Nestled in a remote forest at the Himalayan foothills of West Bengal, Mulkarkha Lake is an almost untouched place that you must visit. The first base of the trek is a town called Rhenock which is located at an approximate distance of 130km from New Jalpaiguri (NJP). One can reach via train and from there, hail easily available cabs to Rhenock. From Rhenock, you can reach the trail head at Lingzey Village by a motorable road. Plan to stay here the night.
DIY or not?
This is an easy trek that you can do by yourself. However, it would be best if you could take a local guide along. The good news is that there are numerous homestays and lodges that you can opt for at every pit-stop of the trek. Hence, you need not carry tents and cooking equipment with yourself.
In case you’re a beginner and unsure about going for treks by yourself, there are a few trekking companies that organise treks to the lake. Here is one company that can take you here.
Weekend Destinations: Offers 3 types of packages that are all inclusive of transport, accommodation, meals and a guide. You can choose a suitable package depending upon the number of days you can spare for the trek.
Package 1: 5 nights and 6 days
Package 2: 4 nights and 3 days
Package 3: 3 nights and 2 days
If you’re doing the trek by yourself, expect an expenditure of about ₹800-1200 per day (exclusive of transport flight/train/bus tickets to Lingzey and back home).
When to do it:
The ideal months for this trek are October- December. By this time, monsoon ends, the mountains are laden in greenery and skies are clear. This makes the conditions for trekking comfortable and you catch a crystal-clear reflection of Kanchendzonga!
This is typically 3-4 day trek that begins in Lingzey Village and then goes on to Jhusing. A route that takes you through forests, waterfalls and canyons, the trek to Malkarka is extremely rewarding. Lined with monasteries and old temples, from Jhusing you trek on a steep incline onward to Tagathan Village and then Malkarkha. This is the last pit stop before you head to Malkharka Lake the next day.
This is the route you follow:
Rhenock — Lingsey — Jhusing — Tagathan Village — Mulkarkha — Mulkarkha Lake
After you reach New Jalpaiguri or Bagdogra, travel to Rhenock and head to Linsgsey. Once you reach Lingsey (4800 ft.), you can spend some time exploring around here. A few places of interest here are Hareshwar Shivalaya Mandir , Lepcha Monastry and Dawaipani, a hot water sulphur-rich spring. You can then head to Jhusing, located 5km away from Lingsey, and stay the night at one of the many homestays here.
Alternatively, you can stay at a homestay in Lingsey the first night and then trek to Jhusing the next morning. This is a 4 -trek.
From Jhusing, you trek to Mulkarkha via Tagathan Village (6,000ft,). The route from Jhusing will pass through a forest, taking you through a majestic waterfall, Servang Falls Walk along thick forests, with the Kanchendzonga playing peek-a-boo throughout the way. Follow the river that the waterfall creates and it’ll take you to a canyon. Beyond this canyon, a 2km steep, narrow trail will take you to Tagathan Village.
Have lunch at Tagathan Village and then head to Malkarkha. Located 3km away from the village, a steeper path will take you to Malkarkha. Here you rest for the day and head for the final destination, Malkarkha Lake at 7,300ft.
Today, you leave early morning from your homestay, to see the enchanting Malkarkha lake. The route to the lake is adorned with colourful prayer flags and the lake is a sight to behold. As you approach the lake you’ll see Mt. Kanvhendzonga flanked in its backdrop, and its reflection in the lake making it a once-in-a-lifetime vision.