Home to musk deer, snow leopard and Himalayan tahr; the Khangchendzonga biosphere reserve is located in Sikkim in North East India. Spread over around 850sq km, the reserve is one of the few high altitude biosphere reserves in the country. Established in August 26,1977 as a national park, the reserve is named after the third highest peak in the world Mount Khangchendzonga (also spelt as Kanchenjunga). Khangchendzonga means ‘five treasures of snow’ in the local language. Kanchenjunga Biosphere Reserve is also known as Khangchendzonga National Park
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The reserve is surrounded by several mountain peaks and glaciers. On its western side, stands the majestic Mount Khangchenjunga. Nepal, Talung, tent peaks and the famous Zemu and Simyo glaciers lie to its north. Other peaks like Pandim, Narshing, Siniolchu cover the other sides of the reserve. The vegetation of the reserve includes temperate broad leaf and mixed forest consisting of oaks, fir birch, maple, willow etc. It also includes alpine grasses and shrubs at higher altitude with many medical plants and herbs.
The reserve is home to several wildlife species including snow leopard, musk deer and Himalayan tahr. Other animals like sloth bear, civet, Himalayan black bear, red panda, Tibetan wild ass, Himalayan blue sheep, serow, takin are also found in the reserve. The reserve is also home to about 550 bird species including Tibetan snowcock, blood pheasant, osprey, satyr tragopan, Himalayan griffon, lammergeier, green pigeon, Tibetan snowcock, snow pigeon, Asian emerald cuckoo and others.
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Trekking is the popular activity at the biosphere reserve. The trekking route mainly starts from Yuksom, located about 145 km from Gangtok. Trails like Yuksom-Tshoka-Dzongri, Bakim–Dzongri-Thangshing-Samuteng-Goechala are very popular. Treks are organized by the State Tourism Department along with other travel agents. Tourists can obtain necessary permits from the check post or the Wildlife Education and Interpretation center at Yuksom.
To visit the park, permission of the State Chief Wildlife Warden is mandatory for all. For foreign nationals, an additional restricted area permit from the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, Delhi is required to enter the national park. For Indian citizens, along with permission of the State Chief Wildlife Warden, an Inner-Line Permit from the State Home Department is required.
WHERE TO STAY IN KHANGCHENDZONGA BIOSPHERE RESERVE
You can stay at the Range office which includes four rest houses with around 20 beds.
WHERE TO EAT IN KHANGCHENDZONGA BIOSPHERE RESERVE
There are several options to eat in Gangtok. From Chinese to Indian food, the different types of restaurants is Gangtok where you can enjoy a hearty meal before heading towards the park.
BEST TIME TO VISIT KHANGCHENDZONGA BIOSPHERE RESERVE
The period between April and May is the best time to visit the biosphere reserve.
BEST TIME TO VISIT GANGTOK
The average minimum and maximum temperature of Gangtok is as given below. The best time to visit Gangtok is also specified.
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