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Bachendari Pal Indian Mountaineer: Journey, Background, Awards

Bachendri Pal is the first Indian woman to conquer Mount Everest twice, making her an icon in the mountaineering world. Her pioneering expeditions in 1984 and 1993 marked significant milestones, with the latter leading an all-women Indo-Nepalese expedition to the world’s highest peak. Honored with the Padma Bhushan in 2019 by the Government of India, her remarkable journey serves as a beacon of inspiration.

For UPSC IAS Examination aspirants, Bachendri Pal’s story holds paramount importance, featuring prominently in General Studies Paper 1 for both Mains and Prelims, particularly within the Art and Culture section.

Bachendari Pal

Bachendri Pal, an Indian mountaineer, made history as the first Indian woman to conquer the summit of Mount Everest, the tallest mountain in the world at 8,848.86 meters. Her groundbreaking achievement occurred on May 23, 1984, while she was a member of the fourth expedition team for India’s Mount Everest Mission.

  • Bachendri Pal was part of the fourth expedition team for India’s Mount Everest Mission, embarking on their journey in May 1984.
  • Throughout the expedition, Bachendri Pal and her team encountered numerous setbacks, including adverse weather, illness, and technical challenges.
  • An unforeseen avalanche on the Lhotse glacier resulted in injuries to team members, prompting more than half of them to withdraw from the mission.
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  • Despite the setbacks, Bachendri and the remaining members persisted with their expedition.
  • On May 22, 1984, Ang Dorjee (the Sherpa Sirdar) and a select few climbers joined the expedition, with Bachendri being the only woman in this group.
  • Ultimately, on May 23, 1984, Bachendri Pal and her team successfully reached the summit of Mount Everest, making her the first Indian woman to accomplish this historic feat, just one day before her 30th birthday.
  • Her groundbreaking achievement brought Bachendri Pal national and international recognition, inspiring many, especially young girls, to pursue mountaineering as a sport.

Backgound of Bachendari Pal

Bachendri Pal was born on May 24, 1954, in Nakuri village, located in the Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand, India.

  • She was the third child among five siblings born to Hansa Devi and Shri Kishan Singh Pal. Her father engaged in border trading, transporting groceries from India to Tibet.
  • Despite facing financial challenges, her parents prioritized her education and involvement in sports.
  • Bachendri Pal completed her Master of Arts (M.A.) and Bachelor of Education degrees from D.A.V. Post Graduate College in Dehradun.
  • Her early passion for sports and mountaineering led her to join the Nehru Institute of Mountaineering in Uttarkashi, where she received formal mountaineering training.
  • During her training at the institute, she achieved the distinction of being the first Indian woman to climb Mt. Gangotri (21,900 ft) and Mt. Rudragaria (19,091 ft) in 1982.
  • In 1984, during the selection camp for the “Everest-84” expedition held on Mana mountain near Badrinath, Bachendri Pal fell ill with a fever and had to stay at the base camp.
  • Despite missing some training sessions, she persevered and compensated for the lost time, relying on her determination and mountaineering skills.
  • During her expedition training, she prioritized practice and preparation over summiting, eventually successfully scaling Mana to a height of 7,500 meters, her highest accomplishment at the time.

Bachendari Pal’s Social Service

Bachendri Pal has been associated with the Tata Steel Adventure Foundation since 1984, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting adventure sports and outdoor activities in India.

  • Within the foundation, she has held the role of director, contributing significantly to the development of its programs and initiatives.
  • In 2013, Bachendri Pal joined forces with a team of accomplished climbers, including Premlata Agarwal and other Mount Everest summiteers, to provide relief and aid in Uttarkashi following devastating floods.
  • Transitioning from her professional career in 2019, she began focusing on promoting women’s empowerment and mountaineering.
  • Bachendri Pal is actively engaged in various health-related initiatives, such as FIT@50, a five-month Himalayan expedition tailored for individuals aged 50 and above.
  • Her autobiography, titled “Everest: My Journey to the Top,” chronicles her remarkable experiences and achievements.

Bachendri Pal’s Expeditions

Following her historic conquest of Mount Everest in 1984, Bachendri Pal became actively involved in promoting mountaineering and inspiring others to take up the sport.

  • In 1993, she led the “Indo-Nepalese Women’s Mount Everest Expedition (INWEE 1993),” a collaborative effort between India and Nepal aimed at showcasing women’s capabilities in mountaineering.
  • Guiding the expedition, Bachendri Pal ensured its success, with 18 participants, including seven women, reaching the summit of Mount Everest.
  • Bachendri Pal also organized pioneering expeditions such as the first successful Ganges journey in 1993 and the “Great Indian Women’s Rafting Voyage” in 1994, featuring all-female teams.
  • In 1997, she led the “Indian Women Trans-Himalayan Expedition,” a remarkable endeavour involving traversing the entire Himalayan range from east to west.
  • Commencing from Arunachal Pradesh, the expedition encountered challenging terrains and high-altitude passes before reaching the Indira Col, marking the northernmost tip of India.

Awards and Achievements of Bachendari Pal

Bachendri Pal’s remarkable achievements in mountaineering and her significant societal contributions have garnered her numerous awards and honours:

  • In 1984, she was awarded a gold medal for mountaineering excellence by the Indian Mountaineering Association (I.M.A.) and received the Padma Shri, India’s fourth highest civilian honour.
  • The following year, in 1985, the Uttar Pradesh Education Department honoured her with a Gold Medal.
    Recognizing her exceptional sporting prowess, she was bestowed with the Arjuna Award in 1986, a prestigious accolade in the realm of sports.
  • Bachendri Pal’s remarkable mountaineering feats led to her receiving the Tenzing Norgay National Adventure Award in 1994.
  • In 1995, she was honoured with the prestigious Yash Bharati Award by the Uttar Pradesh government.
  • Her historic accomplishment of being the first woman to scale Mount Everest earned her a place in the Guinness Book of World Records.
  • In 2013-2014, the Ministry of Culture honoured her with the Virangana Lakshmibai Rashtriya Samman.
  • Most recently, in 2019, she was conferred with the Padma Bhushan, India’s third-highest civilian award, in recognition of her significant contributions to sports.

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What is Bachendri Pal famous for?

Bachendri Pal (born May 24, 1954, Nakuri, India) Indian mountaineer who in 1984 became the first Indian woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest.

Who was the first woman to climb Mount Everest 1984?

On 23 May 1984, the team reached the summit of Mount Everest at 1:07 p.m. and Bachendri Pal created history. She achieved this feat on the day before her 30th birthday, and six days before the 31st anniversary of the first ascension of Mount Everest.

What was the motivational story of Bachendri Pal?

In 1984, Bachendri Pal achieved a historic feat by reaching the summit of Mount Everest, the world's highest peak. This accomplishment not only marked a personal triumph but also shattered stereotypes about women's capabilities in extreme sports, paving the way for aspiring female mountaineers.

What challenges did Bachendri Pal face?

Overall, the journey to the summit of Mount Everest was a challenging and arduous one for Bachendri Pal and her fellow climbers. They faced unpredictable weather, treacherous terrain, and extreme altitudes.

How much time Bachendri Pal spent on the highest peak of the world?

Bachendri Pal is a mountaineer from India who has climbed Mount Everest twice. She is the first Indian woman to climb Mount Everest, the highest peak in the World (8,848.86 meters). In her first historical expedition, She spent 43 minutes atop Mount Everest on May 23, 1984, at 1:07 p.m. with a team of 8–9 members.


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