• A colleague once asked Jayesh Morvankar if it was possible to get from Manali to Mumbai in two days - by road and while using public transport. That’s a distance of about 1,900km that takes 34 hours of constant driving. It sounded highly improbable, but Morvankar pulled it off with ease. The idea was to keep moving, even if it meant gradual progress that added up to a fulfilling journey. It is also how the founder of Odati Adventures has approached life and all the challenges thrown at him over the last 24 years.

    A 24 year long
    adventure...
    And counting

    Mountains.
    Outdoors. ODATI
    Adventures

    “The idea was simple - if we were happy, then the clients would be happy. It’s a contorted statement, but we wanted to

    Taking the
    office
    outdoors

    “The idea was simple - if we were happy, then the clients would be happy. It’s a contorted statement, but we wanted to drive our service in a manner that had us really excited about what had been planned,” Morvankar says.



    While growing up in Mumbai, Morvankar was glued to books, fascinated with physics and the world of God particles and Hadron Colliders. But at 24 years, his first trek to Harishchandragad was quite unlike anything else that he had experienced until then.

    “I had seen a film on Everest during my school days. As I walked the trail that morning, I thought to myself - can I climb it someday?” Morvankar recalls.

    That opportunity first arrived when he dumped the office desk to start Odati Adventures in 1999. Morvankar wanted his offering to be outrageous, where his clients could get a real feel of the outdoors. While setting up shop amid established operators, his vision was to focus on quality rather than make instant gains.



    Odati pioneered waterfall rappelling and canyoning, while also opening new hiking routes in the Sahyadri. They offered weekend cycling rides that led to longer excursions along the Konkan coast and soon in the Himalaya.

    “Our sweetest period was between 2004-2008 when we were really pushing our limits,” he recalls.



    The
    challenges
    come steep

    “Motivating others was a major driving force. I knew I had to keep going,”

    he says.

    It was when he started focussing on personal goals alongside Odati. Each climb doubled up as vital training for Everest. After expeditions to Kang Yatse II, Chamser Kangri, Mentok Kangri II and Elbrus, he trained his sights on Himlung Himal (7,126m) in the autumn of 2017.



    It was when he started focussing on personal goals alongside Odati. Each climb doubled up as vital training for Everest. After expeditions to Kang Yatse II, Chamser Kangri, Mentok Kangri II and Elbrus, he trained his sights on Himlung Himal (7,126m) in the autumn of 2017.

    But at 6,850 metres, Morvankar experienced discomfort in his feet and turned back. It was an agonising descent to base camp where he realised he was frostbitten. For the next three months, he would wake up to the unnerving sight of his distressed digits, hanging on to the thin line between hope and despair. By January, however, the doctor had little choice but to amputate six toes.

    The internal battles were aplenty, yet most never saw it. Morvankar drew inspiration from all that he had.

    “Recovering from frostbite is a long-drawn process and I had to be patient. When I went on my first run, just a week after the stitches came off, I knew I was ready for another challenge,” he says.

    Morvankar started stealing time from his hectic schedule to focus on Everest. The office was brought closer to home to dedicate more time towards training and planning. He restructured the working model at Odati, dealing with select clientele instead of reaching out to the multitude.

    “We wanted to be in a space where we understood people and they understood us. It clicked and the business picked up,” Morvankar says.

    In 2019, he could finally make an attempt on Everest (8,848m). On the summit push at about 7,350 metres, Morvankar took a break. He sought clarity amid a rush of conflicting thoughts - on one hand, he was looking at an unforgettable birthday on the summit of Everest. But an inner voice told him something was gravely wrong. It took all his experience to make the bold decision to turn around.

    “I had this unusual sensation in my leg and called off the expedition. Today when I look back, I know that decision to turn around saved my life,” he says.

    The doctor diagnosed Morvankar’s condition as arterial thrombosis, which can often be life-threatening. An operation followed and though he made a quick recovery, Morvankar realised he had never been farther away from his Everest dream.



