It was a very impromptu decision for me to do this. I was just a beginner in this field of Trekking. Started it just 2 months back and has experience of 2 treks in and around Pune. When I heard of this “Himalayan Trek event”… feels like a long cherished dream of adventure is coming true and I was like “yes… I wanna do it”. Googled about the trek..route, weather conditions, basic trekking requirement etc.etc. Asked few queries to the organizer and finally registered for the event. I had a very sound sleep that night but tomorrow has something else for me. An email from organizer with a long list of hiking stuff to buy and few fitness exercises. The best part in all this was; I had only 20 days with me for doing all this. I started with exercise regimen of a brisk walk, jog, running miles n miles, squats, planks, Surya Namaskar, breathing techniques and what not. Shopping was a big task.. decathlon came for rescue.
The Day arrived when we were going to start our journey of the much awaited Himalayan trek. Everyone reached airport before time. We, a team of 11 people..few of them were experienced trekkers, few beginners like me, boarded flight. We had a flight from Pune->Delhi->Bagdogra. The weather changed drastically from Pune to Bagdogra. Cold breeze welcomed us at Bagdogra airport. We picked up our backpacks and started the dream journey for SandakPhu.
SandakPhu is a wonderland for the trekkers. Situated at (3,636 meters; 11,929 ft) is the highest peak in the state of West Bengal. It is the highest point of the Singalila Ridge in Darjeeling District. The peak is located at the edge of the Singalila National Park. SandakPhu is the only trek where you can see 4 of the highest peaks of the world – Mount Everest, Makalu, Kanchenjunga, Lhotse. Along with that, one can witness many other peaks of Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan in one single stretch of snow. Where you will get to see such a beauty.
SandakPhu – ‘Height of the Poison Plant’, a direct reference to the poisonous plants that grow near the peak.
Sandakphu can be reached in two different ways, either By Road or By Trekking. We chose to trek. The trek starts from ManeyBhunjung -> Chitre-> Megma -> Tonglu -> Tumling -> Gairbas -> Kala pokhari -> Bekay Bhanjung -> SandakPhu
We reached ManeyBhanjung, a small village located at an altitude of 7,054ft (see map: located in the middle on the left side). This is the place from where SandakPhu trek begins.
By the time we reached there, it was all dark and chilled. We got a warm welcome by our trek organizers with Tibetan stole which had inscribed prayers on it. Most of the hotels there give you feeling of staying in Home. We rushed to enter the hotel as everyone was shivering. Hotel was decorated with Christmas tree and we heard someone saying “It’s a Christmas Eve”. Somehow we managed to settle down on the chilling sofa sipping on Hot Cup of Black tea. Rooms got allotted to us. Nice cozy wooden rooms gave us the much-needed warmth. Everyone was hungry and tired after a day long journey. We couldn’t resist our hunger streak and ended up finishing all the food. Aloo-mutter-gobi tasted so yum that day; we relished on Hot tomato soup and dal-rice. After dinner, we had a nice walk on the streets just to get acclimatize ourselves with the weather before starting the trek early next morning. The day ended with instructions for next day.
From ManeyBhanjung, the distance up to SandakPhu is 32 km which we had planned to cover in 3 days. Everyone was excited and ready to start the journey.
Note: I will publish the entire journey as a part of series. So Stay tuned.