SANDAKPHU

Sandakphu is the highest point of West Bengal. Nestled within the Singalila range at an elevation of 3636 meters (12,400 ft).  Sandakhu offers a clear view of Mt. Everest, Mt. Kanchenjunga, Mt. Makalu, Mt. Lhotse, Mt. Pandim, and Mt. Kabru under the blue sky. Sandakphu can be reached from Manebhanjan via Chitre, Lamedhura, Meghma, Tonglu, Tumling, Garibas, Kalipokhri and Bikebhanjan, the distance is of 32 kilometers. On the way to Sandakphu at some places the route is steep towards the uphill route. From Garibas the route is perched with boulders. General trekkers take three to four days to complete the trek route. At the above mentioned places there are accommodations for trekkers are available in the form of homestays, forest rest houses, and trekkers. On a clear day the journey of Sandakphu is really memorable. As one leaves behind Tumling, the journey begins through the Singalila range. The aged old natural ambience and the forest wonders have made the place more attractive and adventurous. In the month of April – May, Sandakphu offers a full range of Mt. Kanchenjunga along with numerous Rhododendrons (locally called Guraus) and wide varieties of Orchids. Apart from trekking, one can hire a land rover from Manebhanjan Land Rovers Association to reach Sandakphu. But on the boulders road of this hilly terrains the journey becomes very bumpy, and if one availing the route by trekking, then the journey becomes full of adventures. On a single one can reach Sandakphu from Manebhanjan in a land rover, if one could arrange for few extra days then it is recommended to spend one night at Tumling, which makes the journey bit comfortable. As because people from the plains often faces breathing problem and that is why one needs to get accustomed during the journey.  On the return journey, availing the trekking route is an easy task. On the way to Sandakphu, some of the spots those attracts the travelers or trekkers are Buddhist monastery at Tumling and Chitre, legendary lake of Kalipokhri. From Sandakphu another trekking route is there that connects to Phalut. From Phalut one trek down via Rimbik. At Sandakphu due to sudden changes in temperature snowfall occurs in the month of April- May. The hamlet gets covered with white snow all over. In the month of April – May the temperature drops varies around 5 degree to 14 degree centigrade. As the starting point for Sandakphu trek starts from Manebhanjan, a night can also be spent either at Lepchajagat or Darjeeling which are nearby places to Ghoom. In the month March – April many foreigners visits Sandakphu for trekking. As Sandakphu lies in the Singalila range, it is an ideal option for bird watchers and landscape photographers. Numerous Himalayan birds inhabit this periphery those are Himalayan Monal, Blood Phesant, Khaliz Phesant, Satire Trogopan, wide varieties of Babblers, Water Red Start, Black Bird, Yuhina, Fire Tailed Maizornis, Himalayan Vulture and many more. After the winter in the month of April the whole range Singalila blossom up with numerous Rhododendrons and Magnolia. Sandakphu is such a point that offers a panoramic view Mt. Kanchenjunga, Mt. Everest and Mt. Kabru, Mt. Lhotse and others peaks in a single frame.

How to reach: The nearest railhead to Sandakphu is NJP. From Kolkata Station, Sealdah station and Howrah station several trains are available those connects with New Jalpauguri. New Jalpaiguri is also connected with the major cities of India. From New Jalpaiguri Railway station by shared or hired cars upto Ghoom. From Ghoom by cars to Manebhanjan is well connected. One night halt at Manebhanjan, from there on the next morning one can start their trek towards Sandakphu. For those who avail the route by Land rover for them land rovers are easily available from Manebhanjan. But in both the cases a local guide or porter is must. From Manebhanjan at a distance of about 13 km is Tumling, time takes about 1 hour.

Where to Stay: Throughout the Sandakphu receives uncountable tourists mainly trekkers both Indian nationals and International trekkers. On the way there are few homestays and Trekkers Hut available at some spots like Chitre, Meghma, Tonglu, Tumling, Garibas, Kalipokhri, and Bikebhanjan where trekkers can spend the night on their journey to Sandakphu.

Things to Know: As Sandakphu is situated at a high altitude therefore adequate woollen cloths are very necessary to carry during the journey. And required Id proofs are also needed, at some spots Identity card are required to show for the entry in the Singalila National Park. One needs to get the permits from the Forest Department for Sandakphu Trek. As the trek route begins from West Bengal, therefore the permit procedure are easier for Indian nationals but for foreign/ non Indian Nationals copy of passport and passport sized photographs are required. As the region is under a National Park therefore it is highly recommended not to carry plastic bags or any non degradable pollutants.

SANDAKPHU TOUR

DAY – 01 

Arrive at New Jalpaiguri Railway station. From the railway station shared or hired cars are available those reaches to Maneybhanjan. From NJP railway station at distance of about 4 hours is Maneybhanjan. Maneybhanjan is surrounded by Pine, Oak and Fir all over the region. Maneybhanjan offers a panoramic view of the whole region. Maneybhanjan is the place from where Sandakphu tour starts. From Maneybhanjan at a distance of 18 km is Garibas, one night stay at Garibas. From Garibas at a distance of 14 km lies Sandakphu. Around Maneybhanjan there is a syndicate from where porters are available. One needs to book porters from the syndicate only. These porters are very gentle in nature and are also very helpful towards the guests. Night stay at Maneybhanjan.

