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Khangchendzonga National Park

[ Edit ] Star Attraction

The star attraction of Khangchendzonga National Park is its stunning high altitude ecosystem.

In addition, the other key attractions are the Musk Deer, Snow Leopard, and Himalayan Tahr.

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[ Edit ] Overview

Occuping approximately 25% of the state of Sikkim, Khangchendzonga National Park is situated in one of the grandest and most unspoilt Himalayan mountain environments. 

Ranging in elevation from 1,300m to over 8,550 meters, the park is enclosed by several impressive mountain peaks (including Khangchendzonga - one of the highest mountains in the world) and glaciers (including the Zemu Glacier which is the largest glacier - 26 kms long - in the Eastern Himalayas), and includes green forests, flowering meadows and streams in its primitive wilderness.

Khangchendzonga, with its own unique high altitude ecosystem, has been declared a Biosphere Reserve, a rare conservation desgination given by UNESCO and is on the tentative list for inclusion on the World Heritage Site List.

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[ Edit ] History

Khangchendzonga National Park was established in 1977. 

Mount Khangchendzonga is considered Sikkim's guardian deity and  Buddhists in particular revere it.  In the local language, Khangchendzonga means "Five treasures of snow".  Local Buddhist legend suggests that Khangchendzonga secretly holds sacred texts and relics.

Sikkim's Forests, Environment and Wildlife Management Department is considered to have done a great job in terms of protecting the Park's biodiversity.  Given remoteness of the Park, and the constraints in establishing a permanent presence in the area, the government has enrolled the help of local villagers to help with the conservation efforts.

Over time, the locals have become competent and fully vested participators in the efforts to protect the unique and fragile biodiversity of Khangchendzonga National Park.

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Quick Facts

[ Edit ] State

Sikkim, India

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[ Edit ] Location

The main access point into Khangchendzonga National Park is from the town of Yoksum in Sikkim,

The park itself is located in North and West Sikkim Districts and borders Eastern Nepal.

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[ Edit ] Best Time to Visit

Severe weather restricts the accessibility of Khangchendzonga National Park. 

The best time to visit are from April to May when the snows have melted and again from September to November when the heavy monsoon showers have receeded but winter hasn't yet fully set in.

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[ Edit ] STD Code

03595 (Pelling)

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Ecosystem

[ Edit ] Geography

The park is enclosed on all sides except for the Eastern side by soaring mountain peaks. On the western border, lies the Khanchenjunga, the 3rd tallest mountain peak in the world towering above virtually undisturbed fine forest cover.

Altitude: 1,300 - 8,598 meters

Area: 850 sq kms

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[ Edit ] Wildlife

Some of the common wild animals at Khangchendzonga include: Snow Leopard, Clouded Leopard, Thar, Sloth Bear, Wild Dog, Himalayan Black Bear, Red Panda, Civet, Tibetan Wild Ass, Blue Sheep, Musk Deek,  Toral, Serow, and Goral.

Khangchendzonga National Park also has an estimated 500+ species of birds, at least 127 of which are on the endangered list including seven, such as the Baer’s Pochard, Pallas’s Fish-Eagle, Lesser Kestrel, and Black-breasted Parrotbill, which are on the globally critical list.

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[ Edit ] Flora

The vegetation of the park include temperate mixed forests consisting of fir, birch, oaks, maple, and willow etc as well as alpine grasses and shrubs at higher altitudes.  Included among the flora at Kangchengzonga are numerous medicinal plants and herbs.

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[ Edit ] Climate

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Planning Your Trip

[ Edit ] Operating Hours & Season

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[ Edit ] Fees

Fees for Khangchendzonga National Park:

  • Trekking Fees: Rs. 150 (Indians) / Rs. ___ (Foreigners)
  • Camera: Rs. __
  • Video Camera: Rs. ___
  • Guides / Porters / Support Crew: 

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[ Edit ] Activities in Park

Trekking, bird and wildlife watching, Himalayan sightseeing, adventure camping are the primary activities at Khangchendzonga National Park.

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[ Edit ] Visiting the Park

Trekking, the only way to see Kangchendzonga National Park, is a truly unique experience offering the opportunity to get acquainted with the people, landscape, culture, flora and fauna of Sikkim.

A minimum of two trekkers are required in each group.  Each group has to be accompanied by a team of porters, guides, and support animals.

The most popular trek routes from Yuksom, that passes through the National Park are:

  • Bakim - Dzongri - Thangshing - Samuteng - Goechala

  • Dzongri Base Camp - Rathong - Khangerteng 

  • Thangshing - Lam Pokhari - Kasturi Orar - Lapdong - Tashiding

State Tourism Department and Travel Agents organise treks to this park of the region. The majority of the treks range from 6 - 14 days. Dzongri itself is a two day trek from Yuksom.

Certain areas of Khangchendzonga are restricted to Indians and Foreigners alike.  Indians (for some places within the park) and Foreigners require special approvals that may be available from the Park's officials (at Yoksum) or that Travel Agents can otherwise help arrange.

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[ Edit ] Lodging inside Park

There are no lodging options within Khangchendzonga National Park.  Visitors / Trekkers have to carry tents and food.  Only basic huts are available at various points in the park.

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[ Edit ] Did You Know?

Interesting facts about Khangchendzonga National Park:

  • Mt. Khangchendzonga is India's highest, and the world's 3rd tallest peak at 8,598 meters.  As such, Khangchendzonga National Park is the highest protected wildlife area in India.
  • Kangchegzonga National Park and Biosphere Reserve is on the tentative list for inclusion as a UNESCO recognised World Heritage Site.
  • Myth of the Yeti:   At the Zemu Gap (head of the Zemu Glacier) on the East side of Kangchenjunga, Lord John Hunt (leader of the Everest Expedition in 1953) observed a long line footprints. He initially thought that they were made by the German Expedtition that he knew was also in the area. However, upon meeting the German Expedition members later on, he learned that they weren't in the same area where he stumbled upon the footprints.  From then on, Lord Hunt became convinced that there was something to the legend of the Yeti (or the "Abominable Snowman") - an ape-like creature said to inhabit the eastern Himalayan region including Nepal and Tibet.

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Getting There

[ Edit ] Air

The closest airport to Khangchendzonga National Park is at Bagdogra (near Silguri in West Bengal).

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[ Edit ] Rail

The nearest railway stations are at New Jalpaiguri and Silguri.

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[ Edit ] Road

Khangchendzonga National Park is primarily accessed from the town of Yoksum via Pelling. 

It is recommended that a visit to the Park be arranged through a tour operator at Silguri or Gangtok as transportation is infrequent and restricted in this part of Sikkim.

Driving distances to Khangchendzonga / Yoksum from:

  • Bagdogra: 147 kms (airport near Silguri)
  • Darjeeling: 89 kms
  • Gangtok: 131 kms
  • Kolkata: 727 kms
  • New Jalpaiguri: 125 kms
  • Pelling: 33 kms
  • Pemanyangtse: 40 kms
  • Silguri: 130 kms

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[ Edit ] Nearby Destinations

Nearby destinations to Khangchendzonga National Park include:

  • Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary
  • Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Pelling

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[ Edit ] Park Rules & Regulations

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[ Edit ] In the News

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Related Photos

Mt. Khangchendzonga - India\'s highest, and the world\'s 3rd tallest peak at 8,598 meters
Mount Khangchendzonga as seen on a flight - Siliguri to Guwahati
The mountains that comprise Khangchendzonga National Park - Sikkim, India
The mountains that comprise Khangchendzonga National Park