Nepal is truly a gifted country. Although Nepal is a small nation, the diversity it has both naturally as well culturally is very amazing. The geographical diversity of Nepal is uniquely characterized by the distinctive topographical feature. Because of that diversity and different topography, Nepal is inhabited by many species of flora and fauna.
In Nepal, there are twelve national parks, six conservation areas, and an each of hunting reserve and wildlife reserve. Sagarmatha National Park is one of the popular protected areas of Nepal, whose popularity is dominated by the world’s highest mountain, Everest. As Sagarmatha National Park is rich with different species of vegetation and wildlife, your visit will help uplifting the ecotourism as well.
About Sagarmatha National Park
The word “Sagarmatha” is a Nepali word meaning sagar as sky and matha as the head. Sagarmatha National Park was established in 1976,and it became the first national park of Nepal to be enlisted as a natural World Heritage Site in 1979. The park is a protected area of the Himalayas of eastern Nepal,and it is spread in the area of 1,148 km sq in the Solukhumbu and ranges in elevation of 2,845 to 8,848 meters. The park shares the international border on the north side with Qomolangma National Nature Preserve of Tibet,and in the south, it extends to Dudh Koshi River. Sagarmatha National Park has been identified as an important bird area by BirdLife International and is also included in Sacred Himalayan Landscape. Sagarmatha National Park contains upper catchment areas of the DudhKoshiRiver, Bhote Koshi river basin and the Gokyo Lakes. The park largely comprises of rugged terrain and gorges of high Himalayas, ranging from Monjo (2,845 meters) to the Mount Everest (8,848 meters). The other peaks of which the park comprises are Lhotse, Nuptse, Cho Oyu, Thamserku, Amadablam and Pumori.
As of today, the park is one of the most visited protected areas of Nepal, but in the early period, the tourism began in the early 1960s. The inhabitants of this area are mostly Sherpas,and most of them are engaged in tourism business like porters, guide, hotels,and lodges. The villages located in the region of Sagarmatha National Park follows the unique way of living. They are draped into their own culture and custom. Situated far from the city areas and untouched of modern means, those places are now a tourist center. However, they have kept the traditional charm in the village with their lifestyle, language, festivals, dresses, house-design and even with the food they eat: it is the very reason why tourist are drawn to these distinctive villages.
Flora and Fauna of Sagarmatha National Park
Located in the Himalayas, Sagarmatha National Park is very rich in biodiversity and has some of the rare species of flora and fauna. Above the elevation of 5,000 meters, 69% is barren land, 28 % is grazing the land and the remaining 3% forested. Above the elevation of 5,000 meters starts the nival zone. The lower forested area of the park is covered by rhododendron, birch, juniper, blue pines, bamboo,and firs. Above this zone, the vegetation is characterized by small-sized shrubs. As the level of altitude rises, the vegetation gets restricted to lichens and mosses. Above the elevation of 5,750 meters, there is no any vegetation as it is the permanent line in the Himalayas. There is a forest of pine and hemlock in the lower elevation of the park and around the elevation of 3,500 meters and above it is the forest of rhododendron, silver fir, juniper,and birch.
The park is also very rich in wildlife. There are at least 118 species of birds which inhabitants in the park including blood pheasant, Himalayan Monal, red-billed chough,and yellow-billed chough. There are also some rare species of mammal which includes snow leopard, musk deer, red panda,and Himalayan black bear. Other wildlife which can be found in the park is Himalayan wolves, Himalayan thars, langur monkeys and martens. As the altitude increases, the level of temperature and oxygen decreases,so the animals which live at the higher altitude region are adapted to living on less oxygen and cold temperature. Those animals have very thick furs to maintain their body temperature. Some animals have shortened limbs to prevent any loss of body heat. Himalayan black bear of this region hibernates in caves during the winter season as there is no food due to the extreme cold.
Places to visit in Sagarmatha National Park
Sagarmatha National Park is rich in wildlife and vegetation. Also, this places has several other attractions as well. There are places you can pay a visit to while exploring the park. The list below might not belong in the area of the National Park, but as they are located near the park area, these places surely worth your visit.
Namche Bazaar is one popular tourist hub of this region. It is a famous place to stay among tourist who is going for mountain climbing to Mount Everest or towards the base camp of Everest. Namche Bazaar lies at an elevation of 3,440 meters in Solukhumbu district. It is the main trading center and a popular place of the whole Khumbu region with many Nepalese officials, banks, post,and a police check. Most of the people who are engaged in the tourism business are Sherpas.
Namche Bazaar is the gateway to the Himalayas and a popular place to stay among the trekkers mainly for acclimatization before heading to the higher altitude region. There are many hotels and lodges, internet café, shops which serves every need like gears, boats and any trekking items. Namche Bazaar is popular as a tourist hub as well as its beauty too.
As mentioned above, the Mount Everest falls in the Sagarmatha National Park. This glorious peak dominates the attraction of the whole park. With the height of 2,848 meters above sea level, Mount Everest is in the list of every adventure lovers. The expedition of Mount Everest can be done by two different routes, one from Nepal and next to Tibet. However, the route from Nepal is more popular and mostly chosen by the climbers.
Apart from climbing the Everest, it is also very popular for the trekking to its base camp. Everest Base Camp trek is one of the most popular trekking routes in the whole world. The challenging trails, the splendid view of beautiful peaks, the hidden valleys and villages characterized by the distinctive culture and tradition adds more fun to the trekkers and climbers in this region.
Tengboche Monastery is the very famous monastery of Khumbu region. It is situated in the Khumbu region of Solukhumbu district. The monastery also goes by the name of Dawa Chloling Gompa. It is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery of the Sherpa community. The monastery was originally built in 1916. However, it suffered damage in 1934 from the earthquake and in 1989 from the fire,but with the contribution of locals and international assistance, the monastery got restored.
Tengboche monastery lies amidst the Sagarmatha National Park,and it offers the magnificent panoramic view of the Himalayan Mountains, which includes Mount Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse, Tawache, AmaDablam and Thamserku. Also, Tengboche monastery hosts a very charming festival named Mani Rimdu every October. The festival is characterized by the gathering of people, songs and dances. Every visitors are welcomed to join this festival.
Khumjung is a small village located in the north-eastern part of Nepal in Solukhumbu district. This village is located in the sub-region of Khumbu inside the Sagarmatha National park. Khumjung lies near to the Mount Khumbila and is at an elevation of 3,790 meters above the sea level. Although Khumjung is a small village, it has many historical places to visit.
The very first climber of Mount Everest, Sir Edmund Hillary built a school by in 1960. The school was named as Hillary School, but now it is called as “Khumjung Hillary School.” Along with this historic school, Hillary also founded a hospital in a Khunde which is directly adjacent to Khumjung. The Khumjung Monastery is also a very popular site of this village. The monastery is mostly visited by the tourist to see a rare piece of yeti scalp. That scalp was discovered by Edmund Hillary in an old lady’s house. However, after the examination, it scalp was said to belong to a goat-like antelope native to the Himalayas. Despite such result, the duplicate of this scalp is in the New York City of The Explorer’s Club with a citation of yeti scalp.