Flying on Top of the World: Everest Mountain Flight

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Nepal was recently in news for one of the worst earthquakes in the history. Thousands of people died in this natural calamity. This earthquake paralysed the beautiful Himalayan nation & it was a major setback for the tourism industry of this landlocked country. Many heritage structures of Kathmandu valley were completely destroyed in this disaster. Though the epicentre of the quake was approximately 225 km away from Mount Everest, the tremors & aftershocks caused a series of disastrous avalanches on & around the highest peak of the world. There were hundreds of mountain climbers from across the world, many Sherpas in this region at the time of the earthquake. This created havoc at Mt. Everest & its base camp. Many of the climbers got killed & many were reported missing. Nepal is recovering from the aftermath of this earthquake with financial & medical help from across the world. Nepali people are known for their kind, peaceful & innocent nature. These simple people are fighting back to recover from this devastation. I was in Nepal in May 2014, almost a year before the earthquake. I visited this Himalayan nation of immense natural beauty, snow-capped mountains, wild life & many rivers. Everest Mountain Flight was one of the highlights of my Nepal trip. So I am writing this post about this memorable experience as a tribute to this beautiful country & simple Nepalese people.
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1. Kathmandu in the early morning hours

Kathmandu in the early morning hours

Everest mountain flight was part of my travel bucket list since my childhood. During my Nepal trip of May 2014 I got a chance to tick it off. We had kept the second morning of our Nepal itinerary for this flight. We booked the trip with Buddha Air.
 Aish with her boarding pass
Aish with her boarding pass
It was a The Beech 1900D- 18 seater aircraft. It’s a 50 minutes flight with every passenger having a window seat. This flight offers panoramic views of Himalayan peaks & glaciers.
9. Inside our dreamlinerInside our dreamliner 
Aish & Hemant
Aish & Hemant
We left our hotel early at 4.30 am for domestic terminal of Kathmandu airport. The weather was not good with occasional rains.
3. Inside the terminal
Inside the terminal
The humble terminal was full of passengers travelling to Pokhara, Nepalgunj, Biratnagar etc. This small terminal reminded me of small suburban railway stations of Mumbai. We could hear the announcement that the airport was closed & all the flights were delayed due to bad weather.
Many flights were delayed due to bad weather
Many flights were delayed due to bad weather
I was a bit stressful as a similar flight named Buddha Air flight 103 had crashed on 25th September 2011 killing all 19 passengers & crew on board. The culprit was unpredictable bad weather of high Himalayas. It reminded me the quote of a pilot from a Nepal guidebook- “We don’t fly through the clouds because in Nepal the clouds have rocks in them.
The departure terminal
The departure terminal
6. Eagerly waiting for boarding

Eagerly waiting for boarding

The Beech 1900D- 18 seater aircraft
The Beech 1900D- 18 seater aircraft
After almost an hour’s wait we boarded our little dream liner- Buddha Air flight 102. As the flight took off, we could see the Kathmandu Valley below with green fields & hills around.
12. Kathmandu Valley

Kathmandu Valley

Kathmandu City
Kathmandu City
Kathmandu City from sky
Kathmandu City from sky
In few minutes we were in clouds & nothing was visible. The pilot’s quote was still lingering in my mind. Then the picture become clearer & we could see Himalayan snow capped mountain ranges in clouds. The airline had provided a map of these ranges with their names & altitude.
nformation brochure of the flight with map
Information brochure of the flight with map
The pilot & air-hostess were making announcements regarding these ranges. We could see the mighty Himalayas with peaks like Lhotse, Makalu, Chamlang etc. till the horizon. Then came the moment for which everyone was waiting eagerly. The mother of all mountains- Mount Everest was in our range. Everybody was taking as many photos as possible. I tried to save the picture in my eyes.
First view of the snow capped mountains
First view of the snow capped mountains
The mighty Himalayas (1)
The mighty Himalayas 
The mighty Himalayas
The mighty Himalayas
The mighty Himalayas
The mighty Himalayas
This was really a ‘Life Mein Ek Bar” experience. It was a close encounter with Himalayas especially Mt. Everest. Nothing compares to the beauty of Mt. Everest- the mother of all mountains. It was so close that we almost touched it (20 miles).The date with Mt. Everest was more significant to us because on the same day (25th May 2014) Malavath Poorna, 13 year old daughter of poor Indian farmer became the youngest girl to climb Mt. Everest. We were there almost at the same time. Each one of us was taken into cockpit one by one. It was also a first for me. I even took few pictures of the console & the 360 degrees view of the mountains from the cockpit was one of the best sights.
 Inside the cockpit
Inside the cockpit
View
View from the cockpit
View from the cockpit
View from the cockpit
View from the cockpit
View from the cockpit
View from the cockpit
View from the cockpit
The mother of all mountains

The mother of all mountains

After landing we also received certificates from Buddha Air as memento of our flight. We took few group photos with our aircraft in the background. It was an experience of which you can tell the stories to your kids & grandkids. Someone has rightly said that, “One should spend money on experiences, not things.”
Withe airport ground staff
Life Mein Ek Bar (Once in a lifetime experiences) 

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30 responses to “Flying on Top of the World: Everest Mountain Flight

  1. Hi Desi not sure about hitching these days but what I liked about was I was like a boat without a rudder and I had a place where I was heading for but if someone said go there, which they sometimes did, off I went and I was better off for my experiences.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a great experience. I have many fond memories of Nepal and I was fortunate to have visited the country for two and a half months. I ended up teaching English to the porters and guides in the trekking community and met some wonderful people. It’s a fantastic country.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ok so being on top of Everest was amazing but way back in the !970s I hitched around Europe on about £50 maybe less so perhaps it was easier to do in those days but wow,looking over the sea at the South of France and seeing the blueness of it and realising why it is called the Cote Dazur, the blue coast. What I saw was amazing from Michelangelo’s David, the poverty what was then Yugoslavia and watching a man plough the fields with an ox, .Walking over the Acropolis in Athens thinking wow this is where the ancient Greeks walked many years ago. Then a few days later walking up a path where some Greek philosopher is supposed to be buried and looking over to the harbour and up to the acropolis and way in the distance was a white glow from a monastery.
    The following year I hitched up to the north of Sweden and saw the midnight sun, then hitched through Finland and Norway the scenery was amazing from the sparseness of Finland to the breathtaking Fjords of Norway but my money was running out and I worked in Denmark for a while and when it started to get cold, I left and hitched down to Greece and its islands, saw a terrapin for the first time in my life, ended up in Israel on kibbutz in Israel and no I am not Jewish. But to see humming birds at close quarters to open the door to your room and see an otter walk by and then I hitched around and entered the dead sea and lay like a log, the next morning I arose early to watch the sunrise over Jordan and later to be in the desert and it snows albeit briefly, you tell me was it worth it? My total costs by today’s standards were minimal yes I lived whilst travelling in a tent I was like a hobo but boy was it good.

    Liked by 2 people

    • OMG!!!!! Mr.smilerrn… hats off to you sir!! Truly amazing. Extraordinary experience. Thank you so much for sharing with me. I’m very inspired to hitch now.. Never did it before but now… its chewing my head 😉

      Like

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