Trekking in the eastern Himalaya – Part 1

On the way to moley

Standing beside the trekkers hut at Sandakphu which is at an altitude of 3636 meters, with temperature hitting five degrees below zero, on the loftiest peak in the Singalila range, posing for a photograph wearing nothing but underwear might not actually sound like your idea of good fun but you are not me and 'to hell with caution', I say! Although it wasn't anything that was a part of the plan but it did happen and I did stand there to embrace the cold wind on my face and my ass, to pose for the photograph. It was shot on raj's camera and sadly, he misplaced his camera on the way back. So if you find a camera in the eastern Himalayas that contains a couple of dudes standing in their undies please be kind to return the camera to the author and please be kind enough to not misuse the photographs. :D

The Sandakphu trek was organized by Diwakar of Chennai trekkers (Chennai trekkers is certainly one of the reasons I am liking Chennai!) and was certainly a fun and adventurous experience. Fifteen had registered to go on this awesome trek, and in accord with that self and Hari had showed up at 5.45 am on 19th of December 2008 at Chennai central. Eleven of us (me, hari, kunal, shaji, diwakar, swaroop, sai, krish, raj, santosh and madhu) had planned to leave from Chennai to New Jalpaiguri by train and another four would join us at New Jalpaiguri and Maneybhanjang. The train journey took about two days and we reached NJP at around 10pm on the second day.Bang outside the NJP railway station there were a host of dhabas/restaurants to cater to our growling stomachs. We also did see a few hotels serving South Indian dishes ;)

We had decided to spend the night at NJP and found ourselves a lodge near the railway station. Although NJP is in the plains, it must have been around 19 degrees at 6 in the morning which was pretty cold comparing to Chennai standards. After taking bath with ice cold water we had breakfast at NJP and left for Maneybhanjang in two Tata Sumos. We were 13 now because of the fact that Horst and Remy joined us at NJP , Alexadara and Ramani uncle would join us at Maneybhanjang. We reached Maneybhanjang by 3.30pm and took refuge at the kanchenjunga lodge for the night. The evening was spent walking around Maneybhanjang while the guides and porters were being arranged for the trek the next day by a couple of us. Maneybhanjang is a small village that is mostly used by trekkers as a base camp for treks into the Singalila national park. The national park is part of the eastern Himalayas and the two highest peaks of West Bengal, Sandakphu (3630 m) and Phalut (3600 m) are located on the Singalila ridge and inside the park.

Our trekking plan was as follows:

Day 1: Maneybhanjang to Garibas via tumling [18km]

Day 2: Garibas to Sandakphu [12km]

Day 3: Sandakphu to Phalut [21 km]

Day 4: Phalut to Gorkhey [18 km]

Day 5: Gorkhey to Rimbik [21km]

We had two buffer days just in case nature decided to play hard and in case of any other emergencies. We carried sleeping mats, tents, sleeping bags, a stove and lots of extra stuff which was unnecessary on this trekking route given the availability of trekkers huts and cooked food all the way upto phalut but the plan was to carry all that in case of emergency and we were hiring quite a number of porters. I should say I was tempted to ask for a porter to carry my back-breaking back pack, (Ah! the luxury of traveling without the back pack) but I decided to do without one.

It would get dark by five in the evening in these places and as it turned six on the clock and some of were enjoying whiskey followed by food at 7.30. Most of us hit the sack by 11pm. The trek was to begin the next day and the very thought was exciting.

The post seems to be getting pretty big and so I ll break here and continue with this on my next post.

17 people swore after reading this post:

January 12, 2009 at 2:05 AM Sriram said...

wow. have heard of the sandakphu trek. Sad that i hear of such things only when i can no longer do anything about it :( :(

January 12, 2009 at 1:37 PM Revathi said...

Nice write up Jass though what made u think this was long i dont know!! :)
and lord save the person who chances upon that camera. if the cold and the rough terrain of the himalyas dont kill him, the pictures in that cam surely will!! :P
Part II - soon (read: sometime this year at least!! 8-) )

January 13, 2009 at 11:53 AM Jass said...

