First Advisor

Barbara Brower

Term of Graduation


Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Geography






Sacred space -- Himalaya Mountains, Environmental protection -- Nepal, Sherpa (Nepalese people), Khumbu Mountains (Nepal), Himalaya Mountains



Physical Description

1 online resource (xii, 111 pages)


Khumbu, part of Sagarmatha (Mt. Everest) National Park in eastern Nepal and an UNESCO World Heritage site, is home to the Sherpa people, ethnic Tibetan Buddhists who migrated to the region more than 500 years ago. Sherpas animate the landscape with localized water, tree, rock, and land spirits, identify sacred mountains, mainly associated with the Bönpo and Tibetan yullha traditions, and some view the landscape as a beyul, a sacred place and hidden valley protecting Buddhist people and beliefs in times of turmoil and need. These beliefs protect the natural environment through religious practices and taboos against environmentally harmful behaviors and activities. Associated ritual practice, perceptions, and mythology encode Sherpa culture and beliefs in the landscape. This research contributes to discussions of place, sacred landscapes, and conservation by documenting older Sherpa residents' constructions of Khumbu as a sacred landscape in two Khumbu villages. Interviews and participant observations reveal a socially constructed sacred landscape expressing a distinct Khumbu Sherpa identity.


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