MYSTIC MOUNTAINS, THRILLING TRAILS
This is a must-do, bucket-list trek that offers the most stupendous and celestial view of Kanchenjunga (8,586m), the world’s third highest mountain as it forms ‘The Sleeping Buddha’, revered by locals; The profile of a man’s head on the left and towards the centre, his folded hands on this chest.
From Delhi we fly to Bagdogra and drive into the hills to Darjeeling, a hilly town famous for its tea and its ‘toy train’ as the narrow gauge railway is called. A two-night stay gives us an opportunity to enjoy the local sights before we drive to the trail head at Dhotrey. Gradually, we ascend past the dramatic landscapes of Singalila Ridge. Trekking high above the valleys through forests of rhododendron and magnolia, we are treated to a spectacular Himalayan panorama at Sandakphu (3,636m), the highest trek; point where Kanchenjunga (8,586m) awaits. Further ahead, lay three more of the world’s five highest mountains: Everest (8,848m), Lhotse (8,512m) and Makalu (8,462m). We pass through friendly villages, experiencing the life and culture of local people, following ancient paths on this beautiful circular trek. Descending through Samaden and Rimbick, large Sherpa settlements, we travel by road to Kalimpong and its bustling bazars where our trek ends.
- The only Indian trail that offers clear views of Everest, Kanchenjunga, Makalu and Lhotse
- Darjeeling – known for its tea gardens and the narrow gauge railway
- Rimbick and Ramam- popular descents from Singalila
- Sandakphu – the highest point on the Singalila Ridge
- Tonglu – one of the peaks with great scenic beauty
- Kalimpong – a hill station in the Mahabharata Range
Day 2Fly to Bagdogra and drive to Darjeeling
Delhi - Bagdogra
Today, we will be transferred to the airport for boarding our flight to Bagdogra.
Bagdogra - Darjeeling
Upon arrival at Bagdogra, we drive through jungles, tea estates and pleasant hillside villages to beautiful Darjeeling experiencing a drastic change from hot and humid Delhi to this serene and cool town. The road winds its way up into the hills through Kurseong(1,458m), a village whose name comes from the Lepcha word for a small white orchid that grows prolifically in this area. Surrounded by tea estates it is the southern terminus for the steam-powered trains of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway. The final 32km stretch of our route follows the tracks of the famous Toy Train, once the normal mode of transport to the famous hill station. We arrive in Darjeeling and check into the hotel. The rest of the day is free to explore.
Day 3Exploration of Darjeeling
After the breakfast, we take a sightseeing tour of some of the attractions in and around Darjeeling. We visit the Ghum Monastery that boasts of a large gilded statue of the Maitreya Buddha. Also on the itinerary is a visit to the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (HMI) which has a superb collection of memorabilia from the early days of Everest exploration. Next door to the HMI is the Darjeeling Zoo, where the star attractions are red pandas and snow leopards. Later we visit the Tibetan Refugee Center where local handicrafts are available at good prices. In the evening, we have free time to explore Darjeeling’s many colourful bazaars.
Day 4Drive to Dhotrey and trek to Tonglu
Darjeeling - Dhotrey
In the morning, we drive to Dhotrey, the starting point of our trek on the Singalila Ridge.
Dhotrey - Tonglu
Dhotrey is a picturesque village from where while following a wide trail through rhododendron forests and meadows with great views all along the way of Kanchenjunga we get to meet the villagers along the trail. Continuing our trek towards the crest of the ridge, we arrive at a small but spectacular settlement of Tonglu(3,036 m) that overlooks the Singalila Ridge and the Kangchenjunga.
Duration of Trek: 3 Hrs
Distance: 5 Kms
Day 5Trek to Kalipokhri (3186m)
Tonglu - Kalipokhri
After the breakfast, we leave Tonglu on an easy, broad track down to Tumling. Continuing with a leisurely descent we cross into Nepal and the picturesque village of Jaubari. We follow the ridge line where views across both India and Nepal are astounding. We continue descending to the village of Gairibas at 2,538m from where we start to climb gently to Kanya Katta and further on to Kalipokhri. We are walking relatively short days just to acclimatize before moving up to Sandakphu.
