Thursday, May 18, 2017

Sandakphu has the views

At the outset, I'd like to clarify that Sandakphu isn't what one might call a 'major' trek. Schools from Darjeeling and nearby places take their students on this trail. It ranges from an easy to moderate trek, depending upon one's capability, and is sort of commercialised now because of its popularity. 

But don't knock it off. It has the views, and the most amazing of them is the up-close sight of the Sleeping Buddha. It is simply awe-inspiring. It is majestic because of its proximity, so much so that even the outline of the far-off Mount Everest did not arouse as much bedazzlement in me as much as the Sleeping Buddha did. 

And we were so lucky to get a window of clear skies that evening and the following morning while we were camped in Sagargram. 

What's interesting about Sandakphu is that four out of the five highest peaks of the world - Mount Everest, Kanchandzonga, Makalu and Lhotse - can be seen from here. Putting this incredible fact aside though, it is also true that every trail and every trek brings with its own set of joys. And hardships.

We got rains on 2.5 of the six days we were trekking. Leaches were upon us and the cold and wetness made us miserable. Still, our miscellaneous group that consisted of first-timers as well as veterans overcame their own little hurdles and saw meaning in it. 

I have heard regular (and not so regular) trekkers dismiss treks that are common, or popular, or easy as insubstantial or lacking character. But nothing can be further from the truth, and it's not in keeping with the ethos of mountaineering. Every mountain is sacred and special, right?

If my narrative has piqued your interest in the Sandakphu trek, and want to read more about the route, best times to go and places to stay, you might like this blog: Conflating Visions. To sign up with an organised group, i would recommend IndiaHikes.   

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