Sagarmatha National Park is a national park that is located in the Solukhumbu district and encompasses a total of around 1148 sq. km. It was established in 1976 AD and three years later, it was named as Nepal’s first natural world heritage site. The area has been a popular tourist destination since in the 1960s.
The national park reputed for its utmost beauty is home to famous peaks like Lhotse, Cho Oyu, Thamserku, Nuptse, Amadablam and Pumori, and the 8848 meters tall Mount Everest. It borders with the Qomolangma National Nature Preserve of Tibet in the North, Makalu Barun National Park in the east, and extends to Dudh Kosi river in the south.
With the majority of the park being above an altitude of 3,000m, the national park comprises of a lot of rugged terrain with deep gorges, glaciers and massive boulders.
People near the region
The area is home to many Tibetan Buddhists since the last four centuries. The Sherpa culture can be explicitly noticed by the views of the monasteries across the region, rocks carved with paper inscriptions, and prayer flags. The Sherpas are adept at mountaineering and many of them serve as tour guides for visitors.
The diverse flora and fauna
Sagarmatha National Park features some of the world’s most exotic plant and animal species. Floral species like Rhododendron, Birch, Juniper, and Blue Pine are common at the higher altitude while pine and hemlock forests are in abundance at the lower elevation.
Himalaya Tahr, ghoral, jackal, Langur monkeys, Impeyan pheasant, blood pheasant, snow cock, snow pigeon, Red-billed and yellow-billed chough, Himalayan griffin vulture and lammergeier are easily spotted in the national park.
The fauna species that are rare in numbers are Himalayan Black Bear, Lynx, Musk Deer, and Snow Leopard.
As one would expect, the weather gets colder and harsher as the altitude increases. The creatures living at such climates have thick, furry bodies and shortened limbs to prevent the escape of body heat.
Short notes about three main centers of attraction at Sagarmatha National Park
Attraction at Sagarmatha National Park, Nepal
1. Everest Base Camp
If you want to make it all the way to the base camp, you have to start from one of the most dangerous airports in the world: Lukla Airport. Despite this nerve-rattling fact, the two-week trek to the Everest Base Camp is a major cynosure for people from all over the globe. It is now one of the most famous trekking routes with over 30,000 visitors annually.
2. Gokyo lakes and valley
Comprising of a total of six lakes, Gokyo Lakes are the world’s highest freshwater lake system and are located at an altitude of approximately 4,700 – 5,000 meters above sea level.
The Gokyo village at around 4,790 meters is also a major cynosure for the tourists. Many Hindus and Buddhists consider the lakes sanctified. A handful of Hindus take bath in the lakes during Janai Purnima.
3. Island peak climb
Island peak is one of the most prominent trekking peaks in Nepal, and it is a great match for both amateur and experienced climbers. The ultimate destination is exciting, leading to the heart of the Khumbu Valley and cultural sites like Pangboche, Tengboche, and Namche Bazar.
Accommodation facilities and the ideal time for tourists
The perfectly suited timing to visit is during the months of October, November, March, April, and May. The national park experiences rainfall during the summer season of June to September while heavy snowfall and the temperature dropping below 0 degree Celsius is common from December to February.
The lodging facilities are quite decent. Resorts, small lodges, tea houses, and camping accommodations are readily available. Most of the main trekking routes like Namche Bazar, Thyangboche, and Lobuche feature lodges with food options on the way.
Animal sacrifice in the park is restricted, so foods are primarily grain and vegetable-based. 3G mobile connection and WiFi are common in lodges and tea houses, even at the higher altitudes.
One factor that could pose difficulty for prospective visitors is the park’s location. It is situated in a remote location that is inaccessible by roadways. One way to reach there is to travel by air from Kathmandu to Lukla and then walk for a couple of days.
The alternative way is to fly from Kathmandu to Tumlingtar and trek for around 10 days to reach the park.
Problems in the region
While the increase in the number of visitors annually is a blessing for the local economy, the degradation of the region’s ecology and cultural traditions is also aggravating. The land is being cleared to construct extra trails and resort in order to provide extra accommodation to the tourists.
In addition, the increase of non-biodegradable wastes such as plastics and glasses is another sign of worry. Deforestation is also turning out to be a serious problem in the Khumbu region. In the Sagarmatha National Park, tourists use firewood to stay warm and cook food. This further leads to loss of habits of wildlife and also natural fiascos such as soil erosion and landslide.
Author: Saurab Pandey