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Mountaineering

Mission Har Shikhar Tiranga - Hoisting the tricolor on India's highest peaks

'Har Shikhar Tiranga' mission saw team NIMAS going across 28 states of India to hoist tricolor on their highest mountain peaks.

Mission Har Shikhar Tiranga - Hoisting the tricolor on Indias highest peaks
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Col Ranveer Singh Jamwal honoured by Pema Khandu, the Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh (Image via Twitter/PemaKhanduBJP)

By

Deepa Ramasubramanian

Published: 26 Jan 2024 4:58 PM GMT

As India celebrates its 75th Republic Day today, we look back at the moment that made everyone in the country proud.

We are talking about the 'Har Shikhar Tiranga' mission when braving the tough challenges en route and the weather, Team NIMAS returned with big news. The team accomplished the 'Har Shikhar Tiranga' mission scaling the highest peak of all 28 states and hoisting Tiranga on all of them.


However, what truly sets this mission apart are the numerous 'firsts' it achieved:

A Pioneering Expedition in 28 Indian States - The HST mission marked a groundbreaking milestone in Indian mountaineering. For the first time, a dedicated team set out to scale the highest climbable mountains or points in all 28 Indian states. This was a monumental endeavor as it showcased the team's determination to reach the summits of these diverse and challenging terrains, celebrating India's unity in its geographic diversity.

A Journey Covering All 28 States in One Year - What made the HST mission even more extraordinary was the fact that it became the first expedition to traverse through all 28 Indian states within a single year. Covering an astounding 30,000 kilometers, the team's journey was a testament to their unwavering commitment and extraordinary logistics planning. It showcased their ability to navigate India's vast and diverse landscapes efficiently. The whole planning and training process took around three months for the team.

A Record-Breaking Participation of Over 1000 Climbers - This mission wasn't just about a small group of climbers. It set a record with over 1000 climbers participating across India. The sheer number of participants made it the highest ever in a single mountaineering mission. This achievement emphasized the mission's ability to engage and inspire a broad and diverse community of climbers and patriots. This campaign led by Colonel R.S. Jamwal had a team of 15 members, including both army personnel and civilians. They are Naib Subedar Ravi Devadkar, Naib Subedar Tswesang Chosgail, Havildar Nehpal Singh, Havildar Rakesh Yadav, Havildar Kewal Krishan, Nk Ganesh Paul, Nk Sanjay Poswal, Nb Sub Vikaram Gurung, Hav Jaipal, Nk Devendra Bdr, Dorjee Khandu, Tosep Rime, Roopak Chettri.

Scaling the Highest Peaks of Four Himalayan States in One Year - The HST mission achieved a remarkable milestone by scaling the highest peaks of four Himalayan states - Arunachal, Sikkim, Uttarakhand, and Himachal - within just one year. This demonstrated exceptional skill, planning, and execution, as climbing Himalayan peaks is a formidable challenge due to their high altitude, technical difficulties, and extreme weather conditions.

Collecting Soil from the Mountains of All 28 Indian States - Another unique aspect of the HST mission was its commitment to collecting soil from the mountains of all 28 Indian states. This symbolized unity in diversity, echoing the 'Meri Maati Mera Desh' campaign, and showcased a deep connection between the land and the people.

Contributions to Climbing History - The HST mission left a mark in the annals of climbing history with several significant achievements. It included the second recorded summit of Mt. Reo Purgyil, demonstrating the team's dedication to scale the challenging peaks, and the fourth recorded summit of Mt. Jongsong, further adding to their list of accomplishments.

The suspense in this remarkable journey centers around a dramatic twist of fate. Team NIMAS, after achieving this monumental feat, was the first to be struck by the infamous Sikkim cloudburst. They miraculously survived to recount their harrowing experience. On the very day they descended to the Road Head Camp (Zanak), the cloudburst wreaked havoc at 10 pm. The team remained out of connectivity until the 11th, embarking on what can only be described as a great escape.

Their journey took them through treacherous forests, across snow-clad passes, devastated towns, and ultimately to Siliguri. It's a tale of resilience, relief, and a story worth remembering for a lifetime. The journey, which began in October 2022, unfolded in three distinct phases, each marked by remarkable achievements and determination.

The first phase of the HST mission commenced in October 2022 and concluded in December 2022. During this period, the team focused on the northeastern states of India. These challenging terrains presented unique difficulties, but the HST team's spirit remained undaunted. They successfully scaled the highest peaks in the northeastern states, setting the foundation for the epic journey ahead.

In the second phase, the HST team accomplished two significant milestones. First, they unfurled the national flag on Mt. Reo Purgyil, located at an elevation of 6,818 meters in the breathtaking Spiti Valley. This achievement was particularly notable as it marked only the second recorded summit of this peak in the history of mountaineering, the previous one dating back to 1995. Following this, the team climbed Mt. Kamet, standing tall at 7,756 meters in the state of Uttarakhand.

