If you want to explore some remote, serene, rarely visited villages, want to explore age old Lepcha houses, their traditions and customs, want to satiate your eyes with lush green cardamom hills,beautiful waterfalls, additional lush greeneries, vast gorges, blissful scenic villages and of wish to view the mighty Kangchendzonga then this trek is the right one for you. It’s a grade easy trek and it can be opted by the minor age groups also.
Best time for this Trek – As it is a low altitude trek so it can be accessed in the regular times, like from September to December and January to May. Monsoons should be reasonably avoided.
The Challenges Faced by this Trek – The Trek is a grade easy trek, more comparable to a family trek and there are no challenges as such. The maximum hours of Trek that you could partake is 5-6 hours. But building of the concrete road depresses trekkers.
The Outfits Required for this Trek – The hiking shoes, hiking fleece and the strong Quechua shoes. A raincut jacket or raincoat is to be carried to avoid the sudden downpours in any season.
The most memorable part of the Trek is – Our group comprised of uniqueness, there were Seven members in additional to we husband and wife. We posted a group request at a famous group in Facebook and those members responded, and we were meeting for the first time in NJP! Indeed it was an exciting meeting.
Originally, we opted for the route through Neora Valley National Park the Neora Bamboo Camp – Alubari camp – Rachela Peak – Mulkharkha Lake – Aritar one. But it got cancelled the last moment due to tiger sightseeing. Then we chose the route ofLingzey – Jhusing – Tagathang – Mulkharkha Lake. The Trail towards Mulkharka Lake is extremely fascinating irrespective of the fact that motorable road has been constructed straight away uptoMulkharka Lake. No matter, how many times I visit The Himalayas, but with every visit, the charm goes on increasing which fills my heart with ever increasing love. So this time we went enrouteGajoldoba for the first time and were enthralled by the scene of the Teesta Barrage there. From NJP we were heading towards our first destination, Lava, approximately 4 hours from NJP.
The route towards Lava is best described by the lovely, dark and deep Pine trees with the mysterious penetrating clouds. We reached the destination and lodged in the Geetanjali Residency there. After refreshment, we had a sumptuous meal of Rice, Soybeans and Chicken Curry. After the meal it was the time to explore the local Lava. Surrounded by thick Pine forests and beautiful cottages Lava is exquisite. Temperature during 14th of October was pleasant, extremity of temperature not witnessed. The members of our group bonded quickly. There was a beautiful moment when a member of our group gifted us with a couple wrist watches as we are newly wedded couple. A beautiful celebration of a birthday event took place there.
Second Day –
Lava to Rachela Pass is about 25 km in vehicle. A complete jungle route. A marvellous sunrise was witnessed from there. Presence of intense clouds deprived us from meeting with the Kangchendzonga family. After returning to Lava, we visited the charming Lava Monastery, then went back to our residency to get ready for heading towards our next destination, Lingzey. On the way one can visit the magnificent Changey falls.
Himalayas always puts herself into competition in offering us beautiful surprises. Lingzeyis a beautiful small village, that time was covered with rice fields, in additional we witnessed gourd, pumpkin vines which were mouth-watering to look at. We went to stay at AnjitHomestay, the owner name is Shri Ganesh Poudyal. It’s a beautiful homestay amidst the jaw-dropping backdrop of a vast gorge full of greenery. We had an awesome lunch of Fern saag called “Ningroo” locally, Squash vegetable, Chicken and village production rice. After Lunch we had a local exploration of the village. We ended up at the gorgeous spot of Dhoksing waterfalls, a 45 minutes uphill and downhill trek through the local farms. Anyone would fall upon knees to witness its gorgeous beauty. By evening we came back to the homestay. Till much more awesome moments were remaining to be recorded in the history. The owner of the homestay played the flute to produce beautiful musical notes of Hindi and Nepali and we heard him in pin drop silence. Then he asked us to recognise the tune and we sang to his tunes. Lovely moment was getting created that evening. Much later his son and his friends came and now songs were sung with the guitar tunes. Our day was made.
