Sagarmatha National Park

Sagarmatha National Park

Sagarmatha National Park is declared in 1976, is situated in the north-eastern part of Nepal that covers 1,148 km2 of the Himalayan ecological zone in the Khumbu region of Nepal. The mountains of the park are geologically young and are broken up by gorges and glacial valleys. The prime attraction, the 8,848m-high Mount Everest- lies in the park, which is also home to two other eight thousand -Lhotse and Cho Oyu- besides several other prominent peaks above 6,000m, namely, Thamserku, Nuptse, Ama Dablam, and Pumori.

The park includes the upper catchment areas of the Dudhkoshi River and is largely composed of rugged terrain with deep gorges, glaciers, and huge rocks. Recognizing its superlative natural characteristics and unique ecosystems of international significance, UNESCO declared the park a World Heritage Site in 1979. Gokyo and associated lakes in the Sagarmatha National Park were declared wetlands of international importance under the Ramsar Convention in 2007.

The Sherpa people, whose lives are steeped in Buddhism, live in the region. The famous Tengboche and other monasteries are common gathering places where they celebrate such festivals as the Dumje and Mani Rimdu. In addition to the Tengboche, some other famous monasteries are Thame, Khumjung, and Pangboche.

In 2002, an area of 275 km2, surrounding the park was declared a buffer zone, which consists of forests and private lands. The park and the local people jointly initiated community development and conservation activities and manage the natural resources in the buffer zone. The National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act, 1973 has made a provision of plowing back 30-50 percent of the park’s revenue into community development and conservation of the buffer zone.

Flora and Fauna of Sagarmatha National Park

Sagarmatha National Park and its buffer zone consist of temperate to a normal zone which is rich in floral and faunal diversity. The vegetation found at the lower altitude of the park includes the blue pine and hemlock forests and in between Rhododendron scrub. Alpine plant communities are common at higher altitudes including silver fir, Juniper, birch, etc. Altogether 865 plant species have been recorded here out of which 62 species are globally significant.

Sagarmatha National Park

The park has a comparatively low number of mammalian species as a result of the geologically recent origin of the Himalayas and climatic factors. The park is home to the Red panda, Snow leopard, Musk deer, Himalayan tahr, Marten, Wolf, Himalayan black bear, and Himalayan mouse hare (Pika). Many of these mammals are listed as endangered and threatened species. In addition, eight species of reptiles, seven species of amphibians, and 30 species of butterflies have been recorded in the area. The park and its buffer zone provide habitat for at least 219 species of birds including the Himalayan Monal, Snowcock, Blood pheasant, Red-billed chough, and Yellow-billed chough.

Fact sheet of Sagarmatha National Park

                 Sagarmatha National Park and Buffer Zone
National Park Declared Year July 19, 1976
National Park Area 1,148 Km2
Location North-eastern Nepal (Solukhumbu District)
World heritage site listed 1979 (Natural Site) -Site No.120
Ramsar site declaration 2007 (Gokyo and associated lakes)-Site No. 1692
Bioclimatic zone Temperate-alpine-nival zone
Elevation 2300m-8848m above mean sea level
Major geophysical Characteristics Mt. Everest Region, Glaciers, Valley
Major glaciers Khumbu, Imja, Ngozumpa and Nangpa
Major peaks Sagarmatha (8,848m), Lhotse (8,501m),Cho Oyu (8,153m), Nuptse (7,896m)
Main mammals Snow Leopard, Musk Deer, Red Panda
Main birds Himalayan Monal, Blood Pheasant
Major tree species Pine, Hemlock, Fir, Juniper, Birch
Buffer zone declared January 1, 2002
Buffer zone area 275km2
Rural Municipality Khumbu Pasang Lhamu ( Ward No: 2, 3, 4, & 5)
Population 7161
Major caste groups Sherpa, Tamang and Rai
Economy Tourism, agriculture, animal husbandry, business, mountaineering

Sagarmatha National Park

Sagarmatha National Park Major attractions

  • The world’s highest peak Mt. Everest (8,848m above mean sea level)
  • Two other peaks Lhotse and Cho Oyu higher than 8,000m
  • Everest Base Camp and Kala Pathar
  • Gokyo lake and glaciers
  • Chukung and Thame Valley
  • Snow Leopard, Musk Deer, Red Panda, and Himalayan Monal
  • Sherpa culture and Monasteries

Sagarmatha National Park Accommodation

There are several resorts, hotels, lodges, tea houses, and campsites in the park and its buffer zone that offers modern amenities.