The final phase of the mission witnessed the team's relentless pursuit of their goal as they covered the remaining states. Among the accomplishments of this phase, one of the most notable was the scaling of Mt. Jongsong, towering at 7,462 meters in Sikkim. This feat was achieved despite heavy rainfall and adverse weather conditions.

"Mission Har Shikhar Tiranga" is not just an expedition; it's an epic that embodies the spirit of unity, patriotism, and the indomitable love for the diverse landscapes of India.

In an unprecedented and historic mission, a group of courageous individuals embarked on an extraordinary journey to hoist the Indian Tricolor on the highest peak of each state.

This unique campaign, known as "Mission Har Shikhar Tiranga," was conceptualized and orchestrated by Colonel Ranveer Singh Jamwal, the present Director of NIMAS (National Institute of Mountaineering and Adventure Sports). The mission sought to celebrate the unity, patriotism, and love for the motherland across the diverse landscapes of India.

The HST team frequently endured journeys of over 14 hours without respite. They also drove the vehicle for the expedition for around 30,000 km without a break. These grueling treks took them through treacherous terrains and winding roads, often in unfamiliar and remote locations, pushing the boundaries of their physical stamina. Nature's unpredictability played a significant role in their challenges. The team faced heavy rains, snow, and mud during their climbs, making the treks more arduous, slippery, and perilous.

As they traversed different regions, the expedition took them through areas infested with leeches and other deadly parasites. These blood-sucking creatures posed a substantial health risk, adding an extra layer of difficulty to their journey. Some peaks, with snow slopes as steep as 70-80 degrees, require technical climbing expertise. The team had to navigate these perilous terrains where even a minor misstep could lead to disastrous consequences.

Securing necessary forest permissions proved to be a constant hurdle. In ecologically sensitive zones, like Kerala, obtaining the required permissions was a complex and challenging process. The team had to navigate bureaucratic red tape and ecological concerns. In certain areas, especially the highest peaks of Telangana, Orissa, and Chhattisgarh, the team encountered the presence of Naxalite groups, adding a layer of security risk to their expeditions. This necessitated meticulous planning and execution to ensure their safety.

Naib Subedar Ravi Devadkar shared his experiences and profound pride in being part of this extraordinary endeavor. The team's reception in every state they visited was marked by warmth, enthusiasm, and genuine affection. For Devadkar, these heartfelt welcomes served as a poignant reminder of the nation's deep-rooted love for the country. When the team unfurled the Tricolor on each state's highest peak, it was a moment that left an indelible mark on their hearts.

Yet, it wasn't all smooth sailing. The team encountered formidable challenges, including unrelenting rain, storms, thick forests, encounters with wild animals, and arduous terrain. Their unwavering determination in the face of adversity only intensified their commitment to the mission.

Naib Subedar Vikram Gurung provided insights into the mission's geographical route. Starting with the summit of Mt. Gourichen in Arunachal Pradesh, they proceeded to scale Mt. Reo Purgyil in Himachal Pradesh, Mt. Kamet in Uttarakhand, and concluded by hoisting the Tricolor on Sikkim's highest peak, Mt. Jongsong. One noteworthy challenge was mixed climbing, which presented its own set of difficulties. The successful completion of the mission was a testament to their collective effort and favorable weather conditions.

Naib Sub Tsewang Chosgail, a member of the 5th Ladakh Scouts, reflected on the uniqueness of the mission. They encountered unexpected challenges, such as the unforgiving terrain of Goa, which made it clear that this expedition was unlike any other. The mission became a test of their skills and resolve.

Hav Jaypal Singh shared his perspective on the mission's significance. Their journey started in the northeast and took them through the highest peaks of every state. The absence of external support showcased their physical and technical prowess. The team's achievement was a message to the mountaineering community. India's peaks are challenging, but they are there to be scaled.

Hav Kewal Krishna expressed his gratitude and highlighted the numerous obstacles they overcame, from navigating dense forests to crossing rivers and enduring the harshest of weather conditions. He marveled at the unique experience of hoisting the Tricolor on the highest peak in every state. He was filled with joy and excitement as he thanked Colonel Jamwal for his historic mission.

Hav Nehpal Singh, the only participant from Haryana, shared his journey from the mountain comments to acting as a guide for the team. Through this mission, he learned about the highest point in his state, a testament to the campaign's mission to spread awareness about India's highest peaks. Their final ascent in Sikkim was not without its difficulties, including a sudden river surge that tested their mettle.

It was a journey that tested the participants' physical and mental resilience, yet they emerged victorious, having hoisted the Tricolor atop the highest peaks of all 28 states. This historic mission, led by Colonel Ranveer Singh Jamwal, stands as a remarkable achievement, showcasing the strength of India's people and their unwavering dedication to their motherland.

The HST Mission has received support from the Ministry of Defence as it not only achieved its goal but also left an enduring mark on the participants, reinforcing their love for their diverse and beautiful nation.

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