Third Day –
The day was to head towards Tagathan village, through Jhusing village. It’s completely a jungle trail initially with a scenic brook that’s the source of Dhoksing waterfalls. The trek is easy, of about 3 hours with levelled path walk and uphill mixed. After having few photosessions at Anjit Homestay and being embraced by a cloth embracing ritual, we were said goodbye. The trek was to be started with a visit to LingzeyShibpanchayatanMandir. After this we visited the 200 year old traditional Lepcha house. We started nearly at around 11:00 o clock and trekked through a jungle trail. It took us nearly three hours to reach the Tagathan destination. There is a Shiv-Mandir and rock garden at Tagathan. A wonderful hamlet Tagathan’s beauty is characterized by Cardamom farms, nice homestays. After meal, the owner of our Green View Homestay took us to show the Cardamoms which are yet to be harvested and the kiln in which they get roasted. Another interesting thing seen is a ‘Beehive’ inside a portion of the Tree trunk which the villagers identify and keep the cutting in their home. Once in a year, around the month of July, they take out the honey from inside and sell it around Rs 6000/Kg. There is also a traditional Lepcha house which we visited and took the photographs. Also we saw the dead remains of two Large sized moths, hanging in a local shop! Our evening was made with a short walk in Tagathan village amidst darkness.
Fourth Day –
The trek from Tagathan towards Mulkharkha village is a comparative long route of about five – six hours! Starting at around 8-9 a.m. is better. will A very scenic and gorgeous route, one will cross about five villages, before reaching Mulkharkha village. The villages are very small comprising of maximum 5-6 residencies and everywhere you look around you will find greeneries till the last part of this trek which you have to complete trekking through the concrete road. Yes! You heard it right. The concrete road has straight away gone upto the Mulkharka Lake, a curse for the Trekkers! We were in PurnimaChhetri’s homestay there. We played badminton with the children there and enjoyed our afternoon. The day was cloudy. Thousands of tiny violet flowers were greeting us continuously in our trek. Late afternoon was spent in exploration and photo-session. We waited eagerly to catch a glimpse of the setting sun amidst the clouds in the late evening. During the night we had a walk to realize the phenomenal atmosphere outside!
Fifth Day –
Early morning we had to start at around 3.30 a.m. to reach upto the Mulkharka Lake. It is about one and half hour trek from the Homestay. We waited for the sunrise moment, but alas! The cloudy day prevented us from catching the Kangchendzonga view. However some beautiful photographs of the Lake were obtained. Frustrated, I went to the opposite side of the Lake, along the meadows. The view from this place was mesmerizing as the view of the peeping sun, among the Blue Mountains and lush green meadows made the moment of the day. No matter, how beautiful is the scenery, but one has to be aware of the Leeches around! There are dangerous levels of Leeches! We saw a leech that had obtained a heavy bloodmeal from a calf’s eyes and dropped down. The leech was beaten to death.
Morning time yielded some beautiful photographs of the village with the Blue Mountains. We had to return for the breakfast and after that head towards Aritar.
The trek from Mulkharkha down to Aritar is a very enticing one, once again meeting the remote villages on the way and slowly, as we approach the downhill, we see a beautiful monastery that is completely new of its origin, the RhenockGumpa, Monastery, near the Mankhim view point. Marching a kilometre downhill will make one visit the beautiful AritarGumpa Monastery. A giant Buddha statue has been erected there of recent. The place is very serene to sit and meditate. From up there, one can see the beautiful Lampokhari Lake. Further downhill, the surroundings are very beautiful to have a great evening stroll. One can visit the beautiful Lampokhari Lake and have a boat ride. Per boat of four persons cost Rs 200 for 20 minutes. The boat ride is open till 4.30 pm.
P.S. – This Trek is a beautiful small Family Trek who wishes to be a part of the nature along with the sweet Sikkimese traditional people.