SANDAKPHU is the highest point of the Singalila mountain range. It is located at North West of Darjeeling town at an altitude of 11,929 ft and has always been known as the trekker’s paradise.
It’s a 3 days trek but if you don’t feel like trekking as you may find it too strenuous to bear, then you can always take a four wheel drive vehicle like a jeep or a Land Rover from Manebhanjan and go all the way up to Sandakphu. The distance from Manebhanjan to Sandakphu is about 32 kilometers and it will take you about 5 hours to reach.
Once you reach the point, you will be privileged to see the breathtakingly beautiful view of the snow clad Himalayan peaks.
The name Sandakphu means “Height of the poison plants”. This is because of the poisonous aconite plants growing in abundance there and Sandakphu being the highest point of Darjeeling hills where such plants grow. These plants are 1 meter in height and covered with beautiful blue colored flowers. But don’t get lured by it’s beauty as it is poisonous!
Sandakphu is a small village with few huts, GTA (Gorkhaland Territorial Administration) trekkers huts and few other private lodges for tourists and trekkers. From Sandakphu, you get a 180 degree view of the Eastern Himalayas, with ranges that belong to Nepal on the west, Sikkim and Bhutan in the middle and Arunachal Pradesh in the east. When the first sunlight strikes, you will see the dazzling peaks of the Everest family in Nepal including the gorgeous Mt. Everest, the highest peak in the world. It is about 160kms away from Sandakphu. You will find it along with other peaks like Lhotse which is the fourth highest peak and Mt. Makalu which is the fifth highest peak. If you look further west, you will see the Chamlang that stands like a square wall of snow and if you look towards east at Sikkim, you will see the prominent peaks of Kanchenjunga family, the third highest peak in the world.
Now the last question is, where to stay? There is a GTA Lodge in Sandakphu which is quite popular with tourists and trekkers. You need to visit a GTA Tourism Office and book a GTA lodge. You will find address and contact info of GTA tourism offices at Darjeeling Tourist Information Centers.