    THE
    ADVENTURES
    CONTINUE

    Morvankar’s actions on Everest spoke volumes of his abilities as a leader, blessed with a sound mind to make the right decision in crunch situations. And more importantly, to keep the fire alive despite all the setbacks and health conditions.

    A few months on, he was back in the mountains, getting to the summits of Kilimanjaro, Tsomothang, Kang Yatse II, Island Peak and Lobuche East. He also ventured into competitive cycling, taking on the grind of gruelling races like the Sahyadri Classic and the Deccan Cliffhanger. The inspiration remains the drive to understand the limits of his body. And grab the next opportunity to climb Everest.

    On the work front too, things were beginning to look up. For the first time since starting out, Morvankar saw a profit in 2020. The pandemic put a spanner in the works, but on resuming operations, he once again recorded good numbers.

    “When I started this business, I told myself that whether you succeed or fail, the one thing you don’t do is regret,” he says.

    The longest journey begins with a single step. Jayesh Morvankar would certainly agree.

  • Comments on this post (10 comments)

    • Amit Lodha says...

      I have known Jayesh since 2018. I remember my first bike ride with him, where I managed to break my collar bone. He picked me up and knew what is to be done and clinically arranged everything – hospital, doctor and also managed to get my new bike back home.. without breaking a sweat! Good to have such a person around in such circumstances. He has been a source of encouragement for me to get back into cycling and immensely patient taking me along for rides – helping me get back!

      I have seen his grit and passion which is unparalleled and is always inspiring personally for me – be it coming back to attempt Everest post frost bite incident, be it never say no attitude to any daunting adventure. Further he is extremely knowledgeable in History, geography, anthropology and wildlife. Not to mention his singing skills!
      Grateful to know someone like him.

      On May 16, 2023

    • Anu says...

      Wow, what an inspiration!

      On May 14, 2023

    • Sangeeta Kini says...

      Jayesh, you have been go getter and truly inspirational to many of us like me who have trekked with you and odati team. Your
      leadership skills, meticulous working out itinerary and immense knowledge about every trek/adventure is what I personally feel stands out odati from the rest. Keep it up. God bless you with more power and best wishes for many more future endeavours.

      On May 13, 2023

    • Jayesh Morvankar says...

      Thanks a lot everyone for your kind comments and encouragement.
      I know a few here, and some I don’t. But that does not matter as far as motivating others is concerned.
      Always happy to share my experiences and in doing so, make your’s better.

      Thanks Athlos for such a precise, concise and wonderful coverage of my life-story. Really apprecate that.

      On May 12, 2023

    • शुभम शिंदे says...

      hi

      On May 12, 2023

    • Prof. Brinda Chauhan says...

      It’s great to hear about such a motivational inspirational personality.. Jayesh Sir I had always heard about your ventures and adventures .. God always give you strength to full fill your dreams…!!!Keep inspiring people they need it .

      On May 11, 2023

    • Dr Rema Menon says...

      FANTABULOUS!!! AN AMAZING LIFE BEING LIVED WITH AWESOMENESS!!!

      On May 11, 2023

    • Dr Chaya says...

      Real men are made of such strong stuff. Hats off to your struggle and rising over all odds and motto of never giving up!!

      On May 11, 2023

    • Bij says...

      Someone my most adventurous and fascinating experiences have been with Odati.
      Jayesh you are lucky to be living your dream… Its not easy…but its amazing. Keep it up.. you and your team are incredible.
      I miss my treks …

      On May 11, 2023

    • Dr.Tejaswini says...

      Jayesh, you are an inspiration .It needs a strong will power,the field can be any, to stand up through all the challenges of life and of course a strong support system of ur better half n true friends.
      Keep going man….as our Shah Sir quoted Robert Frost…..miles n miles to go before I sleep.

      On May 11, 2023

  • Leave a comment

x