Trekking in the Himalayas is not a sport, leisure, or a passion. It’s a full blown addiction. Once you’ve stepped into the gardens of Himalayas there’s no walking back. You only return to go back to those verdant, sun kissed mountains.
And that’s why I decided to attempt my 2nd Himalayan trek in 2016. Sandakphu Phalut is where I zeroed down, after realizing Goecha La in Nov will not be possible. So, here I am, lurking with the possibility of my 4th Himalayan trek and my 1st Winter trek, this time in the Eastern foothills of Himalayas.
But it was not going to be a run in the park. Trek dates were of 25th Dec, and I hadn’t booked my tickets until now, the 3rd week of Dec. Leaves were unplanned. Plus I was on the wait list with Indiahikes. And I don’t even want to discuss the airfares going through the roof. So, just like my trek to Kashmir Great Lakes I booked this one on 21st Dec, for a travel itinerary on 23rd. Air tickets cost me 25K to and fro Kolkata. I was already broke.
So here’s the plan; take an afternoon flight to Kolkata and reach by evening, then hop on a bus from Kolkata to Siliguri, alight at NJP and meet-up with the fellow trekkers and then go in a shared cab to Jaubhari, our base camp. Since I had the complete gear with me I didn’t need to buy anything. All decked up, Himalayas here I come, AGAIN!
About the Trek
Sandakphu is a relatively known and well laid out trek. It is one of the only treks in the world where one can get grand views of some of the tallest mountains in the world, including Mt. Everest, Mt. Kanchenjunga, Mt. Pandim, Lhotse, Nuptse and others alike. In fact the mountain range that is there on the back of the Rs. 100 note can be easily spotted here. Also known as the Sleeping Buddha, the Kanchendzonga range resembles a person reclining. The mountains that form this range are Janno, Koktang, Ratong, Kabru north and south, Mt kanchendzonga, Simvo, Japuno, and Pandim from left to right.There are 2 ways of completing the trek; the easier way is to get down to Gurdum from Sandakphu. The other one is the longer and more difficult terrain that takes you further till Phalut before getting down at Gorkhey. Indiahikes conducts the Phalut trail, which also offers closer views of the Kanchenjunga and Everest range, albeit with more efforts (and walking).