Sandakphu is a wonderland for the trekkers. It's located at an altitude of 11,929ft (i.e. 3,636 meters) in Darjeeling district and on the north west of Darjeeling hill town. This is the summit or the highest point in Singalila range, and is also the highest peak in the state of West Bengal, India. The trek to Sandakphu goes all along the Singalila range.
So, why do you think the trekkers from all over the world are so fanatic about Sandakphu and Singalila trek?
The answer is simple. Where else can you see four of the five highest peaks of the world including Mt. Everest (8848m), Makalu(8481m), Kanchenjunga(8586m), and Lhotse(8516m), along with many other peaks of Nepal, Sikkim, Tibet and Bhutan in one single stretch of snow?
Yes, this is what you get to see when you stand on summit of Sandakphu.
The streets of Darjeeling are the old imperial style. Roaming around over there is a must before starting the trek.
The kids are really adorable and cute. If you just go and watch them play they will ask you to play with them and then they won't leave you until you have completed the game. I'm telling you it is not easy. :P
The trek to the top is not that tough but the main challenge is the cold. If you're not used to the cold weather it's going to be a nightmare for you. I got many nicknames on the trip from my friends and one of them was 'Pleasure Machine' because I was shivering almost all the time.
The first camp was at a place called Tumling. The people in the left are in India and the right is Nepal. India-Nepal border is one of the most peaceful borders without much military tension.
A small band of people run the village of Tumling. Other than tea and biscuits, she can also offer noodles (like Maggi) just in case you like to have a simple lunch. The coffee in all these regions is the best you will ever have. Unmatched.
Morning 6am I heard a guy shouting and calling everyone outside to see this. Not disappointed that he broke my sleep. Waking up to this sunrise.
Some mountain people have really different personalities. This person had the perfect music taste, a small stall, a TV, some great posters. His room was just complete.
After 3 days of ardent trekking and playing across the border you finally reach the summit of Mount Sandakphu. As always, the final rewards are worthy. All your strains will simply disappear as you see the board saying "Welcome to Sandakphu".You are at an altitude of 11929ft, on the summit of Singalila range at the paradise of trekking.
Sandakphu is the place from where you get a 180 degree panoramic vista of some of the highest and most beautiful peaks of the world, right from Nepal all the way up to Arunachal. Some of the greatest peaks include the Mt Everest, Makalu, Kanchenjunga, Lhotse, Chomolhari, Pandim, Three Sisters, Kumbhakarna etc. You can just sit all day over there watching them. When you see the sunset and all the different colors you wouldn't wanna go back!
Our guide was named Sunil Rai. He told me not to call him 'guide', instead call him 'High Altitude Friend'. Sunil claims that people just come there, trek with him and then forget the,. He got so emotional and eventually reavealed all his sorrow on the last day. In the middle of the trek he used to turn back around and scream "Ae Bimalll! ", Bimal was the other high altitude friend we had. After a point whenever Sunil turned back all of us screamed "Ae Bimall! " along with him. One thing I made sure that day is I wont lose contact with people easily. be it long lost friends or your high altitude friend.
If you want to be a avid traveler you should always talk to the locals and respect the, and never lose contact with the friends you make.
Top 7 Sandakphu moments:
1. Playing with the small kids of Darjeeling for 2 hours.
2. Roaming around the Indo-Nepal border like you are in a garden.
3. Having the homemade Himalyan coffee. Believe me it is the most complete coffee you will ever have.
4. Watching the most amazing peaks of the Himalaya from one spot.
5. The most mesmerizing conversation with my high altitude friend.
6. Screaming 'Ae Bimal!' and hear it echo in the valleys.
7. Listening to Stairway To Heaven after complete the trek. (I made a pact with a friend and decided that we'd save the best song for the last & when we listened to it after the trek, we reached heaven.)