Trek To Sandakfu Chintakfu
We started for our Sandakfu - Chintakfu trek from Sealdah station at 10:15 pm..
Gour express started on Time.. Its neat and clean.. Weather also quite nice..
I had a good sleep.. Woke up near farakka station..
We rested a while at the waiting room... Then went for breakfast... Boiled egg , bread, chick peas, chatu mix made nice breakfast... Purchased dates, muri, chira, chanachur for trekking.. Again back to waiting room... Our train to NJP Jhajha-Dibrughar was scheduled to come at 8:45 am.. But its 30 min late.. So charging my mobile in waiting room and blogging...
Train came at 9:45 am... We reached NJP at 2:20 pm.. Train was late.. We tried to book reserved car... But they are asking 4000 INR which seemed overpriced to us... We came to Darjeeling more by auto 20 INR by head.. Then we booked a reserved jeep to Manebhanjan for 1900 INR.. This jeep was heading to sukhiapokhri.. so his pricing was reasonable... We had lunch at nearby restaurant and started at 4 pm towards Manebhanjan...
Reached mirik at 5:30 pm.. From mirik we started sitting on roof top of the jeep.. It was awesome view and experience...
Reached sukhiapokhri at 6:45 pm.. We had snacks , tea here..
Then started for Manebhanjan at 7 pm... 6 kms to go..
Reached Manebhanjan... Met our guide Raju bhaiyaa.. Bought plastic to fight rain and started for chitrey at 7:45 pm...
We walked 2.5 km and reached chitrey at 8:50 pm... Our trek from Manebhanjan to chitrey seemed tougher as it was the beginning and we were tired after almost 24 hours journey... We took a nine bed dormatory for 7 ppl... Freshened up... Ordered dinner egg curry, potato veg fry, daal....
We had nice dinner... Planning to go bed at 22:30 pm.. We chatted for a while and dived into deep sleep...
We woke up and had tea.. Roamed around the chitray home stay... We pre-ordered breakfast roti sabji, bread omlet , bread butter... They served breakfast hot and we enjoyed it.. We freshened up, packed our bags.. We kept our bag at the home stay and went to visit monstry.. We spent some time and came back to home stay... We took a porter (Daowa ji) who carried 15 kg bag pack. Daowa ji is a very nice guy.. Our guide Raju was not very experienced in Nepal trail. So he asked for Daowa ji who went to chintapur from Ilam once. We packed our bag to be less than 10 kg..
We started from chitray at 10 am.. We headed towards Lameydhurai.. We took around 1.5 hrs to cover around 3 km.. There are two hotels... We had dry fruits, tea and biscuit at one of them in lameydhurai..
We trekked for another 1.5 hours to cover 3 km to reach Meghma... We entered the hotel next to the road to Tonglu.. We had wai wai, biscuit, tea.. Then we rested for 15-20 min..
We started for tonglu.. It was pretty steep.. Rain started while trekking .. We used the plastic covers to avoid rain drops.. Suddenly sky became clear and we saw nice view of the hills.. We took around one hour to trek 1.5 km to reach Tonglu home stay.. Home stay is quite nice rooms.. We are going for lunch at 4 pm...
We had rice , egg curry, Gobi sabji, daal , papad, salad in lunch... Then we roamed around tonglu.. We went to the pokhri and saw nearby trekker hat. The condition of trekker hut did not seem very good.. Few of the window glasses were broken and patched with plastics.. Raju Bhaiya warned us earlier not to book the trekker hut.. So we realized that we did the right thing by staying at the home stay.. Then i saw few farming area where farmers were working hard.. We saw potato, corn plantation.. I noticed a way to uphill and I started hiking to the top of the hill.. I got better view of surrounding area.. There is a single rock almost at the corner.. It was a perfect place to sit down.. I felt like Samba of Lion King movie.. After some time I went to the another peak where few tombs were there.. I wanted to see the route we took to reach Tonglu.. But it was foggy. So I could not see the view.. I climbed down.. We saw a banner and gate of botanical garden..We went down to find out the botanical garden. But could not find any. We came back to Now its almost dark.. Its time to gossip... We chatted about lots of things.. We are 6 colleagues, my brother and the guide... We picked a topic for discussion - (love life - how do you proposed ur partner ).. It was fun filled evening...
