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Singalila Trek

Trek Highlights

The trek on the Singalila Ridge is widely acclaimed as one of the classic walks of the Himalayan foothills, giving panoramic views of the world’s third highest mountain,Kanchenjunga 28168 ft /8586 m, her satellites, and on a clear day, Everest herself. The walk essentially follows a well-defined ridge that is more elevated than the other foothills that lie between it and the main Himalayan range. Sunrises and sunsets are particularly spectacular.

This itinerary has everything you could possibly want -touches of luxury in old fashioned hotels of character, brisk exercise in the Himalayan foothills on a classic trekking route, a ride on Darjeeling’s world -famous mountain railway and some interesting road journeys.

Location Chart

Delhi - Bafdogra - Darjeeling - Maneybhanjak - Meghma - Kalipokhari - Sandakphu - Moley - Phalut - Rambik - Kalimpong - Bagdogra - Delhi

Day by Day Itinerary

DAY01: ARRIVAL DELHI

  • Meeting and assistance upon arrival thereafter transfer from airport to hotel.
    Day at leisure. Overnight at hotel.

DAY02: FLY TO BAGDOGRA -DRIVE TO DARJEELING

After breakfast transfer from hotel to airport on time to connect flight for Bagdogra.
Meeting and assistance upon arrival and transfer from Bagdogra airport to Darjeeling. The drive takes four to five hours, firstly through a few tea plantations and jungle and thereafter up into the foothills above the Indian plains. Overnight at Hotel.

DARJEELING
Straddling a ridge in the Darjeeling-Sikkim Himalaya at 7,592ft/2,134m and surrounded by tea plantations on all sides, Darjeeling has been a popular hill station since the British established it as an R&R Centre for their troops in the mid-1800s. The industrious Brits, not averse to mixing a little business with pleasure, recognized that the quality of the soil and the mild climate were ideal for tea cultivation and the forested hill slopes were soon denuded of their cover and planted with this most lucrative revenue earner. These days people come here to escape from the heat and humidity of the North Indian plain. You get an indication of how popular Darjeeling is from the 70 or so hotels recognized by the tourist office and the scores of others which don't come up to their requirements. Here you will find yourself surrounded by mountain people from all over the eastern Himalaya, who have come to work, to trade or - in the case of the Tibetans - as refugees. Mother Teresa spent her early years as a nun here, with the sisters at Loreto Convent, and Lawrence Durrell was educated at the prestigious St Joseph's College.

DAY 03: TIGER HILL AND HALF-DAY SIGHTSEEING IN DARJEELING.

The half-day's sightseeing will include a short ride on the famous mountain railway. Trains came to India in the early part of the last century - among the very first and most novel is the famous Toy Train of Darjeeling. It is 120 years old having made its maiden trip in 1881.

In 1870, an agent working for the Eastern Bengal Railway came up with a brilliant idea to reduce the costs of transport. His name was Franklyn Prestage, and his idea was the Toy Train. It took eight long years for Prestage to submit his scheme to Governor Sir Ashey Eden, who gave it immediate sanction. Named the Darjeeling Steam Tramway Company, it was changed to the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway Company on 15 September 1881. It remained as such until it was taken over by the Indian Government on 20 October 1948. The construction had begun in 1879, the first 20 miles from Siliguri to Tindharia station was opened in March 1880 for the Viceroy's special train only, and finally, on 4 July 1881, the baby locomotive and three coaches puffed right through to Darjeeling - a total of 50.75 miles.

An hour or two trip on the world-famous railway is highly recommended (Please be aware that the railway sometimes runs out of coal and therefore the train that runs on the tourist circuit is not always operating. You can always get onto the regular departure that runs down to Siliguri, getting off at the first stop, from where we can arrange for you to be picked up). Sometimes the train goes so slowly it is faster to walk! Some of you may remember Brian Blessed, the actor, sitting on the roof of the train in his film that re-enacted Mallory and Irvine's attempt on Everest.There are also various interesting monasteries to visit, and the Himalayan Zoo with its black bears, Siberian tigers and snow leopards.

A visit to the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute is well worthwhile (you will see the name of Jagged Globe Managing Director Steve Bell on the list of Everest summiteers). There is also the Tibet Self-help Centre and the Happy Valley tea estate. There are many other things to see in Darjeeling and your guide will be open to suggestions.

Tonight festivities start with a local choir presenting carols.

Overnight at Hotel.

DAY 04: AT LEISURE IN DARJEELING.

Today you will be free to relax and explore this fascinating town.
Overnight at Hotel.

