5-year-old Indian girl raises the tricolour at Everest Base Camp

Prisha Lokesh Nikajoo, 5 years old, raised the Indian tricolour atop the rock marked ‘Everest Base Camp, 5364m’ this month, becoming one of the youngest people in the world to make it there.

Prisha Nikajoo, 5, raises the Indian tricolour atop the rock marked ‘Everest Base Camp, 5364m’. Photo courtesy: Facebook/Lokeshkumar TN

About a week ago, her father Lokesh Nikajoo, originally from Betul, Madhya Pradesh, posted on Facebook photos of his daughter and himself at the Everest Base Camp. It was quite a sensational achievement, though Prisha is not the first 5-year-old to reach the base camp of the world’s highest mountain, nor is she is the youngest. But she is possibly the first girl in her age bracket to achieve this feat.

Delhi boy Harshit Saumitra, then aged 5, reached the Everest Base Camp during the autumn climbing season in October 2014. Hyderabad boy Advit Golechha, then aged 4, reached the Everest Base Camp in November 2021.

These youngsters, only a little older than toddlers, trained rigorously before their epic journey, and climbing is also in their DNA. Harshit and Advit both had parents who were avid trekkers; the kids were toughened up from a young age by outdoors activities.

Prisha’s father Lokesh Nikajoo (Facebook/Lokeshkumar TN) is a trained climber, too. The child covered 130km in 12 days with him before she could proudly display the national flag of India.

Prisha, who lives with her parents in Mumbai, trained for this journey by walking at least 8km every day, besides doing aerobics and climbing workouts. Photo courtesy: Facebook/Lokeshkumar TN

Lokesh, an infotech engineer who works in Mumbai, went to Lukla, Nepal, with his daughter and began the trek on May 24. They reached the Everest Base Camp on June 1 and then returned to Lukla by June 4. The photos were put up on Facebook on June 12, with a low-key post by Lokesh: “My daughter Prisha Lokesh Nikajoo become Youngest Indian Girl who climbed World’s Highest Mountain Mt Everest base camp (sic).”

Later, in an interview with The Times of India, Lokesh said, “It was an extremely difficult and high-altitude trek where many trekkers experience difficulty in breathing, headache and acute mountain sickness, but Prisha managed the difficulties well.”

Like father, like daughter: Lokesh Nikajoo, a trained climber, with daughter Prisha. Photo courtesy: Facebook/Lokeshkumar TN

Lokesh and wife Seema trained their daughter by making her walk at least 8km every day and undergo regular aerobics and climbing exercises. The child had shown early promise, scaling Kalsubai peak, the tallest in Maharashtra, when she was just 3 years old, said the parents. Now, having reached the Everest Base Camp, she plans to keep climbing.