• Non-ICIMOD Publication

Sacred sites of Khumbu region

Sagarmatha National Park (SNP), gazetted in July 1976, is Nepal&rsquo;s second most visited national park in the mountain region and is also of global, cultural, and environmental importance. SNP is one of the world&rsquo;s premier mountain tourism regions, containing four of the world&rsquo;s mountain peaks over 8000m. There are 3500 Sherpas living inside the SNP area for over four centuries and has continued to use traditional planting methods and indigenous natural resource management techniques.<br /><br />SNP has witnessed a dramatic increase in the number of visitors totalling 3,600 in 1979; by 2001 this had increased to over 21,570. Trekking tourism has helped boost the local economy and standard of living with better health care, education, and building structure; but it has also degraded the region&rsquo;s fragile ecology and its cultural traditions. Moreover, the benefits of trekking tourism are not distributed equally throughout the park, and many areas remain culturally and economically isolated. The Sacred Sites Trails project was proposed to create a new circular tourism trail, to encourage tourists to visit less known sacred sites and villages. Working through local communities, the project aspires to help restore and enhance local cultural skills and traditions and distribute tourism benefits more widely by encouraging tourists to visit villages off the established tourist route. The Sacred Sites Trail offers unexplored yet significant cultural sites with beautiful mountain scenery and green valleys. Unlike the most popular trail, the circular route takes one to the uncharted and less known villages in the Khumbu where the turmoil of tourism is non existent and one can enjoy the serenity of the surroundings. Majestic, rugged mountains and waterfalls flowing off the steep mountain sides are indeed a sight to sore eyes. All along the trail, ancient Monasteries, Mani stones and Chortens and Kanis all insert and enhance a spiritual feel to the trails pristine mountain environment.

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    The Mountain Institute, Kathmandu, Nepal: http://www.mountain.org