and dry.
3. Hang Sơn Đoòng Cave, Vietnam – World’s largest cave
First discovered in the year 1991, this cave is so big that it has its own jungle, river, clouds – and a whole ecosystem! This 9km long cave is so big that some say that you can build an entire skyscraper inside this cave. To this day, some parts of it are yet to be explored. It is open to visitors, but locals say that the terrain is a bit difficult hence one should prepare themselves properly before visiting the cave.
4. North Sentinel Island, Andaman Islands – Home to the Indigenous Sentinelese tribe
Situated in the Bay of Bengal with the other Andaman Islands, North Sentinel Island is home to the Sentinelese who are in voluntary isolation i.e. they are one of the few tribes which are still untouched by modern civilization. The Sentinelese have rejected, often violently, any contact with the outside world. This may be primarily due to cultural reasons. Another reason could be to protect their people from foreign diseases for which they have no immunity. It is said that coral reefs surround the entire island is and inside all of it is a dense forest.
5. Vale do Javari, Brazil – An isolated Amazonian village
Located at the border of Brazil near Peru, this village was virtually unknown to the world until the 20th century. Named after the Javari river of Brazil, this region is home to nearly 14 of the Amazon’s uncontacted tribes. With an area about the size of Austria, most of this village comprises of dense forest. The rights of people from this community are protected by the FPE federal agency. Similar to the Sentinelese tribe, people from Vale do Javeri are in voluntary isolation from the rest of the world.
Though there’s no limit to human curiosity, there definitely is a limit to the precious resources that mother nature has to offer. Which means that while places like these make our imaginations run wild about the possibilities they may hold within, the priority should be to preserve them.
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Charu, a feminist and an accidental writer, is yet to master the art of writing about herself. Always curious to learn new stuff, she ends up spending a lot of time unlearning the incorrect lessons. She enjoys all sorts of stories – real, fictional, new, old, hers and would love hearing yours too. Feel free to ping her at [email protected] to share anything that you think is worth sharing.
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