AN ELGIN EXCLUSIVE FEATURE
“There is something about mountains, a charm that pervades every hour spent among them, a mystery, intriguing and disturbing”, says Frank Smythe, an English mountaineer, a person remembered for his mountaineering in Himalayas. The exhilaration and a thrilling adventure are experiences people thrive for; Frank was one of them. The mountain is never only known for its majestic height, but for the heterogeneity of species and landscaped vistas which makes it extraordinary.
“I don’t have any words to explain its beauty” Tridipta Ghosh exclaimed, a person driven by travelling who share every mesmerizing experience and Khangchendzonga National Park was one of them. The Park resides at the heart of the splendid Himalayas in Northen India, acknowledged for its prolific wildlife and countless mysteries.
Image by Subhadip Choudhary, Flickr
Situated at the downhill of Khangchendzonga mountain, the Khangchendzonga National Park is not on the way to anywhere. The mesmerizing presence of clouds surrounds the mountain and resembles nothing less than heaven on earth.
“Every bend of this park offers mystery, it’s an immense combination of mystery, thrill, and beauty with the clouds playing alongside.” Tridipta recollected, “I was in awe” and expressed being fortunate to beheld a glimpse of the remarkable grey peacock peasant while moving for the trek to Goecha la.
Khangchendzonga is adjudged to be the habitat for Red Panda, Snow Leopard, Great Tibetan Sheep and Musk Deer which could be espied en-route to the peak. Being a home for sundry other bird species you can bestir with the warbles. To list down some, Black Necked Crane, Grey Peacock Pheasant, Blood Pheasant are few of them.
Image by Elisa Goudriaan, Flickr
In nature, a peacock feather is an amazing illustration of a fractal. The gray feathers have a pearlescent aspect to them, when threatened, they can change their shapes and vibrate their plume quills further accentuating their aposematism. The peacock is truly a magnificent bird. It’s a creature that inspires, to appreciate beauty in every sense. The bird is descriptively shy and indeed rare to capture yet proudly exhibits its stunning plumage for all to admire.
Image by Paul Ian Holt, Flickr
A quick fun fact -Sikkim’s state bird, Blood Pheasant, is a commoner and is said to be well protected in the region. Partly, due to the conservative factor and mostly because of superstition. The locals believe that killing a Blood Pheasant will bring disaster to the village and dooms the person who kills it.
Being around locals, Tridipta realized that the indigenous people of Sikkim revered the mountain as their guardian deity. He said “The panoramic cliff not only has the spectacular biosphere and scenic views but a flabbergasting historical tales.” The hamlet across the park holds countless tales of superstition. You can watch locals’ worship and be acquainted with the mystery the park withholds.
With eighteen glaciers, the Khangchendzonga National Park has handful of trekking routes which merely are trails to paradise. Among the accents, the flora affix to these alluring paths and makes the trek pre-eminent. Tridipta elucidated, while trudging for five hours he made it to Sachen, the first base camp, while hearing mollifying sound of the water rushing down mountains, the tingling sound of the bell tied up to horse’s necks, and savour the beauty of the hilly dense forest. To round off, the Park supports 1580 species of vascular plants and a notable population of Rhododendrons, Orchids and medicinal plants which delight the senses.
Image & caption by Abhishek Verma, Flickr
“Heavenly Path … A mix of light sprinkle of overnight rain, greenery all around with perfect mix of blooming rhododendrons thrown in and you walk through it. From Tshoka to Phedang, this is in store for you on Goechala Trek.”
Umpteen routes to numerous glaciers, treks are the heart of this park. The picturesque path only behest absurd mass of stamina to relish the experience. Frazzled and how, Tridipta decided to pick up the threads the next day, “I sat down and tried intensifying every sense to feel the serenity I had around; it was so soothing! Soft drizzles, mountains covered with cold clouds, chirping of crickets, the droplets dripping from the roof of the tent, was so soothing that I refused to let go. I closed my eyes and felt that moment with my soul and heart, the feeling I can take home and cherish” he reminisced.
Image by Bob Carney, Flickr
The rusty links over the streams will certainly carve a reminiscence and compel you to comeback anon.
The Park truly cognates with legion trails. The absolute classic with spectacular views, Goechala, at 4947 meters, the whole trail is filled with Rhodendrons which resembles a red carpet welcoming you during the spring. Every vantage point has a marvelous peak to be witnessed while slurping on tea. The high-altitude lakes, crystal waters of the rivers along with the fluttering prayer flags at the high points make this trek peculiar and culturally exceptional from any other route in the Himalayas.
Photo & caption by Bharat Baswani, Flickr
“Dzongri top, Sikkim … I hiked on the Goechala trail for 7 days. It poured almost every day. On a couple of occasions, the weather gods decided to take rest for a while, and I got to see some peaks and glaciers.
This image was taken from the Dzongri top. Started the hike from Dzongri campsite at 5 in the morning and saw the warm hues, collected some energy and photos, and got back to the campsite.
To begin with, Zemu Glacier, reckoned with strenuous nature of the walk, never made to any standard list of Sikkim tourist attractions. A hike unlike any other in the region is set against a backdrop of gushing waterfalls, sparkling rivulets, and pristine panoramas.” You will be amazed at the flora and fauna that inhabit this snowy region. The roadside is dotted with blue poppies in bloom, and you’ll suddenly lose track of the Rhododendron species” Tridipta complimented.
Image by Bob Carney, Flickr
“Decked with snow the Zemu glacier offers a great view along with grandeur of Himalaya peaks. The picture captured depicts two travelers crossing the Zemu glacier with a hew of Mt. Siniolchu behind.
The hospitality industry is still developing in Sikkim, so the best bet for tourists is the forest rest houses. But, if you endeavor that extra luxury, home stays and decent budget hotels are the greatest possibilities. There are some considerable hotels within 100km radius to the park.
Located at Lachen “OurGuest Dhatup homestay’’ propose a great sense of comfort, privacy with scenic views from every unit along with pinteresty corners to uplift each mood.
The luxuries will be inevitably taken care by “Munlom Nature” as they purvey outdoor fireplace, live music to keep a check on vibe and pet allowance for that extra pamper sessions with loved ones.
The experience is only for people who yearn an adventure for life. The treks and wildlife are engaging enough to maintain the adrenaline rush throughout. Furthermore, be ready to envy the guides who have the literal stamina left to cook after a six-hour long enduring trek. UNESCO did conserve this spectacular park for the world to experience the cloud bound mountains with several sui generis creatures.