Bachendri Pal is most likely the first name children encounter in their textbooks when learning about women’s empowerment. She did not just break the glass ceiling for women in Indian mountaineering. She also founded an organization where she assumed leadership of those who aspired to follow in her footsteps.
Bachendri Pal created history by becoming the first Indian woman to climb Mount Everest, the highest peak in the world. Just one day before her birthday, the Indian mountaineer achieved this feat and became an iconic symbol of leadership and women empowerment,
Eyes shining with grit, courage, and perseverance, she didn’t hold back and etched her name in history by scaling the 8,848m of feat and renowned herself as the first Indian woman to climb Mt. Everest.
Mad4India brings the ever-changing story of Bachendri Pal, the Indian mountaineer who made history decades back by carving herself as the first Indian woman to climb the world’s highest peak – Mt. Everest.
Bachendri Pal scaling high
Born on 24 May 1954, in Nakuru village, Uttarkashi district, Uttrakhand. Bachendri Pal is an Indian mountaineer. She inscribed her name on 23 May 1984, creating history by becoming the first Indian female to scale Mt. Everest.
Bachendri Pal was born to a simple and loving family of Hansa Devi and Shri Kishan Singh Pal. His father used to supply groceries from India to Tibet as he was a border tradesman. She was born just five days before the anniversary of the ascension of Mt. Everest by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay.
Back in the day, girls were deprived of education, but despite the breakthroughs, Pal did her schooling. Though her parents thought she will study till the 10th as she was a bright child, her school principal insisted that she continue her studies.
Later on, Bachendri Pal completed her academics from D.A.V. Post Graduate College, Dehradun in M.A. and B.Ed.
When she was 12 years old, her passion for mountaineering elicited her. She went on a school picnic along with her friends where Bachendri Pal scaled a 13,123 ft high peak.
During her course at Nehru Institute of Mountaineering, she entitled herself as the first female in 1982 to climb Mount Gangotri 23,419 ft and Mount Rudragaria 19,091 ft. Throughout her career, she became an instructor and a leading advisor at NAF – National Adventure Foundation – an organization to train women in learning mountaineering.
Journey to Mt. Everest
Bachendri Pal engraved her name and made the country proud, but her journey was not easy. She had to face her friends and family’s revelation when she chose the career in mountaineering. Pal climbed and soon found success in her name after summiting small peaks. In 1984, she joined India’s first mixed-gender to attempt an expedition to Mount Everest 1984.
In 1984, when India scheduled its fourth expedition to Mt. Everest., christened ‘Everest 84.’ It was India’s mixed-gender team with two groups – members of 6 women and 11 men to ascend the peak. Bachendri pal was a member of the forward group. Her team almost met with a disaster that left many, including her, but she didn’t quit.
When Bachendri Pal saw Mt. Everest for the first time, she was awe-inspired at how spectacular it was.
On 23 May 1984, the groups reached the summit of Mt. Everest, and Bachendri Pal created history. She achieved the milestone one day before her 30th birthday.
Coming from a small town, Bachendri Pal believed she was blessed with a good fortune to have Tata Steel as her backer. She joined Tata Steel before her adventure to the peak, and after she returned, she was welcomed by a new department (Tata Youth Adventure Centre, TYAC) that was created for her.
She was awarded the third-highest civilian award Padma Bhushan in 2013 by the Government of India.
She is exemplary for women as she continues to inspire them by training them in mountaineering. She has been active after ascending the highest peak and has been a part of many movements and groups that inspires people to climb.
The confidence, goal, and courage of Bachendri Pal gave to many youngsters in this field is immense. Mad4India wishes a blooming journey and aspires to cover such women-empowerment stories.
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