Married police constables Dinsesh and Tarakeshwari Rathod claimed to have conquered Everest as the first married Indian couple to summit the famed mountain. The story was a compelling narrative for a well-trod peak where making ones mark has become an increasingly difficult and dangerous prospect. Their claim to fame was made all the more appealing to regional media outlets after three of India’s climbers died in their own summit attempt just days earlier, a fact that did not go unannounced in the Rathod’s tearful press conference upon their return.
However, the photos released by the couple atop the summit seemed a little “off” to many, with a face that doesn’t quite fit the lighting and a background image seemingly cribbed from the website of their Nepalese expedition guides. Take a look at the two following images and see if you can spot some of the similarities between them:
To date, the couple has denied faking their climb and guiding company Makalu Adventure stands by the claim of successful summit.
As an editorial note, Photoshopped images do not necessarily mean they did not reach the top of the mountain. However, releasing these photos reflects incredibly poor judgement and strengthens Everest’s worsening reputation as an anything-goes circus for attention seekers. It’s also increased scrutiny on the Nepalese Department of Tourism, with government officials at that agency issued “summit certificates” to the couple without first consulting the guide sherpas that supposedly led them to the top.
The Pune police department that employs the Rathods has launched an internal investigation into the incident.