Millennium Post

Stupa after legendary climber Nawang Gombu at HMI

After a long wait, finally a bust along with a Chorten (Stupa) of legendary mountaineer Late Nawang Gombu was consecrated at the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (HMI) premises in Darjeeling on Monday. The day also marked his 6th death anniversary.

Gombu was the first man to summit Mount Everest twice in 1963 (the first USA ascent team) and 1965 (the first Indian ascent team).

"It is the greatest tribute to him. The Chorten has been built in the premises of the HMI, the place he loved and spent most of his life," stated Ongmu Gombu, youngest daughter of the Late Mountaineer. Stupa or Chorten in Tibetan is an important religious monument expressing significant religious symbolism and presenting Buddha's physical presence. In a somber ceremony organised by the HMI and the Sherpa Association, the Chorten was consecrated among chants of mantras. People from all walks of life paid floral tributes and offered Khadas (Tradition scarves) at the newly-installed bust of them.

Born on May 1, 1936, Gombu was the youngest Sherpa in Tenzing Norgay's team in 1953 and managed to climb up to an altitude of 26,000 feet with heavy load. Gombu was part of the first group of Sherpa mountaineers who along with Tenzing Norgay completed a guide course in Switzerland in 1954. Among the other peaks summitted by Gombu are Saser Kangri II (1955), Frey Peak (1960), Nanda Devi (1964), Mont Blanc–France (1966), Mt Rainier–USA (1973), Mt McKinley, Alaska, USA (1978) and Kangchendzonga from Nepal in 1989. Gombu had received the Tiger of the Snows Medal (1953), Queen Elizabeth 11 Coronation Medal (1953), Howard Medal of National Geographic Society –USA (1963), Padmashree (1964), Padmabhushan (1965) IMF Gold Medal (1966), Arjuna Award (1967), Olympic Gold Medal-Rome (1967), Tenzing Norgay Award (1986), 49th Independence Day Award (1996) and Tenzing Norgay National Adventure Award on August 29, 2006. After a brief illness he passed away in his residence on April 24, 2011.
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