Friday, February 25, 2011

Visit Sagarmatha National Park Nepal

Sagarmatha National Park is a protected area in the Himalayas of eastern Nepal containing the southern half of Mount Everest. The park was created on July 19, 1976 and was inscribed as a Natural World Heritage Site in 1979. Sagarmāthā is a Sanskrit word, from sagar = "sky" (not to be confused with "sea/ocean") and māthā = "forehead" or "head", and is the modern Nepali name for Mount Everest.

The park encompasses an area of 1,148 km2 in the Solukhumbu District and ranges in elevation from 2,845 metres (9,334 ft) at Jorsalle to 8,848 metres (29,029 ft) at the summit of Mount Everest.[1] Barren land above 5,000 m (16,400 ft) comprises 69% of the park while 28% is grazing land and the remaining 3% is forested. Most of the park area is very rugged and steep, with its terrain cut by deep rivers and glaciers. Unlike other parks, this park can be divided into four climate zones because of the rising altitude. The climatic zones include a forested lower zone, a zone of alpine scrub, the upper alpine zone which includes upper limit of vegetation growth, and the Arctic zone where no plants can grow. The types of plants and animals that are found in the park depend on the altitude. The park contains the upper watershed of the Dudh Kosi river basin system.

The park's visitor centre is located at the top of a hill in Namche Bazaar, also where a company of the Nepal Army is stationed for protecting the park. The park's southern entrance is a few hundred metres north of Monzo at 2,835 m (9,300 ft), a one day hike from Lukla.
According to the continental-drift theory, the Himalaya were uplifted at the end of the Mesozoic Era, some 60 millions years ago. The resulting young mountains of this region are still rising and the net growth is a few centimeters per century. 

Flora and fauna
In the lower forested zone, birch, juniper, blue pines, firs, bamboo and rhododendron grow. Above this zone all vegetation are found to be dwarf or shrubs. As the altitude increases, plant life is restricted to lichens and mosses. Plants cease to grow at about 5,750 metres (18,860 ft), because this is the permanent snow line in the Himalayas.

Forests of pine and hemlock cover the lower elevations of the national park. At elevations of around 3.500 meters and above, forests of silver fir, birch, rhododendron and juniper trees are found. The forests provide habitat to at least 118 species of birds, including Himalayan Monal, Blood pheasant, Red-billed chough, and yellow-billed chough. Sagarmāthā National Park is also home to a number of rare mammal species, including musk deer, snow leopard, Himalayan black bear and red panda. Himalayan thars, langur monkeys, martens and Himalayan wolves are also found in the park.

The partial pressure of oxygen falls with altitude. Therefore, the animals that are found here are adapted to living on less oxygen and cold temperatures. They have thick coats to retain body heat. Some of them have shortened limbs to prevent loss of body heat. The Himalayan bears go into hibernation in caves during the winter when there is no food available.

The famed bloom of rhododendrons occurs during the spring (April and May) although much of the. flora is most colorful during the monsoon season (June to August). The wild animals most likely to be seen in the park are the Himalayan tahr, goral, serow, musk deer and Himalayan black bear. Other mammals are weasels, martens. Himalayan mouse hare (Pika), jackals and langur.

The 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 summer 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 park is between October and May, except for December to February when, daytime temperatures often drop below 0 C and there is heavy snowfall.

Local Inhabitants:
The park is populated by approximately 3000 of the famed Sherpa people, originating from Tibet in the late 15th or early 16th century A.D. Their lives are interwoven with the teaching of Buddhism. The main settlements are Namche Bazaar, Khumjung, Khunde, Thame, Thyangboche, Pangboche and Phortse. There are also temporary settlements in the upper valleys where the Sherpas graze their livestock during the summer season.

The economy of the Khumbu Sherpa community has traditionally been agriculture, livestock herding and trade with Tibet. With the coming of international mountaineering expeditions in the 1950s, the region also attracted larger numbers of foreign trekkers. Today the Sherpa economy is becoming increasingly dependent on tourism.

