Meet the mountaineer who unfurled the tricolour on Europe’s highest peak

Meet the mountaineer who unfurled the tricolour on Europe’s highest peak

Indian mountaineer Bhawna Dehariya marked her nation’s 75th anniversary of Independence by unfurling the Indian tricolour on Mount Elbrus, the highest peak in Europe.

Dehariya, who hails from the hamlet of Tamia in the Chhindwara district of Madhya Pradesh in central India, timed her expedition to hit the peak just in time to celebrate the culmination of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav. As someone who has conquered Mount Everest in the past, the mountaineer decided to take on the challenge of scaling the 5,642-metre highest peak in Europe located on the Russia-Georgia border.

From the peak, she sent a message to say: “The weather near the top of the mountain was extremely cold, with winds blowing up to 35 km/h and making visibility subsided with temperatures down to minus 25 degrees Celsius.

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“It made it difficult for us even to take a rest for few minutes amid the coldest weather. However, post-pregnancy, I was mentally prepared for the summit. I geared myself up for this day and practiced a lot in the mountains of Tamia. Thus, this made me successfully reach the top of Mount Elbrus before record time.”

Sharing the experiences from her expedition with a team of mountaineers, Bhawna Dehariya recalled how on August 10 they travelled from the Russian capital of Moscow to Mineralny Vody, from where they began their proposed climb to Mount Elbrus. It was at midnight on August 13 that the team set off for the peak and arrived in the early hours of August 15.

“I hoisted the tricolour with grandeur at the peak of Mount Elbrus West, which is 5,642 meters high above the sea level,” said the passionate mountaineer.

Dehariya admits this expedition, collaborated by the Madhya Pradesh Tourism Board and the State Bank of India, has been one of the most difficult, strenuous and physically exhausting.

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She has previously established herself as one of the first women from Madhya Pradesh to scale the summit of Mount Everest on 22 May 2019 and went on to scale Mount Kosciuszko in Australia in the same year. She has also scaled Africa's Mount Kilimanjaro, the continent's highest peak and has had the opportunity to celebrate Diwali and Holi at some of the highest peaks.

Her latest expedition was planned for Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav and was made particularly tough as she had to leave behind her 15-month-old daughter. However, the mountaineer is determined to complete peaks of all seven continents as part of her "Seven Summits Quest".

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