You probably know of the Khangchendzonga National Park (KNP) because of the the fact that India’s highest mountain Khangchendzonga (easier spelled and known as Kanchenjunga) is smack in the middle of it.
It has over 15 lakes (like the sublime Tsongmo and Gurudongmar Lake), the Zemu glacier that is 26km long, and is home to a significant number of endemic, rare and threatened plant and animal species including the golden snub-nosed monkey and snow leopards. With arid lands, mountain deserts and snow-clad peaks, it’s no wonder that KNP is one of India’s most significant biodiversity concentrations.
The cultural significance of this park comes from the fact that the whole of Sikkim is considered as a ‘hidden sacred’ land or Beyul, by Tibetan Buddhism across the world, as well as the indigenous Lepcha community, that calls it the Mayel Lyang. This peaceful co-existence of the two is another reason for KNP’s significance. The third count being owed entirely to the traditional practices of the Lepcha people. It is their respect for the ecological system, knowledge of local plants and environmental preservation that makes this place of prime cultural importance.
So the next time you plan for a holiday, head across to Sikkim for a blend of breathtaking beauty, a dose of culture and Buddhist peace.