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Sikkim calling Premlata pupils

Everester Premlata Agarwal is gearing up to lead a group of 15 women on a low-altitude trek in Sikkim. The weeklong expedition, which will cover some of the remotest villages of the hilly state, begins on November 24.

The ace climber said the team would stick to an average height of 2,000 metres. “The expedition is for middle aged women who have less inclination for rigorous mountain trekking,” said the 49-year-old who leaves for Siliguri en route Sikkim on Friday.

The team comprises Indu Nair from Delhi; Anupama Gupta, Neeta Chopra, Disha Saran, Urmila Mann, Renuka Nair and Reshma Shah from Mumbai; Sheetal Shah, Srithi Duggineni, Rekha Reddy, Sucharitha Darisi, S. Jalaja Reddy, Bhavana Mehta and Indumati from Chennai and Ritika Bansal Ahmedabad. Premlata’s Bangalore-based daughter Priyansha will accompany the team.

While some of Premlata’s new ‘pupils’ are homemakers, some are professionals. Most have never participated in any adventure activity.

The climber said it would largely be a homestay expedition, known to provide an insight into local culture and traditions. The team will stay with villagers and savour traditional food instead of camping on their own.

“We will also spend some days in tents. Most of these women are used to a sedentary lifestyle. I think this trek will change all of that. It will make them do things they never thought themselves capable of,” Premlata said.

Sharing the itinerary, she said the team would meet at Bagdogra on November 24 and then depart for Pelling by jeep. They will drop anchor in Sangay village and then move to Kabur village.

“We will explore Pemayangste Monastery, ruins of Rabdentse Palace and Sangacholing Gompa on November 25. The next day, we’ll trek 12km to Darapsubba village and stay for the night.”

On November 27, the women will embark on a 23km trek to Khecheopalri Lake. Another 18km trek to Yuksom village for a homestay is slated for November 28.

The day after, the team will walk 5km to Mangtabong village and halt for the night. The adventure will draw to a close on November 30.


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