(Project undertaken by : Association for Conservation & Tourism)

Area of Work in the First Phase


East Himalaya is a part of one of the EIGHT HOTTEST BIODIVERSITY HOTSPOTS of the world. This is a part of the Indo-Burma region. Other then India, the East Himalaya touches the countries of Nepal, Bhutan, China and Bangladesh. Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim and West Bengal occupies more than 100,000 sq. kms of East Himalaya approx. Which is about 25% of the Indian Himalaya. This shows a major portion of the Himalaya is existent in the East. Similarly, the whole of Nepal and Bhutan are a part of the Himalaya. The topography varies from the low foothills reaching upto the highest mountains of the world, the Mt. Everest and the Mt. Kanchenjunga. A massive area is covered with snow glaciers feeding a large network of rivers, the major ones being the Brahmaputra, Ganga, Koshi and Teesta. The areas below the snow are mainly used for forestry, agriculture, grassland habitations and infrastructure such as dams, reservoirs and roads. The forest cover is about 140,000 sq. kms even after losing about two third of the forest in the last few decades. The East Himalaya is the home of more than a hundred indigenous communities. The biodiversity explored till date provides mind boggling figures, about 8000 species of angiosperms of which 3200 are endemic, 800 species of birds, 150 species of reptiles, 80 species of amphibians, 200 species of fishes and the list continues. More than 80 wild relatives of crops belonging to cereals, millet, pulses, oil yielding plants, spices and fruits have been recorded here in scientific studies. Keeping in view whatever little that has been described, the ecological importance of the region is beyond question. The region undoubtedly is overpopulated and there is a slow economic development. People live below the poverty line and are dependent on land and local natural resources. The problems are increasing everyday and the administration has tried everything that is possible locally and globally but for AN INTEGRATED IMPLEMENT ABLE ECOTOURISM PROCESS.


Mt. Kanchenjuga, the third highest peak in the world and the highest in India is a myth by itself. The people of Sikkim consider the mountain to be their Guardian Deity and are referred to as Khang-chen-dzo-nga, the large mountain of five treasures. This forms the backdrop of a large region and eighty percent of the tourist attraction is the view of the range itself. The view is so popular that it forms the picture of the hundred rupees Indian currency note. The region mainly covers Sikkim & North of West Bengal in India, Eastern parts of Nepal and connecting Bhutan. In the East Himalaya, this is a composite region well connected with each other and possesses a wide diversity of nature and culture. The ultra-varied topography and its closeness to Bay of Bengal make it unique. North Bengal houses the Singalila National Park, Neora Valley National Park & Senchal Wildlife Sanctuary in the higher altitudes, the Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary in Himalayan foothills of Terai, continuing with the Garumara National Park, Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary and Buxa Tiger Reserve towards the Bhutan approaches known as Dooars. Sikkim boasts of the Kanchendzonga National Park & Singba Rhododendrone Sanctuary in the North, Fambong Lho Wildlife Sanctuary & Kyongnosla Alpine Sanctuary in the East, Barsey Rhododendrone Sanctuary in the West and the Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary in the South. There are different ethnic groups throughout the region, some of them who were always here, some migrated from the adjoining countries and many of them who were brought by the then British rulers to work for them in tea gardens, forests, railways etc. This forms a varied culture and religious base. The Tantric Buddhism (Lamaism) is still a myth to the world. The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, which is the only of its type and now a World Heritage Site is a pride for the region. The Darjeeling Tea today is the most appreciated drink appreciated worldwide. The portions of Nepal and Bhutan are equally rich in nature and culture. Keeping in view the natural & cultural richness of the region and the poverty of the people here, the Kanchenjunga region may be considered for developing an International Ecotourism Park.


There are five intersecting and interconnected circuits in the Kanchenjunga Region which houses numerous known, less known and unknown tourist destinations which have to be developed locally and promoted globally to make tourism a tool for conservation and faster sustainable economic development. The Kanchenjunga Region International Ecotourism Park can be formed with these five circuits mentioned hereunder.

  • Sikkim circuit - the activity spread over the four districts of East, West, North & South.
  • Darjeeling circuit - the areas west of river Teesta upto the Nepal border covering Singalila Ridge.
  • Kalimpong circuit - starting from East of Teesta upto the limits of Neora Valley National Park.
  • Dooars & Bhutan circuit - foothill stretch connecting with Bhutan covering Timphu, Paro & Punakha.
  • Terai & East Nepal circuit - foothills of Darjeeling circuit & East Nepal adjoining to Mt. Kanchenjunga.


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