PATNA: Squadron leader Nirupama Pandey, 30, who hails from village Jamo Jalalpur in Siwan district, has become the first person from Bihar to have scaled Mount Everest, unfurling the national tri-colour with much pride.
Nirupama was a member of Indian Air Force’s mixed expedition team which was flagged off by Air Marshal J N Burma on April 13, 2011, in New Delhi. Currently, she is posted at Rajokri Air Force Station in New Delhi under the Western Air Force command. Talking to TOI on telephone from New Delhi, Nirupama said it was the most proud moment of her life when she hoisted national tri-colour atop Mount Everest summit on May 25, 2011. “My achievement has not only brought laurels to Indian Air Force, but also to Bihar as I hail from the state. I attribute my rare achievement to new emerging Bihar,” she said, adding Bihar has now joined the league of 14 states from where people have climbed Mt Everest so far.
Nirupama, who preferred to climb from the south ridge route followed by Hillary and Tenzing in their first expedition in 1953, said she did so as she got permission easily from Nepal government. Otherwise, she would have preferred to climb Mount Everest from China side, from where climbing is less painstaking. “My next mission would be to climb Mount Everest from the east ridge route through which only a few people have climbed the Everest in the past,” she said.She got down from Mount Everest on June 5 along with other members of the expedition team. There were altogether 19 members in the team, including 11 women officers of the IAF.”Mountaineering and adventure have been a passion for me since early childhood. I started my mountaineering career in 2007 by undergoing rigorous training at Nehru Institute of Mountaineering located at Uttarkashi. My husband, Squadron leader Prakash Jha, who hails from Benipatti in Madhubani district, and other family members always supported me in my ventures,” she said. Nirupama got married to Prakash in August 2009. She said she did her schooling from Kendriya Vidyalaya in Pune and graduation and MBA from Ness Wadia College, Pune. She joined Indian Air Force as flying officer in 2003 .