Khumjung: A Hidden Mountain Village of Nepal

Nepal is the home of the Himalayas. There are eight out of fourteen mountains above the elevation of 8,000 meters and several of small and big mountains. And, in those mountains,some familieshave been residing there for generations. As most of Nepal is a village, in those mountain region where there is no proper reach of infrastructure, those village has remained as they were without any depletion of its authenticity.

Located in the mountain region, Khumjung is one of the villages which is untouched by the modern world and very far from the way of living of people in the city area.


Khumjung is a small village in the north-eastern part of Solukhumbu District of Nepal and is located in the Khumbu subregion inside the world heritage site, Sagarmatha National Park. But during the Kingdom of Nepal, Khumjung was a separate Village Development committee. On March 10, 2017, with the new administrative structure, Khumjung became a part of Khumbu Pasang Lhamu rural municipality.

Khumjung lies at an altitude of 3,790 meters above sea level. The village is very near to the Mount Khumbila, which is one of the high Himalayan peaks of Khumbu. Khumjung comprises mostly the Sherpa and Gurung ethnicity.

Attractions of Khumjung

Sacred Cave of Padmasambhava

This sacred cave is located above the village of Khumjung. It is said that after completing practices at Halesi in Eastern Nepal, Padmasambhava, also referred as Guru Rinpoche stayed in this cave for many days. Padmasambhava is the founder of Tibetan Buddhism. In the outright wall of the cave, there is a miraculously arisen Sanskrit character, and halfway up the climb, near some retreat houses, there is a very clear handprint of an accomplished yogi (saint) crafted in the stone.

It might take a little more effort to reach the cave as it is located above the village. But, your effort will be of full worth as you can see the beautiful landscape of Khumjung and the mountains from the cave area. It is easy to know if you are any near of cave as there are many prayer flags hung outside.

Khumjung Monastery

Khumjung Monastery is another main attraction of this beautiful village. This sacred site of Khumjung was built about 400 years ago and is the center of culture and religion of the Sherpa community of the village. There are lamas (monks) in the monastery to whom you can ask the direction of Padmasambhava’s cave; they will be happy to show the direction.

Khumjung Monastery suffered heavy damage in the devastating earthquake of April 2015 destroying the most ofthe monastery and causing it almost beyond any repair. But, as the monastery holds great importance to the local community, all of the villages got united and volunteered for reconstruction of the monastery. They showed a true community effort and contributedto at least two weeks of labor. They also collected donations from every house in the village and other places as well.

After all the effort and handwork of the peoples of Khumjung, the monastery got reopened by the abbot of Tengboche Monastery. The Abbot along with other lamas conducted the opening ceremony of the monastery.

Yeti Scalp of Khumjung Monastery

While visiting the Khumjung Monastery, do not forget to ask the yeti scalp. The monks will show you the scalp with a small amount of donation but do remember no matter how big your donation might be; the scalp goes nowhere from the box. This rare piece is kept in a small, glass-fronted box.

There is a story in the Khumjung that this rare piece is of the “abominable snowman” of the Himalayan legends. This piece was in the home of an old lady of Khumjung. She kept it as a good-luck charm of the village and was very resistant to give away to the Edmund Hillary. Edmund found this piece, along with a journalist named Desmond Diog in 1960 while they were on an expedition to look for the expedition for the big-footed beast. To extract this piece from the old lady, Edmund has to donate to the Khumjung monastery and local school.

After getting the scalp, Edmund took it for the examination,but it was found that it belonged to the animal native to the Himalayas most likely a goat-antelope. The scalp was later returned to the Khumjung after being examined,and its replica is at The Explorer’s Club of New York City.

Well, you can decide by yourself after seeing the scalp from your own eyes. So, do not miss the chance to witness this very-very rare piece.

Khumjung School

Visiting a school isn’t a part of the fun in anyone’s view. But, this particular school of Khumjung is a historic one as the Edmund Hilary himself built it. Edmund Hilary is the first climber of the Mount Everest along with Tenzing Norgay Sherpa. Established in the year 1960, this school is called the “Khumjung Hillary School.” This school also provides boarding facilities, but students prefer to walk the hours-long distance to attend the classes. It may not be on your list while visiting Khumjung, but the chance of witnessing this historical school certainly worth your time.


Khunde is another village located along the Khumjung. It will be best to visit this village as well when you are in Khumjung. Khunde is at the western part and is in the slightly higher height than Khumjung. Khunde is located in the Khumbu region and is within the area of Sagarmatha National Park. It lies in the foot of KhumbuYul-Lha, which is also called as “God of Khumbu.” This mountain is considered as the sacred mountain of the Sherpas of that region.

In Khude, you can find a hospital named Khunde Hospital, which was founded by Sir Edmund Hilary in 1966. The hospital serves more than 8,000 people of Khumbu district.

Way to Khumjung

The tourist doesn’t go to Khumjung as the ultimate destination; rather they opt to side trek towards Khumjungon their way to Everest Base Camp. Khumjung is a popular side trek for the trekkers of Everest Base Camp.

At first, you will arrive atLukla from Kathmandu to start your trek. Lukla is a beautiful small town which a most amazing airport in the world. The airport of Luklais located at such height that it will be left you with awe. Lukla is rich in natural beauty,and it provides all the facilities and services as well. There are several types of shops and lodges in your service which provides Western-style meal and trail supplies as well. Moving forward you will reach Pakhding and then to Namche Bazaar.

NamcheBazaar is a popular stop for tourist for some for acclimatization. NamcheBazaaris located at an elevation of 3,440 meters,and it also meets almost every need of yours. Sherpas are the major resident of this area. While there are enough hotels and lodges, you can always go camping as it will give you the best opportunity to explore this magnificent town. Also, camping is beneficial for both you and the environment as well. And, this the very place from where you can go to Khumjung.

While staying for a few days for acclimatization in Namche, you can utilize those by visiting Khumjung. To reach Khumjung, you have to make some effort to climb out from NamcheBazaar, then stroll across a flat area near the airstrip of Shyangboche. Then you have to do another climb and comes to a gentle walk downhill into the village of Khumjung. It will take around one hour to reach Khumjung from Namche. You won’t find any hotels or lodges on the way Khumjung so that it will be better take a water-bottle. You will find places to refill the bottle,and if you consider it unhygienic, you can take a water-purifying table. It is a very wise option considering the harm a single bottle can cause to our environment. Reaching Khumjung will give you the best view of the Himalayas. It is a distinctive village with warm-hearted Sherpas. There are lodges in Khumjung where you can try some of the local cuisines along with the homemade wine.

You will be continuing your trek to the Everest Base Camp after the side trek to Khumjung. Returning to the Namche from Khumjung, you will move to Tengboche. Tengbocheis located at an elevation of 3,870 meters with the largest monastery in the Khumbu region.

After Tengboche comes Dingboche. Dingboche is at an elevation of 4,360 meters,and most trekkers stay in this place for acclimatization. Then you will reach Dugla (4,600 meters). It won’t be safe to trek for more than 500 meters in one day after you reach 3,500 meters, so, keep your pace minimum. From Dugla comes Lobuche (4,960 meters) and GorakShep (5,710 meters). Then you will finally reach the Everest Base Camp which is at an elevation of 5,364 meters. After reaching the base camp and returning to GorakShep, most trekkers choose to side trek to Kala Patthar as this spot gives the more near and clear view of Mount Everest. Then, after all the exploration you will you will move to NamcheBazaar and then to Lukla. From Lukla taking a domestic flight, you will be at Kathmandu and home.

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