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When I Sang Jana Gana Mana On Everest

June 13, 2024 09:59 IST
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'On May 21 we started our final summit attempt at 5 pm. On May 22 at 4.10 am we summited Everest.'

IMAGE: Dwarka Dokhe holds a placard paying tribute to her mother, father and uncle at the summit of Mount Everest. Photograph: Kind courtesy Dwarka Dokhe

Maharashtra police Inspector Dwarka Dokhe, 50, recently summited Mount Everest, becoming the first woman from the state police force to scale the tallest peak in the world. She spoke to A Ganesh Nadar/ about her achievement.

I have been a police officer for 18 years. I joined as a PSI (police sub-inspector) and was later promoted to inspector. I also worked as a teacher for nine years before that. I have two degrees -- BSc, and BEd.

I have often been invited to give lectures to students. In 2016 I gave a lecture to the students of the Himachal Pradesh youth hostel. They gave me a book as a gift which was lying in my house for three years.

I read it after three years and it raised my curiosity about mountains and snow and the monks and sadhus who stayed there to meditate.

I was always physically fit as I am a cop, and I exercise regularly. In 2017 I climbed the 16,000 feet high Roopkund mountain.

In 2018 I went to Nepal to climb the Mera Peak which is 6,770 metres high.

In July 2021 I made my first attempt to climb Everest. It costs Rs 35 lakh to Rs 38 lakh (Rs 3.5 million to Rs 3.8 million). I did crowd funding for three months.

I had lost my father earlier and now my mother expired. I swore I would make them happy by climbing Everest.

I climbed the Labuchi peak where I fell sick on my way to Everest. Water had entered my lungs. I had to descend in order to save my life.

Later, for practice I climbed a mountain in Ladakh. I did cardio-vascular exercises. I learnt Vipassana and yogic deep breathing.

On March 24 this year I left for Kathmandu where a Sherpa checked my gear. We purchased what we needed.

On March 30 we went to Lukla. My leader there was Lakpa Sherpa. I had to acclimatise, then we went to the base camp for further acclimatisation.

Before we reached the base camp we had to climb Island peak. I was at the base camp on April 12. We waited for our bodies to get acclimatised.

Then we crossed the Kumbu ice wall which has lots of crevices, it is a moving glacier. We crossed at night when the glacier is frozen.

Then we rested at the base camp. The wind speed was 60 km and we were getting frost bite.

On May 17 we started our summit push and the next day reached Camp 2. On May 19 we left for Camp 3 and on May 20 we left for Camp 4.

On May 21 we started our final summit attempt at 5 pm with Pasang Sherpa. On May 22 at 4.10 am we summited Everest.

It had cost me Rs 30 lakh. I had saved up my salary, and my brother and my cousin helped me with money.

SEE: Dwarka Dokhe sings the National Anthem on Everest. Video: Kind courtesy Dwarka Dokhe

At the summit I sang the National Anthem after removing my oxygen mask. I am the first Indian lady to do that. I am the first Maharashtra police woman to scale Everest.

We came back to the base camp and I did not have money -- It costs 600 dollars -- for the helicopter ride to Lukla and so I decided to walk. Abhay More, a bank manager with ICICI, paid for my ticket. We did not know each other but we share a common love for mountains.

I am thankful to my boss at the Maharashtra Police Academy in Nasik, Rajesh Kumar, who always sanctioned my leave when I went climbing. He encouraged me to always follow my passion.

This summit climb is a tribute to my father and mother.

Feature Presentation: Ashish Narsale/


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