Only an awe-stricken silence can come close to match the experience of going on a mountain flight to encounter the tallest mountains of this earth. No wonder mountain fly-bys have become a popular tourist attraction in Nepal. Four airlines offer regular flights taking you over the snow-capped peaks of the Himalaya. and offer a panoramic view of the Himalaya in just one hour. As the aircraft lifts up and heads towards the east, passengers don't have to wait too long to find out what's in store for them.
First to their far left visitors see Gosaithan, also called Shisha Pangma, standing at the majestic height of 8,013 m. Immediately to the right of Gosaithan, there appears Dorje Lakpa (6,966 m), a mountain that looks like the number 8 lying down and covered with snow. To the right of Dorje Lakpa is Phurbi-Ghyachu, which looms over the Kathmandu Valley.
As the plane moves along, the mountains come closer and closer. Next on the vision is Choba-Bharnare, the smallest one of the lot at 5,933 m but singularly stubborn as it has never been climbed. Then appears the mountain that is not only prominent in sight but also in spirituality - Gauri Shanker. Lord Shiva and his consort Gauri are said to protect this mountain, at the proud height of 7,134 m, and the summit had a history of unsuccessful attempts till 1979. Gauri-Shanker is sharp and very conspicuous during the mountain flight.
As the plane moves towards the land of the rising sun, the eastern Himalaya, a succession of glorious mountains follow. Melungtse, a plateau-like mountain, stretches up to 7,023 m. Chugimago at 6,297 m is still a virgin, waiting to be climbed. Next is Karyolung, an intensely white mountain that at 6,511 m gleams with the rising sun. Cho-Oyu is the eighth highest mountain in the world. Reaching a height of 8,201 m, it appears stunningly beautiful from the aircraft.
Next on the menu is Gyachungkang, at a majestic height of 7,952 m, considered an extremely difficult climb. To the right of Gyachungkang is Pumori (7,161 m). As passengers get closer to Everest, there's Nuptse (7,855 m), which means West Peak, signifying its direction from Everest. Finally, there's Everest (8,848 m) itself, known as Sagarmatha by the Nepalese and Chomolungma by the Tibetans. Much has already been written about Everest, but actually witness it to face to face during a mountain flight is something else. Even while it looms there in front of the eyes, it remains an enigma, this highest spot on earth.