Kanchenjunga Massif - Mt. Kanchenjunga is the third highest mountain in the world

Kangchenjunga (Kanchenjunga), is the third highest mountain in the world. It is situated in the eastern Himalayas on the border between eastern Nepal Taplejung district 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, Nepal. 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. The mountain is part of the Great Himalaya Range. The Kanchenjunga massif is in the form of a gigantic cross, the arms of which extend north, south, east, and west.

The massif's five highest peaks are

  1. Kangchenjunga Main is 8,586m (28,169ft.) tall and located at 27°42′11″N 88°08′52″E in Taplejung, Nepal and North Sikkim, India.
  2. Kangchenjunga West (Yalung Kang) is 8,505m (27,904ft.) tall and located at 27°42′18″N 88°08′12″E in Taplejung, Nepal.
  3. Kangchenjunga South is 8,494m (27,867ft.) tall and located at 27°41′30″N 88°09′15″E in Taplejung, Nepal and North Sikkim, India.
  4. Kangchenjunga Central is 8,482m (27,828ft.) tall and located at 27°41′46″N 88°09′04″E in Taplejung, Nepal and North Sikkim, India.
  5. Kangbachen is 7,903m (25,928ft.) tall and located at 27°42′42″N 88°06′30″E in Taplejung, 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 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. Local Lhopo people believe that the treasures are hidden but reveal to the devout when the world is in peril; the treasures comprise a 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.

The Kangchenjunga landscape is a complex of three distinct ecoregions: the eastern Himalayan broad-leaved and coniferous forests, the Eastern Himalayan alpine shrub and meadows and the Terai-Duar savanna and grasslands. The Kangchenjunga transboundary landscape is shared by Nepal, China, India and, Bhutan and comprises 14 protected areas with a total of 6,032 km2 (2,329 sq mi).
  1. Nepal: Kanchenjunga Conservation Area.
  2. Sikkim, India: Khangchendzonga National Park, Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary, Fambong Lho Wildlife Sanctuary, Kyongnosla Alpine Sanctuary, Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary, Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary, Pangolakha Wildlife Sanctuary
  3. Darjeeling, India: Jore Pokhri Wildlife Sanctuary, Singalila National Park, Senchal Wildlife Sanctuary, Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary, Neora Valley National Park.
  4. Bhutan: Torsa Strict Nature Reserve

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, Asian black bear, red panda, white-bellied musk deer, blood pheasant, and Chestnut-breasted partridge.

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.

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