“We are the seekers… guardians of the Himalayas”, having said this, the famed actress Manisha Koirala had a different sparkle on her eyes, the spark generated by her recent trek to the Everest Base Camp (EBC). The latest spring break across the Himalayas was not just a regular trek for Koirala, who has spent most of her life out of the country, but a lifetime experience.
Sharing about her recent two-week long trek to EBC which was arranged in collaboration with Nepal Tourism Board, the popular Bollywood actress told press in Kathmandu, “Viewing Mount Everest that closer was like a childhood dream coming true.”
Dubbing it as an adventure of a lifetime, Koirala said that Khumbu region takes you to a different world filled with joy, as it feels like, “If there is a heaven on earth, it is there.” Her feeling echoes the similar sentiments of many Nepalese, and the foreigners who have visited Nepal and declared, ‘Heaven is myth, Nepal is real.’
Forgetting all the city chaos and having a peaceful and relaxing time in the lap of snow-capped mountains is a heavenly feeling in true sense, not just for her, but for each and every single one.
For her, the journey itself was exciting due to the walk across pinewood forests, glorious views of colorful rhododendrons in full bloom, blue sky, flowing rivers with some melody, and villages with warm and innocent people along with the company of strong Sherpa guides. “Some journeys are worth stepping out of one’s comfort zone”, she shared.
After landing in Lukla, the gateway to the Everest, known as Sagarmatha in Nepali language, it usually takes seven days to reach the base camp located at an attitude of 5,380 meters. It took similar days for the graceful actress to reach the camp occupied with colorful tents and prayer flags.
After spending a night under minus 25 degrees in the base camp, when she woke up the next morning, she shared she couldn’t believe her eyes. With a tender smile on her face, Manisha said, “The excitement of waking up in the morning and looking at the magnificent mountains surrounding you is just priceless. I felt goose bumps.”
Khumbu region has such a breathtaking panorama that every individual who steps in is mesmerized by the beauty of nature and feels a feast for the eyes. Those who have already stepped their feet on snow or ice in the region lack words to cherish the irresistible and unique grandeur of the place.
But trekking across the Himalayas is not all about walking in a cake, especially for a cancer survivor, and the one who had never been to such long treks.
Manisha, who survived an ovarian cancer some six years ago, had a similar fear before starting off for the Everest region. She shared she had two fear in particular, her age and the medical history. “There were definitely hardships to trek for long days, but every step was worth taking, every view worth viewing and every day like a wonder. You only need strong will power and hard work.”
She feels confident and proud of her self that despite all fears she had, she could fulfill her dream and feels blessed to touch the base of the world’s roof. Koirala, who has also penned down a book ‘Healed’ about her journey of winning cancer, terms the overall journey as a very emotional one and the most memorable moment of her life.
Besides the natural richness, Manisha equally feels lucky to have been able to witness the diverse Sherpa culture, and their warm hospitality. Khumbu is a home to the Sherpas, who are the pillars of Everest, and she thinks it’s time to make some efforts to ease their lives.
Expressing her commitment to help the ethnic Sherpa inhabitants, she said, “We need to consider about working for Sherpa communities, particular in education and health care.”
Manisha, who has done dozens of super hit Bollywood and Nepali films in her career, feels the Khumbu region needs more exposure to promote it as a destination for shooting of movies. In her decades long filmy career, she shared she could never visit or live such moments even in movies. “Every location is perfect for film shooting,” she remarked saying that she will share the possibilities with the movie directors, which could also contribute to the country’s tourism industry.
Besides, the evergreen actress also reminds of some responsibility towards the Himalayas, which are there for thousands of years. She feels human beings are so small in front of those grand mountains. “I feel its time to give back to the Himalayas.”
Her journey to the mountains doesn’t end here, as she wants to do more trekking in the coming days, at least one in a year, to start with Annapurna and Manaslu Base Camp. She feels the spirit of Himalayas is so powerful that it can inspire and heal people. Having said that everything in the Khumbu region touched her soul, she urges everyone to feel this experience at least once in a life. She shares, “Mountains makes you feel more grateful towards life.”