Nepal is famous for its Himalayan terrain. Trekking in Nepal is perhaps one of the most famous adventure activity to do in the country. With eight of the ten tallest mountains in the world, Nepal is a country that must be visited at-least once. Along with several mountain peaks, Nepal is also the home of the tallest mountain in the world- Mount Everest. Known as Sagarmāthā to the Nepalese and as Chomolongma in Tibet and China, Mount Everest is a part of the Mahalangur Himalayan Range. The Mahalangur Himal is a section of the Himalayas in northeast Nepal and south-central Tibet that extends east from the Nangpa La Pass between the Rolwaling Himal and the Cho Oyu Peak all the way to the Arun River. The international border between China and Nepal runs across Everest’s summit point. The Mount Everest massif includes its neighboring peaks of Lhotse, Nuptse and Changtse. Everest Base Camp Trek is one of the most popular trekking journeys in the entire planet. The whole peregrination encompasses of beautiful mountainous landscape, diverse culture and a brilliant showcase of rich Buddhist custom, various sights and wonderful views of many mountain peaks and the experience of getting close to the highest mountain on Earth. Because of its appealing aspects, the trek is done by many thousands of travelers and mountaineers every year, making Mount Everest the number one destination for trekking.
Everest Base Camp Trek Highlights
The journey to the base camp tends to start from Kathmandu. Travelling to Lukla, the trail continues on a steady ascend further on, passing through many villages and the Sagarmatha National Park. Namche Bazaar is the most popular central hub of the Khumbu region. Its strategic location makes Namche a central point for Nepali and Tibetan traders- a feat that has been in character since ancient times when the traders used to exchange goods like textiles, dried meat and other trinkets. Namche is also known as “the gateway to the Himalayas” and its terrace-like topography offers some of the best views of mountain peaks in the entre journey. A staging point of various treks in the Khumbu region, Namche Bazaar as much known for its beautiful terrain as its Sherpa hospitality. Most Sherpa who are in the tourism business tend to be specifically from the Namche area. Namche is also the most expensive place in Nepal, at least thrice as expensive as Kathmandu. A prosperous market town selling everything from Tibetan artefacts to trekking and climbing equipments, Namche Bazaar offers views of the Kongde RI Himal in the west and the Thamserku Peak towards its eastern side. Namche is also famous for its homemade yak cheese and butter. As the town is situated on an arc-shaped mountain, the views of the peaks can be seen throughout the valley at all times.
Namche is a destination used for acclimatization purposes by most trekkers on the journey to the base camp. On a hill overlooking Namche Bazaar lies the Syangboche Airport, the highest located Airport in the world. Though not used for commercial flights anymore, the airport’s location has made it into a famous tourist spot. The town also has a number of lodgings and stores catering to the needs of visitors as well as a number of internet cafés. With these characteristics, Namche seems to have it all. While waiting at Namche for acclimatization, trekkers can have a visit to villages like Thame, Khumjung and Khunde that lie just a few hours walk from Namche. On Saturdays, a weekly market is held in the center of the village. The area lights up with gusto. Traders from Tibet and other villages come with the pieces of arts and goods to sell at the marketplace.
Lying at a distance of approximate 5 hours away from Namche, Tengboche is a village that houses an important Buddhist monastery- the Tengboche Monastery. If Namche is the central hub of the region then the Tengboche Monastery is the spiritual centre. Gorgeous panoramic views of mountain peaks like Tawache, Everest, Nuptse, Lhotse, Ama Dablam, and Thamserku can be seen from Tengboche. Tenzing Norgay Sherpa, the first man to reach the summit of Mount Everest with Sir Edmund Hillary in 1953, was born in the village of Thani and was once sent to the Tengboche Monastery to be a monk. The Tengboche Monastery lies in the lap of the sacred Khumbila Mountain and presents an unrivalled sight of the Ama Dablam Peak as its backdrop. It is said that the divine psychic knowledge of Lama Sangwa Dorje with his clairvoyant vision had prophesied suitability of establishing a monastery at Tengboche based on a foot print on a rock left by him while meditating. The monastery is also the first celibate monastery under the Nyingmapa lineage of the Vajrayana Buddhism. Tibetan painter Tarke-la’s wall paintings that display the Bodhisattvas and the Buddha decorates the sanctum of the monastery. As the monastery lies on the route to the Everest Base Camp for routes made via the Khumbu icefall and the west ridge, Tengboche Monastery has acquired quite an interest among trekkers. Everest expeditioners, trekkers and mountaineers visit the monastery and light candles and seek the blessings of the gods for good health and safe mountaineering.
Tengboche is located on a hill at the confluence of the Dudh Kosi and the Imja Khola rivers. During the winter, the peak of Ama Dablam and the tip of Everest seems to glow from the Nuptse ridge when seen from Tengboche. Being a midway station on the trail to the base camp for the mountain climbers of Mount Everest and other peaks of over 8,000 meters, Tengboche attracts large number of tourists from all parts of the world. Every October, the celebration of the Mani Rimdu festival is done at the Tengboche Monastery. Religious gatherings, songs, dances and plays depicting legends make the monastery alive with festivities. After Namche, Tengboche is the most common halting place during the Everest Base Camp Trek. The beautiful alpine foliage of rhododendrons and azaleas make the surrounding of the Tengboche Monastery a lively and beguiling place.
After the ascent to the Base Camp of Mount Everest from Gorekshep, trekkers also visit this famous vantage point of Kalapatthar. From Tengboche, trail continues on to Pheriche, the hamlet of Gorakshep and then reaches Kalapatthar from where magnificent views of the Mount Everest massif can be seen. A notable landmark located on the south ridge of the Pumori in the Himalayas above Gorakshep, Kalapatthar offers spectacular views of Everest, Nuptse and Changtse along with glimpses of the northern flank and summit of Lhotse as well. The world’s highest webcam, the Mount Everest webcam, is also located here. With Gorekshep sitting at the base of Kalapatthar, there is a clear path leading all the way up to its summit from there. Trekkers usually hike to Kalapatthar in the early morning because of the sight of the rising sun amidst the Everest Mountains is utterly heavenly.
The Trekking to the Base Camp of Mount Everest can be done at all times. However, the seasons of spring (March to May) and autumn (September to December) are considered the best trekking seasons. Along with the above-mentioned highlights, the trekking journey also includes many villages and small isolated settlements located at the crevasses of the mountains and absolutely marvelous mountainous terrains and palatial landscapes. Combined with the humble hospitality of the indigenous mountain people and their rich culture and rituals, the Everest Base Camp Trek is one of the best trekking journeys in the entire world.