Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m Maninder Kohli, and I’m 57 years old. I’m the son of the legendary Himalayan mountaineer, Capt. Manmohan Singh Kohli, a member of India's first expedition to the summit of Everest and the first man to introduce trekking in the Himalayas. I currently run an adventure travel company called Juniper. I worked at Citibank for 20 years. Over the years, I got the opportunity to do a lot of mountain climbing and treks, which I continued until I was in college. Once I joined Citibank, I didn’t have much time for the mountains. When I left Citibank in 2010, I resumed my interest in outdoor activities, and since then, I have done a lot more activities, but my main interest is trekking. To date, I have done 80 treks across the Himalayan region. I would call myself a passionate outdoor person. I have done river rafting, mountain climbing, rock climbing, ice skating, skiing, mountain biking, but trekking tops my list.
What organizations are you involved with?
At Juniper Outdoors, we arrange group treks in the Himalayan region, and we do about 50 odd excursions a year. I’m also involved with the Indian Mountain Foundation (IMF), a national body that manages mountaineering activity in India. I’m the director of the annual IMF Mountain Film Festival, where we show movies and give awards to the best adventure film. So I would basically call it the biggest adventure event in India. My father and a group of climbers founded The Himalayan Trust. When travel and tourism increased, there was a lot of garbage and litter left behind. The mountains were losing their pristine look. So the idea was to build awareness whenever you go to the mountains, bring back your garbage with you. Currently, I am developing a blog that will focus on ten recommendations for people going to the mountains - what they should do and what to avoid. So what my father did 25 years back was version one. Now I am doing version two.
How do you spend your time when you aren’t in the mountains?
I love fitness. I am currently 57 years old, and I want to trek until I am at least 75. So sometimes I do two walks a day, like 8 km in the morning and 5 km in the evening, to maintain my health. Also, I like writing a lot. And, I have about 80,000 photographs from my treks to date. So I have a lot of material with me.
What’s one piece of advice that your father shared with you that you still remember and follow?
One more step. The difference between an achiever and failure is one step. It’s a mantra that will stay with me forever.
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