Mountains are home to the world’s 15 per cent population and half of the global biodiversity. And to mark the importance of mountains to life, December 11 is celebrated as International Mountain Day.
The day is celebrated to raise awareness about mountains to life and highlight the constraints and opportunities in mountain development. It looks at ways to bring about positive changes to the mountain habitat by forging an alliance, and the need to protect the environment around it, according to the United Nations.
International Mountain Day 2021: Brief History
The UN General Assembly declared 2002 the International Year of Mountains and designated December 11 to be celebrated as the International Mountain Day every year from 2003. The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN oversees the day and coordinates with global organisations to raise awareness about protecting the mountains.
On this day, the UN encourages the international community to organize events at all levels to highlight the importance of sustainable mountain development.
International Mountain Day 2021: Theme
The theme for this year’s International Mountain day is ‘sustainable mountain tourism’.
The essence of the theme assumes special significance at a time when the coronavirus pandemic has completely crushed the tourism sector. According to the UN, the mountain attracts 15 to 20 per cent of global tourism. The lockdown has further compounded the vulnerabilities of the people living in mountains.
Hence, on this day, the UN aims to rethink ways of reviving mountain tourism and building models that will work towards a more resilient, green and inclusive future of the mountain habitats.
“Sustainable tourism in mountains can contribute to creating additional and alternative livelihood options and promoting poverty alleviation, social inclusion, as well as landscape and biodiversity conservation,” states the UN.
It will help to preserve the ‘natural, cultural and spiritual heritage’ and promote the local and traditional crafts and practices including local festivals.
Remembering Indian Mountaineers who Climbed Mt Everest
On this International Mountain Day, let’s have a look at famous Indian mountaineers who climbed the world’s highest peak, Mt Everest:
1. Autar Singh Cheema -- Lt. Colonel Autar Singh Cheema from Punjab was the first Indian and the sixteenth in the world to have climbed Mt Everest on May 25, 1965.
2. Sonam Gyatso and Sonam Wangyal -- The duo from Sikkim climbed Mt Everest on May 22, 1965. Sonam Wangyal was 23 back then, making him the youngest summiteer to have undertaken the expedition, while Sonam Gyatso was the oldest at 42.
3. Bachendri Pal -- The first Indian woman to have climbed Everest on May 23, 1984.
4. Santosh Yadav -- The first Indian woman to have climbed Mt Everest twice, the second being on May 10, 1993. The first expedition was undertaken in May 1992.
5. Anshu Jamsenpa -- The first woman in the world from Arunachal Pradesh to scale the summit of Mt Everest twice in one season, and the fastest double summiteer to have done so within five days.
6. Arunima Sinha -- The first female amputee in the world to scale Mt Everest on May 21, 2013.
7. Malavath Purna -- The youngest mountaineer from India and the youngest female in the world to have scaled Mt Everest in 2017 at the age of 13.
8. Love Raj Singh Dharmshaktu -- The first Indian to have climbed Mt Everest seven times, with the last being on May 20, 2018. His earlier ascents were in 1998, 2006, 2009, 2012 and 2013.
9. Sangeeta Sindhi Bahl -- The oldest Indian woman from Jammu and Kashmir to have scaled Mt Everest in 2018 at the age of 53.
10. Ravindra Kumar -- The first Indian Administrative Service officer to climb Everest on May 23, 2019.