Monday, November 02, 2009

American trekker last rites performed in Sikkim





Gangtok, Nov. 1: A 69-year-old American trekker, who had died from high altitude sickness, was cremated according to Buddhist rituals in the presence of a large number of people at Yuksom on Friday.

The body of John M. Campbell was brought to Yuksom from Tshoka, just below the base camp of the 13,780-feet Dzongri in West Sikkim on October 29, a day after the death.

A 10-member US group had embarked on a trek along the Dzongri route on October 22. Police sources said Campbell had fallen sick along the trek and was returning when his conditions worsened and he died at Phedang — 11,500-feet high and 20km from Yuksom — the nearest human habitat in the remote corner of West Sikkim.

The decision to cremate him at Yuksom was taken with the consent of his 48-year-old daughter, Tamara Campbell, who was also in the team. Yuksom, which is scenic and considered a holy land by Buddhists, is the first capital of erstwhile Sikkim kingdom ruled by the chogyals. Three saints had consecrated Phuntshog Namgyal as the first chogyal or king of Sikkim in 1640 at a place now called Norbugang in Yuksom.

Jamling Norgay, son of Everester Tenzing Norgay and organiser of the trek, was also present at the funeral. He thanked the people of Yuksom, stakeholders of the tourism industry in Sikkim and the monks who helped cremate the trekker’s body.

“I want to thank the monks from Dubdi, the oldest monastery of Sikkim, who performed the last rites and rituals,” said Jamling.

Campbell’s death had been attributed to old age, ill-health and breathing problems in the high altitude areas along the Dzongri trail. Sources said he was prepared for the worst when advised that he stay behind.

A post-mortem had to be carried out on the body at the district hospital at Gyalshing before the cremation since this was a formality, according to the police.

The body was brought to Yuksom from Tshoka on foot by porters. The other trekkers of the US group also returned, the police said.

2 comments:

thomas bauer said...

To all that have been touched by John's spirit, we have lost a kind soul. To the world, to the people of Sikkim who have unfortunately been blessed with his soul, he was a kindred spirit to me and others. I am not blood family but have worked with him the past 8 years and have had the pleasure of opening to him as if my own father. He was my mentor in things professional and private. His love for the mountains, Yosemite, especially the Himalayas, was bigger than life. He was also about to become a first time grandparent. He had many ideas to spoil and infuse the child with the technology that will most likely come with 22nd century and beyond.
How do you know when the last good-by will be said? The last hug given? I give a hug to all who read this and a hello, because our big world just got smaller.
He was my friend!

Thomas Bauer, tbauer@rmp.com, tmb9@vzw.blackberry.net

mingma said...

thomas bauer this is mingma sherpa from yuksam village. it was very hurting to read that you had close relation with campbell. just to assure you i want to tell you something -- your friend was extremly fortunate to get a very warm good bye in buddhist spiritual and traditional manner. he had a very satisfying last good bye. as a matter of fact we the people from yuksam were the one who brought your friend's body from half way to the mountain and did buddhist rituals in the best possible way. he was extremly fotunate that he got the support of the people of yuksam. i think it was his GOOD KARMA in this world that made it possible. it is nice to see that someone is there to remember him and his good did's

somehow he is also yuksam people's friend

maxsherpa2004@yahoo.co.in