Duration of Trek: 6 Hrs
Distance: 15 Kms
Day 6Trek to Sandakhphu (3636m)
Kalipokhri - Sandakphu
Today we begin with a long climb up on to the Singalila Ridge. As we leave the camp we can guess the distance, we have to walk for the day. We start with a gradual ascent to Bikhebhanjyang, progressing through forests of rhododendron and magnolia with some chance to spot a good variety of birds. From here the trail climbs steadily up to Sandakphu, the highest point of our trek. The views from here are truly amazing - the towering slopes of Kanchenjunga lie ahead, Everest, Lhotse and Makalu come into view. The rest of the day is free to explore further viewing points and adjust to the thinner air and cooler temperature.
Duration of Trek: 3-4 Hrs
Distance: 6 Kms
Day 7Trek to Sabargam (3425m)
Sandakphu - Sabargam
Today we have a short day on this most spectacular section of the Singalila Ridge, the border between Nepal and India. We walk alternatively between the two countries for a long distance. The trail undulates following the ridge through forests of chestnut, oak and silver fir, with commanding panoramic views of the snow-capped Himalaya, all day. Tonight we have a spectacular wild camp at Sabargam from where the views of sunset and sunrise over Kanchenjunga, Everest, Lhotse and Makalu are truly stupendous. In the evening, we enjoy the views and take in the scenery.
Duration of Trek: 6 Hrs
Distance: 17 Kms
Day 8Trek to Samaden (2480m)
Sabargam - Samaden
In the morning, we start early as it is a longer day today. We trek to the end of the ridge at Phalut (3,600m) from where continue to trek northwards to a high point at the prayer-flagged summit known as Singalila Peak (3,695m). From here, after enjoying great views of Kangchenjunga we can sight the Sikkim border that meets the ridge at Chiwabhanjang. Here we retrace our steps to Phalut and continue descending to Samaden. The trail is glorious and takes us through forests of oak, conifers, pine and rhododendrons. Tonight we camp in the beautiful village of Samaden (2,480m), a small village with excellent views.
Duration of Trek: 7 Hrs
Distance: 14 Kms
Day 9Trek to Rimbick (2286m)
Samaden - Rimbick
Today is the last day of our trek. The trail winds through some of the small settlements of Rais, Sherpas and Tamangs. We pass through rich farmland to the village of Ramman and then descend to Srikhola after which we cross a suspension bridge. We continue further through more villages to Rimbick (2,286m), a large Sherpa village set amongst the forest landscapes of the Singalila National Park. Most of the walk today is downhill and ends at the large village of Rimbick.
Duration of Trek: 6 Hrs
Distance: 16 Kms
Day 10Drive to Kalimpong
Rimbick - Kalimpong
In the morning, we bid adieu to our trek staff and depart for the long drive to Kalimpong. We leave Sikkim at Rangpo and drive through the wild Teesta Valley. Kalimpong was once an important trading centre, strategically located at crossroads among Sikkim, Bhutan, Tibet and the plains of Bengal. One of the principal commercial enterprises of the town today is flower cultivation in extensive nurseries. Upon arrival, here we visit the most important Hindu Temple.
Day 11Sightseeing of Kalimpong
Today is a free day to explore Kalimpong. The day begins with a sunrise view of Kangchenjunga (on a clear day). In the morning, we have a short sightseeing trip that includes visits to Durpin Monastery, a paper factory, flower/cactus nurseries and an intriguing Catholic church built in the style of a Tibetan Monastery. The afternoon is free to relax at the hotel with an option to explore the bustling bazaar in the evening.
Day 12Drive to Bagdogra and Fly to Delhi
Kalimpong - Bagdogra
After the breakfast, we drive to Bagdogra and then transfer to the airport to catch our flight to Delhi.
Bagdogra - Delhi
Upon arrival in Bangalore, we will be transferred to the hotel for check-in. Officially known as Bengaluru this city is the capital of Karnataka. With a population of about 8.42 million this city is known for its pleasant climate throughout the year. Its elevation is the highest among the major large cities of India. Bangalore is known as the ‘Silicon Valley of India’ because of its role as the nation's leading information technology (IT) exporter. It is also home to a large number of prominent Indian and multinational institutions apart from being the house of Kannada Film Industry.