Sagarmatha National Park Use of Entry Fee

30-50 percent of the park’s entry fees go directly to the Buffer Zone Communities for:

  • Biodiversity Conservation Programme
  • Community Development
  • Conservation Education
  • Income Generation and Skill Development

How to get into Sagarmatha National Park

The most common ways to reach the park headquarters, Namche from Kathmandu are:

  • Flight to Lukla and two days walk
  • Bus to Jiri and 10 days walk
  • Flight to Phaplu and 5 days walk
  • Drive to Salleri and 5 days walk

Sagarmatha National Park Trekking Routes

The trek from Namche to Kala Pathar is very popular. The Gokyo Lake and Chukung Valley provide spectacular views. Thame Valley is known for its 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.

Sagarmatha National Park

From Namche Bazar to Everest Base Camp (EBC)

From                                Destination                             Duration
Namche Bazar Tengboche 5 hours
Tengboche Dingboche/Pheriche 3 hours
Lobuche Kala Pathar 6 hours
Kala Pathar Everest Base Camp 8 hours

Sagarmatha National Park  Other Trekking routes

From                                Destination                             Duration
Namche Bazar Khumjung/Khunde 2 hours
Khumjung/Khunde Dole 6 hours
Dole Macherma 4 hours
Macherma Gokyo 4 hours
Gokyo Gokyo Peak 3 hours
Gokyo Peak Thaknak 3 hours
Thaknak Phortse 6 hours
Phortse Pangboche 2 hours
Pangboche Park HQ, Namche Bazar 6 hour

Sagarmatha National Park  Safely Precautions

High altitude sickness can affect you if elevation is gained too rapidly and without proper acclimatization. The symptoms are -headache, difficulty in sleeping, breathlessness, loss of appetite, and general fatigue. If someone develops the symptoms, stop ascending immediately. If symptoms persist, the only proven cure is to descend to a lower elevation. Medical advice can be sought at the Khunde Hospital and Namche or Pheriche Health Post.

Sagarmatha National Park  General Code of Conduct

Follow the minimum impact code while trekking so that you and your host (local nature and people) benefit for indefinite years to come. Because what you benefit from a particular tourism destination at present and future largely depends on how you impact the local environment and culture.

  1. Conserve forests
  • The use of firewood is prohibited.
  • Don’t light campfires: Cook with kerosene or gas and take sufficient warm clothing.
  • Choose lodges that use alternatives to wood for cooking and heating.
  • Kerosene/gas could be bought from depots at Syangboche, Dole, and Phortse.
  • The purpose of the depots is to encourage private hotel/lodge owners to use kerosene/gas as an alternate source of energy and help conserve the alpine vegetation.
  1. Stop Pollution
  • Carry out what you carry in.
  • Buy only what won’t pollute, or carry it out.
  • Use safe drinking water or purify water yourself.
  • Do not use polythene plastic materials.
  • Take only photographs, leave only footprints.

Sagarmatha National Park

Sagarmatha National Park Regulations

  • An entry fee of Rs. 3,000 (foreigners), Rs. 1,500 (SAARC nationals) and additional VAT must be paid at the designated ticket counter per person.
  • Valid entry permits are available from the National Parks ticket counter at the Nepal Tourism Board, Bhrikuti Mandap, Kathmandu, or the park entrance gate at Manjo.
  • The entry permit is non-refundable, non-transferable, and is for a single entry only.
  • Entering the park without a permit is illegal. Park personnel may ask for the permit, so visitors are requested to keep the permit with them.
  • Get a special permit for documentary/filming from the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation.
  • Don’t remove or damage plants and animals. All flora and fauna are fully protected and must not be disturbed.
  • Rubbish must be placed out, buried, or disposed of in designated areas.
  • No one should walk within the park between sunset and sunrise. • Do respect the cultural and religious sites.
  • Visitors should be self-sufficient in fuel supply (kerosene/LP gas).
  • Camping inside the park should be made only in the designated areas.
  • Carry out non-biodegradable items such as batteries, plastic bags, and bottles.
  • Mountain bikes and motorbikes are prohibited inside the park. • Never trek alone, hire a local guide if you can’t find a companion.

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