Looking for Kanchen

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The peaks are covered with a thick blanket of cloud
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The blanket of cloud is beginning to lift
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Some of the peaks are now visible
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All the five ‘summits’ are now seen but the cloud cover is rapidly coming in again

No trip to Sikkim, it is said, is complete without the sighting of the Kanchenjunga mountain. And that was true with us a well.
But there was a problem. We had arrived in the tiny Himalayan state in North Eastern India in the first week of July when it is the monsoons – and when the skies are cloudy with moderate to heavy rain most of the time!
We had even booked into The Red Mud Chalet, a beautiful ‘resort’ on a hilltop at Bermiok in the state’s Western district, which boasted of one of the best views of the third highest mountain in the world.
Day One we could not see the range at all, so thick was the cloud cover. Ditto, Day Two when the view was slightly better and Day Three when it was again worse!
Day Four, as the time of our departure neared, the morning was as murky as could be, light rain falling and heavily overcast. We resigned to our rooms to organise the last of our packing when one of the attendants rushed frantically up the stairs shouting, “Kanchen’s showing.”
Sure enough, there it was. The rain had suddenly stopped though it was still overcast. But the dark clouds we had seen just minutes before around the lofty peaks were clearing. And then we saw IT.
What we wanted to see, was there right in front. I had just enough time to unpack my gear and hurriedly take a few pictures before the clouds started to come back.
Our “Mission Kanchen” had been successful and we had seen THE peak as well as its five sister mountains – all in one go. Our gracious host, Barun Sharma, was quick to point out it was “extremely rare” for the peaks to be visible at this time of the year!
That said, it was an experience. I guess it’s more of an “achievement” having seen the peaks through the clouds and at this time of the year and not looking at something that’s there for all to see anyway!
Kanchenjunga is at an elevation of 8,586 m (28,169 ft) in a section of the Himalayas called Kanchenjunga Himal limited in the west by the Tamur River and in the east by the Teesta River. The Kangchenjunga Himal is located in eastern Nepal and Sikkim.
Kanchenjunga is the highest peak in India, and the easternmost of the peaks higher than 8,000 m (26,247 ft). It is called Five Treasures of Snow after its five high peaks, and has always been worshipped by the people of Darjeeling and Sikkim.
The main peak of Kangchenjunga is the second highest mountain in Nepal after Mount Everest. Three of the five peaks ā€“ Main, Central and South ā€“ are on the border between North Sikkim and Nepal while two peaks are in Taplejung district of Nepal.
Until 1852, Kanchenjunga was assumed to be the highest mountain in the world, but calculations based on various readings and measurements made by the Great Trigonometric Survey of India in 1849 came to the conclusion that Mount Everest, known as Peak XV at the time, was the highest. Allowing for further verification of all calculations, it was officially announced in 1856 that Kanchenjunga is the world’s third-highest mountain.
Kangchenjunga was first climbed on 25 May 1955 by Joe Brown and George Band, who were part of a British expedition. They stopped short of the summit as per the promise given to the Maharaja of Sikkim that the top of the mountain would stay inviolate. Every climber or climbing group that has reached the summit has followed this tradition.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Littlesundog says:

    Gorgeous photographs! It’s amazing how sometimes even the briefest experience is the most tremendous and moving. I am so glad you managed this powerful glimpse of Kanchenjunga!

    Like

  2. Sindhu S. says:

    Reblogged this on sindhuspace and commented:
    Heavenly dawn!

    Like

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