On his 100th birthday, this Kerala man is preparing for his 30th trek in the Himalayas
He is 99, and with his active lifestyle is an inspiration to many. Meet P Chitran Namboodiripad, a resident of Thrissur in Kerala who wants to celebrate his 100th birthday trekking in the Himalayas.
Namboodiripad has, over the last three decades, made 29 trips to holy shrines in the Himalayas and his last trip was in December 2018, when he visited Badrinath and Kedarnath. He was part of a 118-member group that went on a pilgrimage from Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala.
Chitran Namboodiripad, source The News Minute
Namboodiripad, who will turn 100 in October this year, is now planning his 30th trip. Talking about the same with The News Minute he said,
This is a big year for me as I will visit the Himalayas for the 30th time. It is only in October though. Hopefully, I won’t fall sick.
Love for the Himalayas
Namboodiripad, who worked as an Additional Director in the Kerala Education Department, says it was his neighbour, Kashi Nambeeshan, who sparked an interest in him. Nambeeshanm had visited Kashi ten times, and would narrate stories about his trips to everyone around.
Source The News Minute
Taking inspiration, in 1952, Namboodiripad planned a trip to the Himalayas for the first time. But, it was unsuccessful, he says. Talking about this to The Hindu, he said, "I was still in service then. However, my first trip was a flop. I went with one of my friends, but we couldn’t go beyond Rudraprayag as both of us were down with food poisoning."
However, this didn’t stop him from realising his dream. He managed to go to the Himalayas again in 1956. Speaking about the difficulties involved, he said,
Travelling to the Himalayas back then was really tough. Roads and other infrastructure were not developed like they are now. We had to walk through forests for more than 90 km from Rudraprayag to reach Badrinath.
Contribution in the field education
Besides his love for trekking, Namboodiripad has also received a national award for his contribution in the education field. He set up the first high school in his village Mookkuthala in Kerala in the 1940s, where he worked as a teacher and a headmaster for a decade, before handing it over to the state government. He said,
I had built a successfully running institution and there was nothing I could add to it. So, I decided to offer it to the government. I received a token amount of Re 1 and left the school to the government.
Making dreams come true
On keeping himself fit at this age, Namboodiripad says he relies on a complete vegetarian diet, does yoga, and goes for a walk daily. On the secret behind his health, he told The Hindu,
Moderation in food, words, and lifestyle.