They called us for dinner... We asked for chicken.. But they did not get chicken.. They prepared onion pakora, potato-beans-cabbage veg , daal, papas, rice. We finished dinner by 10 pm. We decided to wake up early.. But we were trying to scare other team members who were staying upstairs.. Then a cat came to scare us.. We slept at 11:30 pm..
We woke up at 6 am.. But it was raining and weather was foggy.. So we did not get out.. At around 6:30 am I got out from bed, freshened up and went to the kitchen.. Had a hot tea.. Talked with home stay owner.. Tonglu does not have water source.. They carry drinking water from 1.5 km downhill everyday.. They manage with rain water and small pond water ( Pokhari).. I was talking to their daughter .. She studies in class five.. She is a smart girl.. She completed all her homework with in 30 min and she helped her mom in house hold work.. We had another round of tea and had breakfast with oats-milk and wai wai noodles.. Then we packed our bags again and got ready for trek to Kalapokhri.. I went to Tonglu uphill near graveyard to get the final view of our last two days route from Meghma.. It was a magnificent view.. Almost 270 degree view.. I could see our route to Tumling as well... We started our trek at around 10 am..
We trekked for 35 min to cover 1.5 km downhill trek to Tumling.. Tumling has a nice view of Sandakfu and rimbick side hills.. Tumling has water supply and few good home stays...
We trekked for another 17 min to cover 1.12 km to reach Jaubari Fatak Singalila park entrance.. We could see road construction is going on.. We had to book tickets 100 per person as entry fee to Singalila national park.. We got Vodafone and reliance network at Jaibari fatak.. So we called up our near And dear ones.. It was raining ... We covered ourselves with plastic..
We started for our next target Jaubari village.. We took 50 min to trek 2.75 km.. We entered a restaurant for tea.. We exchanged Indian rupees with Nepali rupees.. We are going to enter Nepal from Sandakfu. In Nepal they accept up to 100 rupees note.. 500 & 1000 notes may not work in Nepal. So we exchanged the Indian rupees here just to be safe.. We got 12200 nepali money in exchange of 7600 INR.. We wrapped our bags with plastic and prepared for the rain..
From jaubari the road became muddy, steep ... We took 45 min to cover 2.33 km.. Roadside view was awesome.. We could see clear view sometimes .. We saw several nepali villages while trekking.. We reached Gauribas at 1:15 am.. We ordered lunch here.. We had hot water and freshened up.. They prepared lunch in front of us.. Potato fry , daal, papad, omlet.. Food was really good and prepared with care.. Omlet was really good and we ordered for more..
We started from gauribas at 2:50 pm.. Its pretty steep till kaikhatta.. We covered 2:18 km in one hour.. reached khaikhatta around 4 pm.. We could see our "trek route from joubari to gauribas" on the way to khaikhatta...
We started for Kalapokhri ... We could see good view... Rododrendon flowers are visible somewhere... We could see tonglu hill .. Trek is almost straight.. Not much uphill. Roadside view was awesome.. Sky was almost clear. Rain was not much. We enjoyed the trek. We reached kalapokhri at 5:30 pm.. We trekked 4.5 km in 1:30 hours..
We are staying at Pandim lodge.. Its nice.. We took a dormatory for five guys and a room for 2 girls.. Its raining.. Its pretty warm inside the room... Last time we were staying at another lodge which was not very good.. So we made sure that we get the best lodge.. Pandim lodge was really upto the expectations..
We did not like the tea we had in meghma, so we asked for strong tea and brandy..They served us hot tea with biscuits.. Tea was better in taste but less in quantity.. Then we were served with honey bee brandy.. It was different in taste but good enough to give us warmth we needed.. We started playing arm wrestling and shadow fights.. Then we started gossiping.. We ordered chicken curry for 5 people, egg curry for 1 and 1 veg meal.. Dinner was served at around 8 pm.. Dinner room was in the opposite side of the road.. We had to dodge rain drops to reach dinner room... Dinner room was filled with people.. They had fire litted up in a big bowl.. We were sitting around the fire for a while.. They asked us not to make noise as a little baby was sleeping. The baby was really cute and his aunt was dressed up very nicely who was taking care of him.. The baby woke up.. We played with him.. Dinner was served ... Almost the desired menu.. Food was really good.. We selected our breakfast for tomorrow - oats with milk and roti sabji.. We had a very sound sleep.. Bed were cozy.. Room was warm enough..
