Sikkimese are overawed by the majority and the mystery, to them the five
summits of Kanchenjunga represent the five most sacred treasures which,
according to tradition, are: - salt, precious stones and other minerals,
religious scripts, medicines and grains, and the last one, invincible
armour. Its five summits support the throne of an all-powerful deity.
Kanchenjunga has remained virgin and unconquered, inspite of the several attempts furnished with the most modern equipments till 1975.
Within 7,000-sq-kms is contained the world's third highest 8,585m, but the most romantic mountain. In 1930, a European expedition consisting of German, Austrian, Swiss and British mountaineers made an attempt to scale Kanchenjunga, it failed.
In June, 1955 a British expedition under Charles Evans sent a telegram to the 'Times", it read:
"Summit of Kanchenjunga less five vertical feet reached on May 25. All well." The expedition stopped short of the top-they had agreed to respect the religious feelings of the Sikkimese who regard the mountain as sacred and had undertaken not to desecrate the immediate neighbourhood of the summit.
Sir John Hunt, who reached the peak of Everest with Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norkey, has described it, a mountain more difficult and dangerous to climb, than Everest itself.
Through the centre of Sikkim runs another mountain ridge in the north to south direction. This mountain ridge separates the Teesta and Rangeet valley and ends at the confluence of the two rivers. The peaks of this ridge are Tendong at 8,500 ft and Maenam at 10,500 ft. most of the peaks of Sikkim have remained unscaled because the Sikkimese consider them sacred and feel that they will lose their sanctity, if climbed. From the Sikkim side Khangchendzonga has been scaled a few times but the climbers have returned back a few feet from the summit in deference to the religious feelings of the Sikkimese.
The people of Sikkim depend on the good humour of the deity enthroned on a summit - 'has he not the power to destroy human habitations with devastating floods and avalanches and ruin crops by sending terrible hailstorms' - he is portrayed as a fiery red counteranced deity with a crown of five skulls, riding the mythical snow lion, and holding aloft the banner to victory. Seasoned mountaineers hold Khang-chen-dzod-nga in awe and credit it with a cordon drawn around the summit beyond which man may not enter.
There is an annual festival of ritual and dance dedicated to the 'Worship of the snow range of Khang-chen-dzog-nga, during the early part of autumn. As in the classical days of Greek Gods who danced atop mount Olympus, Lamas dressed in the impressive masks and brocades of the God, prance and whirl against the backdrop of the mountain itself.