India 1953 Conquest of Mount Everest

Mount Everest (or Mount Chomolungma), the highest mountain in the world, is a peak of the Himalaya, standing on the border between Nepal and Tibet, at a height of 29035 feet. Everest was recognized as the earth's topmost summit in 1852 and was named after George Everest, the first surveyor general of India. But it was not until the beginning of the 20th century that explorers approached close to its base.

During the 1920's and 1930's seven British climbing expeditions were sent out to the mountain, and two of these, in 1924 and 1933, pushed to within 1000 feet of the top. It was on the 1924 attempt that climbers George Leigh Mallory and Andrew Comyn Irvine vanished while making an attempt for the summit from the highest camp. These earlier expeditions approached Everest from the north, through Tibet. However after its conquest by China, Tibet was closed to Westerners, except for one venture from the south and west through Nepal. In 1951 a British party reconnoitered this new route, and the following year one of two Swiss expeditions pushed on to within 900 feet of the top.

In 1953 the British returned and went all the way up. This Mount Everest expedition of 1953, led by John Hunt, was large, well equipped and carefully planned. On 29 May 1953, New Zealander mountaineer Edmund Hillary and Sherpa mountaineer Tenzing Norgay became the first climbers known to have reached the summit of Mount Everest.

India "Conquest of Everest" stamps FDC issued on 2 October 1953 postmarked at Darjeeling, signed by Tenzing Norgay. The photo of Tenzing on the summit of Mount Everest was taken by Hillary on 29 May 1953. Tenzing was awarded the George Medal for his achievement and later became director of the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Darjeeling. He died in 1986.

India "Conquest of Everest" stamps FDC issued on 2 October 1953, signed by Edmund Hillary.

News of the conquest of Mount Everest did not reach the outside world until 2 June, the eve of the Queen's coronation.