The Khangchendzonga National Park, now named as Biosphere reserve in Sikkim may be aptly called the haven of prized Musk Deer, elusive Snow Leopard and the shy Himalayan Tahr, the Shapi of Sikkim. The National Park occupies a place at the apex amongst the high altitude National Parks in the country and is endowed with one of the most magnificent high altitude ecosystems in the world. The Park which has an elevation of 1829 m to over 8550 m. above mean sea level was commissioned on 26th August, 1977 having considered the floral, faunal, ecological, geomorphologic importance and the wildlife potentiality of the area. This park which also came into existence through the generosity of heart and purse of idealists who having realised the beauties and ecstasy of the region, is probably the largest biologically intact continuous tract of mountainous land with valleys of lush green forests, meadows, alpine lands reserved primarily for the conservation of its native wildlife. It nestles a luxuriant flora and galaxy of magnificent fauna of rare varieties. There lies the primitive wilderness, natural lakes, tumbling tributary streams, flowered fields and imposing canyon. The snow-cum-cloud spangled mountains and peaks encircling the Park and a few falling inside it rear their majestic heads high with all the magnificent fauna of their own- a community of distinctive animals as if singled out by nature to withstand the acute intensity of cold for mountain living. The National Park's untapped potentiality is far beyond the ken of knowledge of many a man which needs to be tapped with the drill of intelligence and austere devotion. Best Season to Visit March - May and September - November. Permits and Routes Yuksom in West Sikkim which is connected by vehicular road is fast developing into a take off point for mountaineers and trekkers. The trek routes from Yuksom are : Bakim - Dzongri - Thangshing - Samuteng - Goechala Dzongri Base Camp - Rathong - Khangerteng Thangshing - Lam Pokhari - Kasturi Orar - Lapdong - Tashiding (Road Head). These places in the Khangchendzonga National Park are generally included in their itineraries in West Sikkim. Dzongri which is two days trekking from Yuksom is the nearest place of tourist interest. These are unrestricted areas. Indian nationals do not require any permit to visit unrestricted areas in Sikkim but for those places which are inside the National Park and Sanctuaries, permission of the State Chief Wildlife is required and this can be obtained on payment of entry fees. Mountaineers and trekkers conducting expeditions in the above areas or in that part of the region may obtain permit on payment of fees from the Check Post or Wildlife Education and Interpretation Centre at Yuksom. Foreign nationals in a group of four or more are permitted to trek to Dzongri on the basis of their visas through conducted tours. State Tourism Department and Travel Agents organise treks to this park of the region. Similarly, another areas which epitomizes the trekkers for their unique experience is the Green Lake in the Khangchendzonga National Park in North Sikkim. Lachen, a village connected by vehicular road is the take off point for trekkers and mountaineers for Green fake which takes four to six days to reach there through treacherous route. The traditional route of mountaineers is Lucanes Jakchen-Yabuk-Rest Camp (Marco Polo Camp) - Green Lake . Another detour traverse but murderous route is Lachen-Thasngu (13,695') Muguthang (16,000') - Thay La (17,000') - Khyoksa La (18,000') Rest Camp-Green Lake. Green 1,ake area is again is again developing into a take off point for mountaineering expeditions to the peaks of the surrounding area. Areas beyond Chungthang towards Lachen, Green Lake are prohibited areas. Foreign nationals would require a restricted area permit from the Ministry of Home Affairs. Government of India, Delhi to visit areas in this part of the region. Indian nationals are required to obtain an Inner-Line Permit from the State Home Department. Permission of the State Chief Wildlife Warden is also mandatory since the areas beyond Lachen towards Green Lake are in the Khangchendzonga National Park. Travel Agents can help organize trekking and mountaineering expeditions to this part of the region. Permission and Fees In accordance with the provisions of the principal Wildlife (Protection) Act. 1972. and Wildlife Rules made there on the Chief Wildlife Warden who is the authority to implement the Act and the Rules in the State grants permission to visitors intending to visit the National Park and Sanctuaries for the purpose of studying wildlife, photography, scientific research, tourism and for the transaction of lawful business on payment of prescribed fees. Mountaineers, trekkers, Photographers and other visitors entering the National Park would require to pay.
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