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Saturday, July 20, 2024

Khangchendzonga National Park

Khangchendzonga National Park, UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites is one of a handful of high-altitude national parks in the country.


Khangchendzonga National Park, also known as the Kanchenjunga Biosphere Reserve, is the epitome of natural splendor. Recently enlisted into UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites list, Khangchendzonga National Park is one of a handful of high-altitude national parks in the country. Besides Mt. Kanchenjunga, the third-highest peak in the world towers over the park and its surroundings, the area encompasses fantastical glaciers, pristine lakes, lush valleys, and various endangered flora and fauna.

What to see

Explore Lake Menmecho where coniferous trees surround the waterbody adding to its magical charm stare in wonder at the sharp crevices of Mt. Rathong wait patiently for the fog to lift and witness the 26 km long Zemu Glacier, one of the largest in the continent. The Famrong Waterfall falls with mysterious graceful intensity, and the guardian of the park, Mt. Kanchenjunga sits silently viewing her children.
The geographical wonders mentioned are just a few of the natural sights of the National Park. If you’re trekking in the area, keep an eye out for the Himalayan blue sheep, the Asiatic wild dog, red pandas, and musk deer, to name a few. If you’re lucky, a snow leopard sighting will surely make your day. The National Park is birdwatcher heaven, with the recently discovered Himalayan Forest Thrush, and a plethora of endemic avifauna like Tibetan snowcock, Himalayan griffon, and bearded vulture, among others.

When to reach

Most travelers plan their trip between March and May. when the temperature floats around 10°C, results in clear skies, spectacular mountain views, and pleasant treks. However, there is something mysterious about viewing the Kanchenjunga, its surrounding mountains, and the frozen lakes in winter. Covered in a blanket of snow with sub-zero temperatures, the Khangchendzonga National Park transforms into a winter wonderland from October to February. Make sure you carry heavy woolens to brave the piercing cold. Between June and September, heavy rainfall makes trekking an impossible venture and you should not plan your trip to Khangchendzonga National Park during these months.

How to reach

Khangchendzonga National Park is around 50 km from Gangtok. The journey to Khangchendzonga National Park is all about ‘the road less traveled.’ While the ride is bumpy, the natural beauty of the park makes it all worthwhile. The historical town of Yuksom is a popular trekking start-point. Treks from here can vary depending on where in Khangchendzonga National Park you’d like to go. Yuksom to Dzongri is a popular trekking route and from Dzongri Base Camp you can walk along the Rathong-Khangerteng route.

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