International Parks: Sagarmāthā, Nepal

by Cie McCullough Buschle on May 13, 2012

in Arts and Culture, Outdoors with Kids, Travel Ideas

Sagarmāthā, the modern Nepali name for Mount Everest, is a Sanskrit word meaning “Head of the Sky”.

Sagarmāthā National Park covers 443 square miles, over two-thirds of which are barren land.  The terrain has been made rugged and steep from the rivers and glaciers that criss cross the park. Since the elevation ranges from 9,334 feet at the lowest point of the park to 29,029 at Mount Everest’s summit, there are four distinct climate zones, changing with rising altitude. The first is a forested zone; the second alpine scrub, or subalpine, where most tree growth is horizontal. Third is the alpine tundra, so called because it has better drainage than the arctic tundra, and last is the arctic zone.

Home to the park entrance and the Nepalese army company charged with protecting the park, Namche Bazaar is considered the unofficial Sherpa capital. The only was to get around is by foot or yak cart. Every Saturday Sherpas come from all surrounding valleys to the open air market. Namche Bazaar has a good selection of both restaurants and lodgings, but is famous for its bakeries.

Like many International Parks, Sagarmāthā Park is also a World Heritage Site. It is an area of many holy places, and is homeland to approximately 2,500 Sherpas. Most are Tibetan Buddhists and make their living through agriculture or trade. Most Sherpas can also speak English as well as Sherpa and Tibetan, and many are fluent in German, French and Japanese.

Taboche and Khumbu Valley, Sagarmāthā National Park, 2007

Taboche and Khumbu Valley, Sagarmāthā National Park, 2007

| Cie McCullough Buschle lives with her dog Einstein and a cat named Burton Guster. She is a lifelong traveler and enjoys researching history through holidays, toys, and everyday objects. Cie is a sculptor and co-owns The Creative Chameleon, a place where kids and adults can create, paint, celebrate, and just have a lot of fun. Sometimes you can find her time traveling back to the Middle Ages as part of the Society for Creative Anachronism.

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