Monday, August 28, 2006



Duration: 8 days

Level: Moderate

This is undoubtedly the most well-known alpine trekking route within the Darjeeling hills. The trail starts from Maneybhanjang and ends at Rimbick through Sandakphu and Phalut. En-route you can enjoy stunning views of the Kanchenjungha, Makalu and Everest peaks. The route passes through the Singaleela National Park, full of springtime Rhododendrons, Primula and other rare flora and fauna. Sandakphu commands one of the most spectacular views. In the foreground is a great basin set in the midst of the hills, the slopes covered with rhododendrons and silver firs.

Sandakphu is a 10 hour trek from Maneybhanjang. You can try to make it in 2 or three days. It is unnecessary to carry a tent since there are plenty of places to stay. Cooked food is available. But carrying a sleeping bag and mattress is advisable since at rush seasons you may have to sleep on the wooden floor if you go without prior booking.

Day 01: Maneybhanjang

Arrive at Bagdogra(airport) or New Jalpaiguri(Rail station). Hire a jeep/sumo to Maneybhanjang. This place is a small village inhabited by Buddhist Sherpas. Stay the night in Maneybhanjang to prepare for the exciting days to come. Quite a number of small private hotels are available. Previous bookings not necessary.

Day 02: Maneybhanjang - Tonglu.
Start the trek early to enjoy the morning freshness. The first part of the route till Chitrey is an awesome, near vertical climb. The path to Tonglu passes through hillsides covered with wild flowers, conifers and a breathtaking mountain view of the incomparable Kanchendjungha and its neighboring peaks. You will find some very large pet dogs, almost the sige of small bears, on the way. Make the second night halt at Tonglu at 3070 meters, which is 11 kms from Maneybhanjang.

Day 03: Tonglu -Gairibas -Kalipokhari
Resume Trekking from Tonglu to Gairibas at 2621 meters, Trek time 3 hrs, Approx. 09 kms. This trail leads you through bamboo glades and farmlands with quaint little villages habited by warm and friendly people. This area is the home of Red Panda and Monal Pheasant. The Red Panda is a very shy creature and you need to be absolutely lucky to spot one. Gairibas to Kalipokhari at 3170 meters is a continuous climb through the Rhododendron forests. This distance of 6 Kms can be covered in 3 hrs.

Day 04: Kalipokhari - Sandakphu
Resume trekking from Kalipokhari to Sandakphu. Firstly the route descends to Bikhebhangang -Valley of Poison. Sandakphu top along with its familiar skyline covered with silver fir trees can be seen right from Bikhebhanjang. Trek from Bikhebhanjang to Sandakphu is a steep climb of 4 kms and takes more than an hour to cover. Total trek time is 2-3 hrs.

Day 05: Sandakphu - Phalut
Resume trekking from Sandakphu to Phalut at 3600 meters , It is one of the loftiest peak in the Singalila Range and is situated at a distance of 22 kms from Sandakphu. The stretch from Sandakphu to Phalut is a spectacular one. First part of the route is covered by Rhododendron forests. You will find them on full bloom
in a multitude of colours during the spring. Small flowering herbs like the primula are abundant. This area caters a rich stock of rare medicinal plants like the Indian Aconite. After the stretch of Rhododendron forests comes a comparatively arid area. Here, the burned silver fir forest makes a splendid sight. After a walk of 4 hrs from Sandahphu, you will come across a stone house with blown of roof on the top of a small ridge. The place is known as Sabargram and is 14 km .from Sandakphu. Halt overnight at Phalut.

Day 06: Phalut - Gorkhey
Resume trekking from Phalut to Gorkhey. From Phalut the trail descends through the virgin forest of chestnut, pines, hemlock, bamboo etc. till the trail reaches the meeting of two streams called Gorkhey Khola. It's the most picturesque place among the whole route. One can enjoy bath at the fast flowing stream.

Day 07: Gorkhey - Rimbik
Resume trekking from Gorkhey to Ramam via Samandin. Trek from Ramam to Rimbik, From Ramam the road is almost level walk for the first 9 km and again it descends to Sirikhola. After Sirikhola the road is fairly level till Rimbik. Halt overnight at Rimbick in a lodge or trekkers hut.

Day 08: Rimbik - Darjeeling
from Rimbik to Darjeeling, approx.4-5 hrs for 54 kms. . Trek ends.


Best season: February to May and October to November

Altitude: 11926 ft (3636m) highest


sagar moy gupta said...

Though the briefing is excellent but few noteworthy things are missing like during this course of journey one may have a wonderful view of RHODODENDRON FLOWERS that too in several colours.Availabilty of no of rare medicinal plants which are found in abundance in this region should have been mentioned as well.

Raju said...

Thanks Sagarda,
I have modified the contents. Help me to refine my articles by posting more suggestions.