Sagarmatha National Park
Sagarmatha National Park is home to Mount Everest, the highest peak of the world. It is extended over an area of 1,148 sq km. It was established in 1976 and got inscribed as UNESCO Natural World Heritage site in 1979. A buffer zone of 275 sq km was added in 2002. Similarly, Gokyo Lake inside the park was listed as Ramsar Site in 2007. The park has an exceptional area with World’s first (Mt Everest 8,848 m) and fourth (Mt. Lhotse 8,516 m) highest peaks. Likewise, there are numerous above 6000-meter peaks.
Besides these dramatic mountains, there are many Himalayan glaciers, high altitude lakes and deep valleys with rugged terrain. It is also the part of Sacred Himalayan Landscape.
The elevation range of Sagarmatha National Park starts from 2845 m to the highest peak. It is adjoined with Makalu Barun National park in the east. To the west is the Rolwaling valley of the Gaurishankar Conservation Area. Similarly, the park is adjacent to Qomolangma National Nature Preserve of Tibet to the north. While Sagarmatha National park Buffer Zone area lies to the south.
The Himalayan landscape of Sagarmatha National Park and its wide altitudinal range has a wide range of climates. It has a humid subtropical climate in the lower altitudes and cold dry conditions on the higher altitude. Summer months (June to August) records heavy rainfall on the lower altitudes. Whereas winters (December to February) are cold and dry, the temperature dropping below freezing point. The spring season (March to May) on the other hand, still experiences winter conditions but with some sunlight. In contrast, in the autumn season (September to November) the sun disappears from the sky entirely. Keeping the weather conditions in mind the best time to visit the park is October-November and March to May.
Sagarmatha National Park is about 135 km away from Kathmandu. There are many ways to get to Sagarmatha National Park. Flying to Lukla and hiking for two days is the popular option. However, you can also ride up to Jiri and take ten days of hiking. Riding up to Salleri shortens the hike by to 5 days. Flying to Tumblingtar and Phaplu and hiking for 10 and 5 days respectively is another. Direct helicopter flight to Namche Bazar, Kala Patthar or even Everest Base Camp and other destinations inside the park is also possible.
Wildlife and Vegetation
Up to 4,000 m of the park, there are forested zones where birch, juniper, blue pines, firs, bamboo, and rhododendron grow. However, on the higher altitudes plant life is limited dwarf shrubs, grassland and cushion plants like mosses up to 6000 m. The altitude above 6000 m has no vegetation at all. The number of fauna available in Sagarmatha National Park, however, is less in comparison to other protected areas. This is because of the arctic weather conditions of this region. However, around 118 species of birds including Impeyan pheasant, crimson headed pheasant, etc. Similarly animals like Himalayan wolves, musk deer, Himalayan black bear, etc. The park is also home to rare Himalayan species like snow leopard and red panda.
Local Population at Buffer Zone
Sagarmatha National Park is also popular with Sherpa people living in the area and their local culture. They are of Tibetan origin and their culture to has Tibetan influence. There are 20 Settlements around 6000 Sherpas live in surrounding villages such as Namche Bazar, Kunde, Khumjung, Thyangboche, Pangboche, etc. The Sherpas of these 20 villages settle around the trekking trail temporarily during tourist season. Other than tourism they also depend on livestock farming and agriculture for livelihood.
Things to do and Places to Visit
Trekking on the world’s most famous trekking route, the Everest Base Camp is on the main activity in Sagarmatha Nationa Park. Along with Mt.Everest different renowned peaks such as Cho Oyu, Pumori, Thamserku, Ama Dablam, etc are visible on the EBC Trek. Similarly, mountaineering is also a major activity in this region. Every year hundreds of mountaineers visit the park to summit Mt. Everest and other peaks. Likewise, Helicopter tour to Everest Base Camp is also an attraction for the tourists and mountain lovers.
Due to the Tibetan influence and Buddhist religion being practiced in the region, there are several monasteries worth visiting. The monasteries at Tengboche, Thame, Khumjung, and Pangboche are some of the famous monasteries in the area. These monasteries are also common gathering place during the festivals like Dumje, Mane Rumdu, Etc.
This beautiful high altitude lake complex listed as Samsar site is also located in Sagarmatha National Park. The Gokyo lakes contain six lakes, among them, lake thonak is the largest. Camping around the lakes or simply spending a day in a park could be an enthralling experience. Since the area offers spectacular views of surrounding mountains and glaciers including the mighty Everest.
|1||Red Panda||Ailurus Fulgens|
|2||Musk Deer||Moschus Cyrysogaster|
|3||Snow Leopard||Panthera Uncia|
|4||Wild Yak||Bos Mutus|
|5||Gray Wolf||Canis Lupus|
|1||Impeyan Pheasant||Lophophorus Impejanus|
|2||Crimson Horned Pheasant||Tragopan Satyra|
|Day 01||Fly to Lukla (2,840 m) and trek to Phakding (2,610 m)|
|Day 02||Trek to Namche (3,440 m) via Monjo (Entry point of Sagarmatha NP)|
|Day 03||Acclimatization day: Explore Sagarmatha museum,|
|Day 04||Trek to Khumjung (3,790 m) Explore National park areas|
|Day 05||Trek to Tangboche (3,860 m) Explore Monasteries|
|Day 06||Trek back to Monjo (2,860 m)|
|Day 07||Trek back to Lukla (2,840 m)|
|Day 08||Fly back to Kathmandu|
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