“It’s not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.” Edmund Hilary, who had first conquered Mt. Everest along with Tenzing Norgay, gave this statement. Mt. Everest is the tallest peak in the Himalayas and in the world. These two brave and adventurous men can be termed as the first ones to have undertaken a Himalayan adventurous journey.
The name Himalaya has been derived by adding a Sanskrit prefix meaning “snow” to a word that means “home”. Therefore, Himalaya means an abode of snow. The Himalayas are a 2500 kilometres long mountain range located in the north of the Indian subcontinent. They are one of the oldest mountain ranges in the world. The Himalayas have geographical, ecological, cultural and spiritual importance for India and its neighbouring nations.
Along with these, the Himalayas are also a paradise for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts as there are numerous adventurous journeys that can be undertaken in different parts of the mountain range. An adventurous journey in the Himalayas offers an experience that is one of its kind. The majestic, romantic and remote location of the mountain range offers explored as well as unexplored regions for adventure seekers.
The history of adventurous Himalayan journeys goes back to the British era. Organised trekking to the Himalayas had begun in the later part of the nineteenth century. Sports related activities, hunting expeditions and fishing trips had gained popularity in the Himalayan regions towards the end of the nineteenth century. In the pre independence era of the twentieth century, interest had increased in undertaking adventurous journeys to higher and more remote valleys of the Himalayas. The disputes with neighbouring countries such as Pakistan and China, with whom India shares northern boundaries, had led to some discouragement in journeys taken in the Himalayas. However, today interest has revived again in adventurous journeys to the Himalayas. Gradually, restrictions have been lifted and trekkers can now visit many areas to seek new adventures in the Himalayas.
Special equipment such as shoes, protective clothing, goggles etc. are needed to undertake an adventurous journey in the Himalayas. The journey is done in short parts and people live in tents and rest for the night. There are small villages in and close to the base camp too.
Any journey in the Himalays is bound to be adventurous but it is very risky at the same time. The risk of the journey and the joy of finishing it, both add to the adventure aspect. There are snowstorms, avalanches, strong winds and dangerous edges, all of which make the journey very difficult. There are dangerous glaciers which are very deceptive as the snow underneath the feet is not stable. Stepping on such fresh snow also causes various accidents.
It is always best and very important to have one or two local and experienced Sherpas as guides and helpers. They are people who know the mountains better than anybody else does. If travellers and trekkers follow them and their advice, it is not very difficult to go for an adventurous journey in the Himalayas.