A mesmerizing trek, where the route reaches the highest point of West Bengal, perched at 3936 metres, Sandakphu is one of the most serene treks in India.
- A serene trail which covers a distance of 45 km.
- An ideal trek for the beginners who aspire to trek the Himalayas.
- Service of experienced mountain guides and well-maintained tents.
Sandakphu is a wonderland for the trekkers. It's located at an altitude of 11,929ft (i.e. 3,636 meters) in Darjeeling district and on the north west of Darjeeling hill town. This is the summit or the highest point in Singalila range and is also the highest peak in the state of West Bengal, India. The trek to Sandakphu goes all along the Singalila range. One of the unavoidable necessities of trekking in Himalaya is that the best views are had from high up but the trek along this ridge, passing through small settlements, is perhaps the one of the most scenically rewarding in the Himalaya. This is indeed an ideal trek for the beginners with a tea-house style but a must visit for the experienced trekkers also. There are spectacular panoramic views of Nepal Himalayas including Kanchendzongha range, Makalu, Everest, Lhotse, Jannu, Chamlang, Baruntse and a host of Sikkim peaks all seen in one stretch. The famous “Sleeping Buddha” formation of peaks is a delight for all.
Day 1: New Jalpaiguri - Chitrey | 90 km - 4/5 hours
- You will be picked up from NJP (New Jalpaiguri) railway station in the morning by 10 am and be drive to Maneybhanjang (1980 m/6500 ft).
- The distance from NJP to Maneybhanjang is around 90 km and takes 5 hours with lunch and another tea break.
- The road goes through the foothills of Eastern Himalaya (also called Dooars) and gradually gains altitude inside conifer forests. Usually, the car takes the Mirik – Sukhiapokhri road, you may have your lunch in Mirik, a hill station beside a fairly large lake.
- The last 3 km from Maneybhanjung to Chitrey is a steep road with several hairpin bends and eventually reaches the hilltop clearing at Chitrey (2200 m, 7200 ft), the trek base for Sandakphu trek.
- In the afternoon/early evening visit Chitrey Monastery and the Buddhist Stupa beside your homestay.
- You may walk up to the top of the hillock for sunset and a distant view of the hill queen Darjeeling city. You will be staying for the night stay in the lodge.
Day 2: Chitrey - Tumling | 9 km - 6 hours
- Your trek starts today, you start walking while leaving the motor road and gradually climb up.
- After 15 minutes or so, the first view of Kanchenjunga appears with all its glory, you may stop here for a break and enjoy the views.
- After continuing on the table top meadow you reach a tea stall at Lameydhura in an hour. This area is particularly beautiful during spring with blooming Rhododendrons and Magnolias.
- The trail ahead is clearly visible till Meghma while we walk on an almost flattened road. The route often defines the border between India and Nepal. On the left side, Meghma monastery is in Nepal.
- From Meghma the road splits and you take the left one inside Nepal. After traversing for an hour and a half you reach the destination Tumling (2900 m/9500 ft).
- You will stay for the night in a tourist lodge. During sunset watch the glorious Sleeping Buddha straight ahead. This place can be particularly windy as on the Singalila Ridge.
Day 3: Tumling - Kalapokhri | 12 km - 6/7 hours
- Wake up early in the morning to view the sunrise. Observe the different hue than the sunset on the same peaks.
- After breakfast, you start your walk on level ground and reach the check post of Singalila National Park in 45 minutes.
- From here you obtain the permit and get into the national park. Shortly after check post, the road bifurcates. You leave the jeep road and take the left trail into Nepal.
- The terrain is widespread and walking on the rolling trail you reach Jaubari village inside Nepal. From here the main road leads to the eastern Nepal district town of Ilam while you take a right turn and descend on the stony trail.
- The trail far ahead is clearly visible from here and after an hour we descend to the Indian settlement called Gairibas. From this point, your climb for the day starts. The road enters into the dense forest and you take shorts cuts often which meet the jeep road while gaining altitude in short distance.
- A moderate climb of one and half hour leads you to a valley and a small settlement called Kaiyakata. Have your hot lunch here.
- Post which the trail gradually enters into the thick forest of conifer, birch. and Rhododendron. After walking an hour spot a small lake on your left. This is called Kalapokhri (Kala is Black and Pokhri is a Pond in Nepali). From here you take a right turn and reach our destination for the day Kalapokhri (3100 m/10200 ft). You will be staying in a lodge here.
Day 4: Kalaphokri - Sandakphu | 6 km - 3/4 hours
- Today you need to cover a short distance but will be gaining altitude. The lodges on top of Sandakphu can be seen from Kalapokhri. Initially, it's a gentle walk while traversing the mountain ridge and you reach Bhikeybhanjang in an hour.
- This portion of the trail is inside Nepal and Indian road joins here from the other side of the mountain. The road splits and the newly built road inside Nepal takes a longer path on your left to reach Sandakphu.
- You take the straight road ahead and start climbing. The switchback road has several turns and you go off the road and take shortcuts on a few occasions.
- After ascending for an hour and a half you turn left and reach the top of the ridge Sandakphu (3636 m/11930 ft). The left side of the ridge is in Nepal and the right side in India. The top of the ridge is somewhat flat and the north side is open. There is no ridge higher than this point, so the view of the mountains are uninterrupted.
- In the late afternoon, you walk on the Phalut road around an hour and witness the mellow sunset. You will be staying overnight in a private lodge.
Day 5: Sandakphu - Tiburey Via Gurdum Village
- Wake up early to observe the fascinating sunrise. During fall and winters, this top remains cold, especially early in the morning. The wind blows directly from Kanchendzongha side. Straight ahead is gigantic Kanchendzongha massif along with Kumbhakarna (also called Jannu) to its left and Pandim to its right, forming as rightly said the “Sleeping Buddha”.
- Further left in the westward direction you can spot Three Sisters, Chomo Lonzo, Makalu, Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse, Baruntse, Chamlang and other peaks. You will never forget the changing hue on Kanchendzongha.
- After breakfast, you start your descent. Today the trail is more likely you get in the other regular treks without an accompanying motor route.
- In 3 hours you reach on the edge of the ridge and vast valley opens up. The picturesque village of Gurdum is seen below, along with the farming fields. You have your lunch in a beautiful lodge here and continue your descent inside pine forest to our day's night halt at Timburey.
Day 6: Timburey - Srikhola - New Jalpaiguri | Walk 1 hour | Drive 150 km - 6/7 hours
- Today morning after breakfast you continue your descent along the river and reach Srikhola in one hour or so.
- Your trek ends here. An old suspension bridge connects the motor road on the other side towards Rimbick. You take the car back to NJP.
- 5 Night’s accommodation from Chitrey (Day 1) to Timburey (Day 5) in homestay/tourist lodge on sharing basis
- These are simple and basic in nature (NOT hotels) with clean beds and linens. Rooms are dormitory type having triple/quad or more sharing. Don’t expect attached toilet or running water inside
- All meals during the trek. Regular Indian style nutritious vegetarian food during the trek (including occasional eggs), breakfast, hot lunch (en route), snacks, dinner along with coffee/tea/soup
- Excellent licensed Trekking Guide, who will be a local to this particular area and has a profound knowledge of the trekking trails around
- Permit Fee for Singalila National Park
- Basic First Aid and Medicine kit
- Accidental Insurance Policy covering high altitude trekking tours (For Indian nationals it is included in the TREK FEE, up to 60 years of age). It covers your trek as well as your return journey to NJP/Bagdogra
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