Himalayan Trekking


In the wake of worldwide requests for Kohli’s talks on the 1965 Everest expedition from Government of India Tourist Offices, Air India stations and Alpine Clubs, his services were loaned to Air India, in February , 1971. With a view to help Air India, Kohli conceived a brand new segment of tourism ‘Trekking in the Himalayas’.

To effectively promote Himalayan treks he wrote his first book on Himalayan trekking within a couple of months. This was titled the ‘Himalayan Treks & Climbs’. The following year he wrote his second book ‘Trek the Himalayas’. In subsequent years one more book came up which included treks in all the Himalayan countries. Kohli’s

Visit to Japan – First Overseas Tour to introduce Himalayan Trekking Kohli’s global campaign started in November 1971 with a visit to Japan where he had hundreds of mountaineer friends. Visiting Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka he addressed over two thousand people at each location. The very first visit resulted in overwhelming response. Two hundred ninety Japanese bought trekking tours in the Himalayas, an unprecedented success in the domain of marketing.

After Japan, Kohli visited Germany, Switzerland, France, Belgium, Australia, New Zealand and the USA. On a few occasions Tenzing Norgay, the first Everest climber, or his nephew, Nawang Gombu – the first man in the world

to climb Everest twice – accompanied him. He visited the Scandinavian countries whose people had never before been to the Himalayas. His visit to Stockholm in 1971 resulted in the Swedish Alpine Club deciding to send a team of climbers to Nun Kun.

The next year, he was again invited by this club to attend their press conference in Stockholm called on the eve of the departure of its team to the Himalayas. As he took the plane for Paris the next morning, he noticed his photograph with the team on the front page under banner headlines. Could the departure of a small mountaineering expedition for the Himalayas be so important? A Swedish lady in the adjacent seat translated this for him. It read: THE SWEDES ARE BECOMING CRAZY – THEY ARE GOING TO THE HIMALAYAS.

In 1972, Kohli was invited to Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and Adelaide in Australia; and Auckland, Wellington and Christ Church in New Zealand. In Auckland Sir Edmund Hillary attended his presentation. In Sydney, he was the guest of honour at Australia’s most prestigious TV show hosted by David Frost, a legendary TV personality whose historic interview of President Nixon was one of the most publicised media scoops in recent years.

Kohli visited Europe several times. His Everest presentation had a deep impact. Lord Hunt joined the function in London, Raymond Lambert in Geneva and Maurice Herzog in Paris, Paul Bauer in Munich, Lionel Terray and Gaston Rebuffat in Chamonix and Albert Eggler in Berne.

In 1972, he appeared on one of the most popular American TV shows ‘To Tell the Truth’. Two local Indians joined him as ‘imposters’. He signed a legal undertaking that he would speak the truth and nothing but truth. The imposters were free to bluff. The rule was that if the panel of four judges could not identify the real Commander Kohli, each one of them will win US$ 500. They succeeded in winning this amount. This show went on the air for several months in all States of the USA. His interview in the New York Times resulted in several repeats in the print media. Tenzing and he visited Munich twice, addressing the German Alpine club. Kohli with Tenzing, also addressed the Rendez-Vous Haute Montague, an Alpine club of women mountaineers in Zurich.

In 1979, Kohli persuaded Robert McNamara, then President of the World Bank, to undertake a three day trek in Nepal. On returning to Washington he wrote: “Thank you for your advice. This trek has changed my life”. Ever since then he has been trekking frequently. Trekking in the Himalayas changed the lives of thousands of people all over the world.

To give boost to Himalayan Tourism as well as Himalayan Conservation, Captain Kohli organized several Himalayan Mountaineering and Tourism Meets during the past 37 years. The first Meet in Darjeeling in 1973 was the greatest ever assembly of World Mountaineers.