DAY05: DRIVE TO MANEYBHANJANK AND TREK TO MEGHMA. (8,793ft/2,680m),

After a drive of about 1½ hrs you begin the trek. The trail passes quite steeply uphill on a good path through evergreen forest and bamboo glades. You stop for lunch at Chitray (8284ft/2525m) where there is a 70-year-old monastery, belonging to the Nyingma-pa sect. You continue uphill for about 2/3 hours until you reach camp at Meghma. Today's walk should take around 5 hours. Camp overnight.

DAY 06: TREK TO KALIPOKHARI. (10,453ft/3186m).

From Meghma it is a beautiful walk along a well-defined undulating path with views of Kangchenjunga at every bend. The path goes past tiny settlements and the little village of Kanyakatta to Kalapokhari. A fairly easy walking day of about 5-6 hours. Camp overnight.

DAY07: TREK TO SANDAKPHU. (11,926ft/3,636m). 5-6 hrs.

You begin by trekking 4 kms to Kalapokhari. This is a crystal lake, surrounded by pine trees. Then you ascend for about another 4 kms as far as Bikhebhanjang (10,978ft/3,346m). You will now reach the magnolia and rhododendron forests around Sandakphu, from where you will get a magnificent view of some of the world's most magnificent mountains, including Everest on a clear day, Kanchenjunga and Makalu. Camp overnight.

DAY 08: TREK TO MOLLEY.

5-6 hrs. 14km. The trail follows along a ridge through chestnut, oak and silver fir, with commanding views of the Himalaya all along the route. Molley is a small village in the alpine-like forest. Camp overnight.

DAY09: TREK TO PHALUT. (11,808ft/3,600m). 5 hrs. 8kms.

This is a fairly easy walk to the tri-junction of Sikkim, Nepal and Bengal. This is the main and best viewpoint for the spread of mountains to the north. The afternoon is free to explore or just gaze at the mountains.

DAY10: TREK TO RAMMAM. (8,396ft/2,560m). 5 hrs. 12km.

A gentle walk in a hidden valley, passing through the villages of Gorkhey and Samaden en route. This is an easy descent, with the weather getting warmer with the decrease in altitude. There should be orchids and a full range of spring flowers in view. Overnight camp.

DAY11: TREK TO RAMBICK (7,498ft/2,286m). 6 hrs. 18km.

For the first 9 km or so this trek is along fairly level paths until Sirkhola, a well-known bird-watching centre. From here the path begins a gentle gradient down to Rimbick, the largest town in the area. It is possible to see Darjeeling from the town. Camp overnight.

DAY12: END TREK, DRIVE TO KALIMPONG.

It is a fairly long drive back to Kalimpong (approx 7-8 hrs) and you will arrive after a lunch stop at Sukhia. Overnight at Hotel.

KALIMPONG
Kalimpong, 74 km east of Darjeeling and 72 km north of Siliguri, is a bustling and rapidly- expanding, although still relatively small, bazaar town set among the rolling foothills and deep valleys of the Himalaya at an altitude of 4,100ft/1,250m. It was once part of the lands belonging to the rajas of Sikkim, until the beginning of the 18th century when it was taken from them by the Bhutanese. In the 19th century it passed into the hands of the British and thus became part of West Bengal. It became a centre for Scottish missionary activity in the late 19th century.

Until the outbreak of the Sino-Indian war in 1962, Kalimpong was one of the most important centres of Indo-Tibetan commerce, with mule trains passing over the 10,827ft/3,300m-high Jalepla mountain pass. The Kalimpong-Jalepla road was the largest all-weather route between the two countries. With relations improving between India and China, Kalimpong will probably lose its trans-border business to Gangtok, in Sikkim. The main crops grown locally are ginger and cardamom. Kalimpong division was once densely-forested, but widespread tree felling has left large areas denuded. There are still some areas where tracts of forest still stand, including along the left back of the Teesta River and in the environs of Lava and Richila.

Kalimpong's attractions include three gompas, a couple of solidly-built churches, a sericulture centre, orchid nurseries and the fine views over the surrounding countryside.

DAY 13: DRIVE TO BAGDOGRA, FLY TO DELHI

Again an interesting drive descending from the foothills to the Indian plains. Plenty of monkeys in the forest near the Teesta River and wild elephants are not unknown in the jungle fringing the hills. (4-5 hr drive). On arrival in Delhi you will be transferred back to the Hotel. The rest of the day is free to relax or perhaps go shopping in the emporiums around Connaught Circus. Overnight at Hotel.

DAY14: DELHI-ABROAD

After breakfast, transfer to the airport for flight to onward destination.

 
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