Not comming home for vacation anytime soon? The best thing about studying is the 2-3 month vacation dude! And besides there are lots of places you can see in the US or canada !

Yeah after posting i realized that it was not really long, but then lazy me needs some reason to escape :D
And yeah you can expect part II pretty soon :)
P.S: ARE YOU KIDDING ? He can sell pictures of me, hari and diwakar for atleast a million dollars if not more :P

January 15, 2009 at 2:05 PM rvn rahul said...

Nice dude.. do put up the pics.. wanted to join chennai trekkers for the next trek.. let me know when u're planning it..

January 15, 2009 at 2:38 PM Jass said...

Leaving for a trek to nagalapuram - tada range of hills in AP this weekend. :)
Are you on the google mailing list ? There are some wonderful treks happening on 24,25,26 and in feb they are going to wayanad.
Pics at Picasa and a few on flickr

January 15, 2009 at 2:53 PM rvn rahul said...

Registered at their site.. :P

waise u goin thins weekend??

January 30, 2009 at 2:32 PM Revathi said...

It was me!! I, Revathi Ramanan, yes meeeeee who told you about chennai trekkers. You wont forget that!! And i shall never let u forget that!! Meeee!! I told u!! I did!!


Ok!! now that i have finished overreacting and creating a scene nice post!! :P

January 30, 2009 at 2:44 PM Jass said...

//I told u!! I did!!
Are you talking to rv?? :)

And now dont ask me about part II . Its on its way .. *rolling eyes*
*runs away*

February 13, 2009 at 2:24 AM e t e r n a l said...

dei... wen is ur partII release ? before next Himalayas ?

February 13, 2009 at 4:55 PM Jass said...

Still in production :P My laptop screwed up man, have to replace motheboard! No access to internet from home and kind of tied up at work. Now that i think i have given enough reasons i can escape :)

March 22, 2009 at 1:35 AM Jaya S said...

Okay. Now here is a sequel to all those 'requests' for the next part. Or are we supposed to be threatening you with public exposure of those pics? Let the adventure unravel. Please (added as an afterthought).

PS: I agree with Revathi. You call this long?

March 22, 2009 at 11:58 PM rahul said...

hey nice blog dude..and do post the pics!!

March 23, 2009 at 11:16 AM Jass said...

@Talking to self:
I have comments? Why would somebody want to comment on *my* blog? And I am not even paying them like I paid the others to comment nice things. :|


WHOA! I realized only know that it has been 2 months since this post.

Thanks for waking me up. I shall post the sequel soon. :)

(actually that depends on how you define soon :D)

Thanks for the nice words! I have posted the pics here and

a few on flickr

I beg you to never buy an HP , not even if it looks like the sexiest laptop ever. Damn HP service totally sucks, they have my laptop from one month now. They dont have stock for the motherboard of a one year old laptop. I mean Jeez i dint buy in in 200 BC !

March 28, 2009 at 3:59 PM Sayesha said...

I wanna go on the trek toooo! Waaaaaaaa! :'(

March 30, 2009 at 12:53 PM Jass said...


Bachhon ki tarah rona band karo bhai! Next time apun trek karega to apko zaroor phone karega. :-)

April 25, 2009 at 9:48 AM Jaya S said...

Okay, lazybones (I shall take the liberty to call you that because I don't appreciate slackers), define 'soon'.

April 25, 2009 at 5:06 PM Jass said...


Definition for Soon (courtesy :P)

adv., soon·er, soon·est.

1. In the near future; shortly.
2. Without hesitation; promptly: came as soon as possible.
3. Before the usual or appointed time; early.
4. With willingness; readily: I'd as soon leave right now.
5. Obsolete. Immediately.

P.S: I haz lot of excuses but no seriously I shall post ASAP ! One Sequel coming up! :-)


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