Sandakphu is primarily a trekking destination in the Singalila National Park in Darjeeling district of West Bengal. Sandakphu attracts trekkers for a variety of reasons. To start with the view of mountains and peaks and the forest and the hills you get during this trek is mesmerizing and unparalleled, to say the least.
Sandakphu is situated at an altitude of 11930 feet or 3636 meters. The small village is also the highest point in the state of West Bengal.
The Mountain Range
The biggest attraction of Sandakphu is the visibility of the peaks. One gets to see two sets of peaks, straight north of Sandakphu the Kanchenjunga massif is visible, on the North West side, further away, Everest and its surrounding mountains are visible. The Everest group consists of 3 of the top 5 peaks in the world that are visible from here. There are Mt. Everest and, Mt. Lhotse and Mt. Makalu, counted as 1st, 4th and 5th highest peaks in the world. On the Kanchenjunga group, there is the Kanchenjunga peak itself which is the 3rd highest peak in the world. So except for the 2nd highest peak in the world which is K2, the other 4 peaks are visible from Sandakphu which makes it a very unique place.
The formation of the Kanchenjunga range is especially attractive and it is known as the sleeping Buddha. The mountain formation starts from the peak of Kumbhakarna and then is followed by Kanchenjunga and Simvo and mt Pandim on the extreme right. on the backmost line famous as “Sleeping Buddha” as the appearance resembles the head, face, upper body, and feet of the sage Lord Buddha.
Apart from its fascinating snow peaks, Sandakphu is also famous for its colourful Rhododendron forest and variety of flora and fauna. The serene view of the rolling meadows of blooming rhododendron covering the valley in a different shade of red with the backdrop view of the snow-covered mountains and freezing weather create a surrealistic atmosphere here which has enticed travellers from all around the world.
How to reach
Nearest Airport – Bagdogra (IXB)
Nearest Railway Station – New Jalpaiguri (NJP)
Both the destination Bagdogra or NJP drive to Darjeeling or Manebhanjan 90 -110 kilometres stay the first night there and the next day drive or trek towards Sandakphu. From Manebhanjan one can go to Manebhanjan by land rover vehicle in 3 hours but trekking is the best option to explore the beauty of the place fully. Trek will take 3 days to reach Sandakphu.
Best time to visit
Except for monsoon, one can visit Sandakphu any time. There is no particular season to visit Sandakphu as every season has its own magic. During the monsoon months, June to September the Singalila National Park remains closed to visitors and hence Sandakphu trek is not possible. During the springs Rhododendrons bloom in a riot of colours. The whole path will be blasting in red, pink and white. In October the sky will be clear and Kanchenjunga will appear with all her glory in front of you. For snow lovers, December and January is the best time as Sandakphu will itself be snow-covered during this time.