Rajiv Kumar Mondal of Bardhaman district successfully walked 5,500 km and became the second Bengali to create a record after 34 years.
He completed his solo trans-Himalayan trek in 382 days. Mondal started
the adventure walk on September 3, 2009 in the Ladakh region of Jammu
and Kashmir, and after walking through Himachal Pradesh, the Kumaon and
Garhwal regions of Uttarakhand, Nepal, northern West Bengal (including
Darjeeling), Sikkim, Bhutan and Assam, ended his trek at a camp in Lohit
district of Arunachal Pradesh.
The coordinator of the Himalayan Nature and Adventure Foundation, Animesh Bose informed that in 1976, Bidyut Sarkar of Kolkata was the first Bengali to achieve this feat (a solo trans-Himalayan trek), by walking for 4 months a total of 8,000 km. Animesh believes that Bidyut was also the first in the world to complete a solo trans-Himalayan trek. The second person to achieve this remarkable feat is now another Bengali. According to Animesh, crossing the Himalayas from west to east is an exceedingly difficult task where every moment can be life-threatening.
Keeping that in mind, the achievements of Bidyut and Rajiv are a matter of pride not just for Bengal but for India as well. Animesh goes on to say, “The political scenario currently in that region is far more dangerous than what it was during Bidyut’s time. Rajiv had to brave terrorism and political instability among various other problems. During his expedition, Rajiv gained direct knowledge of the local customs and people which would be of great help to new researchers.”
One such incident he narrated was that while trekking he entered a town in eastern Bhutan all tired, having walked over 40 kilometres. The trekker met locals there who were not only kind enough to share meals with him but also provided him with shelter for the night.
Lead Image Courtesy: (Bongodorshon)