Thursday December 13, 2018
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A life of fearlessness, passion & purpose: Indian climbers and their love for mountains



By Shreya Upadhyaya

Chances are that you had never heard of Malli Mastan Babu until there were reports of a missing Indian mountaineer a few days back. The 40-year old breathed his last in the place he lived for – the mountains. Hailing from Nellore in Andhra Pradhesh, he was the first Indian to summit Mount Vinson Massif, the tallest peak in Antarctica. In 2005, he summitted Mount Kilimanjaro on January 20 in three and a half days.

“Mountains retained its favourite child” – a Facebook page, Rescue Malli Mastan Babu, announced on April 4, 2015 after Chilean teams found his body in the Andes range. Several expressed their grief on social media platforms and distraught friends and fellow mountaineers spoke about the inspiration that Malli has been. But in a country where cricket is the staple sport and in a world that doesn’t see very many mountaineers, Indian climbers like Malli continue to scale new heights (literally) one after the other. So what is it that keeps them going?

The one name that comes in mind when one thinks of mountaineers in India is Bachendri Pal, the first Indian female (and fifth female) to ascend the Mount Everest in 1984.

Bachendri was born into a rural working-class family in Uttarakhand and was one of seven children. Once she chose to be a professional mountaineer, Bachendri did not look back, despite stiff opposition from her family. Her persistence led her to guide an all-woman rafting expedition down the Ganges, covering about 1,500 miles. The Padma Shri awardee also led an all-woman team on a successful 2,500-mile transit of the Himalayas, beginning in Arunachal Pradesh and concluding at the Siachen Glacier. “If women are strong, the nation will be strong,” Bachendri has always maintained, adding that as citizens, each of us should be prepared to handle any situation instead of always depending on the army for help.

Santosh Yadav became the first woman in the world to climb the Mount Everest twice in less than a year (in 1992 and 1993) and the first woman to successfully climb Mount Everest from Kangshung Face. Born in Haryana, Santosh’s love for the mountains took her into the unknown range of Aravallis. Determined to take forward this casual stroll, she ran away from home to attend her first mountaineering expedition. She saved money and enrolled at Uttarkashi’s Nehru Institute of Mountaineering. However it was not a smooth start for the mountaineer. In her own words, Santosh’s parents were “very orthodox and (they) were dead against her decision.” Their focus was on marrying her, and hers was on scaling the Mount Everest. Although she had to fight it out to reach her goal, Santosh says the feeling of standing atop some of the highest peaks in the world is immensely satisfying.

Other mountaineers such as Harish Kapadia, Balwant Sandhu and Captain MS Kohli have been success stories in their own right – at times a helicopter rescue from a 6,200-metre deep gorge, at other times a dislocated hip-joint. These mountaineers chose not to give up in times that tested not only their strength but also their patience. Soon after they continued with the same zeal.

Arunima Sinha, world’s first female amputee to climb the Everest, is a story of inspiration. She attributes her motivation to the horrific incident that made her lose one of her legs. “Life does not stop. I did not want to spend my life on the wheelchair”, she said in an interview. Labeled as “crazy” and discouraged when she talked about climbing, Arunima found solace and encouragement in Bachendri Pal. Even though Arunima did not find support from her family initially, it was not long before her parents came to terms with it. Regardless of constant physical ailments throughout the trek, she knew that there is definitely no gain without any pain.

At the age of 16 years and 11 months, Arjun Vajpai became the youngest Indian to climb the Everest in 2011. He achieved this feat at an age of 16 years, 11 months and 18 days. He broke the record set by Krushnaa Patil who had climbed the summit at the age of 19 years.

India’s tryst with the mountains does not end here. She still produces men and women of steel that leave behind everything to pursue their calling.

Some like Malli leave the comforts of a luxurious white collar job while others rise above physical limitations to conquer not just peaks but will power as well. Each mountaineer has a story to tell and a story to be left behind. For now they are believing in themselves, chasing their dreams and are definitely setting great examples – if only we care to look.

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Lambasingi: A Snowfall Experience Like Never Before

Lambasingi temperature can go as low as -2 degrees celsius in the month of December

Lambasingi is slowly emerging as one of the favourite tourist places in Andhra Pradesh. Wikimedia Commons
Lambasingi is slowly emerging as one of the favourite tourist places in Andhra Pradesh. Wikimedia Commons

By Ruchika Verma 

  • Lambasingi is a tourist place in Andhra Pradesh
  • The place is famous for experiencing snowfalls
  • It is a beautiful, nature-friendly place and great for a recreational break

When you think of snowfall, you think of Kashmir, Manali, and all other hill places in North India. However, what many don’t know is, that snow falls in South India too. Lambasingi in Andhra Pradesh is a small picturesque village where snowfalls are beautiful.

The previously unknown village is now being promoted by Andhra Pradesh tourism. And it is also slowly becoming one of the favourite tourist places of Andhra Pradesh.

India has some of the most beautiful hill areas in the World. Wikimedia Commons
India has some of the most beautiful hill areas in the World. Wikimedia Commons

Lambasingi is a misty hill station, which at an altitude of 1025 meters above sea level is situated in the Chintapalli region of Arakku Valley. It has experienced snowfalls many times in the past.

Lambasingi temperature can go as low as -2 degrees Celsius in the month of December, and when that happens, the place gets covered in a layer of snow. Lambasingi weather is mostly cool and can get freezing in the months of December and January. It is one place which must be on your travel list.

Lambasingi is also home to many tribes. Wikimedia Commons
Lambasingi is also home to many tribes. Wikimedia Commons

But what do you do in Lambasingi other than wait for the snow? Here are some clues:

Enjoy the Farms and Gardens

Lambasingi is famous for its coffee and pepper farming. In winter, you can take a walk in these farms r the beautiful orchid gardens. It will make you feel like you are strolling through the clouds.

Visit the Waterfall 

27 km away from the beautiful hill station, lies the Kothapally waterfall. In between enchanting forests, the crystal white water of this waterfall will leave you enchanted.

Lambasingi is also famous for its coffee and pepper plantations. Wikimedia Commons
Lambasingi is also famous for its coffee and pepper plantations. Wikimedia Commons
Enjoy the Misty Mornings 

Mornings in the mountains are the best, and in Lambasingi the experience is just as beautiful. The Lambasingi temperature throughout the year stays less than 10 degrees Celcius, so you can expect a beautiful, chilly morning every day during your stay there.

Also Read: Travel and Tourism Fair in Kolkata aims at Exploiting Huge Travel and Tourism Potential in the Country 

Stroll through the Forests 

Lambasingi weather is beautiful, it needs no reiterating. And there are even more beautiful and lush green forests for you to stroll through to make yourself feel at peace. One can also observe various birds, plants and animals, to make for a more thrilling experience.

Forests in Lambasingi are green and lush, perfect for walks. Wikimedia Commons
Forests in Lambasingi are green and lush, perfect for walks. Wikimedia Commons
Try Adventure Sports 

The Lambasingi travel guide also promises adventurous experiences. You can go trekking, rock climbing and rappelling as well.

Also Read: Goa pins ‘bird’ing hopes to attract tourists

Lambasingi is becoming one of the hottest tourist places in Andhra Pradesh really fast, and the people are capitalising on it like anything. Lambasingi has hotels now which promise an amazing experience and comfortable stay. This place is a pocket-friendly trip you can enjoy with your family.