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Hello Trekkers,

Last evening, as I browsed through some old pictures and videos, I found myself reminiscing my trek to Sandakphu-Phalut with Indiahikes.

It has been my best trek till date, and I very vividly remember the details of it, even though I had done it November '21.

I believe that all high-altitude trekkers must do this trek at least once in their lifetime, and that is why I am writing this community post, so that it gets the limelight it deserves, as much as treks like Kedarkantha, Rupin Pass or KGL get.

Why did I choose Sandakphu-Phalut? 

I had already done a couple of easy/moderate treks in Uttarakhand and Himachal, and I wanted to expand my geographical footprint to the north-east, and get a new experience in terms of weather and terrain. 

As I browsed through, I found Sandakphu-Phalut and Goechala as my top two contenders. However, I thought Goechala was a little too tough of a challenge for me, as it was also going to be the first time where I would be carrying my own rucksack instead of choosing to offload it.

What I loved about Sandakphu-Phalut?

The stays involve a mix of traditional camping and tea-houses and lodges. On the first day, it's a steep climb after lunch through a forest. You wonder where the large mountain views are that have made the trek so famous. Out of nowhere, you come to a pristine village called Samanden, set in a clearing with large hills in the backdrop, and a football ground right in its heart. It is buzzing with life, especially in Autumn as the village children compete in their local football tournament. The entire scene made the day's trek totally worth it.

After trekking for 2 days through the forest, I thought that the so called views that stay with you throughout the trek, are just a marketing gimmick.

During dinner on day 2, my Trek Leader said that she was going to give us a surprise the next morning. But for that, we'd have to wake up at 3:30 am in -5°C temperatures and trek for 45 minutes. I was skeptical, but I still had some hope left of catching those views.

When we woke up and started walking in the morning, I was delighted in 10 minutes. It was pitch dark, but I knew we were out in the open as from north to south, east to west, horizon to horizon, the night sky was filled with stars. It was a sight to behold. Using our headlamps as guiding lights, we continued following our Trek Leader. 

Around 4:15 am, we saw the orange line on the horizon, as the first rays of the sun came into sight. That is when we realised, that we were actually above the clouds. 

Soon, we reached the spot that our Trek Leader intended to take us to. In another few minutes, as more of the sun's rays were falling on the surroundings, out of nowhere, we suddenly saw the Sleeping Budhha range and Mt Kangchenjunga light up to the north. I'm still getting goosebumps as I type this. A lot of us were in tears, while others were jumping in euphoria, as we tried to figure out whether to look at the sunrise at the brink of the horizon to the east, or at the 3rd highest mountain in the world, towering over us in all its glory to the north. 

While this was happening, none of us were realising, that we were actually standing on the Indo-Nepal border, right next to the border stone.

Unbeknownst to us, a few hundred kilometres from us to the north-west, deep inside Nepal, was the Mt Everest Cluster. We didn't even realise it, until our Trek Leader mentioned it to us, pointing to Lhotse, Makalu and Everest far far away. 

Here we were, standing in one spot, to the right was the sunrise of a lifetime, straight in front was the Sleeping Budhha, and to the left was Mt Everest. All it took was two 90° turns. 

Watching all of this unfold was an experience that I will never forget. I felt fortunate to be there, to be one of the few people on this planet that got to experience this visual buffet.

For the next 2 days, we had the Sleeping Budhha range as our constant companion alongside as we trekked along.

This trek helped me create bonds with some people that I will cherish for my whole life. I would like to thank Indiahikes for their finely curated and unique experiences, something I probably will never get anywhere else.

Edited by Atharva Shah
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  • 1 month later...

Hello Atharva!!

I have just returned from Kedarkantha, my first Himalayan trek last month. I had chosen it due to it being apt for beginners and hoping to find snow without peak winter temperature!! We couldn't summit due to bad weather but i still had a great experience; so much that I have also attempted my *first* blog and shared the link on IH community too.

I was reading the IH email, received today, about the best spring treks and mentally chose Sandakphu as the most appealing one...for my next trek. 🤞 Hence i then chose to read your writeup, realising, i had chosen Sandakphu for the exact same reasons.😊Also, i really liked the way you have penned your experience; even after almost 16months, you were still able to feel the thrill and pass on the excitement to me!!👍 

Which other treks have you done before? Whats your next? Where are you from? 

I am Upasana Tibrewal, from Nashik, Maharashtra. I am sharing my Kedarkantha experience, just in case. Do share it with others, if you like it. Here is the link...


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