The Sandakphu Trek needs no introduction and is one of the most beautiful and popular treks to be done in the Himalayas. It offers panoramic views of over 26 beautiful peaks of the Himalayas including the likes of Mount Everest, Kanchenjunga, Lhotse, and Makalu, which are the top 5 highest peaks in the World ( excluding K2 which is in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir). The Kanchenjunga family of mountains forms the unimaginable and illusionary mountainscape of the Sleeping Buddha.
Everest and Makalu Group Seen From Sandakphu
Sleeping Buddha And The Exclusive Mountain Panorama Seen From Sandakphu
The Sandakphu Trek offers the unique view of the Sleeping Buddha which is formed by a cluster of about 16 distinguishable and elegant peaks aligning themselves in such a way that takes a shape of Lord Buddha sleeping over the clouds. Hence also called 'The Floating Buddha'. Not only that, on this trek, we get to see more than 26 elegant peaks of the Himalayas. All of those are famous for their own reputation. While towards the North-West, we see the great cluster of Everest, Makalu, Lhotse, Nuptse, Chamlang twins, Chomolonzo, the panorama further extends on the left to give us a glimpse of the Annapurna range as well on a clear day, including the revered Fish Tail mountain - locally known as Macchapucchare and Baruntse.
As you move your head towards the North and North-East, the peaks of Three Sisters makes you wonder about their beauty, followed by the mighty and elegant Kumbhakarna or Jannu. It's from here The Sleeping Buddha formation begins. The Kanchenjunga family of mountains along with 15 - 16 other child peaks appear like Lord Buddha sleeping over the clouds. The sight of it on a clear day with clouds forming the base makes the Sleeping Buddha appear like floating over the clouds. It's so beautiful that few trekkers even cry at a glimpse of it for witnessing the rare natural magic of the Himalayas. Something divine and out of this world for sure!
Being a borderline trek, on the Sandakphu Trek, you walk along the borders between India and Nepal, often switching between the two countries. Few of the nights are camped in Nepal while few in India. This trek boasts of a rich culture of the indigenous people of this region - The Lepchas, Limboos, and the Sherpas. On our trek, we mix homestay accommodation with camping, which helps us stay with the local families and experience their warm and welcoming hospitality, tasty food, and understand their cultural beliefs. On the other hand, it also gives us the ultimate experience of camping in the open meadow.
Sleeping Buddha from Sandakphu
While we talk about this trek, we surely need to mention about the diverse flora and fauna of the Singalila National Park. This trek offers the rarest opportunity to get a glance of the Red Panda. It is also home to the Himalayan Black Bear, Clouded Leopard, Takin, Leopard, Leopard Cat, Barking Deer, Wild Boar, Pangolin amongst many other species. Its a paradise for birding photographers as its home to the scarlet minivet, Khalij pheasant, Satyr Tragopan, etc. The dense forest is rich in its flora, namely Bamboo, Oak, Magnolia, Rhododendron, Primula, Geranium, Saxifraga, Bistort, Senecio, Cotoneaster, etc.
On this trek, we come across a few villages which takes away our heart straight away with its beauty and simplicity. Villages like Gairibas, Meghma, Tonglu, etc. are picture-perfect. Furling Buddhist prayer flags spread the wind of peace and serenity, right in the middle of the Himalayan jungle.
Sandakphu is a hill-top and is 3636 meters high. It is also the highest point of West Bengal. This region is very popular and trekkers from whole over the world come here to experience the unique offerings of this trek, especially the view of the Sleeping Buddha formation, the sighting of Mt. Everest and its sister peaks, and experiencing the local hospitality, its flora and fauna.
Mane Carvings On Rock On The Sandakphu Trek
For a fuller and better version of this trek ( Sandakphu, with Phalut), please read more by visiting the following link - SANDAKPHU PHALUT TREK - 7 Days, 6 Nights.
Also Read, Why Phalut Is A Must-Do With Sandakphu Trek