Bhubaneswar: Mortal remains of Odisha’s first Everester, Kalpana Dash, arrived in Bhubaneswar from New Delhi on Sunday.
Dash (53) passed away while descending from the Himalayan summit on May 23 at a height of around 8,600 feet.
Her body was first brought to Delhi from Kathmandu, Nepal, and then was flown to Biju Patnaik International Airport here.
Hundreds of people, including Sports and Youth Services Minister Tusharkanti Behera and Women and Child Development Minister Tukunu Sahu, paid tribute to the mountaineer at Kalinga Stadium Complex.
After paying homage, Behera said, “Kalpana Dash was an ace mountaineer who brought fame to the state. She was an achiever who led by example and even in her death she will continue to inspire young aspirants to scale great peaks.”
The minister thanked the people involved in bringing back her body. “State government acknowledges the immense effort of the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu, the search and rescue team of Sherpas and other officials, who undertook this herculean task, braced severe weather conditions and difficult terrain to repatriate the body of Dash and bring it back to her family members,” he said.
Behera also said that he would recommend Dash’s name to Governor Ganeshi Lal for the prestigious Padma Shri award.
Tukunu Sahu said, “I will talk to the Chief Minister and try to build a memorial for her.”
People involved in bringing back her body stated that the process was highly risky and complicated given the adverse weather conditions.
Ganesh Jena, a mountaineer who was part of the team sent to bring back the body, said Kalpana lost her life at a height of 8,600 feet on the Everest.
Giving details of the hardships in bringing back the body, Jena said: “It was very hard to bring her body back from 8,600 feet. Sherpas first brought the body from there to 8,000 feet, then to a height of 6,000 feet. Then it was brought to Lukla town through helicopter where police formalities were completed. After that she was brought to Kathmandu.”
A lawyer by profession, Dash first scaled the Everest in 2008. Later, she trekked several mountains across Europe, South America, North America and Africa.