Trekking On The Trans Himalayan Routes
The trek to Sandakphu, the highest point in West Bengal is undertaken best in April
or just before the monsoons. Sandakphu and Phalut afford some of the most spectacular
views of the trans-himalayan range. Besides the mighty Khangchendzonpa, on a clear
day one can easily see Mt. Everest, Makalu, Three Stars and other lofty peaks.
The trek commences from Manebhanjan, about 27 km from Darjeeling, bordering India
and Nepal.At Chira, you come across the first monastery where punishments are devised
for erring men.FROM THE MONASTERY, IT IS ALL THE WAY TO Meghma which lies under
cloud cover. At Tonglu, about 1.5 km away, you catch the first breathtaking view
of Kanchenjunga. The mountain appears at a 90-degree angle; on a clear day one can
see Mt. Everest from here. The next day you trek down to Garibash where jeeps also
ply upto. From Garibash, the ascent starts to Kalpokhri. This is one of the gateways
to the famous Singalila National Park, famed for its red pandas, bears and the golden
Waters of lake Kalpokhri are forbiddigly dark and locals warn you not to touch the
waters of this sacred lake. A large variety of medicinal plants grow here at Kalpokhri
which is also known as 'Valley of poison'.
Descending to Sabargram you come across 'Lepchas' the hardy villagers who live in
the hostile terrain of Lepcha. The lower slopes are thickly forested and yaks graze
here. In winter, the ground is covered in over four feet of snow. The next halt
is Gorkhe and the route is a continuous descent through the densest of forests.
Gorkhe is situated i the Ramam river valley, surrounded by mountains. Rhododendrons
and magnolias grow wild here.Trekking along the Ramam river one reaches its origin
at Shrikhola. The Ramam river flows and joins the river Teesta later. From Shrikhola
a pony ride takes you to Rimbik (famous for its oranges) from where a bus takes
you to Manebhanjan from where the trek started.
How to go there:
The nearest airport at Bagdogra is 90 km from Darjeeling. There are a number flights
from Delhi, Calcutta and Guwahati. At Darjeeling, adequate transport is available
to the base camp at Manebhanjan. The closest rail heads are at Siliguri(77km) and
New Jalpaiguri (88 km).Limited bus services are available from here to the base
camp, apart from regular buses, jeeps and taxis which ply to Darjeeling.
There are Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council(DGHC) resthouses and campsites available
at all major halts on the trek.
Calcutta branch of the Youth Hostels Association of India arranges the trek for
a fee of Rs.1350/ - including stay, simple vegetarian meals, guides, insurance and
equipment and hiring costs.Participants have to bear their own travel costs to the
base camp and back.At the end of the trek, each participant gets a merit certificate
and a medal in a small ceremony at the base camp in Manehanjan.