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Nagadhiraj  Himalaya   A Review  of  the  Indian  Himalayan         
                                                                       by Harish Kapadia


About the auther:- Mr Harish Kapadia is a veteran Mountaineer & writer.This was one of the earliest Himalyan travel recorded in the Indian range.This article is based on 40 years of personal mountaineering experience of the auther in the indian Himalayan. Courtesy:- Yojana

                                                                                                               Though a lot has been done in the Indian Himalaya in the last Millennium, a lot remains to be done. After all what is a 100 years for the Nagadhiraj Himalaya, standing there for centuries. We must Pledge to know more about the range and protect it.

                                                                                                                                                      " In the northern direction there is a noble souled mountain called the Himalaya He is Nagadhiraj, the Lord of all mountains, with his two  extending arms fathoming the eastern and western oceans He stands unsurpassed as the measuring rod of the earth ''                                                                    Kalidas   in   Kumarsambhava


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 Back to the central Indian Himalaya. The Gangotri glacier is one valley where a lot of trekking and climbing has been done. Satopanth, Chaukhamba, Sudarshan Parvat, Shivling and Thalay Sagar are just a few of the peaks that are the pride of this area. The mountaineering history of the area can fill up an entire volume. Here I must mention a story. A group of four sadhus, barely clad and with sparse food crossed the Kalindi Khal to go from the shrine of Gangotri to Badrinath. At the same time, Andre Roch, the famous Swiss mountaineer was climbing several peaks in the area. He met the party, was impressed by this feat and presented them an altimeter. This instrument was passed on, like a baton, to successive generations of Indian mountaineers with the condition that when one stops climbing it must be passed to the next active mountaineer. It reached me after a long journey.

Another landmark in Garhwal is Kamet which stands tall over the Saraswati valley. It was from this valley that early travellers like the Hindu guru Shankracharya and the Spanish priest, Father Andrade, crossed to Tibet over the Mana pass. The peak of Kamet was attempted several times and finally in 1931 Frank Smythe and Eric Shipton reached the summit along with some others.  R.L. Holdsworth, who was with them, smoked a pipe on the summit, which I believe still remains a height record for smokers.     ( -except someone has had that pleasure on Everest! ) .

Moving towards north Garhwal first comes to the Jadh Ganga valley, which was surveyed by J.B.Auden. I visited the valley in 1990 and we climbed Trimukhi Parvat East, a shapely peak. Monesh, my young companion, wanted to catch a leopard-cub and keep him warm in his sleeping bag-like Auden had done. I was worried that the mother wouldn't like that-this was their territory, Valley of Snow leopards. Luckily wiser counsel prevailed.

Western Garhwal can be called 'Gibson territory'-as a testimony to his training of young Indian mountaineers. Here on the slopes of Kalanag, Swargarohini Indians learned the sport of climbing. More importantly they also learnt about the flowers of Har-ki-Dun, the birds in the Tons valley and the culture of Garhwa1. Gibson was a firm believer in small and friendly expeditions and I wish we Indians had remained firm followers of his philosophy.                                                                   Next page

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