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'Roof of the world' beckons passionate Indian girls

Sep 16, 2014

A seven-member team of Indian women led by the legendary Bachendri Pal is all set for an expedition to Kharta Valley in Tibet also known as the roof of the world.

Tibet Indian Girls

New Delhi: Madhvi Sharma, a 28-year-old girl, from the north Indian state of Uttarakhand is brimming with excitement and a sense of contentment. She is all set to realise her childhood dream of trekking with the iconic mountaineer Bachendri Pal, 60, who became the first Indian woman to conquer Mount Everest some 30 years back in 1984.

Madhvi is one of seven other girls who are part of an all women’s expedition to be led by the iconic mountaineer for an expedition to Tibet’s Kharta Valley', which was flagged off on September 13. Trained at the Uttarkashi based Nehru Institute of Mountaineering, Madhvi recalls how becoming part of such a team has not been an easy journey.

Madhvi, who took to trekking after falling in love with nature, says adventure sport helps a person to learn discipline, team work and patience, which are essential elements for leading a successful life. “It has not been an easy journey for me as my parents were reluctant to send me to such excursions. It happened as I was very passionate about it. I was never bogged down by other societal pressures which come as a natural baggage for a girl”.

The youngest member of the team, Sheetal Sangeeta Ekka, a 24-year-old engineer employed at Tata Steel, does not have any formal training in mountaineering. Mountaineering is not just about stamina, it is more about passion and leadership qualities, she asserts. “Trekking can help Indian women come out of the confinement of four walls,” she says, with a light of hope shining brightly in her eyes.

Bachendri Pal, a living legend in mountaineering, and Chief of the Tata Steel Adventure Foundation (TSAF), urges Indian women to think and believe that nothing is impossible. “Women should develop a ‘can do’ attitude in them and then they can achieve anything in this world.

Pal adds that such challenging and adventurous expeditions are an opportunity for women to realise their potential. “The women in the expedition come from diverse backgrounds. It is going to be challenging and learning experience for all of us to trek the Kharta Valley,” she said.

Premlata Agrawal from Jharkhand, an ace mountaineer, is also part of the expedition. She was the first Indian woman to climb all seven highest summits spread across seven continents.

The spirited faces of the team set to take on the challenges in the Kharta valley include Premlata Agarwal and Sheetal Sangeeta Ekka from Jharkhand, Chetna Sahoo from West Bengal, Jyoti Sharma and Tanu Verma from Delhi, Madhvi Sharma from Uttrakhand and Anita Vaidya from Gujarat.

The 15-day expedition has been organized by TATA Steel Adventure Foundation (TSAF) and will culminate on October 9. The team is scheduled to trek through a valley of flowers and to the Mount Everest's east face known as the Kangshung. The Kangshung Glacier is said to be one of the three main glaciers of Mount Everest.

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