DAY – 02 

The next day one needs to start their journey at the earliest, the nearest spot from Maneybhanjan is Chitre at a distance of about 2 km. Chitre is a very small village, though it is village but number of houses is very lesser in number. There is monastery at Chitra which is worth watching. On the way to Sandakphu one can take a tea break or halt for sometime at Chitra. There is huge sized stone at Chitre that looks like the head of an animal locally known as ‘Lions Head’. The route is very beautiful with numerous flowers and Rhododendrons all over. Though the car route ends here, from here cars are only available for Sandakphu to Phalut. From Chitre at a distance of about 7 km lies another hamlet known as Meghma. The name Meghma derives from its characteristics, the whole region remains covered with thick clouds throughout the day. The route from Chitre is perched with boulders and stones. Sometimes halt at Meghma, from here the journey will be towards another hamlet Tumling. At Tumling almost every houses has a garden attached where numerous flowers blossom up every day. These kinds of flowers include Chestrum, Primula and numerous varieties of orchids. After Tumling comes Garibas. Garibas is a valley area, 5 km before reaching Garibas the route goes to the downward bend. The region is maintained by the GTA (Gorkhaland Territorial Administration). Night stay will be at Garibas.

DAY – 03 

On the third day the journey will start towards Sandakphu from Garibas. On the way to Sandakphu, there is a narrow area from where the route to the left hand side is towards Nepal. Clouds are constantly moving down on these valleys and through the clouds dense wilderness of Pine trees are visible. The whole region of Sandakphu is within the Singalila Range of Darjeeling District, i.e. Singalila National Park. Both the side of the route is guarded by numerous Pine, Oak, Fir. The region of Sandakphu is home to more than 120 species of Himalayan birds. Apart from these birds Singalila National Park is also home to the rare species of Red Panda. From there the next destination is Kalapokhri Lake, a small lake on the hill top. From Kalapokhri again you will arrive at another spot named Bikebhanjan from there two different route has diverted in two directions on route has met up at Rimbick and another route towards Sandakphu. From Bikebhanjan at a distance of about 3 km is Sandakphu. From Sandakphu the sunset at the backdrop of Mt. Kanchenjunga is worth watching. Sometimes the temperature in this region drops to 0 degrees during the night.

DAY – 04

The early is very the best time to explore the sunrise at the backdrop of ‘Sleeping Buddha’ or ‘Lying Buddha’. In a single frame one will get to see the panoramic view of the Himalayan ranges. In the foreground is a great basin set in the midst of the hills, the slopes covered with rhododendrons and silver fir trees. In the background is continuous barrier of snowy mountains, the most prominent of which is Mt. Kanchenjunga – 28156 ft. 8598 meter towering up in gigantic height and breadth with its attendant peaks Mt. Kabru 7338 meter. 24,026 ft, Mt. Jano (Kumbhakarna) 7710 meter. 25,294 ft. and Mt. Pandim 6691 meter. 22,010 ft. clustering closely round it. Mt.Kabru is foreshortened and does not present the same graceful outline above the spectacle with its lofty peak standing up like a great icy horn. Far off to the west at a distance of 160 km. among a group of other snowy mountain rising from graceful peaks of Mt. Everest group can be seen, behind the crest of Mt. Makalu, which looks like a great armed chair of snow; and further to the west towards Nepal, there is a wonderful square mass of mountain looking like a wall of snow Mt. Chamlang 7317m-24006 ft. The contrast between Everest and Kanchenjunga is very marked. Kanchenjunga is remarkable for its imposing bulk and massive proportions while Everest soaring above a series of valleys and its ridges is more graceful and majestic. The space between the two is occupied by snowy ranges. Three Sisters which cluster together if you look towards east beyond Kanchenjunga you will see Mt. Narsing and then the Mt. Dongkya and Mt. Chola ranges of the Tibetan frontier with Chumalhari lifting up to its heads in the rear. The whole snowy ranges of Bhutan, Sikkim and Nepal about 320 km in length; is visible, but the panorama is completely dominated by the Kanchenjunga and Everest group. Kanchenjunga-correctly spelt is Khangchendzonga is the third highest mountain in the world means “Five Treasures of the Great Snow” and is a guardian deity of the Sikkimese. Sandakphu is the only place that offers a full view these Himalayan Peaks in a single frame. As the sun raises slowly these peaks appears in different colours like sometimes red, sometimes golden sometimes pink and at last white. A perfect abode for photographers. From Sandakphu at a distance of about 23 km lies Sabargaon. Sabargaon is basically a place for a tea break while one heading towards Phalut. From Sabargram at a distance of about 7 km is Phalut. Though there are no accommodations available at Phalut, but it offers a magnificent view of Mt. Kanchenjunga, Mt. Everest, Mt. Makalu, Mt. Kabru, and Mt. Pandim. Three Sisters in a single frame. From Phalut one needs to get back either at Sabargaon or at Sandakphu for a night stay.

DAY – 05

On this day you will leave for either Srikhola situated at distance of about 18 km from Sabargaon or at Rimbick which is another 5 km from Srikhola. There are few accommodations available in the form of homestays or trekkers hut both at Srikhola and Rimbick. Srikhola is situated at the bank of Srikhola River and paradise for trekkers and bird watchers. Night stay can be done either at Srikhola or at Rimbick. From there one can board a jeep or car for their return journey towards NJP Railway station.

How to Book: To Book your stay at trekkers hut/ homestays at different spots around Sandakphu, call 9830381306 , 9831311606 or simply fill up the query form furnished below with all your details, your 24 hour travel assistance expert will call as soon as possible.