Dhotrey - Tumling (7 km)
We left Darjeeling early in the morning by 7 to Dhotrey, which is a small Himalayan village located within the buffer zone of Singalila National Park, It was a 30 km drive with Altitude of 6,700 ft at Darjeeling to 8,500 ft at Dhotrey.
There is a check post, at the time of entry in singalila range, where we need to take all the permits.
We reached Dhotrey by around 10 am, and had a brunch over there, there are homestays which also provide fooding facilities. Here we joined our trek guide, who was a localite. Other than trekking season, he used to do carpentry works over there.
We begin walking towards tonglu, our lunch stop. The entire trek route is in singalila forest range, hence we came across rhododendron flowers, which blossom in spring, along with bamboo and oak trees.
The gradient from dhotrey to tonglu is a little steep, at some spots. By lunch, we reached tonglu (10,070 ft), lazed around the tonglu lake and had our delicious and healthy vegetarian food at a homestay. Hereafter we begin walking towards Tumling, which is 2 km from tonglu and comparatively straight walk (Alt of 10,000ft) on a concrete road. We encountered heavy rains with ice droplets in between the trek, which was a super awesome feeling to experience. Thanks to our Poncho raincoat that our clothes and bag has not become wet and we also enjoyed the rains.
Tumling actually is part of Nepal although there is no restriction for Indians or foreigners with Indian visa. In fact the border between India and Nepal in this part is quite blurred and there is a free way for all.One is able to see the Kangchenjunga Range from here.
Stay in a wooden house with all the essential facilities, tasty and healthy hot veg soup, "Gulabjam" in dessert, we were enjoying all this, that too in a tiny village, situated in Nepal, on Indo-Nepal border, with only 12-15 Nepali families.
After interaction with the ladies in the kitchen, I came to know that this ladies know many Indian receipes including "Imli ka Aachar"and they prepare those for their guests. They also know Hindi, so communicating with them was rather not difficult.
We had our currency exchanged here, taking a few Nepali currency with us as a souvenir.