Khangchendzonga National Park is on UNESCO World Heritage List
Khangchendzonga National Park (KNP), Sikkim has been inscribed as India's first 'Mixed World Heritage Site' on UNESCO World Heritage List, by fulfilling the nomination criteria under both natural and cultural heritage.
The KNP is home to a significant number of endemic, rare and threatened plant and animal species and has the highest number of plant and mammal species recorded in the Central and High Asian Mountains, except compared to the Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas, in China; and also has a high number of bird species.
Cultural significance of Khangchendzonga National Park:
The cultural significance of KNP is portrayed by three main different facets:
Firstly, the notion of hidden sacred land, which extends to all of Sikkim, but has its heart in the territory of Khangchendzonga National Park, is important in Tibetan Buddhism, not only intrinsic to Sikkim, but in the neighbouring countries and beyond - that is to say, KNP is home to a sacred site of one of the world's leading religious traditions.
Secondly, the multi-layered sacred landscape of Khangchendzonga and the cultural and religious relevance of the hidden land (beyul in Tibetan Buddhism and Mayel Lyang, in Lepcha tradition) is specific to Sikkim and is a unique example of co-existence and exchange between different religious traditions and people.
Thirdly, the indigenous religious and cultural practices of the Lepcha with regard to the ecology and the specific properties of local plants, which stand as an outstanding example of traditional knowledge and environmental preservation.