Mountains in India
Kangchenjunga information

Kangchenjunga

Kangchenjunga, also spelled Kanchenjunga, is the third highest mountain in the world. It lies between Nepal and Sikkim, India, with three of the five peaks (Main, Central and South) directly on the border, and the remaining two (West and Kangbachen) in Nepal's Taplejung District. It rises with an elevation of 8,586 m (28,169 ft) in a section of the Himalayas called Kangchenjunga Himal delimited in the west by the Tamur River, in the north by the Lhonak Chu and Jongsang La, and in the east by the Teesta River. 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 Trigonometrical 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 in the world. 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 in accordance with the promise given to the Chogyal that the top of the mountain would remain intact. Every climber or climbing group that has reached the summit has followed this tradition. Other members of this expedition included John Angelo Jackson and Tom Mackinon. Kangchenjunga is the official spelling adopted by Douglas Freshfield, Alexander Mitchell Kellas, and the Royal Geographical Society that gives the best indication of the Tibetan pronunciation. Freshfield referred to the spelling used by the Indian Government since the late 19th century. There are a number of alternative spellings including Kangchendzönga, Khangchendzonga, and Kanchenjunga. The brothers Hermann, Adolf and Robert Schlagintweit explained the local name Kanchinjínga, meaning "the five treasures of the high snow" referring to its five peaks. Local Lhopo people believe that the treasures are hidden but reveal to the devout when the world is in peril; the treasures comprise salt, gold, turquoise and precious stones, sacred scriptures, invincible armor or ammunition, grain and medicine. Kangchenjunga's name in the Limbu language is Senjelungma or Seseylungma, and is believed to be an abode of the omnipotent goddess Yuma Sammang. There are four climbing routes to reach the summit of Kangchenjunga, three of which are in Nepal from the southwest, northwest and northeast, and one from northeastern Sikkim in India. To date, the northeastern route from Sikkim has been successfully used only three times. The Indian government has banned expeditions to Kanchenjunga, and therefore this route has been closed since 2000. In 1955, Joe Brown and George Band made the first ascent on 25 May, followed by Norman Hardie and Tony Streather on 26 May. The full team also included John Clegg (team doctor), Charles Evans (team leader), John Angelo Jackson, Neil Mather, and Tom Mackinnon. The ascent proved that Aleister Crowley's 1905 route (also investigated by the 1954 reconnaissance) was viable. The route starts on the Yalung Glacier to the southwest of the peak, and climbs the Yalung Face, which is 3,000 metres (10,000 ft) high. The main feature of this face is the "Great Shelf", a large sloping plateau at around 7,500 metres (24,600 ft), covered by a hanging glacier. The route is almost entirely on snow, glacier, and one icefall; the summit ridge itself can involve a small amount of travel on rock. The first ascent expedition made six camps above their base camp, two below the Shelf, two on it, and two above it. They started on 18 April, and everyone was back to base camp by 28 May. Due to its remote location in Nepal and the difficulty involved in accessing it 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 recently 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 trek goes to the Northeast side of Kangchenjunga along the famous Zemu Glacier. The film Singalila in the Himalaya is journey around Kangchenjunga. The area around Kangchenjunga is said to be home to a mountain deity, called Dzö-nga or "Kangchenjunga Demon", a type of yeti or rakshasa. A British geological expedition in 1925 spotted a bipedal creature which they asked the locals about, who referred to it as the "Kangchenjunga Demon". For generations, there have been legends recounted by the inhabitants of the areas surrounding Mount Kanchenjunga, both in Sikkim and in Nepal, that there is a valley of immortality hidden on its slopes. These stories are well known to both the original inhabitants of the area, the Lepcha people, and those of the Tibetan Buddhist cultural tradition. In Tibetan, this valley is known as Beyul Demoshong. In 1962 a Tibetan Lama by the name of Tulshuk Lingpa led over 300 followers into the high snow slopes of Kanchenjunga to ‘open the way’ to Beyul Demoshong. The story of this expedition is recounted in the 2011 book A Step Away from Paradise.

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