P Chitran Namboodiripad, age is no bar to scaling high peaks. At 97, Namboodirippad, is all set to travel to the Himalayas on October 3. This will be his 26th consecutive expedition to religious places such as Kedarnath and Badrinath Vaishno Devi Temple in the Himalayan ranges.He has been visiting the region since 1992; in 2006, he visited the Himalayas twice. Born in an aristocratic Namboodiri illam, Pakaravur Mana, Mookkuthala, Malappuram, on January 20, 1920, Namboodiripad was attracted to Communism while doing his Intermediate course from the St Thomas College, Thrissur. Prominent Communist thinker and leader K Damoradan baptised him to Communism.Though Namboodiripad is still a Communist, it was after his son’s death due to a heart ailment at the age of 27, that he became inclined towards spirituality.It is this pull that leads him to the Himalayas. However, he is not a hardcore believer of god or any ascetic. He visits a temple near his home in Thrissur once a month.
“I observe every ascetic with scepticism. But if they are genuine, I believe them,” he clears his stand on the ascetics he met during his Himalayan journeys.His first attempt to travel to Kedarnath and Badrinath in 1982 was stalled at Rudraprayag as the friend he was travelling with, contracted food poisoning. His later attempt in 1986 was successful. “At that time, travelling was difficult and we had to walk through forests to reach there. I walked nearly 50 km,” he says about his first journey. The upcoming expedition will be his 27th one, he says. Ask him what the secret of his health at this age is, and he attributes it to being a vegetarian. He eats a lot of fruits and vegetables, does yoga for 20 minutes and walks half an hour daily. His diet includes three idlis or dosas in the morning and two spoons of rice in the afternoon and night.
He rekindled his love for the mountains in 1992 and went on the expedition with his family thrice. In 1992, he experienced some breathing problem because of the low oxygen level at above 11,000 feet from sea level. As his wife suffers from health problems, he now continues his travels with his friends. The former additional director of Kerala Education Department started a school in 1947 after completing his MA from Pachayappa College in Chennai in the 1940s. The school in Mookkuthala for financially and socially backward students was handed over to the government in 1957, for which he accepted `1. The school was later named after him — a rare occurrence as only in unique circumstances is a school named after a living person.
Tags: P Chitran Namboodiripad|former Additional Director |Kerala |The National Award-winning educationist |Kerala man|Mountaineer |Himalaya’s trip