We woke up and were little bit disappointed to notice that its raining continuously.. Our chances to get good view from Sandakfu was dooming.. We had breakfast at the dining hall and tried to dry up our socks and jackets in the fire.. It was almost 10 am and the rain seemed like not going to stop.. So we packed up, wrapped ourselves in plastic cover and started towards Sandakfu.. Road was muddy and rain was moderate.. So we were walking slowly towards bikaybhanjan.. We took almost 50 min to reach bikaybhanjan by walking 2.15 km.. Road was not that steep.. So trek was almost easy except the nagging rain.. Could not see much of view.. Sometimes we could see various peak amidst fog wrapped with mystery... We went inside a tea shop.. We met another trekking group who happens to be my brother's college junior.. They came for photography and was very disappointed due to bad weather.. We also met few Indian army personnel - SSB.. They were traveling to Falut in a land rover.. We had tea there and few of us sat near to the fire to warm up their hands.. Our guide mentioned next 4-5 km until we reach Sandakfu going to be very steep.. So we geared up mentally and started for Sandakfu..
Bikaybhanjan to Sandakfu was pretty steep and it was raining continuously so the road was muddy and slippery... We could not see much view also as the weather was foggy and cloudy..
There were another concern.. I made a blunder.. I was supposed to book the trekker hut at Sandakfu for 27th - 28th May.. But i booked it for 26th-27th May.. I realised it after coming to Kalapokhri.. So There were a chance of not getting room in Sandakfu and weather was so bad that we needed to take rest.. Good part was we started early and did not see much Land rovers passing us.. We covered 2.5 km in 1.5 hours.. We took lots of shortcuts to reach early.. Most of shortcuts were like staircase built with rocks.. It was bit more convenient for us to climb rocky staircases than walking by the muddy road.. Some of friends reached Trekker Hut B.. I was waiting for 10 min to last two love birds to reach Sandakfu.. Our guide talked with the Trekker Hut Caretaker for rooms.. He came to me with a unhappy face which made bit of nervous.. Our Guide was unhappy that we had to pay extra for rooms, but i was very happy that we atleast got the rooms.. I talked with the caretaker and settled that we will pay for 7 persons again.. We went inside the trekkers hut and changed with warm clothes.. I was feeling very cold as i waited almost 15 min with the rinsed clothes.. My fingers were almost numb.. Raju Bhaiya served us hot tea and we were relaxed again.. But the sad thing is we could not see any view in sandakfu.. This was my third visit to sandakfu.. i have seen view from sandakfu earlier, but there are 4 guys who went to Sandakfu for first time.. It was very disappointing for them as they could not see anything.. Trekkers Hut B has 20 beds.. There was 9 occupants already including us.. I saw a note in Trekkers Hut Kitchen that 13 people are going to come.. There might be shortage of beds..
We ordered for Kichuri with Omelet.. We had biscuits and dry fruits which we carried all the way.. Raju Bhaiya said that we need to entry our names in SSB camp.. I collected xerox of our ID cards from all 7 of us ( one of us did not have xerox, she gave the original).. Me and Raju Bhaiya went to SSB camp and saw Jawans were sleeping in their hut.. I met the jawans again whom were coming from bikaybhanjan.. The person in charge said The guy responsible for registering names is not available now.. he contacted him over walky-talky.. He asked us to come after 5 min.. So me and raju bhaiya started walking towards Falut.. The weather was becoming clear.. So we had a ray of hope that we are going to enjoy nice view from sandakfu tomorrow morning..We went almost 2 km and met few others guides/porter.. Then suddenly rain came.. We were running back to SSB camp.. My dry clothes were wet again.. I saw SSB Jawans already entered our names from xerox.. i signed my name and also entered the last member of our group from her original copy.. SSB jawans asked to us come with the remaining team members to sign their names in the Register whenever rain stops..
