India, the host of the highest mountain range in the world, the Himalayas, is indeed a fantastic place for mountaneering. Desire to reach the unreachable and conquer the greatest heights is a leader that motivated and inspired many generations of Indians. Achieving their goal was hard and tough, but will power, patience, determination, and pure love for the mountains together with certain skills were everything these people needed to succeed. Take a look at our top 9 greatest Indian mountaneers of all time!
Krushnaa Patil is the youngest Indian woman who successfully climbed Mount Everest: she achieved this at age of 19, in 2009. This also made her the first woman from Maharashtra to achieve this feat. Her record of being the youngest Indian to climb Mount Everest was subsequently surpassed later. Krushnaa attempted to climb the seven summits in 2010, but due to some technical reasons, she had to abandon the summit on Mount McKinley, which was the last one left out of the seven. From a very small age she was passionate about mountain climbing; during her childhood most of her vacations were on Himalayas. Presently she is a part of an expedition which is an international program on clean water access and conservation.
She climbed Mount Everest at shocking age of 13 years and 11 months, making her the youngest person on Earth to reach the top of the highest mountain. Malavath was born on 10th June 2000 in the house of the tribal farm labourers, Devidas and Lakshmi at Pakala Village, Telangana. She prepared herself for this ascend by practicing trekking in the mountains of Darjeeling and Ladakh.
Asim Mukhopadhyay was a famous mountaineer from West Bengal. He is known for organizing scientific expeditions on high altitudes of Himalayan region. Between 1959 and 1974, he took part in those expeditions as climber and organized a few. He successfully organized the climb on Tirsuli and Nanda Ghunti peaks. Asim is known for the vast knowledge he has on Pali, Buddhist culture and literature. Asim took interest in exploration and climbing after he completed his M.A. degree in 1952. He completed his training on mountaineering in 1962: for this he has to lose some weight and quit smoking. Nawang Gombu, the famous Tibetan mountaineer, was his trainer.
Mohan Singh Kohli
Captain Mohan Singh Kohli is a world renowned Indian mountaineer. He was an Indian navy officer who was a part of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police. In 1965 he led a team of nine men to the summit of Mount Everest; this was a world record which stayed for 17 years. Kohli was made the President of Indian Mountaineer Foundation in 1989, and he served there for 4 years. In the same year, Himalayan Environment Trust was also co-founded by him. Mohan Singh Kohli received many awards, such as Padma Bhushan, Arjuna Award, Ati Vishisht Seva Medal, IMF Gold Medal, Punjab Government’s Nishan-e-Khalsa, Most Distinguished Citizen of Delhi Award, the Tenzing Norgay Lifetime National Adventure Award, and several other recognitions worldwide.
Narendra Dhar Jayal
Major Narendra Dhar Jayal, also known as Nandu, was an officer of the Indian Army Corps of Engineers and the Bengal Sappers. This legendary man was also known as the ‘Marco Polo of Indian Mountaineering’. Educated in Doon school, Nandu patronized and pioneered Amateur Mountain climbing sport during the early years of independence. Jayal in the age of 16 went for an expedition to Awar Valley above Badrinath, climbing 6000 meters. He was the principal and founder of the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute located at Darjeeling. Tenzing Norgay of the Everest fame was the chief instructor of the institute.
Mandip Singh Soin
Mandip Singh Soin was born in 9th March 1957. This prominent explorer, mountaineer, ecotourism and adventure travel expert, a member of Royal Geographical Society, President and founder of the Ecotourism Society of India, and advocate of responsible tourism, he was the first Indian to climb Mount Meru in 1986. He also carried out several other climbs in Wales, Swiss Alps, Scotland, and Italian Dolomites. He has received many awards, such as ‘Best Outstanding Green Leader’, ‘India’s Most Versatile Adventurer’, the Ness Award, International Institute for Peace award, and ‘Arjuna Award of Adventure’. In 2003, for his contribution towards Himalayan Environment, Sir Edmund Hillary awarded him with the Award of Appreciation.
Gurdial Singh is one of the India’s most prominent mountaineers. He led India’s first expedition to Trisul in 1951. Being a student of the renowned ‘Doon School, Gurdial Singh was influenced by Englishmen, such as Jack Gibson, R. L. Holdsworth, and John Martyn to take up mountaineering. Together with the first headmaster of the school, Arthur Foot, who was a member of the Alpine Club, he climbed many peaks including Kamet, Trisul, Bandarpunch, Nanda Devi, and Abi Gamin. Gurdial was the first Indian to become the member of the renowned Alpine Club. He received many awards, including Padma Shri, Arjuna Award, Tenzing Norgay National Adventure Award, and Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions.
Colonel Narendra Kumar, as known as ‘Bull’, is an Indian soldier mountaineer. Kumar is known for his reconnaissance mountaineering expedition in 1978 to Siachen Glacier, Teram Kangri, and Saltoro Range. He carried out this expedition for the Indian Army at the age of 45. It’s only because of him Siachen Glacier is still a part of India and not of Pakistan: India conquered the entire 10000 sq km under him. Kumar crossed seven mountain ranges, namely Agil, Karakoram, Saltoro, Ladakh, Zanskar, Himalayas, and the Pir Pinjal Range.
Sudipta Sengupta is a professor in Jadavpur University, Kolkata, where she teaches structural geology. Being a trained mountaineer, she along with Aditi Pant is one of India’s first women to visit Antartica. She is well known for her Bengali book ‘Antartica’. Sudipta was trained by Tenzing Norgay in Himalayan Mountaineering Institute. Numerous expeditions were carried out by her, including the climb of a virgin peak in Lahaul Region, which was later named as Mount Lalona.
This Indian mountaineer became the first Indian woman to reach the peak of Mount Everest in 1984. Bachendri was born in Uttarakhand on 24th May 1954 in a rural working class family. Inspite of facing stiff opposition from relatives and parents while choosing this career, she stood by her decision and became a successful mountaineer. She was chosen to join India’s first mixed gender team for the expedition to Mount Everest. While ascending, this team faced an avalanche which injured some of the team mates. More than half of the team abandoned the expedition, but Bachendri did not give up. At last, on 23rd May 1984 the team reached the peak of Mount Everest successfully. She was the only woman left in the team at that time. After this, Bachendri continued to carry out different expeditions. In 1997, she attended the “First Indian Women Trans-Himalayan Expedition”, which consisted of a team of 8 women, who completed the journey by trekking from the Eastern part of Himalayas, starting from Arunachal Pradesh to the Western part and ending at the Siachen Glacier. More than 40 mountain passes were crossed covering a total of 4500 Km in 225 days. This was a world record, and India became the first country to achieve the same.