It is said that trekking in India originated in Darjeeling. These date as far as eighty years ago, pioneered by Jesuit Rev.Fr Macdonald. Darjeeling has perhaps one of the most spectacular treks to offer, along the beauty of its magnificent hills. The 'Singalila Trek' as popularly known, enables one to discover the passion of the Himalayan region some of which is unmarred by humans.
There are basically two trekking seasons in Darjeeling. Generally the first one begins in the middle of March and closes around first week of June. One has to be prepared for an occasional shower, which is very refreshing. The flowers in bloom compensate the summer haze. The second season begins around last week of September and goes on till December. The view during this period is excellent but it is quite cold and one may expect snowfall in certain regions.
As the trekking area ranges from 1000m to 4000m one has to carry clothes suitable for low tropical area to high mountain ranges like light woollen cloths i.e. sweater , Tee-shirts, shorts or comfortable pants to heavy pull-over, wind cheater, woollen cap, gloves etc. A raincoat is a must as the weather in the higher altitudes is difficult to predict.
Though one can find trekkers hut for food every 15 km or so, one is advisable to carry light snacks, such as biscuits, nuts, raisins, chocolates etc and mineral water as there are some places where water and food are not available.
A comfortable pair of shoes, i.e. a Sports shoe or Hunter boots is advisable and should be durable.
These can be very expensive but the D.G.H.C Adventure tourism, below the railway station can make arrangements for the trekkers. Though there are trekkers' hut which provide bed, quilts, food etc. some who want to stay on their own require equipments like tents, sleeping bags, foam mattresses, air pillows etc. Carrying one's own sleeping bag and foam mattress is advisable, as during peak season one may not get a bed in the hut.
DAY 1- (11km), Darjeeling to Maneybhanjyang to Tonglu -
Early morning one has to drive from Darjeeling to Manebhanjyang (one and half hours by bus) or by shared jeeps (45 minutes). From Manebhangyang one starts to trek to Tonglu (3070m) which provides a breathtaking view of the mountains, Mt.Kanchenjunga and its neighbouring peaks. We also get a lonely view of Darjeeling, Kurseong dotting in the green hills.
DAY 2 - (20km),Tonglu to Sandakphu -
This trek leads through the forest. There are two ways to reach Gairibass the first one is the jeep able road a bit longer and the second one is the more commonly used one i.e. through Jobber, a small village inside Nepal (no visa required). One can stop in Gairibass for a while, as the steep climb begins towards Kalpokhri. Kalpokhri as the name suggests is a dark lake. Here one can have lunch. We have another steep climb of two and a half km and a walk downhill for one and a half km to Bikheybhangyang (10,200ft), meaning a place with poison plant. From here the trek to Sandakphu is the most challenging in terms of steepness. It really tests your physical cum mental strength. The climb is through Rhododendrar and Magnolia forest. As one reaches the highest part of the trek, Sandakphu (3535m or 12,000ft) one encounters the nature's pristine glory at its magnificent best. From here one can view four of the world's highest mountain Everest, Mahakalu, Lhotse and Kanchenjunga.
One has to carry pack lunch from Sandakphu as there are no places to eat in-between. While trekking one may come across many pathways, one should avoid taking the one which leads to the left as we may be inside Nepal and be wasting precious time.
DAY 3 - (21km) Sandakphu to Phalut -
The walk is relatively easier trek-wise and the distance to be covered is 21km. In terms of scenic beauty it is the most fascinating with view of the snow-clad mountains and Rhododendrar of different trees, Magnolias, chestnuts, oaks and silver oaks. The final stretch is almost barren, that's why Phalut gets its name, the denuded peak. Phalut is the trijunction of Nepal, Sikkim and West-Bengal.
DAY 4: (14km) Phalut to Ramam -
This trek is through rugged terrain to Gorkhey and Samarden better known as the lost village as it is a fertile village which stands at a plateau in the middle of dense forest. Another 2 km from Samarden brings one to Rammam.
NOTE:The trekkers hut comes earlier than the village, though there is a small hotel in Rammam.
DAY 5 - (19km) Rammam to Rimbick -
The first 9km is through level path through forest of flowering trees. This stretch is well known for birds. One can relax and have lunch at a place called Sri Khola, by the riverside.From this point the road runs uphill at a gentle gradient through forest and fields till one reaches a small village called Rimbick. One can have a nice hot water bath and relax here.
Day 6 -Rimbick to Darjeeling -
One can catch early morning bus (6hrs) or jeep (4-1/2 hrs) drive to Darjeeling.There is a most suited trek itinerary but if one has fewer days then alteration can be made. For those who are too old or have difficulty trekking, they can do what we call a jeep trek. Jeep trek is nothing but taking people by vehicles (4-wheel drive) to Sandakphu and returning the next day.
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