Veteran mountaineer Nalini Sengupta is set to become the first Puneite to have a Himalyan peak christened in her honour. Sexagenarian Sengupta, who has scaled several summits till now, was bestowed with his honour recently after trekkers of Giripremi, a noted mountaineering institute in the city, conquered peak 5260 in the Hamta pass region in Himalayas and decided to name it as “Mount Nalini”, to salute her persistent efforts to inculcate mountaineering in youngsters since 1970.
According to Umesh Zirpe, Co-ordinator of Giripremi Mountaineering Institute and leader of Giripremi’s Mount Everest expedition, “Generally, the first team who summits a new virgin peak is granted the honour to name it. Till today, many teams have explored and conquered new mountains. They have named them after their favourite gods, local deities and villages.”
“Pk 5260 in the Hamta pass region was a challenge in itself. We named this peak after Nalini Sengupta. Her devotion for mountaineering is nothing less than the altitude of Everest. She already has crossed barriers of lack of funds, equipment and encouragement too. She was literally in No Mans Land when she had started mountaineering in early 70s, when even mountaineering word was unfamiliar to Indians,” Zirpe said.
Elaborating on the efforts took by Nalini for promoting mountaineering, Zirpe said, “In 1970, Sengupta participated in the first Basic Mountaineering Course for women conducted at the National Institute of Mountaineering. Sengupta was selected as the coach for the adventure training programme from among 30 cadets. Since then, she has been spreading awareness about mountaineering. Her Vidya Valley High School also has a dedicated trekking club.”
Being an avid trekker and an adventure training coach, Sengupta was thrilled to hear the news. “When I heard this, first I felt very awkward but afterwards I enjoyed this title a lot. To salute this honour to me, I will soon go to the base camp. Now I cannot conquer the mountain which is named after me because of the age factor. But I will go to the base camp in Himalaya atleast,” Sengupta told PTI, adding “Mountaineering is in my blood.”
“I belong to a defence family which has served the nation generation after generation. Basically, we are from Darjeeling. It was my inner instinct to get attached with an adventure. So I joined a mountaineering base camp course at Nehru Institute of Mountaineering in Uttarkashi in 1970. “I taught mountaineering to my kids, my school kids also. We have climbing walls on our school premises. My son and daughter are also involved in mountaineering. My son recently completed Machu-Pichu and Kilimanjaro expeditions. Now, I want to see the young generation in mountaineering. They should know our environment and they should be more aware about their physical fitness,” she added.
According to Zirpe, they got the permission to conquer peak 5260 from Indian Mountaineering Foundation (IMF). “We have provided all details of this expedition such as GPS details, photograph of mountaineers who have conquered peak (5260 metre high) to IMF and the Survey of India. Survey of India is the authority which sanctions names to a mountain which fall under the Indian territory. This is a long process but as a reputed mountaineering institute, we are confident that Survey of India will sanction our name to the peak (5260) as Mount Nalini,” he added.