Sagarmatha (Mt. Everest) National Park is spread over an area of 1,148 sq, km in 1976, of the Himalayan ecological zone in the Khumbu region of Nepal. The Park includes the upper catchments areas of the Dudhkoshi and Bhotehoshi Rivers and is largely composed of rugged terrain and gorges of the high Himalayas, ranging from 2,845m at Monjo to the top of the world’s highest Himal – Sagarmatha at 8,848m above the sea level. Other peaks above 6,000m are Lhotse, Cho Oyu, Thamserku. Nuptse, Amadablam and Pumori,
The famed Sherpa people, whose lives are interwoven with the teachings of Buddhism, live in the region. The renowned Tengboche and other monasteries are common gathering places to celebrate religious festivals such as Dumje and Mane Rumdu. In addition to Tengboche, Thame, Khumjung and Pangboche are some other famous monasteries. For its superlative natural characteristics, UNESCO listed SNP as a World Heritage Site in 1979.
Some of the endangered animals that are found in this National park are musk deer, wild yak, red panda, snow leopard and Himalayan black bear. Besides, many other animals such as Himalayan thars, deer, langur monkeys, hares, foxes, martens, and Himalayan wolves are found in the park. Unfortunately, their numbers are not very large and many visitors may not be able to see them.
The Sagarmatha (Mount Everest) National Park provides a habit for at least 118 species of birds. The most common birds to be seen are the Impeyen pheasant (the national bird of Nepal), blood pheasant, cheer pheasant, jungle crow, red billed and yellow billed coughs and snow pigeon. Fairly common birds are the Himalayan griffon, lammergier, snow partridge, skylark and many others.
The mountains of Sagarmatha National Park are geologically young and broken up by deep gorges and glacial valleys. Vegetation includes pine and hemlock forests at lower altitudes, fir, juniper, birch and rhododendron woods, scrub and alpine plant communities, and bare rock and snow. The famed bloom of rhododendrons occurs during spring (April and May) although other flora is most colorful during the monsoon season (June to August).
Wild animals most likely to seen in the park are the Himalayan tahr, goral, serow and musk deer. The snow leopard and Himalayan black bear are present but rarely sighted. Other mammals rarely seen are the weasel, maren, Himalayan mouse hare (pika), jackal and langur monkey.
The park is populated by approximately 3,000 of the famed Sherpa people whose lives are interwoven with the teachings of Buddhism. The main settlements are Namche Bazar, Khumjung, Khunde, Thame, Thyangboche, Pangboche and Phortse. The economy of the Khumbu Sherpa community has traditionally been heavily based on trade and livestock herding. But with the arrival of international mountaineering expeditions since 1950 and the influx of foreign trekkers, today the Sherpa economy is becoming increasingly dependent of tourism.
For the National Park visitors the summer season’s climate is cool and wet and winter is cold and dry. Almost all of the annual precipitation, averaging less than 1000 mm, falls during the summer monsoon, from end of May to September. Climatically, the best time to visit the Sagarmatha National park or Everest National Park is between October and May, except for December to February when, daytime temperatures often drop below 0 C and there is heavy snowfall.
Flora & Fauna:
The vegetation found at the lower altitude of the park include pine and hemlock forests, while fir, juniper, birch and rhododendron, scrub and alpine plant communities are common at the higher altitude.
The park is home to the red panda, snow leopard, musk deer, Himalayan tahr, marten, Himalayan mouse hare (pika) and over 118 species of bird including the Impeyan pheasant, snow cock, blood pheasant, red billed cough etc.
How to get there:
The most common ways to reach the is:
-flight to Lukia and two day’s walk.
-Bus to Jiri and 10 day’s walk.
-Flight to Tumlingtar and 10 day’s walk.
-Flight to Phaplu and 5 day’s walk.
Popular Trekking Routes:
The trek from Namche to Kala Pathar is very popular. The Gokyo Lake and Chukung valleys also provide spectacular views. The Thame Valley is popular for Sherpa culture while Phortse is famous for wildlife viewing. There are some high passes worth crossing over. However, the trekkers must have a guide and proper equipment for the trek.
Suggestion for the Visitors:
- There are trekker lodges with food available in places like Namche Bazaar, Thyangboche, Pheriche and Lobuche and along most of the main trekking routes the small villages have basic accomodation.
- There is the Himalayan Rescue Association (HRA) at Pheriche which has medical facilities and also accepts credit card as payment.
- The National Park ranges from 3000 m to 8000 m and above in altitude. Visitors need to be careful and aware of High Altitude sickness (HAS). Do not climb to fast or too high in one day, no more than 400 m in a day. Signs of HAS include: headache, difficulty in sleeping, breathlessness, loss of appetite, nauseousness and general tiredness.