Trekking in Darjeeling Hills
Sandakphu, situated at a height of 3636 meter (12000 ft), offers one of the best trekking routes in the Eastern Himalayas. It is a small hilly hamlet located at about 58 Km away from Darjeeling town. The route takes you through a region, where flowering plants such as rhododendron, magnolia, primulas as well as different species of orchids and ferns greet you at every corner. The green forest on the slopes of the mountain is home to more than six hundred species of birds. Therefore, a trek through this region brings you face to face with the greatest splendor that this youngest mountain range has to offer.
Darjeeling to Manebhanjang
You can either trek right from Darjeeling and cover the enter distance on foot. Alternately, you can also choose to go up to Maneybhanjang by jeep or landrover and start the trek from there. However, you can also take a shared taxi to Sukiapokhri and then either trek to Maneybhanjang or take another jeep from there.
From Maneybhanjang to Tonglu
Those, who want to take it slow, may also stop for the night at Meghma. It is a small hamlet; nonetheless basic amenities are available here. Moreover, there is a Buddhists monastery as well as a few impressive Chorten to visit. However, it is always better to move on because one can at least have the trekking huts built by the government of West Bengal for night stay at Tonglu.
From Tonglu to Gairibas
From Gairibas to Kalipokhri
At Kalipokhri there is a pond whose water is forever black and muddy; hence the name Kalipokhri. Even under freezing weather the water of this pond never freezes. However, seasoned trekkers often have just a tea break here and then carry on to Sandakphu.
Kalipokrhri to Sandakphu
Their snow clad mountains welcomes you with open arms.
Indeed, the whole snowy range of Sikkim, Nepal, Bhutan spanning over a length of 320 km is visible from here. However, group of mountains that belongs to the two giants, Kanchenjunga and the Everest, dominate them all. Incidentally, even a novice will be able to differentiate between Kanchenjunga and Everest from here. While the former can be recognized by its five peaks of snow and ice the later can be identified by its soaring height.
Nearer home, rhododendrons and other alpine flowers will be welcoming you with a cheerful nod. However, to share such a feast of colors, you need to go there any time from April to June.
From Sandakphu to Phalut
The route to Phalut is truly spectacular. We will start our journey through the silver fir forest. Soon we will have the Everest group of mountains on our left and the Kanchenjunga group of mountains right in front as if showing us the way. However, we should keep on walking keeping the ridge on left. Soon we will be at Phalut trekking hut. We will spend the night here. To reach Phalut summit, we will have walk quarter of an hour more.
Phalut is located at the junction of West Bengal, Sikkim and Nepal. As the crow flies, Kanchenjunga is only thirty miles from here and hence it looks bigger and more beautiful. Otherwise, the general scenario is same as in Sandakphu.