Those who think climbing Mt Everest is all about grit and stamina, they are mistaken. Scaling the world's highest peak also involves a lot of money running into as much as Rs 20 lakhs (Rs 2 million).
Ask Tapi Mra, the first Arunachalee to step on the top of the world last month, and he will vouch for it.
Mra tried for a visa from the Chinese government as they charge much less royalty from a climber than its Nepalese counterpart.
But as the situation in Tibet became unstable before the Olympics, he gave up and opted for climbing the summit from Nepal where the expenses are almost the double.
''About Rs 14 lakh (Rs 1.4 million) has to be given to organisers of expeditions at one go which includes the royalty and charges for the sherpas,'' Mra told PTI on his return to Itanagar to a tumultuous welcome.
The cost of imported attires and equipment required by each climber is over Rs 500,000 alone.
Besides, there are travel expenses and cost of a tube of food paste to sustain a climber for six hours running into a few hundred dollars.
But the 25-year-old diminutive Mra from a non-descript village of Limeking circle near Sino-India border in Upper Subansiri district set out on a journey to realise his dream in 2003 with very little money he acquired by selling his only two 'mithuns' (Bos frontalis), a semi domesticated cow like animals flaunted by Arunachalees as status symbol in the tribal society.
He underwent training at the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute at Darjeeling and in allied sports like para-gliding at Himachal.
Mra recalled that when he stayed at the Arunachal Bhavan in New Delhi in the winter of 2004 on his way to Himachal for para-gliding training, he could not afford to hire auto rickshaw and walked down from the railway station to Chanakyapuri to reach Arunachal Bhavan.
To save money he had just one meal a day. Seeing his condition, an elderly man staying there gave him Rs 2,000 to buy a pair of sports shoes. The kind soul also paid his food bills.
He later learnt that the elderly person was water resource minister of the state Tako Dabi. A grateful Mra on his return after conquering Everest presented Dabi a piece of the rocks he collected from the top of the world.
''I have nothing more valuable to give you sir to express my gratitude for the help you extended to me and for the faith you reposed on me," Mra told Dabi, who also made large contribution to a fund for Mra's expedition.
Mra also presented rock pieces to the Governor Gen (Retd) J J Singh who contributed Rs 50,000 for Mra's expedition.
There are other contributors like chief minister Dorjee Khandu whose government gave a grant of Rs 10.75 lakhs (Rs 1.07 million), MLA Takam Sorang who contributed over Rs 100,000 and Taro Chatung, a journalist of the electronic media, whose NGO raised about Rs 500,000 from leaders of different tribes.