How to Get There:
  • Fly in and out of Lukla, followed by 15 days walk.
  • Bus to Jiri and trek for 21 days, flying back to Kathmandu from Lukla.
  • Fly in and out of Phaplu and trek for 16 days.
  • Fly in to Tumlingtar from Kathmandu and a 10 day walk to the park.
Namche Bazaar

Important Points:
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.

A few water-based attractions besides the snow covered peaks of the Sagarmatha National Park are its rivers and glaciers. This is one area where the glacial and snowmelt water along with rain combine to create some of Nepal's gushing rivers like the Dudh Kosi, Bhote Kosi, and the Imja. Some of the prominent glaciers of the area include the Khumbu, Imha, Nangpa and Lhotse. (For more info about Nepal's rivers, see the river rafting & kayaking page.)

The two most popular destination towns to fly into, in order to start travel through the park are Lukla and the highest airstrip in the world at Syanboche. There are regular flights from Kathmandu to Lukla. If you prefer to do more trekking to reach the park and less flying, there are alternative ways of reaching the park. One way is to fly from Kathmandu to Tumlingtar and walk 10 days, or fly to Phaplu and trek for 5 days. Taking a bus to Jiri is also followed by a 10 day walk to get into the park.

Most of the park is explored by foot and some of the more popular places to check out are Chukung Valley, Thame Valley, Kala Patthar Base Camp (also known as Everest Base Camp), Lobuche, and Gokyo Valley. 

Best Times for travel to the Sagarmatha
National Park
The best times for travel to the Sagarmatha (Everest) park are March through May or October through November. Although these times are the warmer and clearer days of the year, the nights can still drop below 0 at higher elevations. If you are camping you should be well equipped and stocked with food, fuel and any other supplies.

Entry Fees into Sagarmatha (Everest) National Park:
At Monjo there is the Sagarmatha National Park enterance station where you will have to show your passport and pay a National Park fee.

National Park fee per person per entry:
  • For Nepali Nationals Free
  • For SAARC Nationals Rs 100
  • For Foreign Nationals Rs1000
  • Children under 10 years Free

Prohibited in the Sagarmatha (Everest) National Park
Motor bikes and mountain bikes are prohibited in the park as well as beer bottles and other glass bottles. You should either bury any trash or dispose of it in designated refuse pits. Using firewood is prohibited, locals and visitors are required to buy kerosene for an alternative form of energy. Dole, Pheriche, and Syangboche are all designated places to buy this fuel.

For those wishing to travel by climbing any peaks below 6000 meters will have to buy a permit from the Nepal Mountaineering Association. For those wishing to travel the peaks over 6000 meters, you will have to get permission from the Ministry of Culture, Tourism & Civil Aviation.

Travelers should always be aware of their body and any signs of high altitude sickness because it can be dangerous or even fatal, especially since the elevation changes are so great in this region. If climbing over 3000 meters, doctors do not advise ascending more than 400 meters a day. If you do get ill and need medical attention while in the park, there is the Pheriche Aid Post (which also has a communication center) and the Kunde Hospital, they also offer medical tips to travelers and locals.

More Pictures

The excited trekkers quickly exited the plane and were encouraged to leave quickly by the whistle-blowing policemen. A few minutes later the weary but happy trekkers who had finished their trek jumped into the airplane and off they went back to Kathmandu. Nupla is in the background. The airport in Lukla was renamed in 2008 to the Tenzing-Hillary Airport. The bituman runway is 527m long, the width is 20m, and the runway incline is almost 20%.

Lukla To Namche Bazaar 05 Planes Land Uphill At Tenzing Hillary Airstrip In Lukla

Lukla To Namche Bazaar 06 Plane Ready To Descend Lukla Airstrip With Karyolung, Lukla, And Nupla

Lukla To Namche Bazaar 18 Monjo

Lukla To Namche Bazaar 19 Monjo Entrance To Sagarmatha National Park, Kani Paintings Of Vajrapani, Avalokiteshvara, Manjushri,



  1. Sagarmatha is rugged, with deep gorges, glaciers and unnegotiable ice and rock faces.
    Sagarmatha National Park Nepal

  2. So beautiful pictures here and really like this post. It's really superb.

  3. great blog. Hope I can visit this place soon.

  4. We have best time to do in October and November Trekking and hiking in Nepal