Why is Mount Everest also known as Sagarmatha and Chomolungma?

Why is Mount Everest also known as Sagarmatha and Chomolungma?

Why is Mount Everest also known as Sagarmatha and Chomolungma?

Mount Everest, soaring to an impressive height of 8,848 meters above sea level, is naturally the crowning glory of not just the Himalayas, but the world itself. Known globally as the highest peak in the world, it enamors climbers from around the world and lures them into the thrilling yet treacherous pursuit of conquering its majestic heights. But the renowned title of Mount Everest isn’t the peak’s only name. It is also fondly referred to as Sagarmatha and Chomolungma. But why is that?

Mount Everest: A Nomenclature History

The name of Mount Everest itself is an intriguing tale. Although the mountain was known to locals, its altitude was determined by the British in 1856. Originally classified as “Peak XV” during the Great Trigonometric Survey of India, it was rechristened as Mount Everest after Sir George Everest, the former Surveyor General of India, by his successor Andrew Waugh.

However, in the communities living in its foothills, the mountain had always been revered and recognized through two different names – Sagarmatha and Chomolungma.

Sagarmatha: The Forehead of the Sky

For Nepalese, Everest has been Sagarmatha – the ‘Forehead (or Mother) of the Sky’. In Nepal, the mountain enjoys a divine aura. It is a symbol of the majestic Himalayas and is deeply embedded in the Nepalese culture. They believe that the mountain, termed Sagarmatha, fulfills the grand role of connecting the earth to the skies.

Sagarmatha National Park, located in the Solu-Khumbu district, is home to Mount Everest. When the park came into existence, the spirits of the mountains were recognized as the park’s invisible property, emphasizing the cultural and spiritual significance of Sagarmatha to the locals.

Chomolungma: The Goddess Mother of the World

Across the border, Tibetans endearingly call the mountain Chomolungma, or ‘Goddess Mother of the World’. For Tibetans, Chomolungma is a divine entity. Certain mountain goddesses of Tibetan Buddhism inhabit Everest, with Miyo Losangma, the Goddess of Inexhaustible Giving, being the most significant. These religious beliefs exemplify the profound respect Tibetans have for Mount Everest, further amplifying the mountain’s cultural significance.

Both names reflect the awe, respect, and religious reverence that inhabitants of the region have toward the mountain. Despite their differing languages and cultures, both Nepal and Tibet appreciate the mountain’s physical and spiritual grandeur.

While we globally acknowledge the name Mount Everest, remembering its local names Sagarmatha and Chomolungma can be a small but meaningful gesture of respect towards local cultures, traditions, and the spiritual significance of this awe-inspiring peak.


What does Mount Everest mean?

The name Mount Everest was given by the British after Sir George Everest, former Surveyor General of India. However, it is also known as Sagarmatha and Chomolungma in Nepal and Tibet respectively, reflecting its cultural and spiritual significance in these places.

Why is Mount Everest also known as Sagarmatha and Chomolungma?

Mount Everest is known as Sagarmatha in Nepal and Chomolungma in Tibet. The names embody the awe, respect, and religious significance attributed to this majestic mountain by the locales. Sagarmatha translates to ‘Forehead (or Mother) of the Sky’, while Chomolungma stands for ‘Goddess Mother of the World’.

Does Mount Everest have religious significance?

Yes, in both Nepalese and Tibetan cultures, Mount Everest has profound spiritual significance. In Nepal, it is seen as a divine entity connecting the earth to the sky. In Tibet, it is deemed a sacred residence of mountain goddesses of Tibetan Buddhism.

What is the local perception of Mount Everest?

Locals revere Mount Everest, acknowledging not only its physical grandeur but also its spiritual presence. Both Nepalese and Tibetans consider the mountain a divine entity and it holds great cultural significance in their societies.

Who named Mount Everest?

Mount Everest was named by the British after Sir George Everest, the Surveyor General of India from 1830 to 1843. However, its local names, Sagarmatha and Chomolungma, have been in use by Nepalese and Tibetans for centuries before this official naming.