“I want to impress and conquer mountains, not humans”, this was me from always! Studying and researching more about mountains and trekking often, made me have a spirit to conquer Mt. Everest (largest peak) someday… My love for Everest and my sheer research at the least landed me to this gorgeous- Mt. Sandakphu!! (Thankfully)
Sandakphu trek has given me an amazing experience and I would love to call it Ironical Mountain! (Well, you’ll come to know eventually why this!)
Let me first introduce Sandakphu to you! This gorgeous range is in Sikkim, particularly Gangtok to the North East of India! It is a mountain range that views Mt. Everest and Mt. Kanchenjunga both, the popular reason why most of the trekkers and me have chosen this! Well, rather than reaching on the trek dates itself, we decided to go a day earlier, just to explore the new state and get a bit habituated to its weather! We did visit some of the famous spots there- Old Silk Route, Baba Mandir, Tsongo lake, an Elephant shaped lake, MG road, zoo and much more. The best part was foodie delights-trying momos, chaumin and what not!
Coming back to our trek, we were introduced to strangers that were going to accompany us or rather live with us for 5-6 days! Everyone belonged to somewhere different- Mumbai–Delhi–Bangalore–Nepal and even Germany– and more than knowing the person, we were keen to know their language, culture, customs and some card games! (…and I guess I did it pretty well)
Finally, we reached Ramphu by passing Silk Route (the most zigzagging route ever). And from a place called Jaubari (India) our trek started. An irony is that there is a place in Nepal that is named same- Jaubari (Nepal). Wondering how Nepal came in? It is from reaching the peak Sandakphu that you officially land in Nepal! Well, has to be- that’s how Mt. Everest and Mt. Kanchenjunga are visible from here! (Duh!)
So, our trek had just begun with the great enthuse! As we marched ahead, we found the biggest irony, we could see India on our right and Nepal on our left at the same time! (and this remained throughout) Amazing right? Well, our amazement was lowering with the continuous ascent and it had to get worse with fog hogging the beautiful vista! The greatest joke had to happen while buying chaumin and chips for Rs. 450 from a local stall- Well, who says money can’t buy happiness, this thing made us laugh for the day! Now that we were chilling (like literally), we headed to Tumling.
Tumling gave us our first Sneak Peak of Mt. Kanchenjunga. And the tiring day, chilly environ made us sleep in no time; when at cities it used to take hours to just settle on bed! Nature truly does its wonders! Next day was bliss! We saw the sun rise on Kanchenjunga and Sleeping Buddha-range. With such splendor and amazing breakfast, we continued our journey to Kalipokhri, Nepal. Sceneries changed, strangers became friends and those whose speed matched ours-became best friends!
And by then we started enjoying our heck and trek and a good lunch always motivated us at our best. Post that was fun- we entered the Singalila National Park, a possible land to spot Red Pandas. Although we couldn’t see, one of the German in our group did get their slightest sight! There was a cleaner route to march ahead, but nothing pleases us better than off-roading and walking through forest, it did reward us with paths covered by Maple leaves! (Yes, the Mohabbatein ones… :P) Well, another irony or confession I would like to mention is-never did I love Sun ever in life as much as I did here! But sadly, sun settled, sweaters on… time for yummy food, pretty lodges, and sound sleep!
We knew next day was going to be the biggest day of our life! We would finally trek to Sandakphu peak and we were so excited that it reflected in our dreams too! Finally, the morning sun went up and with that, we headed to Kalapokhri Lake. As we later continued our trek, our entire focus was on reaching the peak and dedication on the toughest ascent! And we achieved it- we conquered the peak within our set time and explored the super chilled and stunning panorama! And the cutest thing here was the lodges! Funnily, all lodges were in the same arena, but the localities termed that majority of them belonged to India and 2 to Nepal. (Funny, right?) But overall, we were as happy as clam, had dinner and slept in peace.
And our happiness never had an end! Early mornings gave us an impeccable energy and made our day just by being perfect scenery! We reached the highest point of Sandakphu on our own (just because we wanted to) and saw something indefinable. Another irony maybe, the sun was about to rise, the orange shade that it created- we were above that! Yes, the feeling of being above clouds and viewing the horizon made our efforts, our tiredness flee away just on a glance! And what stole the show was the view of Mt. Everest, Mt. Lhotse and Mt. Makalu – all the three in one wide panorama and the very first sun rays on them- HEAVEN!
After a picturesque view, we grabbed the moment for our group picture and went ahead with the longest climb to Phalut! The ever beautiful nature and our hunger made the ascent faster and finally landed to our stay point! A point where the sun-stunned us again with its beautiful setting at the horizon! As we were heading towards Phalut, Everest and Kanchenjunga were coming all the more closer to us! This was the mountain that gave me a solitude time to hike alone to the top and view the landscape in tranquility, and the breakfast we had their was on the bestest sight ever! It was time for a descent, a continuous descent, to Gorkhey village. And this village had our last night talks, cake cutting, and celebrations.
Morning happened and with that our last breakfast together, we were happy and sad at the same time! Slowly, we went ahead with the schedule, with few ascents and descents, crossing a suspension bridge, we reached Sepi! A hearty time together, bondings and friendships and a wonderful time with Nature…such incredible moments soon became memories!
Plan: Sandakphu Trek
So, this was my Sandakphu experience! A trek that gave me a- glance of beautiful Nepal & India, a picture with my favorite peaks, made me be in two places at once, good time with good people, taught me new languages and traditions, made me see nature like never before, and finally made me stronger, prouder, and life-experiencer! All thanks to this Ironical Mountain!
Author: Apeksha Raut
Share your Sandakphu stories or experience in the comments.