Also known as Sandakfu, Sandakphu is located at a height of 12,400 feet. It is the tallest peak in West Bengal and is located in the Darjeeling district. It is situated right next to the Singalila National Park, which is located on the border shared by neighboring states West Bengal and Sikkim. It also happens to be the tallest peak of the Singalila range. The specialty of Sandakphu lies in the fact that the peaks of Everest, Lhotse, Kangchenjunga, and Makalu – which happen to be among four of the five highest mountain peaks of the world – can be seen from its topmost point. It is said that it offers the finest view of Kangchenjunga.
The word Sandakphu means Height of Poison Plant, which can be taken as a reference to the various poisonous plants that grow over here.
How to reach Sandakphu
There are two ways to reach Sandakfu. One can take a car or trek. The route for trekking starts from Maneybhanjang and passes through the following areas before reaching the final destination:
- Lamey Dhura
Accommodation in Sandakphu
It needs to be kept in mind that Sandakphu is an area for trekking and it is not a town like Darjeeling that is awash with facilities like various kinds of hotels and eateries. The accommodation is rather basic. All that you will be finding en route your journey is homestay accommodation, which means people will allow you to stay at their houses in lieu of money and provide you basic supplies like water, food and sheets or rugs to cover yourself with. This depends on what you are asking for. You will get trekker huts at Maneybhanjang from where the journey starts, at Chitrey, Meghma, Joubari, Kalepokhri and Gurdum. One would find hotels only at Maneybhanjang and lodges are available at Tumling.
Attractions in Sandakphu
Even though trekking is the main activity that will draw one to Sandakphu, the entire is filled with immense natural beauty that will take your breath away and make you forget your pain for a while. However, there are a couple of attractions for you while you visit Sandakphu and return from there:
- Monastery at Chitrey
- Red pandas at Joubari
- Monastery at Meghma
- Lake at Kalepokhri
- Tonglu Lake
- View of Kanchenjunga from Sabarkum and train to Gorkey or Srikhola
- View of Kanchenjunga and Singalila peaks from Tumling
Things to remember
- Sandakphu is located at a height of 12,400 feet. So if you have problems regarding traveling to such high altitude places get in touch with your doctor and take necessary precautions before the travel.
- The temperature veers between 5 to 15 degrees in the summer season and between -5 and -10 degrees in the winter season. There is heavy rainfall in the period between July and September.
- A trek can last anywhere between 6 to 11 days. So be physically fit and mentally ready to take up the challenge.
- Do carry warm clothes, rucksack, sneakers and raincoats.
- The food will be pretty simple and cooked by the professionals who accompany your porter and guide.
- Costs for tour will depend on how long you are traveling, services availed by you from the concerned company and how many people are going with you.
Photo Courtesy: Flickr/Manotosh Biswas, Pallab Seth, http://clicknexplore.com/sandakphu-phalut-trek