The Eudemonia of Everest- the Jewel of Nepal
Nepal is the largest sovereign Himalayan state in Asia. With a diverse geography, including fertile plains, subalpine forested hills and eight of the world’s ten tallest mountains, including Mount Everest- the highest point on Earth, Nepal is a multiethnic, multi-religious and multilingual nation. The land where Lord Gautama Buddha was born, Nepal holds within its boundaries a wide variety of topographical wonders, a sublime cultural dexterity and a rich history.
Mount Everest, which is called Sagarmatha in Nepali, translates to “the Head of the Sky” in its original nomenclature. Mount Everest is also known as the Chomolongma, a word that means, “The Goddess Mother of the World” in China and Tibet. A part of the Mahalangur Himalayan Range, Mount Everest’s massif includes the neighboring peaks of Lhotse, Nuptse and Changtse. As such, trekking in Nepal is one of the most famous adventure activity to do in the country. Among many beautiful destinations and regions for trekking, the Everest Base Camp Trek is the most famous one, with thousands of visitors of the country doing the trek every year. Encompassed with the Khumbu region’s best elements and aspects, the EBC Trek offers trekkers a chance to encounter the people’s culture, religion and lifestyle in close proximity along with walking on one of the most mesmerizing trekking trails on the planet.
The journey to the Everest Base Camp usually begins from Lukla. It is a town in the Khumbu area of the Solukhumbhu District. A popular place for visitors to the Himalayas near Mount Everest to arrive, Lukla has many guesthouses and lodges that cater to trekkers and tourists.
From Lukla, the trail continues to Phakding and Namche Bazaar. While on the path, the sight of the sacred Mount Khumbila makes its appearance. Khumbila roughly translates as “The God of Khumbu” and is a Himalayan Peak situated within the boundaries of the Sagarmatha National Park. Khumbila is considered too sacred to be climbed by most local Sherpa people. The mountain is believed to be the home of the patron God of the local area. As such, Mount Khumbila has never been climbed.
View of the Kusum Kangraru Mountain can also be seen at Phakding while walking on the beautiful trail. The name “Kusum Kangraru” means “Three Snow-White Gods” in the Sherpa language, referring to the triple summit of the mountain. The town of Namche Bazaar lies ahead.
Namche Bazaar is also known as “The Gateway to Everest”. It is a very popular town and is regarded as the hub of the Khumbu region. Trekkers stay at Namche Bazaar for acclimatization while on the base camp journey. With a topography that resembles terrace-structures dotting into the side of the mountain, Namche Bazaar offers beautiful views of the mountain peaks from throughout the valley. The Kongdi RI Himal lies in the west of Namche while on the east lies the Thamserku peak. Mount Thamserku is connected by a ridge leading eastward to Kangtega. Situated in the lap of the mountain-side, Namche was a trading point between Nepali and Tibetan traders in ancient times, a feature of Namche that still holds to this day. Namche also holds the Everest Photo Gallery and the Sherpa Culture Museum.
The village of Tengboche lies ahead in the journey. Tengboche has one of the largest and most important Buddhist monastery of the region- the Tengboche Monastery. Namche may be the commercial hub of the region, but the Tengboche Monastery is regarded as the spiritual epicenter. Tengboche presents panoramic views of the Himalayan Mountains, including the well-known peaks of Tawache, Everest, Nuptse, Lhotse, Ama Dablam, and Thamserku. The Himalayan tapestry from Tengboche is utterly beautiful. Located on a hill at the confluence of two Himalayan rivers- the Dudh Kosi and the Imja Khola, Tengboche Village is also used for acclimatization. Trekkers in the region visit the Tengboche Monastery for prayers and blessings for a safe journey as a spiritual ritual. The Tengboche Monastery is considered the oldest Sherpa celibate monastery in the region.
Further on is the village of Dingboche. Situated on the Chhukung valley, Dingboche is also a popular stop for trekkers and climbers headed to Mount Everest, Ama Dablam or the Imja Tse. The Imja River flows directly east of the village. Dingboche is also known for its kilometers of stone wall, built using stones of different sizes that cover the entire Valley of Imja. Dingboche is sunnier than the village of Pheriche and is less affected by the icy winds that descends down the valley of Khumbu. For this, Dingboche is also known as “the Summer Valley”.
The Everest Base Camp lies ahead, while moving from Dingboche to Gorekshep. Gorakshep is a frozen lakebed covered with sand, and it is also the name of the small settlement that sits at the edge near Mount Everest. To quote the Dalai Lama, Gorekshep “is the step to heaven”. Gorakshep was the original Everest Base Camp, being used by the Swiss mountain climbers in their attempt to climb the Everest in 1952. Later, the camp was moved closer to the mountain, just below the Khumbu Ice Fall. The Khumbu Icefall can also be seen from the base camp. Located at the head of the Khumbu Glacier, the Icefall is considered one of the most dangerous route to Everest’s summit. The Khumbu Glacier on the other hand, lies between Mount Everest and the Lhotse-Nuptse ridge. It is the world’s highest located glacier.
Kalapatthar is also a part of the destination in the Everest Base Camp Trek. A very famous vantage point, Kalapatthar offers prepossessing views of the Mount Everest massif. The sight of Mount Everest from here is unrivalled.
For most trekking journeys in Nepal, spring and autumn are considered the best seasons. The Everest Base Camp Journey is also at its most finest during these seasons. Spring lasts from March to May and autumn from September to December. Due to being peak seasons for trekking, many trekkers undergo the journey during these months. Summer and winter months can also see trekking, but the number of trekkers are not as high as those trekking in spring and autumn because of extreme weather conditions.