Five Treasures of the Snow - Kanchenjunga

Five Treasures of the Snow - Kanchenjunga

The beauty and majesty of Kanchenjunga is a trekker’s dream, with colossal snow peaks soaring towards the sky above and rolling green hills spreading as far as the eyes can see and gleaming conglomeration of trees set at alpine locations. Originally pronounced ‘Kang-chen-dzonga’, means the “five treasures of snow” and corresponds to the five distinct peaks of the entire massif. At 8,586m, Mt. Kanchenjunga is only about 300m lower than Everest, but somehow the world's third-highest peak is always missed out.

As many mountain trails in Nepal do, Kanchenjunga offers world-class trekking. Yet it has not gained as much popularity as Annapurna or Everest. But the trail is well trodden and a few adventurous travellers do make the journey up to the Kanchenjunga base camp every year. This is the trip that explores the north eastern hills of Nepal, with its charming old world lifestyle and where the peace and serenity are continually blossoming.

Trekkers have the option of two routes here, either to the south or north base camp. The north base camp is higher and longer and at an elevation of 5140 m while the south base camp is at 4740m. This route is mostly preferred by trekkers as it is less strenuous and you might be able to enjoy the mountains even more at a relaxed pace. Both the base camps offer views of the mystical Kanchenjunga rising at spectacular angles from amidst it snowy companions, sculpted by nature into fantastic spires and towers by the tremendous force of an ever moving landmass.

Unlike Everest or Annapurna, in the Kanchenjunga region, the teahouses are used mainly by travelling locals, traders and porters, and are village homes with a room or two for rent.

To trek to the south base camp, you will have to first reach Taplejung, a quaint little town in eastern Nepal. For the first four days, the trail coursed through small villages, patches of tropical forest and terraced fields like the one pictured here. Different crops are grown depending on the altitude, with rice grown at lower levels and barley higher up. The big cash crop in the region is cardamom. Some of the world’s most beautiful forests are also here and are home to amazing wildlife which includes rare birds. The wild beauty of eastern Nepal is unmatched anywhere on earth and it is truly a paradise for hikers and mountain lovers. 

Unlike Everest or Annapurna, in the Kanchenjunga region, the teahouses are used mainly by travelling locals, traders and porters, and are village homes with a room or two for rent. You can get a bed and a shared toilet. What you get from staying here is the local experience and getting to know the culture of the area first hand. This spectacularly green country is secluded, pristine, and invites exploration both scenically and culturally.

After you cross Yamphudin, the trail enters pine forests where rhododendrons bloom with red, pink and white flowers rare varieties that Nepal is famous for.. The trail then ascends gradually for a couple of hours and cross a mountain pass from which the trail descends through tangled pine and rhododendron forests where red pandas and pheasants reside. This portion of the world is simply dazzling, with its picturesque valleys, old villages, and forests nestled in a lush alpine landscape.

The trekking route to the south basecamp ends at Oktang, where a shrine overlooks both the basecamp and the upper part of the Yalung Glacier. This journey delves deeply into this colourful realm where you witness Nepal’s sacred mountains n the form of its fortresses, where natural peaks soar high above into the clouds seemingly in touch with the divine. You can take this breathtakingly stunning and remarkable trip as you discover the mysteries, diversity, and traditions of this part of the world; a trip that is soothing to the eye as well as to the senses.

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