Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Sandakhphur Trek

01-10-2010: We, the 8 members of our team started from Kolkata terminus by Kolkata Guwahati Garib Rath Express via New Jalpaiguri (NJP) at 21:40.

02-04-2010: We reached NJP station at around 08:00. Then we took a car to Maneybhanjang (2096 m). Our summit, Sandakphu (3636 m) [from ‘Santaphur’ = dwelling place of a saint], the highest point of West Bengal was 31 km from there. We had lunch there and after doing the necessary work there, we started our trek. The first day trek was short. Its was 3 km to Chitray. We got to see hailstorm. And for the first time we used ‘toka’ (a plastic to cover ourselves and our sack, used by the locals and the trekkers). We reached there in around 2 hrs. On our way we saw several ‘Gompas’ (the sacred burial of the Buddhists). That night we stayed at Chitray trekkers’ hut.

03-04-2010: Our next destination was Tumling (2980 m). It was a 9 km trek from Chitray. We walked through portions of Nepal. The mid halts were Lamaydhura (approx 3 km from Chitray) and Meghma (about 5 km from Chitray). From Meghma (2900 m), the right-side road goes towards Tonglu (3070 m) and the left one to Tumling. We completed that day’s trek in around 5 hrs. We stayed at Shikhar Lodge at Tumling. That day we had the first glimpse of the Sleeping Buddha Range [Kanchendzonga (8598 m), Kabru North (7338 m), Kabru South (7317 m), Kabru Dome (6600 m), Mt. Pandim (6619 m) etc.]. The view was simply awesome. We were spellbound to see the magnificent lofty mountains after so many months.

04-04-2010: Today’s destination was Kalapokhri (3186 m). It was a 14 km trek from Tumling. A mid halt was Gairibas (2625 m), around 3 km from Tumling from where we had to take our Inner Line Permit to go through the Singalila National Park. We took the route other than Jaubari. Then we halted at Kaiyakatta. We reached Kalapokhri in around 7 hrs. That night we stayed at Mt. Pandim Lodge in Kalapokhri. It was my 18th birthday too and I was too excited about it! I even got some surprises from friends around me!

05-04-2010: Today the destination was our summit, Sandakphu situated in the Singalila Range. It was 7 km from Kalapokhri. We trekked downhill till Bikheybhanjang (3293 m) [from ‘Bikh’ = poison], 3 km from Kalapokhri. Then it was 4 km uphill to Sandakphu. We finished that day’s trek in around 4 hrs. We stayed in a trekkers’ hut.

06-04-2010: According to our plan today’s destination should have been Phalut (3600 m), 24 km from Sandakphu. But due to some members’ physical condition it was not possible for us to pursue that route. So we came down to Gurdum (2910 m), 12 km from Sandakphu. It took around 4 hrs to reach. We stayed at the Gurdum trekkers’ hut. And today morning we also saw a bit of Mt. Everest (8848 m) alongwith the Sleeping Buddha Range from Sandakphu.

07-04-2010: We trekked to Shrikhola (2621 m) [‘khola’ = river], around 6 km from Gurdum. It took us around 3 hrs to reach there. The place was a meeting point of two rivers and it was a complete beauty. In the evening we had the Feedback Session with our Team Captain because it was the last day of our trek. There we stayed at a lodge that night.

08-04-2010: We trekked to Seppi, 2 km from Shrikhola in around 1 hr and took a car to Darjeeling (2134 m) [58 km from Sandakphu] via Rimbick (2286 m), Maneybhanjang, Sukhia Pokhri, Ghum etc. We had our lunch with ‘thukpa’ (noodles with soup), momo and local noodles at Sukhia Pokhri. That evening we roamed about in the Darjeeling Mall and places around it and our hotel; and were busy gathering souvenirs from the trip!

09-04-2010: Today we walked down to see the Darjeeling Zoo (Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park) and the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (HMI). The zoo was pretty good. But I was awestruck to see the HMI. It was just awesome. I just loved the Mt. Everest Museum. It left me spellbound. One day I also dream of doing the Mt. Everest summit and I’m dying to do the mountaineering courses in HMI. I just bid goodbye to HMI hoping that I’ll be back soon! That afternoon after our lunch we took a car to Siliguri. Mid way we halted for tea and our last momo. We reached Siliguri in the evening. We roamed about in the Hong-Kong market of Siliguri and then took an auto to NJP station. We took our dinner from the station itself and boarded the NJP Digha Paharia Express to Howrah at around 21:00.

10-04-2010: We reached Howrah at around 07:30.

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