We had a day in hand, untrained people who wanted to do the trek (spend the day climbing gentle mountains in the Himalayas) and a local guide, with whom we felt confident exploring natural trails.
One can see a number of ‘tours and treks’ kiosks in Darjeeling. We spoke to two such planners and brainstormed, which one would be better for us. Our options were:
- Go to Tiger hill (Popular sunrise viewing point 13 km from Darjeeling) by car. Enjoy the view for a while, walk down to Ghoom, and then walk up to Darjeeling, by paved road or side trails, that go through the mountain forests of Senchal Wildife Sanctuary.
- Go to Senchal lake (12 km south east of Darjeeling) by car, walk back to Darjeeling, visiting a few monastries on the way. The guide classified this option as easier than the first one as the route was mostly flat and forested for this trek.
- Go to Kurseong (30 km from Darjeeling) by car. Trek into the forested area nearby for as far as we would be comfortable and come back to Kurseong.
Given our limited knowledge at the time and negligible combined experience in trekking, we chose option 1.
The guide turned up at our hotel at 8:30 am, with the car and we set out. We reached Tiger Hill in 25 mins. The area around Tiger hill falls in the Senchal Wildife Sanctuary, so the forest was untouched. Fortunately it was a clear day and we could see the mighty Kanchengdzonga very clearly. We looked down at Darjeeling and secretly thought if we would be able to climb up and down the green velvet spread in front of us.
We started walking down towards Ghoom through side trails and detours into the forest. The path was very scenic and the Kanchengdzonga provided an excellent backdrop to our adventure. Here are some of the pics.