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Mousumi Khatua – First Bengali woman to summit Mt. Damavand

New Delhi [India], September 21 : Legendary India mountaineer Bachendri Pal, who summited Mt. Everest in 1984, once said, “Adventure should be part of everyone’s life. It is the whole difference between being fully alive and just existing.”
Mousumi Khatua made it a philosophy of her life and scripted history as she became the first woman from Kalyani City, West Bengal to climb Asia’s highest volcanic peak Mount Damavand.
Mousumi along with ace mountaineer, Satyarup Siddhanta, and Bhaswati Chatterjee began the expedition to Mt. Damavand, the highest peak in Iran and a potentially active volcano, in the first week of September and reached its summit on September 10.
At an elevation of 5,610 meters, Mt. Damavand is known for its Sulphur discharge near its peak which can cause irreparable damage if exposed for a longer duration. The determination and thrill to unfurl the national flag at the summit kept Mousumi motivated even as the third member of the team Bhaswati decided to stay back after advancing till 4,600 meters.
Mousumi is now an inspiration to those who feel trekking is an adventure sport only for the young and one needs years of experience for such expeditions.
Mousumi, who is in her early thirties, developed her interest towards trekking after starting her job in Bengaluru. She joined the ‘Bangalore Mountaineering Club’ and used to go for treks in the Western Ghats over weekends but never thought of being a pro. After watching the movie ‘The Everest’ in 2015, she finally made up her mind and the next day she enrolled for Zanskar River trek in the Himalayas.
It might look usual nowadays, but trekking wasn’t the same for a small town girl venturing out alone without friends and family in an unknown world. She applied for Basic Mountaineering Course (BMC) and completed the one month course in May-June in 2018. Soon after the training, she got an opportunity to join Bengal team, who were preparing for Damavand in Iran. And rest, as they say, is history.
“I feel thrilled and immensely proud as my efforts brought glory to my motherland. It’s an utter joy to represent the state I belong to. Just a few years back, being on the mountain seemed a far-fetched dream. Being a girl, and that too an over aged one, it felt impossible. But it has finally happened. I am thankful to Satya, Bhaswati Di and many friends who always supported me and enriched my life with their wisdom,” said Mousumi after becoming the first girl from Bengal to do so.
Highlighting Bhaswati’s selfless gesture Mousumi said, “Bhaswati Di decided to turn back so that the team doesn’t suffer by any means due to her. She showed team spirit and encouraged me and Satyarup continue with the expedition.”
Commenting upon Mousumi’s achievements, her teammate Satyarup Siddhanta said, “I am happy for Mousumi and I congratulate her on her achievement. I am lucky to have a partner like her. Mt. Damavand wasn’t easy to trek as the conditions were tough but when you have a good team, even the most difficult of treks become easy.”
Bhaswati, the third member of the team, who gave up her summit bit for the overall team’s success, was equally happy for Mousumi and the team’s effort.
“I congratulate Mousumi for her achievement, unfortunately, I had to cut short my trek but I am proud of my team and what we have achieved. Mousumi has done the unthinkable because she wasn’t a pro but her grit and determination has helped her realise her dream. I hope that this trek motivates her further and she successfully scales several mountains in her life,” Bhaswati said.
Mousumi believes there are many out there like her who have their dreams enclosed deep within their hearts and doubtful of their capabilities. She urges them to let their dream fly high, and spread their wings for the sky is the limit.

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