Khangchendzonga National Park

Located at the heart of the Himalayan range in northern India, the Khangchendzonga National Park includes a unique diversity of plains, valleys, lakes, glaciers and spectacular, snow-capped mountains covered with ancient forests, including one of the world’s highest peaks, Mount Khangchendzonga. 

It is located in the state of Sikkim and is a UNESCO Worl Heritage Site and a National Park cum Biosphere Reserve. The physical features, flora and fauna, vegetation, cultural heritage and significance to biodiversity are all the important aspects of this National Park that can be questioned in the upcoming IAS Exam. Thus, candidates must know about the same in detail. 

There are multiple other National Parks in India that are preserving thousands of species of plants, animals, birds and other biodiversity elements. Candidates can get the list of these parks at the linked article. 

Khangchendzonga National Park [UPSC Notes]:-Download PDF Here

About the Khangchendzonga National Park, Sikkim

The Khangchendzonga National Park forms the core area of the Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve which was declared as India’s first ‘Mixed World Heritage Site’ by UNESCO in 2016.

Some key features of the Khangchedzone National Park are as given below:

Name of National Park Khangchedzone National Park
Located in  Sikkim
Area 178,400 ha

additional buffer and transition zone of 114,712 ha

Altitude Highest peak of property – 8,586 metres above sea level

Lowest peak of property – 1,220 metres above sea level

Date of Establishment Khangchendzonga National Park was designated by the Indian state government in 1977
Year of Inscription as World Heritage site  2016

History of Establishment

The timeline of events that happened through the establishment of Khangchendzonga National Park:

  • 1955 – First successful ascent of Mt. Khangchendzonga
  • 1977 – It was designated by the Government of India
  • 1997 – It was extended by 1,784 km2 
  • 2000 – The Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve was designated under the UNESCO Man and Biosphere Programme 
  • 2010 – Sikkim Biodiversity Conservation and Forest Management Project was initiated
  • 2016 – The National Park was declared as a World Heritage site by UNESCO 

UPSC 2021

Physical Features

  • The property falls within the Himalaya global biodiversity hotspot and displays an unsurpassed range of sub-tropical to alpine ecosystems
  • It covers 25% of the state of Sikkim and is one of India’s most significant biodiversity concentrations
  • The park boasts 18 glaciers including Zemu Glacier
  • There are 73 glacial lakes in the property including over 18 crystal clear and placid high altitude lakes
  • The massif has five main ridges that run in different directions and contain multiple peaks that rise beyond 6,000 metres:
    • Mt. Siniolchu on the east ridge
    • Mt. Jannu on the west ridge
    • Mt. Kabru North on the south ridge
    • Twins on the north ridge
    • Pandim Peak  on the southeast ridge
  • The Tholung Monastery, one of the most sacred monasteries of Sikkim is situated inside the Khangchendzonga National Park. It is a World Heritage property

Read about the other National Parks in the country at the links given below:

Biodiversity Features

  • An impressive range of large mammals, including several apex predators can be found at this National Park
  • The six cat species confirmed to have been found are:
    • Leopard
    • Clouded Leopard
    • Snow Leopard
    • Jungle Cat
    • Golden Cat
    • Leopard Cat
  • Other animals that can be found include Jackal, Tibetan Wolf, large Indian Civet, Red Panda, Goral, Blue Sheep, Himalayan Tahr, Mainland Serow, two species of Musk Deer, two primates, four species of pika and several rodent species, including the parti-coloured Flying Squirrel
  • It is home to nearly half of India’s bird diversity, wild trees, orchids and rhododendrons and one-third of the country’s flowering plants
  • The property supports 1,580 species of vascular plants, including 106 pteridophytes, 11 gymnosperms and 1,463 angiosperms
  • 114 species of lichen have been found in the National Park
  • Sikkim is said to be particularly rich in the diversity of invertebrates. Approximately 650 species of butterfly can be found in the state and a major part of them have been tracked in Khangchendzonga as well

India, on the whole, is known to be extremely rich in biodiversity. IAS aspirants preparing for the upcoming UPSC prelims exams must also refer to the Species in News mentioned in the linked article. Objective type questions based on the same can be asked in the civil services exam. 

Religious & Culture Heritage at Khangchendzonga

  • Mount Khangchendzonga represents the core sacred region of the Sikkimese and syncretistic religious and cultural traditions
  • Dzonga, Sikkim’s guardian deity and the owner and protector of the land, resides on Mount Khangchendzonga
  • the property’s cultural value is the notion that the area, and particularly the mountain, are sacred for Buddhists through the concept of ‘beyul’ (hidden land)
  • The sacred Buddhist importance of the place begins in the 8th century with Guru Rinpoche’s initiation of the Buddhist sanctity of the region, and later appears in Buddhist scriptures such as the prophetical text known as the Lama Gongdu

To learn about the Teachings of Buddha, candidates can visit the linked article. 

Khangchendzonga National Park [UPSC Notes]:-Download PDF Here

Candidates can get answers to the common questions about the national parks located in the country, through the links given below:

Furthermore, aspirants preparing for the civil services exam must refer to the UPSC CSE Syllabus for the prelims and mains examination. This will give a better analysis of the strategy to be followed to crack the exam. 

To get the latest exam updates, study material and preparation tips, visit BYJU’S. 

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