We went back to Trekkers Hut and got rid of wet jackets , hats.. Then i gave my jacket to raju bhaiya to dry it up..
Lunch were served.. Its kichuri with omelets , potato fries, salad , pickle and papads. It was awesome food.. One of our team member had breathing problems.. So she took rest , we finished our lunch in the dining hall.. She recovered quickly and had her lunch.. We started chatting..
Finally a big group came to Trekkers hut.. They had booking for 13 people.. So we had to leave our beds from the hall room and occupy beds in the smaller room.. The smaller room had 5 beds and we were 7 people.. We allotted 2 beds for 2 girls and merged remaining 3 beds to make room for 5 guys.. Good thing is Smaller room is more warmer and less scattered so we could chat more conveniently.. Suspense is over.. We got our rooms booked permanently..
We sat in our beds and started gossiping.. Raju Bhaiya served hot tea and biscuits again.. Tea was really good here.. It became dark and our discussion continued till dinner time.. We were praying for rain to stop and give us a chance to view the serene beauty of Sandakfu. Dinner were served at 8 pm.. Rice, Daal , Sabji and omlete.. It was good.. We chatted for couple of hours and went to bed with a hope of Sunny morning..
We woke up at around 6am and realized rain is continued to haunt us.. We spent more time on bed , freshened up and had breakfast with Oats-milk , boiled egg , Wai-wai.. There were 3 groups in the Hut..The big trek group cancelled their trip and returning to plane land as they had children and kid with them.. The two person group were staying back in Sandakfu for one more day hoping that weather may change.. We decided to move ahead.. We packed up and wrapped ourselves with Plastic covers and ropes.. Raju bhaiya said road will be muddy in Nepal.. So we prepared for the worst..
We started for chintakfu.. We walked towards Falut for 2 km and took the diversion to left for chintakfu.. And the muddy road started ... Road condition was getting worse step by step.. The rain continued to pinch us.. We are almost rinsed completely.. We walked along the muddy road for 3 km.. We took few shortcuts to avoid muddy road.. Even our guides were confused with route as they are not a very frequent travelers in this route.. Our porter Dawaji suggested to take the jungle route as its becoming impossible to walk in the mud along with wind and continuous rain.. We walked inside the jungle for 3 km and we reached a grassy land from where we could see chintakfu top.. In the mean time I slipped for the time in this trek and Landed on my butt gracefully.. I was not wearing trekking shoes as I don't prefer them because they are heavy.. I was wearing my Nike running shoes.. Some of my friends were blaming my shoes for my epic fall.. Almost all of us slipped more than once except Dawaji.. Weather was not very cold but due to rain and windchill my face and right hand was almost freezing.. I started singing songs to move my facial muscles as well as get some encouragements..
We continued to enter deep jungle with 2 feet wide walking road.. The route was pretty challenging as left side was open for at least 50 meter fall and rocky surface on the right side.. Rain made the road slippery and we had to cross 2-3 falls intercepting our way.. One of them was pretty dangerous as one of our team member's feet was stuck within the rocks while crossing the falls.. The jungle route was a dangerously beautiful one.. I am sure all of us liked it as well as scared of it.. After walking almost 1 hour we reached a point where we could see our destination Chintakfu peaks clearly in front of us and on the left side we saw range of hills ending in plane land with rivers.. Our guides said that's Ilam bazaar area and Jhapa district area.. We realized that rain has stopped and sky became clear.. We could see magnifient views.. We were so happy that we started photo session and spent almost 30 min there.. We had the fear of rain coming again.. So started walking .. We walked almost 15-20 min and reached the land rover road again.. We had biscuits and water.. Our guides could not tell us how much more we have to walk to reach Goruwali Bhanjan.. While walking we suddenly noticed a glimpse of snow white mountains and we were deluged with happiness.. Few of us saw dreams of seeing mountains last night.. It's a dream come true experience .. We walked half an hour more to reach Goruwali bhanjan.. Its a place sorounded by hills from 3 side and a view of range of hills from another side..