Mountaineering and Tourism Meet, Darjeeling, 1973. Sitting 1st Row (l to r): Karma Paul, K.F.H. Schwarzenback, Bernard Pierre, Fritz Moravec, M.S. Malhotra, Raymond Lambert, M.S. Kohli, E. Wyss Dunnant, Tenzing Norgay, John Hunt, H.C. Sarin (in the chair), Maurice Herzog, Brig. Gyan Singh, Albert Eggler, Gurdial Singh, Norman Dyhrenfurth, Narinder Kumar, Yukio Mita, J.T.M. Gibson, Heinrich Harrer, Major H.P.S. Allluwalia.

These meets attracted the governments of Himalayan countries and adventure tours operators from all over the world. Besides the adventurers from all over the world attended these Meets to meet the legends of rock and ice. Captain Kohli who was promoting trekking tours from all over the world received unprecedented boost. Himalayan countries received additional revenues and Air India got considerable additional revenue. Thus, Himalayan Tourism became an important segment of tourism not only for the Himalayan countries but also countries like Germany, Australia, USA, Japan and Western Europe benefitted.

2nd Row (l to r): Da Namgyal, Murari Lal, R.M. Chakravarty, L.P. Sharma, J.N. Chandhuri, AR. Bakshi, N. Ashlam, O.P. Sharma, C.P. Vohra, Matsuura, Sonam Wangyal, Alfred Gregory, VonGunter, F. Luchinger, Jurg Marmet, Earnest Schmidt, Doli Reist, Adlof Rubi, Nawang Gombu, Lute Jersted, AG.S. Grewal, Dr. R.S. Rao, KP. Sharma, M.A. Foares, A.K. Deb. 3rd Row (l to r): Ang Temba,
Amulya Sen, P.B. Subba, Sadao Tambe, S.S.N. Ganju, Soli Mehta, Harnam Singh, G.S. Malya, S. Thulgharia, J.C. Joshi, S.K.A. Rao, R. Dittert, Leon Flory, M. Ashraf, Jean Choudray, M. Gicquel, D.P. Chattopadhyay, R.K. Bhuyan, L.K. Verma, Swami Sundarananda, B.S. Sandhu. 4th Row (l to r): Kawasaki, Lala Telang Chandra Pandi, VP. Singh, Hari Dang, Pranesh Chakravarty, A.L. Sharma,
S. Chakravarty, N.S. Bhagwanani, Gaston Rebuffat, Charles Wylie, Chris Briggs, W Deocock, Wally Romanes, S.K. Das, Chris Bonington, Keval Krishna, Mulk Raj, A.K. Choudhury, K.F. Bunshah, K.I. Kumar, D.K. Khullar, D.K.V. Pandya.

Mountaineering and Tourism Meet, Darjeeling, 1985. Sitting (l to r): Major H.P.S. Ahluwalia, Col D.K. Khullar, Dr. YAsuo Sasa, Doug Scott, Khadga Bickram Shah, Mano Handy, Sir Edmund Hillary, Captain M.S. Kohli (in the chair), Tenzing Norgay, Junko Tabei, Dr. N.K. Sengupta, Cdr. Joginder Singh, Adams Carter, Jim Morrissey, Nawang Gombu. Standing (l to r): Col. D.N. Tankha, E. Myslovsky, Prof. E.V. Tamm, C.P. Vohra, Col. Balwant Sandhu, Dorjee Lhatoo, H.C.S. Rawat. Lt. Col. S.S. Singh, Ko Yoshida, Prof. M. Oki, Sadao Tambe, Phu Dorjee, Miss Mehr Moos, Hukam Singh, Mrs. Sonam Wangyal, Chris Briggs, Sonam Paljore, Sonam Wangyal, M.C. Motwani, Peter Hillary, K.N. Saha, Air Cdr (Dr.) N.S. Bhagwanani, Flt. Lt. T. Sridharan, M.H. Westmacott

Manali 1986

Mussoorie 1988

Mussoorie 2005