Sherpas live in eastern region of Nepal. They are ethnic groups from the Himalayas. Often cited as “tigers of the snow” Sherpas are regarded profoundly as mountaineers and experts of their local areas. Some Sherpas live far west in the Rolwaling valley and in Helambu region in the Northern part of Nepal. Sherpas were very valuable to the early explorers of Himalayan region. They served as guide at the extreme altitude of mountains and lead the climbers with passes to the mountains during expedition to climb the world’s highest peak Mount Everest. Sherpa people also reside in Tibet, Bhutan, Sikkim and Darjeeling which is North of West Bengal. They are renowned for their hardiness, expertise and experience at very high altitude which is the product of genetic adaptation for living at high altitude. Sherpas belong to the ancient school of Buddhism but they also believe numerous deities and demons that inhabit mountain, cave and forest. Great Himalayas are considered to be sacred. Mount Everest or Chomolungma means, “Mother of the world” while Mt. Makalu is regarded as deity god “Shiva”.
The best known Sherpa people are, Tenzing Norgay. Following his footsteps in Mountaineering other brave Sherpas like Apa Sherpa broke his own record and became the most successful ascent. Temba Tsheri became youngest Everest climber in the world at very young age of 16. First female mountaineers was Pasang Lhamu Sherpa, she reached summit of Everest but died during the descent. Mingma Sherpa became the first Nepali and the first South Asian to scale all 14 of the world’s highest mountain. Chhurim Sherpa was recognized for being the first female Sherpa to summit Everest twice in one climbing season.
Last 40 years have evidenced Mount Everest region one of the foremost region of Himalayan trekking and mountaineering tourism. Tourism sector has brought tremendous opportunities economically for Sherpas and for our nation. Nepal ranks as poorest countries in the world and tourism is the vital component for economic development and upliftment for our nation. Mount Everest climbers have been a steady income source. Our government has honored many Sherpas and Mount Everest summiteers. May 29th is marked as International Mt. Everest Day marking the first successful ascent of the World’s highest peak by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa in 1953.