Women rallyists will be at the forefront in the world’s highest motorsport rally, the legendary 15th Maruti Suzuki Raid De Himalaya, which will run from October 4 to 12, 2013. The rally is organized by Himalayan Motorsport, the Shimla-based motorsport club.

Sheetal Bidaye of Mumbai is the first Indian woman biker to compete in the ‘Raid Xtreme’, an all-out speed category. In addition, this year’s Raid will for the first time have a team of women Army officers competing – Maj. Smitha of ASC and Capt. Madhavi Singh of EME. These two ladies will be driving a Maruti Gypsy as they aim to capture top spot in the ‘Raid Adventure’, the category which follows the time-speed-distance (TSD) format.

The conservation centre was established over 30 years ago to help save India’s dwindling crocodile populations and in particular, the endangered Mugger, Gharial and Saltwater species. Through a successful programme of captive breeding, the centre has been able to expand its activities to the protection of 14 species of crocodile, as well as a turtles, snakes and lizards. Nowadays it is regarded as a world-leading institute for research and conservation, with a commitment to environmental education and public awareness.

For more information, visit: http://www.indiavolunteer.net/projects/crocodile-conservation-volunteer-project/

“I start carefully by placing my feet on small bumps. The friction is good. My feet are holding well while I caress the small crystals with my fingers. The first few metres of the ascent are easily tackled. Sweat starts to break out as I jam my fingers in the crack and get my feet to balance on a small ledge. The protection anchor, though only 5m below, seems miles away. Yes! Ten metres is a long distance to fall. Maybe just too long. I carefully select the appropriate protection, while balancing gingerly on the hand and foot holds, and slide a nut along a crack till it is securely wedged in the bottleneck portion of the crack. I quickly pass the rope tied to my seat harness through. As I feel the rope tighten, I know that I am safe.”

The next few feet up are tricky as the footholds disappear. I am forced to push the soles of my climbing shoes hard on the plain surface. Thankfully, the high-friction, rubber-soled, skintight shoes are doing a great job! I jam the first digit of my fingers in the crack and move up, my feet still smearing the plain surface of the rock.

Arunima Sinha lost her left leg after being thrown off a moving train – but she never lost hope, and never lost her will. In May 2013, the determined Arunima wrote her name into the history books by becoming the first amputee to scale Mount Everest. A former national-level volleyball player from Ambedkar Nagar in Uttar Pradesh, she was part of a TATA-led expedition to the summit.