If you are someone with an adrenaline addiction, waiting to experience the Everest region in a daring way, the Everest Three Passes Trek is perfect for you. That’s right! Only a few determined trekkers choose to take up this adventurous way to do the Everest Base Camp (EBC) trek this way. This trek encompasses the three high passes of Everest Region: Renjo La (5,388 m), Cho La (5,380 m) and the highest Kongma La (5,535 m). Talking about the perks of this trail, it takes you down to the Dudhkoshi valley ornamented with the beautiful turquoise glacial lakes, Gokyo Ri, the highland monasteries, the outlying Nangpa La Valley, Sherpa village, colorful trails through the woody and lush rhododendron forests and above all, an experience of a lifetime!
So, these are the major attractions in the Everest Base Camp trek route through Gokyo and three High passes:
1. Namche bazaar (The Gateway to Everest):
Anybody who wishes to experience the Everest air must first, pass through this well-built market town, Namche bazaar. Actually, this place can leave you bewildered for a bit because of its well-constructed buildings, flourished markets, well-facilitated hotels with hot showers, kosher pubs, and cyber cafes even! Surprising? Well, not as surprising as the prices they shall charge you with. As a fact, Namche is thrice as expensive as Kathmandu. (Fair enough! After all, it’s The Everest, Baby!) You can buy trekking equipment and souvenirs, eat in a posh restaurant and do all the cool stuff before heading towards the Himalayas. The weekly market is held on Saturdays when Tamangs and Rais sell rice, millet, vegetables, meat, eggs, etc after carrying the goods from lower parts of the region for days. Talking about the inhabitants of the area, Namche is a home to many Sherpa people and is very rich in Sherpa culture and hospitality. Oh, and don’t forget to try the homemade cheese and butter there!
2. Thame Monastery:
Thame Monastery is a heavenly place with a spiritual and religious significance, settled in the sleepy village of Thame of Everest region. This small farm village is also a homeland of the great summiteers like Tenzing Norgay, Angrita Sherpa and Apa Sherpa. More than 500 years old, the monastery is the soul of Nyingma Buddhism in the Khumbu region. It is one of the largest and well-built monasteries with ravishing decoration. The alluring frescos and tapestries decorated in the walls of the monasteries is a pleasing sight. It is also a school where Buddhism is taught. Moreover, the Mani Rimdu festival which is celebrated every year is a major attraction here. This monastery in the Everest region is a perfect place for meditation amidst the Himalayas.
3. Mani Rimdu Festival:
In the Everest Base Camp trekking region, when the fields are green, new cattle are born, rhododendrons bloom in lush, men return from the trek and even the weather is in all the favors, people assemble in Thame monastery to celebrate the grandeur of Mani Rimdu festival. This festival of high religious importance is observed in October/November in Tengboche monastery while it is celebrated in May/June in Thame according to the Buddhist Calendar. This traditional dance form has a religious hallmark according to Tibetan Buddhism.
The Mani Rimdu dance is alike the Broadway theatrical, just performed in the Himalayas with a traditional touch, which guarantees to leave you in awe and delight. The monks resembling deities and demons with masks and costumes carry out 13 dances. It is a religious dance with a combination of lights, colors, interesting costumes, religious vibes with a ferocious presentation to portray the victory of good over evil.
4. Gokyo lakes:
Another reason that makes this trek exuberant and unique is the overwhelming series of the hypnotizing high altitude lakes of Gokyo. Turquoise enough to redeem all your sorrows, these beautiful lakes lay in the Gokyo Valley. Among them, Dudhpokhari (also known as Gokyo Cho) is the most popular lake resting just beside the small valley of Gokyo with a few accommodations. The lake not just sits there as an eye-candy but also has a religious significance for Buddhists and Hindus. Considered pious, people take a holy bath on the full moon day of August during the thread festival of Janai Purnima. Also, on the northern corner of the lake lies the temple of Hindu Gods Vishnu and Shiva. Descending from Cho Oyu, the Gokyo lake system consists of other beautiful lakes like Thonak Cho, Gyazumpa Cho, Tanjung Cho, Ngojumba Cho, etc. One can reach these lakes after two days walk from Namche Bazaar while trekking to Everest Base Camp through three high passes trek.
5. Gokyo Ri:
Stationed on the west side of Ngozumpa Glacier, Gokyo Ri (5,357 m) is a peak at the end of the Gokyo Valley in the Khumbu region. This short two hours climb is a must go side trip if you want to witness a transcendent vista of the mighty Everest, even better than the Everest Base Camp itself. The 360-degree view of the Himalayas including four of the tallest mountain peaks Makalu, Lhotse, Cho Oyu and Everest is what Gokyo Ri serves you with. Chances are, you might want to take a long leap or just stretch your spiderman silk to land on to the Everest instantly for it seems to stand at such a close distance from Gokyo Ri. (But please don’t!)
6. Ngozumpa Glacier:
On the foot of the World’s 6th highest Himalayan jewel Cho Oyu, Ngozumpa Glacier stretches marking itself as the longest glacier in Nepal. You may not find it a delightful sight as per the expectation of what a normal glacier looks like, as the glacier is more of a collection of debris from the nearby cliffs. This gray composition of mostly rocks is of great interest to the scientists as it invites a great risk to the surrounding glacial lakes which feeds water from the seepage of the Glacier. However, it is an attraction in the Everest Base Camp trek.