Khumjung: The Capital of Sherpas in Solukhumbu

Nepal is a beautiful country,and of course, the villages in Nepal add more beauty to the country. Away from the cities which are busy in development, there are some villages in Nepal which are still quite away from these development activities, crowd and the rush. Khumjung, in the lap of the mountain, is one of these villages in Nepal.

More about Khumjung

Khumjung, located in the Khumbu sub-region of the Sagarmatha National Park, is the largest Sherpa village in Khumbu. Lying at the altitude of 3,790 meters above sea level, the Khumjung village is more like a flat land between the low ride of Namche and holy mountain Kumbi la (5,765 masl). Khumjung is nestled at the foot of the sacred mountain Khumbi la, that’s why it is known as “Valley inside the Clouds”. The Khumjung village is situated in the Khumbu Pasanglhamu rural municipality of Solukhumbu district, Province no.1 of north-eastern Nepal. The village is inhabited by 1912 people residing in 551 houses during the time of 2011 AD census.

Khumjung is a beautiful village. There is uniformity in the structure and the colors of the houses in the village. All houses are painted white with green roofs. Also known as the capital of the Sherpas in Solukhumbu district, the village is mostly inhabited by the Sherpas. Life in the Khumjung village is rural. People spend most of their time working in their fields. They harvest potatoes during the October which is the major trekking season in Khumjung. The prayer flags, the Mani walls and the white chortens in the village give a clear idea about the prevalence of the Buddhism in the village.

 Khumjung village offers the visitors to experience the remote village life of Sherpas in the lap of mountain which is situated 85 miles away from the capital city of Nepal, Kathmandu. Despite of being a rural mountain village of Nepal, the village provides you with the facilities of internet, mobile phones,and the landlines to enhance your communication.


Places to visit in Khumjung

The small Khumjung village offers the visitors with the historic places to explore. Here are the places you should not miss during the visit to Khumjung:

The Khumjung School

The Khumjung School in the village of Khumjung is a historical school established in 1961. The school was built by Edmund Hillary’s ‘the Himalayan Trust’, with an agreement with the Nepal government. The school is also called the Hillary School named after the name of Edmund Hillary, the first conqueror of the highest peak; the Mount Everest. The school only had a single classroom during the time of establishment and now it provides a secondary level education up to class 10 to around 400 students.

The Khumjung School celebrated its Golden Jubilee Event in 2011 on the occasion of the anniversary of Sir Edmund Hillary’s ascent to the top of the Mount Everest.

Khumjung high school

The Kunde Hospital

Founded in 1966, by Edmund Hillary, the Kunde hospital is in the town of Kunde, Nepal. Until 2002, Edmund Hillary used to recruit the volunteers and the doctors mostly from New Zealand and Canada to serve in the hospital, but now, the hospital is facilitated by the Nepalese medical professionals; Dr. Kami being the first Sherpa doctor to manage the hospital in 2002.

The locals enjoy the hospital facilities all around the year. The hospital is serving about 8,000 of the local people as well as the trekkers that make their way passing through the Khumjung region. The averages of about 25 patients visit the hospital each day.

The pregnant mothers are also facilitated by the hospital. The hospital has a delivery room and ultrasound facilities.

The Khumjung Monastery

The Khumjung Monastery is a center of Sherpa’s culture and religion in Khumjung. Located at the altitude of 12,400 feet, the monastery is near the Everest and is a historical monument.

Unfortunately, the devastating earthquake of 2015 damaged the monastery immensely. The Sherpa community came together and contributed to the reconstruction of the monasteryto prevent the permanent loss of the monastery. Households contributed their labor for two weeks and raised donations to open the monastery once again. Thus, stepping towards the conservation of their own culture, the Sherpas reopened the monastery in August 2017.

The monastery was reopened with a huge enthusiasm in Khumjung. It was the contribution of the local people which lead to the monastery to re-open. The opening day was full of celebrations and colors and attended by high Lamas of the area and many guests.

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The Yeti Scalp

The Yeti Scalp is something you should not miss in Khumjung. The scalp is in the shape of a half circle and is in the cabinet of the Khumjung Gomba. To get a glance of the scalp, you must donate to the monks in the Gomba according to your will in a Nepalese rupee. But, always keep in mind, your donation, does not matter how much, never contributeto physical contact to the scalp like touching by your own. The monk will take the scruffy-haired dome out of the small box and allow you only to see it. The scalp always remains inside the locked box.

According to the village story, the scalp came from the “abominable snowman.” Edmund Hillary and a journalist found it in the home of the Khumjung women, which she kept as a sign of good luck for the entire village. Edmund Hillary asked the women if he could take the scalp for examination but the woman was determined to keep it for herself. After offering donation to the monastery and the local school in Khujung, the woman then agreed to give the scalp for the purpose of examination.

Later on, Hillary found that the scalp belonged to a hide of an animal, probably a goat-antelope which is native to the Himalayas and returned the scalp into the monastery. There also exists one duplicate scalp at New York’s Explorer’s Club in Khumjung. Khumjo Chumbi, the monk at the charge of the monk, stated, “We don’t believe in giraffes and lions in Nepal because there are not any here. Likewise, you do not believe in yetis because you have none in your country.”  Whether the scalp truly belongs to a yeti or not is yet to be confirmed, but it is worth visiting.

yeti scalp in Khumjung monastery

Getting up to Khumjung

Khumjung is popular among the trekkers heading for Everest Base Camp. Khumjung could be a short break from your pre-planned journey if the Base Camp trek. Khumjung village can be a small side trek as you follow the trail of Everest Base Camp. After a domestic flight from Kathmandu to Lukla and starting your trek from Lukla to Phakding, you will reach Namche Bazaar. From Namche Bazaar, Khumjung is where you can proceed for a short trek. Namche Bazaar is a famous tourist destination of Khumbu region and is most common for a place to acclimatize for the trekkers. With enough lodging and stores in the area, Namche Bazaar is successful in meeting the demands of the trekkers. You can choose camping instead of lodging in a hotel as well.

Trekking to Khumjung and Kunde villages is a great idea during your few days stay at Namche Bazaar for altitude acclimatization. The trek will convert your dull and boring time in the lodge into exciting and fun moments. The trek also provides you with the experience to meet the Sherpas in the mountain village, view of the mountains and the warm hospitality, and the culture of the locals. You can also get a chance to taste the local Sherpa’s cuisine.

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Returning to Namche Bazaar from this short trek, you can now continue your trek to Base Camp. The Tengboche, where stands the largest monastery in the Khumbu region and other monasteries, and the Dingboche, a Sherpa village are the places you will explore in your journey. Dingboche, at the altitude of 4,360 meters, is again popular for acclimatization which provides you an additional chance of trekking around the area.

Continuing your trek from Dingboche, you will now reach to Duglha (4,600) and then to Lobuche (4,940 meters). A little more and you then stand at Gorakshep at an altitude of 5,710 meters which is the destination to Everest Base Camp. From Gorakshep, trekkers go to Kala Patthar, which only takes around a few hours for the closer and magnificent view of the great Mount Everest.

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Back to Pheriche and Namche Bazaar, its time you arrive at Lukla and take a flight back to Kathmandu. Return to your next destination or home from Kathmandu with a heart filled experience.

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