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First Indian Woman to Climb Mount Everest

First Indian Woman to Climb Mount Everest

Bachendri Pal is the first Indian woman to climb Mount Everest. She achieved this feat on 23rd May 1984. Bachendri Pal was part of the fourth expedition, named Everest 84. She was one of the members of the elite group of six Indian women and eleven men who were part of the group. Bachendri Pal was the only woman in the group to reach the summit.

Bachendri Pal was born in 1954 in Nakuri village, Garhwal. Her first exposure to mountaineering was at the age of 12, when during a picnic she along with several schoolmates climbed a 13,123 feet high peak. After completing her studies, she joined the Nehru Institute of Mountaineering (NIM). In 1982, while at NIM, she climbed Gangotri (21,900 ft) and Rudugaria (19,091 ft). In 1985, Bachendri Pal led an Indo-Nepalese Everest Expedition team comprising of only women. The expedition created seven world records and set benchmarks for Indian mountaineering.




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First Indian woman to cross English Channel

Arati Saha was the first Indian woman to swim across English Channel. She achieved this feat on 29 September 1959. Arati Saha swam from Cape Gris Nez, France to Sandgate, England. She swam the 42 miles in 16 hours 20 minutes, and hoisted the flag of India at Sandgate. For her achievement Arati Saha was awarded Padmashri in the year 1960. Arati Saha was also the first Asian woman to swim across English Channel. Later, Anita Sood became the fastest Asian woman to cross English Channel.

Arati Saha was born on 24 September 1940 in Kolkata, West Bengal. Right from her childhood, she was interested in swimming. From 1945 to 1951 she won 22 State competitions including an all-India record in 1949. She also took part in the Helsinki Olympics in 1952. Arati Saha died of jaundice on 23 August 1994. In 1998, Indian government issued a stamp in her memory.

First Indian man to cross English Channel

Mihir Sen was the first Indian man to swim English Channel. He achieved this feat on September 27, 1958, when he crossed the Channel in 14 hours and 45 minutes. In the process, Mihir Sen also became the first Asian to swim the English Channel.

Mihir Sen was born on November 16, 1930, in Purulia, West Bengal. His father was a doctor in Cuttack. He went to England to study law but was attracted towards swimming. After achieving the feat of swimming across English Channel, Mihir Sen went on to achieve several other milestones. In the year 1966, Mihir Sen swam across the seven seas of the five continents. In April 1966, braving high tides and shark-infested waters, he swam across the Palk Straits, the sea between India and Sri Lanka. In August, he crossed the Straits of Gibraltar between Spain and Morocco and one month later became the world's first man to swim the Straits of Dardanelles. In the same year Mihir Sen also swam across the Bosphorus and the Panama Canal.

Mihir Sen was awarded the Padma Shri in 1959 and Padma Bhushan in 1967.

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