Singalila trek is the most popular and rewarding trek for trekkers with about a weeks’ time at their disposal. Singalila trek starts after an early mornings drive of about an hour and a half from Darjeeling to Maneybhanjyang a small village inhabited by the Buddhist- Sherpas. From here one can get a view of the trekking route which is an awesome, near vertical climb.
The first camp_site is at Tonglu which is 11kms from Maneybhanyang through dense evergreen forests and hillsides covered with wild flowers. Tonglu at 3070 metres overlooking the entire Darjeeling Hills offers a breathtaking Mountain View of the incomparable Kanchenjunga and its neighbouring peaks. On the Southern side one gets a lovely look at Darjeeling, Kurseong and Sukhia pokhri dotting the green hills.
One the second day the ridge line leads one through bamboo glades and farmlands with quaint little villages habituated by warm and friendly people. The route is fairly level while one reaches Gairibas about 9 kms from Tonglu. From here one encounters a steep climb which is adequately compensated by incredible scenic beauty. This 4 kms clmb brings one to Kalpokhri. The dark crystal lake simmering in the breeze surrounded by alpine trees is a sight to behold. Another steep ascent for 2 and half kms and a gradual walk downhill for 1 and half kms brings one to Bikhenbhanjyang which stands at 10200ft.
The final ascent of 4 kms which is the most challenging in terms of steepness, through thick rhododendron and magnolia forests leads one to Sandakphu. meaning the height of the poison plant, at an altitude of 12000 feet. It is here one encounters nature’s pristine glory at its magnificent best. The four of the world’s highest mountains all 8000 meters high towering over you at an incredibly close distance presents you with a sight you will never forget. The snow clad arc of the Eastern Himalayas with Everest, Kanchenjunga, Makalu, and Lhotse in all its majesty is worth every mile one has traversed to be here.
The third day is a relatively easier day trek wise of about 21kms. But in terms of scenic beauty it is the most fascinating. All along the route one is greeted by Rhododendrons of different hues, magnolias, chestnut oak and emerging out of the mysterious mists_ the stately silver fir. All along the imposing Himalayas loom large on the Western horizon. The final stretch is almost bereft of vegetation owing to the sweeping icy winds. The clusters of rhododendron trees standing at a maximum height of 6 feet look like magnified bonsai.
Phalut or the denuded peak is the destination. Here stands the trio junction of Nepal, Sikkim & India.
On day 4, we begin with a knee wobbling descent downhill into the RammamRiver Valley.
This trek through rugged terrain brings one to a spectacular picturesque village Samanden, better known as ‘the lost valley’. Standing at a plateau in the middle of the dense forest this village is noted for its fertile lands. The well terraced flat land with green vegetation is strikingly contrasted by the bright yellow flowers of the mustard plant.
A further walk of 2 kms bring one to Rammam- the camp- site for the night.