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Sandakphu, India: Exploring Paradise on Earth
The incredible view of the snow-capped peaks and the lofty green valleys all around make Sandakphu one of the most sought after tourist destination of West Bengal, India. The highest point of the state is more popular among adventure lovers. Though you can reach the place by car, the best way to explore the place is to depend on your feet. Sandakphu trek can be a rewarding experience and it is an easy trek that even beginners can attempt.
Your starting point will be a small hill town called Manebhanjan. You can come to this place by car either from NJP (if you come by rail) or from Bagdogra (if you come by flight). Coming to this small town will give you an essence of the simple lifestyle of the local people. Though not a popular tourist destination in itself, this small place can take you far away from the din and bustle of the city.
You can start your trek from Manebhanjan. You can hire a guide and porter from here. On your way to Tumling, your next destination you will come across places like Chitrey and Meghma. The name Meghma is aptly given. As soon as you reach here you will be spellbound to see the cloud kingdom in front of you. Take a walk in the cloud and pay a visit to the local monastery before you move on.
You can stay in any of the trekker’s hut in Tumling. The local people are friendly and you can expect comfortable accommodation in their houses (the trekker’s huts are nothing but a part of the house used to offer accommodation to guests).
The next day you should start early to reach your next destination Kalipokhri. It is a 12 km journey but you will not fill bored or tired for a single moment. You can halt at places like Jaubari and Gairibas. Nature around is so beautiful that you will not even realize when you have reached your destination. Kalipokhri is believed to be a sacred lake. It is said that all your wishes will be granted if you pray for them from the bottom of your heart standing in front of the lake.
Enjoy your stay at Kalipokhri. If you reach the place in the evening, you can explore the surroundings in the morning. It is not necessary to start your trek early the next day because your final destination Sandakphu is only 6 km away. But yes, the road is steep. You can stop and enjoy momo at a local shop of Bkbhanjan and set for your journey.
As soon as you reach Sandakphu, you will realize that it was worth your effort. It is not an exaggeration to call this place ‘Paradise on Earth’. With the scenic peaks all around Sandakphu is breathtakingly beautiful. Several peaks including 3 sisters, Everest, Makalu, Pandim can be seen from this place and not miss out on the most gorgeous of all Mt. Kanchenjunga. Just sit in front of your trekker’s hut and watch the majestic peaks and you won’t realize how time has passed.
If you have time in hand you can stay here for a few days or explore another picturesque destination Phalut. For those who don’t have much time, descending the next day will be a wise decision. Your next destination will be Gurdum, a small village in the lap of the Himalayas. Coming down through the dense forest will be a thrilling experience. Stay in the house of a local at Gurdum to get a flavor of their lifestyle. The next day you can set for your final destination Rimbik, via another beautiful place called Srikhola. The meandering river, the greenwood, and the colorful small huts make the place look stunning. You would hate to leave this place.
You can stay at Rimbik for a day or hire a car to reach NJP or Bagdogra the same day.