by Amrit Kharel
KATHMANDU, May 30 (Xinhua) -- In his whole life, Kanchha Sherpa never imagined that he will get a chance to ride in a beautifully- adorned chariot and be admired by thousands of his compatriots and world-renowned figures.
What happened on Wednesday was like a dream for Kanchha Sherpa, 81, who, with his wife, felt like a newly-wed couple being honored in the beautiful procession accompanied by the world record- setters of the Mount Everest. The occasion was the 60th anniversary of the conquest of Mount Everest, or Qomolongma, the world's highest peak, by Tenzing Norgay Sherpa and Edmund Hillary on May 29, l953.
Kancha Serpa, who was only 21 at that time, is the only living team member of first ever successful expedition to the top of Mount Everest. He had supported Hillary and Tenzing Norgay in the ascent to the summit, known as the world's rooftop.
Tensing Norgay died in Darjeeling, India in l986 at the age of 71 while Hillary died of heart failure in 2008 at the age of 88. Hillary was still able to attend the golden jubilee celebration of the conquest in 2003.
"I am excited today and a bit emotional remembering Tenzing Norgay and Sir Edmund Hillary," Kancha Serpa told Xinhua while he was riding in the chariot. Kancha Serpa said that during that time, it was not easy to reach the summit of Mount Qomolongma, the local name of Mount Everest, since there were no modern climbing gadgets yet that have made climbing nowadays more convenient.
"I am happy to see these improvements," he said. If there exists a single phrase to describe the moment of pleasure and warm wonder bestowed by the diamond jubilee of man's ascent on Mount Everest, the families of Tenzing Norgay Sherpa and Edmund Hillary and the world famous record holder Reinhold Messner have found it.
"Fine, It's very exciting", they simply said while enjoying the ride in the horse carriages along the way to Basantapur Durbar Square at the heart of Kathmandu City in the procession that commenced from Nepal Tourism Board in the bright morning. "Nepal named us as the mountain heroes and we are very honored by this title," Mesner, the first person to climb Everest without oxygen, said.
Tashi Tenzing Sherpa, the grandson of Tenzing Norgay and also a mountaineer by profession, is thankful to his grandpa not only because he made one of the greatest achievements in the history of mankind but also for his contribution in starting the tourism industry in Nepal.
"My grandfather and Sir Edmund Hillary are such humble guys who had opened the gate for developing mountaineering and overall tourism industry in Nepal," Tashi Tenzing Sherpa said. "I salute my grandpa for giving the Sherpa community the name, identity and above all the profession."
Amelia Rose Hillary, the granddaughter of Sir Edmund Hillary and his niece Hillary Carliele were also present during the occasion and they were seen busy waving to people along the route of the procession.
Phurba Tashi Sherpa, who has scaled Mount Everest 21 times, Nima Sherpa who has a record of first Nepali to climb all 14 peaks above 8000 meters and Kame Sherpa, who climbed Mount Everest three times in the span of nine days, also rode in chariots pulled by the charioteers of the Nepali Army.
Summiteers of the joint expedition team of Nepali and Indian Army followed the chariots in the Army vehicles. During the procession, members of the Nepali Police band played national songs including a very famous Nepali folk song that praises the deeds of Tenzing Norgay entitled "Hamro Tenzing Norgay le Chadyo Himal Chuchuro," which means our Tenzing Norgay climbed the Himalayan peak.
"This beautiful celebration will always be memorable to me," Frij Vrijlandt, president of International Mountaineering and Climbing Federation Union, said as he expressed his thanks to the government of Nepal and Nepali people for honoring the Himalayan heroes.