Length: 8 days; NJP to NJP. 6 days of trekking. Trekking from Chitrey to Rimbik around 80 Km.
Access: New Jalpaiguri (NJP) is well connected by train from New Delhi and Kolkata. Nearest airport, Bagdogra, 10 Km from Siliguri. Connecting flights to New Delhi and Kolkata available. Drive to Chitrey, 100 Km from Siliguri/Bagdogra West Sikkim around 160km.
Highest Point: Sandakphu, ~ 3636 m/11930ft & Phalut, 3600m/11800ft
Seasons: Mid March to May and October to December
Further Options: From Phalut cross Singalila Pass in West Sikkim and descent to Barsey or Uttarey
Fixed Departure Dates: 19th March, 9th April 2016
Day 1: NJP to Chitrey by car – 100 Km – 4/5 hours
Pick up from NJP railway station in the morning by 10 am and drive to Maneybhanjang (1980m, 6500ft). Distance around 110 km and takes 6 hours. The road goes through the foothills of Eastern Himalaya (also called Dooars) and gradually gains the height. There are two roads of which one goes through the hill town of Mirik and the other by Ghoom. The last 2 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). Chitrey is a small hamlet with of handful houses and a solitary lodge. Night stay at Chitrey.
Day 2: Trek to Tonglu/Tumling – 9 Km – 6 hours
Our trek starts today. There is a motor able road to Sandakphu from Maneybhanjung and the distance is 33 Km. We start walking and after few turns on the table top meadow reach the tea stall at Lameydhura in an hour. Now the trail can be seen clearly till Meghma and while we slowly gain height. As the route often defines the border between India and Nepal so posting of Paramilitary camps of SSB (Sashastra Seema Bal) at all the major points are common. From Meghma the the road splits and we take the left one. The one in the right leads to the top of Tonglu and then by descending eventually joins at Tumling. After traversing for an hour and half we reach the destination Tumling (~ 2900m, 9500ft). Total distance is 9 Km and can take 5 hours. We stay for the night in tourist lodge.
Day 3: Trek to Kalapokhri - 12 Km – 6/7 hours
We start our walk on a level ground and reach the Check post of Singalila National Park in 45 minutes. From here we obtain the permit and get into the national park. Shortly after check post the road bifurcates. We leave the jeep road and take the left trail into Nepal. The terrain is wide spread and walking on the rolling trail we reach the Nepalese village of Joubari. From the village the main road leads to the eastern Nepal town of Ilam and we take a right turn and descend on the stoned trail. The trail far ahead is clearly visible from here and after an hour we descend to the Indian settlement called Gairibas. There is a Trekekrs Hut, SSB camp and a shop which serves tea and noodles. From here we trek to Kalapokhri and stay for the night. Total distance is 12 km and takes approx. 6 hours to cover.
Day 4: Trek to Sandakphu – 6 Km – 4 hours
We traverse the mountain ridge to reach Bhikeybhanjung in an hour. This portion of the trail is inside Nepal and Indian road joins here from the other side of the mountain. On the horizon we can see one ridge after another meeting the horizon. Silver fir and Pine tree dominate the treeline. After ascending for an hour and half we turn left and reach the top of the ridge Sandakphu (~ 3636m, 11930ft). The left side of the ridge is in Nepal and the right side in India. We stay for the night at Trekkers hut in the Indian side of the top.
Day 5: Sandakphu to Phalut – 21 Km – 8/9 hours
Today we wake up early. The wide panorama of Nepal, Sikkim and Bhutan ranges about 320 Km long is visible from left to right. Snowy mass of mountains looking like a gigantic wall mesmerise. Towering Kanchendzongha is straight ahead and marks the border between Sikkim and Nepal, along with Kabru, Pandim and Janu (Kumbhakarna) dominates the scene. Today’s walk surely makes entry in the list of finest ones in the Himalayas. The main trail from Sandakphu goes to the left towards Phalut and a secondary trail on the right descends to Rmbik via Gurdum and Srikhola. The 21 Km long trail runs along the ridge line while high mountains to the north and northwest. we pitch our camp or stay at Trekker's hut in Phalut.
Day 6: Trek to Gorkhey – 15 Km – 5 hours
We wake up before sunrise and climb to the top for 20 minutes. In the morning it can be cold and windy. Use windproof, gloves and balaclava. The views are simply breathtaking while the entire range is much closer. The shape of the Sleeping Buddha formation is surprisingly beautiful, Janu (Kumbhakarna) forming the head, Kanchendzongha the body and Pandim forms the toe. Everest group of peaks are a bonus! Today we descend 15 Km to Gorkhey (~ 2400m, 7900ft). This is picturesque small village with a stream flowing by side and borders with the northern part of West Sikkim. Private lodges and a Trekkers Hut are available for stay.
Day 7: Trek to Srikhola – 12 Km – 5 hours ( We may move to Rimbik, which is another 6 Km)
We start the day by climbing a small hill to reach another village called Samandin. From there our destination for the day is Srikhola (~ 1900m, 6200ft). Total distance is 15 Km and can take 5/6 hour.
Day 8: By car from Srikhola/Rimbik to NJP – 150 Km - 6/7 hours
9800 (INR) per person (Chitrey to Rimbik) + 4.5% Service Tax
The activity is weather based and depends on the weather conditions.There may be last minute cancellation if weather conditions deteriorate.
If you are a foodie (cmon, which one of us is not? hehe), making a cuisine tour in India is a must for you! When you think about India, I bet exotic is the first word that pops up in your head. Exotica is the very essence of this country with India being truly unique in every possible aspect: culture, traditions, lifestyle and, of course, cuisine! When it comes to traditional Indian food, it can be worth exciting and intimidating. Spices are a must in almost every dish but mind the quantity of them used in every of them. Sometimes a dish is seasoned with spices so generously, that you feel like capable of drinking the entire Indian Ocean. In this blog, we will cover some of the most popular cuisine tours in India that will not make your stomach turn :)