When we saw these pictures for the first time, we were overjoyed. We never thought we would see pre-independence Sandakphu! These pictures are so rare that we had to ask Martin to tell the story behind each of them so that you can all see Sandakphu in a way you have never seen before. We thank Martin Dey for choosing to share these precious gemstones with Indiahikes.
Memories can last longer than a lifetime
“I have a snapshot of the girls playing hopscotch at Sandakphu, over 12,000 feet high. I should think unique.
“In this bungalow we were woken up while it was still dark, wrapped in dressing gowns and blankets, and went out to watch the sunrise on Everest. From a distance it looked like three peaks, and only in the middle did we know which Everest caught the first rays of the rising sun. “
This is how my grandmother Eveline Kellas wrote about her 1938 Sikkim hike. A story that was revived when I asked my son to colorize the wonderful photos they brought back. The pictures hold for a moment. The adults on the trip knew that the war was approaching and that the struggle for Indian independence was gaining momentum around them.
If you search for Mahatma Gandhi’s diary on the internet, you will find that on the first day of independence in 1947, he met with my grandfather, Reverend John Kellas, and the students at Scottish Church College in Calcutta, where they discussed whether or not a ethical state that could have nuclear weapons and debated the concept of a secular state with freedom of religion and tolerance for all.
However, what remains most vivid are the insights into everyday life. I especially like it when the little boy runs barefoot down the village street to have his picture taken and smiles proudly when he is. Maybe there is an 87 year old man who lives in Sandakphu who remembers that moment.
I have never been to India and only know it from these pictures and family stories. “Indiahikes” was the first website that appeared when I looked up the name my grandparents had given the Sandakphu to Phalut picture collection.
I decided to send some of the photos to Indiahikes because I believed the people working there could understand what my mother, aunt and grandparents were feeling as they climbed into the bungalow on Sandakphu to watch the sunrise on Everest.
Go make memories, we can’t know how long they might last.
The girls playing at over 12,000 feet could be the tallest hopscotch game in the world. Image contributed by Martin Dey
The day my grandparents and mother watched the sunrise on Mount Everest. Image contributed by Martin Dey
This is what to do when you are tired on the hike. You ride the horse! Image by Martin Dey
My grandparents and mother take a break on the way to Sandakphu. Image contributed by Martin Dey
Porters from the UK carrying my grandparents and team’s gear. Image contributed by Martin Dey
A gentleman from the British Army greeted the walkers on the way. Image contributed by Martin Dey
The boy came running to my grandparents to take his picture. Image contributed by Martin Dey
He poses like an idol with bare feet and a radiant smile. Image contributed by Martin Dey
The elegant women who worked then. Image contributed by Martin Dey
The famous Sleeping Buddha by Sandakphu from 1938. Image by Martin Dey
We hope you loved these pictures and the story behind them. If you’d like to help, here’s what you can do:
1. If you want to see a full list of the walks we have conducted: Visit our page for upcoming hikes. You can find help choosing a Himalayan trek in a specific time of year.
2. When you have captured such precious memories, share your pictures [email protected] or share a link to the photos in the comments section below.