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Sandakphu Trek

A popular trekking option in the Himalayas of India’s north-east, Sandakphu offers a soul-stirring view of some of the world’s tallest peaks brought up in a singular grand frame! Mt. Everest, Makalu, Kanchenjunga, and Lhotse grace the skies as we go through diverse colorful mountain topographies on this journey. In the summer sweetness, you are going to find a riot of redness in these corners, in addition to giant magnolias, spruces, and a variety of orchids vibrantly blooming and setting the trails aglow. The Sandakphu mountain summit is the highest in the state of West Bengal, forming a part of the Singalila Range. Much of this trek takes place on the trails of the Singalila National Park, famous for its wildlife. Another wildlife attraction here are the pangolins, keep your fingers crossed so that you are fortunate to spot some! Birders too might want to keep their lenses and bird spotting instincts ready, for there is nothing more enchanting a vision to find endemic Himalayan birds in the midst of nature here. Though in recent times, much of the way up to Sandakphu has been covered with motorable road, the unique charm of this trek doesn’t seem to grow old for die-hard Himalaya lovers.

What Is Sandakphu Trek?

An iconic trek set in the backdrop of the enchanting Kanchenjunga cluster in most parts, this trip offers a momentous panorama of some of the world’s highest peaks assembled all together in magnificent frames. Sandakphu is greatly sought among mountain aficionados as much as for the stunning snow peak panoramas as for the loveliness of nature. Varied avifauna, trails through one of India’s most biodiversity-rich national parks- the Singalila National Park, the seat of Buddhist culture, and a cross-country experience of zigzagging across the Indo-Nepal border richen this trek experience. Famously called ‘The Sleeping Buddha’, the Kanchenjunga massif with other peaks flanked to its two sides rises brilliantly over the scene. If you consider yourself sufficiently mountain savvy, identify Mt. Kumbhakarna, Rathong, Frey, Kabru South, Kabru North, Simvo, Mt. Pandim, Tenzing Khang, Japan, and Narsing in the picture-perfect sunrise view of the Sleeping Buddha from Sandakphu summit. This trek is a big hit especially in the summer around April for the blushing red and pink sprinkled woods of rhododendrons. Look out carefully, for the elusive red panda can be camouflaging in the thickets!

Why Should You Go For Sandakphu Trek?

  • An extravaganza of nature’s pristine riches - from coniferous jungles home to endemic avifauna, rhododendron, and magnolia blooming in abundance in the summers, empty meadow highs overlooking the grand mountain peaks, and high altitude lakes.
  • A cross-country experience, crossing across the Indo-Nepalese border time and again and finding shelter with different ethnic communities.
  • Spotting the highest of Himalayan magnificence-- Makalu, Lhotse, Everest, Nuptse, Baruntse, Chamling, Chomolonzo, Machhapuchhre, and peaks of the Annapurna Range extending to the west. On a clear day you can also spot the Three Sister peaks towering towards the north and to the east, the tallest peaks of Bhutan, among which Chomolhari is the highest.
  • Staying at exquisite Nepalese settlements like Sabagram and Gorkhey in the warm hospitality of the Nepalese Buddhist spiritual communities.
  • The great accomplishment of summiting the heights of Sandakphu-- the highest altitude in the state of West Bengal and a real Himalayan peak climb by all means!
  • A number of nondescript Buddhist prayer shrines, including the Kalipokhri Lake surrounded with holy flags wafting in the wind bringing good omens.
  • Tea house accommodation and great tasting healthy local food every day of the trek to keep you nourished and energy running high!

How High Is the Sandakphu Trek?

At the maximum, the Sandakphu trek takes to a height of 11,926 ft. upon reaching the summit of the Sandakphu Mountain located in the Darjeeling district of West Bengal, the highest in the state and one of primary prominence in the Singalila Range.

When to Visit?

The most popular season of visitation in the entire Singalila Mountains is in the summers, during the months of March and April when the weather is pleasant, with the temperatures hovering around 15-degree centigrade. If you are a snow lover, target the Sandakphu Trek post-January, prepared with appropriately layered clothing.

How to Reach?

By Air: Bagdogra Airport, at 15 mins driving time away from Siliguri is the airport nearest to Sandakphu Trek basecamp, well connected to Mumbai and Delhi among many other cities.
By Rail: New Jalpaiguri Railway Station (NJP) is located 8 km away from Siliguri, and enjoys fairly good connectivity with most major cities and towns of India.
By Road: There are different points of connecting to Siliguri by road transport and accessible by West Bengal State Road Transport Corporation buses as well as some private travel services.

Are There Any Shops Available On the Sandakphu Trek?
You can find shops and utility stores throughout the trek as this route happens to be fairly enjoying commercial tourism.

What to Pack for Sandakphu Trek?

  • Large or medium size backpack, and a duffle side bag for extras
  • Water bottle
  • Sun hat
  • Warm cap
  • Base layers
  • Fleece jacket
  • Outer jacket
  • Rain jacket (essential for the monsoon months)
  • Sturdy trekking shoes and a pair of floaters
  • Flashlight
  • Trekking pants, several pairs
  • UV-protection glasses
  • Thermal socks

Is There Any Possibility Of Altitude Sickness?

Altitude Sickness is not very common on the Sandakphu Trek, though adequate attention to fitness and health during and prior to the trek is required. If you are apprehensive of coming under the weather at high altitudes, take medical consultation and go on a course of acetazolamide medicines.

How Busy Is the Sandakphu Trek?

Expect the Sandakphu Trek to be moderately trafficked especially during the summer and autumn months.