National parks in Lhonak

Khangchendzonga National Park

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Khangchendzonga National Park is a national park and a Biosphere reserve located in North Sikkim district in the Indian state of Sikkim.

The park gets its name from the mountain Khangchendzonga which is about 8585 metres tall. The total area of this park is about 850 km². There are many glaciers in the park including the Zemu glacier. Animals like musk deer, snow leopard and Himalayan Tahr all make their home in this park.

History

The park was established on August 26, 1977 and was named as a Biosphere reserve.

Human history

There are a few Lepcha tribal settlements inside the park.

Geography

The Khangchendzonga Park is situated in the North Sikkim District in the Indian state of Sikkim. It has an elevation of 1829 m to over 8550 m and has an area of 849.50 km². It is one of the few high altitude National park of India.

Flora

The vegetation of the park include temperate broadleaf and mixed forests consisting of oaks, fir, birch, maple, willow etc. The vegetation of the park also includes alpine grasses and shrubs at higher altitudes along with many medicinal plants and herbs.

Fauna

The park contains many mammal species including musk deer, snow leopard, Himalayan Tahr, wild dog, sloth bear, civet, Himalayan black bear, red panda, Tibetan wild ass, Himalayan blue sheep, serow, goral and takin, as well as reptiles including rat snake and Russell's viper.

Avifauna

About 550 species of birds are found inside the park including Blood Pheasant, Satyr Tragopan, Osprey, Himalayan Griffon, Lammergeier, Tragopan Pheasant, Green Pigeon, Tibetan Snowcock, Snow Pigeon, Impeyan Pheasant, Asian Emerald Cuckoo, Sunbird & Eagle.

Park specific activities

Trekking

Most of the trekking routes starts from Yuksom (145 km from Gangtok) in West Sikkim. Necessary Permit can be obtained from the Wildlife Education and Interpretation centre at Yuksom or from the checkpost. State Tourism Department along with other travel agents organise treks to Dzongri (4050 m) and other places. The popular trek routes are:

  • Yuksom - Tshoka - Dzongri
  • Bakim - Dzongri - Thangshing - Samuteng - Goechala
  • Dzongri Base Camp - Rathong – Khangerteng
  • Thangshing - Lam Pokhari - Kasturi Orar - Lapdong - Tashiding.

Another popular trekking point includes trekking to the Green Lake with Lachen, a village in North Sikkim as the starting point. Foreign nationals would require a restricted area permit from the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, Delhi to visit the park and the associated region. Indian nationals are required to obtain an Inner-Line Permit from the State Home Department. Permission of the State Chief Wildlife Warden is also mandatory for everybody visiting the park. The important and popular routes are:

  • Lucanes Jakchen-Yabuk-Rest Camp (Marco Polo Camp) - Green Lake
  • Lachen-Thasngu (13,695') Muguthang (16,000') - Thay La (17,000') - Khyoksa La (18,000') Rest Camp-Green Lake.

Most of these trekking routes pass through the Khangchendzonga National Park.

Lodging

Lodging can be done at the Range office where there are four rest houses with about 20 beds.

Approach

  • Nearest airport:
    • Bagdogra Airport, Jalpaiguri district, West Bengal (222 km)
    • Gangtok Helipad, East Sikkim district, Sikkim
  • Nearest railhead: New Jalpaiguri, Siliguri Junction (221 km)
  • Nearest highway: NH 31A (Sevok – Gangtok)
  • Nearest town: Chungthan (20 km)
  • Nearest city: Gangtok

General Information

The best season to visit the Khangchendzonga national park is between April to May. Snowfall is heavy during the winter months and monsoon showers exist from May to mid October.

Foreign nationals would require a restricted area permit from the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, Delhi to visit the park and the associated region. Indian nationals are required to obtain an Inner-Line Permit from the State Home Department. Permission of the State Chief Wildlife Warden is also mandatory for everybody visiting the park.

References

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14.7km from Lelep, Nepal

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