Kangchenjunga is the third highest mountain in the world.It rises with an elevation of 8,586 m (28,169 ft) in a section of the Himalayas called Kangchenjunga Himal that is limited in the west by the Tamur River and in the east by the Teesta River.Kangchenjunga is located on the boundary between Nepal and the Indian state of Sikkim.The Geological Survey of India indicates the summit of Kangchenjunga at 8,598 m (28,209 ft).
The highest peak in India and the easternmost of the peaks higher than 8,000 m (26,000 ft).It is called Five Treasures of Snow after its five high peaks, and has always been worshiped by the people of Darjeeling and Sikkim.Two of the five peaks are in Taplejung District, Nepal.The other three peaks – main, central, and south – are on the border of North Sikkim and Nepal.
Until 1852, Kangchenjunga was assumed to be the highest mountain in the world, but calculations based on various readings and measurements made by the Great Trigonometric Survey of India in 1849 came to the conclusion that Mount Everest, known as Peak XV at the time, was the highest. Allowing for further verification of all calculations, it was officially announced in 1856 that Kangchenjunga is the third-highest mountain.
Kangchenjunga was first climbed on 25 May 1955 by Joe Brown and George Band, who were part of a British expedition. They stopped short of the summit as per the promise given to the Maharaja of Sikkim that the top of the mountain would remain inviolate. Every climber or climbing groups that have reached the summit have followed this tradition.
The Kangchenjunga landscape is a complex of three distinct ecoregions: the eastern Himalayan broad-leaved and coniferous forests, the eastern Himalayan alpine meadows and the Terai-Duar savannas and grasslands.The Kangchenjunga transboundary landscape is shared by Bhutan, China, India and Nepal, and comprises 14 protected areas with a total of 6,032 km sq (2,329 sq mi).
Kanchenjunga Conservation Area located in Nepal,Kanchenjunga Biosphere Reserve, Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary, Fambong Lho Wildlife Sanctuary, Kyongnosla Alpine Sanctuary, Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary, Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary, Pangolakha Wildlife Sanctuary located in Sikkim,Neora Valley National Park located in Darjeeling and Torsa Strict Nature Reserve located in Bhutan.
These protected areas are habitats for many globally significant plant species such as rhododendrons and orchids and many endangered flagship species such as snow leopard, Asiatic black bear, red panda, Himalayan musk deer, blood pheasant and chestnut-breasted partridge.
Some of the most famous views of Kangchenjunga are from the hill station of Darjeeling. Darjeeling War Memorial is one of the most visited places to observe Kangchenjunga from. On a clear day, it presents an image not so much of a mountain but of a white wall hanging from the sky.The people of Sikkim revere Kangchenjunga as a sacred mountain. Permission to climb the mountain from the Indian side is rare, but sometimes allowed.
Because of its remote location in Nepal and difficult access from India, the Kangchenjunga region is not much explored by trekkers. It has, therefore, retained much of its pristine beauty. In Sikkim too, trekking into the Kangchenjunga region has just been permitted. The Goecha La trek is gaining popularity amongst tourists. It goes to the Goecha La Pass, located right in front of the huge southeast face of Kangchenjunga. Another trek to Green Lake Basin has recently been opened for trekking. This goes to the Northeast side of Kangchenjunga along the famous Zemu Glacier.