A well-loved hill station nestling peacefully in the eastern flank of the Himalayas, Darjeeling has been a tourist hotspot since the era of British Raj in India. Colonial style houses, libraries and public schools, heritage hotels such as the Windmare, charming old bakeries as the Glenary’s and Keventers, line the old hill town streets. Beyond the timelessness of old Darjeeling, you will find the majestic Himalayan snowline inked across the skies-- this is where you can find some of the best treks of the eastern Himalayan region. Pathways into the wild near Darjeeling will take you through the biodiversity rich Singalila National Park, up across the border with Nepal toward the famed summit of Sandakphu and Phalut, and into awe inspiring sunset visions from spots nearer to town, like Tiger Hill. Darjeeling treks and tours are easily accessible over a week’s long duration from Kolkata and Guwahati, as well as from the national capital of New Delhi. Choose a trek within this ambit for the love of the Himalayas and the eclectic culture of the Himalayan communities like the Gorkhas, Nepalese, and Bhutanese peoples, the wilderness of the foothills, and ambitious photo ops of the greatest peaks like Everest, Makalu, Lhotse, and more from a close range.
Darjeeling trekking routes hold several fascinations for the avid Himalayan trekker. Here is to name few--
On contacting a reputed Darjeeling trekking agency, the following are probably the treks you are going to hear of--
The Kanchenjunga vista is simply epic, looking on from the summit of Sandakphu. The cluster of Kanchenjunga massif and other peaks, imaginatively known as the ‘Sleeping Buddha’ is a dazzling presence on this trek. Going cross country along the India-Nepal border, this trek has distinctive characters in different seasons. Riotous with fuschia, pink, and reds in the spring-summer, and more mellowed out from October onwards, up until reaching the haze of winters, the Sandakphu trek route transforms through the year. Choose this trek for stunning sunrise and sunsets from Kalipokhri, the watchful glance of the eternal Kanchenjunga, and the warmth of trekking through Singalila forests.
Gorkhey to Srikhola Trek
A gorgeously scenic trek in the Darjeeling district, the Srikhola-Ramman-Gorkhey trek is a well sought itinerary from Darjeeling for a short, inexpensive trekking experience. You can also opt for this route when you are coming back from Darjeeling Sandakphu-Phalut trek. While tourists to Darjeeling often choose to drive to Gorkhey, covering a 4 km distance, you will enjoy the trek route better. On passing through busy but charming market settlements like Ramman, you can find plenty of local handicrafts like wickerwork wares and eclectic Nepalese-Bhutanese delicacies like Sel Roti and the mouthwatering Gorkhali Lamb at local restaurants. Trekking up to Gorkhey and Srikhola, it’s a different kind of heaven, composed of lush mountain sceneries, quaint streams, and pine forests nestling in thickening mist!
Singalila Ridge Trek
The Singalila Ridge Trek is a easy-moderate hike, making an elevation of 3,636m. The ridge connects the Himalayas of India with that of Nepal and offers jaw dropping peak views on both side of the border. This trip combines two of the best Darjeeling trekking places- Sandakphu and Phalut, both out of the world view points to find Mt. Everest, Kanchenjunga, Lhotse, and Makalu in all their glory. Every day of the trek, teahouse accommodations with local families are provided for you to know the local lifestyle. Take this trek in spring for flowers and in autumn for crystal peak views. As for the rest of the mesmerizing visuals-- keep your camera on ready for countless Himalayan species of birds in the national park, agricultural fields of the local peoples, and alpine ridges barren of vegetation.
Rohini is a beautiful hill station with a carpeting of beautiful tea gardens all around. Located at only 25 km from Siliguri, this lakeside idyll is attractive for those visiting Darjeeling for a brief trip. Besides getting green views of the surrounding lower Himalayan slopes from Rohini hilltop, you can also try soothing treks in the surrounding forests of Lamba Gomba. This region is known for old Teak plantations and the lovely Balason river ata 15 km drive from here. Day hikes in the region covering Dudhia on the banks of Balason and Bamanpokhari are real treasures!
The summer months of March and April are the best time to visit Darjeeling Sandakphu trek and other treks in the region. Around these summer months, the temperature remains around 15 degrees and slightly lower in the night time, which is overall bearable and pleasant. You will find splendid views with rhododendron, magnolia, primula, and various orchids blooming all over the mountains during this time.
October-November is the other seasonal period when visit around Darjeeling is cherished. Crystal clear, shining peak views during this mid winter time will make your treks worth all the effort!
By Air: The nearest domestic airport to Darjeeling is Bagdogra, while the closest international airport is in Kolkata. You can avail public transport or reserved cars from Bagdogra airport to Darjeeling city.
By Rail: The rail head nearest to Darjeeling is Siliguri, West Bengal. You can take direct buses and shred jeeps to Darjeeling from Siliguri, and on to treks from there onwards.